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A Message For America’s Modern-Day Tories

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This article originally posted to Viewpointjournal.com on July 21, 2003:

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On September 11, 2001, a clear and beautiful day, trying times returned to the shores of these United States. For as long as live I’ll remember the fear of that day, watching in disbelief as thousands of innocent people were ruthlessly slaughtered and two of the best known buildings in the world, the Twin Towers, crumbled to dust in what seemed to be the blink of an eye.

As I watched the carnage unfold on television, one clear thought emerged from all the chaotic thoughts and questions spinning wildly in my brain; “this is war,” I thought. “Someone has just declared war on us.” On that day, the world changed for us all.

As desperate as things were in late 2001, they were equally desperate, if not more so, for Americans living in the trying times of 1776. It was an interesting irony in that, the year which saw the creation of the stirring document called the Declaration of Independence, was the same year the American cause seemed destined to fail. In that year, as in 2001, the people of America were tossed into an uncertain future whose only promise was the certainty of bloodshed.

By late 1776, George Washington’s army was running for its life. His first engagement with the British on Long Island in August was a disaster. Washington’s troops were flanked by the British and thousands were slaughtered in the ensuing route. For the next three months, Washington and his army would not stop running.

Washington had originally hoped to field an army capable of fighting a European-style war, but had quickly learned that he had no hope of doing this with an army made up of inexperienced “citizen soldiers.” It was during this period, in mid-December, that Thomas Paine, who was then traveling with Washington’s troops, wrote The American Crisis,” in which these words were written:

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

Uttered over 225 years ago, these words again speak to us during this present crisis. The key figure today is George W. Bush, who is laboring to bear the intense burden of this war on terror. The President knows that he will be held directly responsible for any and every failure in this war, and should we fail to win this war, the cost will be unimaginable. Our enemy has pledged to destroy us, and they will do everything in their power to carry out this threat. They will follow us across the globe, attack every democratic government they find, and will, as always, target the weakest and most innocent among us.

Washington and Bush have yet another thing in common; the additional challenges posed by the conflicting loyalties of Americans around them.

For Washington, it was the Tories, those Americans who strongly objected to the notion of parting from their British homeland. They were loyal citizens of the crown and sought to aid the crown against Washington and his upstart rebels. Despite the fact that Washington fought to keep the British from occupying New York City in the first days of the war, the vast majority of New Yorkers were Tories. After the Battle of Long Island and the expulsion of Washington’s troops from New York City, British troops and officers found themselves hoisted on the shoulders of New York citizens and wildly cheered.

Similarly, President Bush is dealing with the conflicting loyalties of political partisans who would rather put the well-being of their party before the well-being of the nation. It’s a conflict that the President has faced since even before his inauguration, after having won the controversially close election against Gore. From that time to this, many DNC leaders have been working to redefine the Democratic Party as the “Anti-Bush Party,” and not even the horrendous events which took place on 9/11 will supercede their desire to undermine the one whom they can never accept as President.

For a short time after 9/11, Democrats did cease their attacks on Bush, but only because it was not politically expedient to do otherwise. Like the Tories, they remained silent when they felt public opinion was not in their favor, but they never forgot their ultimate loyalties.

Now, as the 2004 election cycle looms, a disappointingly large number of Democrats have pulled out every stop in the hopes of undermining the one they see as their real enemy, the President of The United States. Having found few flaws, they work to enhance the ones he has shown and are using President Clinton’s real legacy, American doubt as to the truthfulness and integrity of their Presidents, to full effect.

Unfortunately, these attacks have a ripple effect which extends well beyond the borders of our own nation. Not only is it likely that their actions encouraged Saddam Hussein to remain defiant towards the US when President Bush issued his UN-backed ultimatum, it has certainly helped create international doubt about the integrity of our actions in this war on terror. At a time when, every day, American lives are at stake, these modern-day Tories have consistently placed party before country.

Obviously, no person, including our President, is perfect, which is why it is appropriate to parallel today’s events with the events of late 1776. In December of that year, Washington’s leadership too, was severely in doubt. Worse was the fact that Washington doubted himself. By December, he had grown truly despondent. British commanders were receiving reports that Washington was spending a great deal of time by himself in his quarters and had been observed, at times, in tears.

Washington, whose idealism convinced him to take on the burden of opposing the world’s greatest military power, was, after all, just a human being who had suffered one crushing defeat after another. I can only imagine that the Continental Congress, who had appointed him to lead the army, had the same doubts. It was likely that, if nothing changed before spring, the British army would redeploy and crush the American uprising for good.

In a similar fashion, shortly after 9/11, many in this country wondered if President Bush would have what it takes to lead the nation in a time of crisis. We weren’t left wondering for long, because Bush stepped up to the plate immediately and went to work, encouraging and inspiring the nation, as well as preparing us to take action against those who would see us destroyed.

Yes, President Bush will continue to have modern-day Tories to contend with, but I do believe that his leadership will stand up against these nit-picking partisans, both in this nation and abroad. This President knows the value as well as the cost of liberty, and has chosen to act in courage and not play the role of a “summer soldier” and/or a “sunshine patriot.”

Though the invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam is being intensely questioned, I seldom hear these modern-day Tories utter the most important question of all: Isn’t freedom for the Iraqi people and hope for a safer world a worthy cause? In light of the terror attacks of 9/11, could we truly have continued to ignore Saddam Hussein and the potential threat he posed to the world? Even President Clinton was forced to admit in 1998 that, unless we took action, Saddam would never give up all his weapons. After twelve years of failed attempts to contain a madman, combined with the events of 9/11, no President of this nation could have ignored the threat that he posed.

Freedom has always been an expensive commodity, and Democrats of all people should know this. After all, it was a Democratic President who, in 1998, tried to buy freedom on the cheap for the Iraqi people with the firing of a few missiles. All that was gained was over four uninterrupted years of power for Saddam Hussein, and the deaths of who knows how many more Iraqi citizens. An irony to all this is that, in large part, President Clinton launched his attack on Hussein with the same intelligence that President Bush used to launch the attack which finally did overthrow one of the world’s greatest tyrants. Yet it is President Bush, not Saddam Hussein whom these modern-day Tories label a Nazi.

What would our modern-day Tories say to Thomas Paine, who might well accuse them of playing the role of the sunshine patriot? I think, in Mr. Paine’s stead, those of us who know the cost of liberty should seek to remind partisans that “tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.”

Furthermore, we should remember that “what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.” As Tom Paine appropriately tells us, “it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” Freedom for the Iraqi people, as well as safety for the American people should never be intentionally underrated, especially by those whose only goal is political gain.

So, I think it is worthwhile to remember that, while this man whom we call President is human and, thus, fallible; he is also worthy of our support. And support him we must. The cause of freedom and liberty are far more important than the ambitions of power emanating from modern-day Tories, many of whom now reside in the city of Washington, rather than the city of New York.

We must also remember that every crisis ever faced by this nation has the effect of showing exactly who among us will rise to the challenge of the day, and who will not, either by lack of conviction, courage, or ability. This crisis, as all others, has separated the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. The best news of all is the fact that the chaff of this nation has never yet stopped true Americans from doing what is right in securing the blessing of liberty for people all over the world.

There is no doubt; we are again living in times that try our souls. The question we now face is this; will you be a sunshine patriot, or will you stand firm in the face of adversity? The world is watching and waiting for the answer, and so is history.

David Flanagan
Viewpointjournal.com

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About David

  • Shark

    David, I prefer to think of myself as a “Teletubby Patriot”; I sit in front of the TV watching FOX News until my eyes glaze over, my mouth flops open, drool starts to run down my chin, and I believe every single lie President Bush and his cronies tell the American public.

    Yeah, I’m big on that war on terrorism. I support invading… um… wait, oh, okay, it’s Iraq… and I really think we should go after those Weapons of Mass Destruction!

    I’m with the President all the way!

    PS: Some background music would have gone GREAT with this post! I was sorta hearing “Pomp & Circumstance” in my mind, swear ta god!!!

    Best,
    Shark (not into the purple one)

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    MIDI MUSIC ON PAGES MUST DIE!

  • boomcrashbaby

    Similarly, President Bush is dealing with the conflicting loyalties of political partisans who would rather put the well-being of their party before the well-being of the nation.

    Not supporting the war in Iraq, is not necessarily a partisan issue and it would be inaccurate to portray it as such.

    The question we now face is this; will you be a sunshine patriot, or will you stand firm in the face of adversity?

    Very reminiscent of ‘you either support us or you are a traitor’, ala Ann Coulter.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Would you happen to be the Shark from “Finding Nemo”? Read this with an Aussie accent:

    “We are Sharks. Fish are our friends, not food, we are not mindless eating machines.”

    My daughter loves that movie.

    David

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    you either support us or you are a traitor

    Those are not words that I would use, rather, I think it best to challenge this gruesome “body-count” mentality that we seem to have regarding Iraq, something which depersonalizes our troops and makes them more of a political strategy rather than the heroes that they are.

    This is a REAL war, requiring REAL sacrifice, and if we cut and run, it means disaster for us all. It means, in no uncertain terms, that they’ll be encouraged to do more of the same and to take the war again to our shores.

    I too hate seeing our soldiers in harm’s way, no less because some of those people over there are my friends! I have one friend who is a private contractor just as the four men guarding the food shipment were. When I heard of the deaths, I waited with a sick feeling in my stomach while the names were read off. He was not among the dead, but he is still in harm’s way, convinced absolutely that doing in Iraq what we did for Germany and Japan was the right thing.

    Unfortunately, Iraq has become a convenient “political football” as Richard Clarke would say, for this upcoming election. And in Iraq, the terrorists are desperately hoping that what they did a few days ago will produce the same result as in Mogadishu. Not a chance!

    Thanks.

    David

  • boomcrashbaby

    ….something which depersonalizes our troops and makes them more of a political strategy rather than the heroes that they are.

    It’s possible to not support our administration and it’s blunderous actions while still supporting our men and women who are doing what they are required to do. Example, you can disapprove of how the Walmart CEO’s run their company but you can still support the cashier working her underappreciated ass off.

    This is a REAL war, requiring REAL sacrifice, and if we cut and run, it means disaster for us all.

    Not all of us who are against the war have suggested cutting and running. I for one haven’t. I believe if one makes a mess, it is their responsibility to clean it up as best as possible. But that can be done while still holding the individual(s) accountable for making the unnecessary mess.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Well, as I say in my article above, removing Saddam from power in Iraq was completely necessary. The man had clear ties to terrorists, he remained defiant despite 17 UN resolutions, refusing to comply to the conditions he agreed to at the end of the Persian Gulf War, and after 9/11, we needed to either get out of Iraq completely or get Saddam out first.

    The President made the hard choice to remove Saddam. It was also the right choice.

    Thanks for your comments.

    David

  • boomcrashbaby

    as I say in my article above, removing Saddam from power in Iraq was completely necessary.

    Thanks for your comments.

    I do realize that you are politely telling me that I am done posting on this thread, but let me add one more thing for others to consider, then I will leave this thread, having completely made my point effectively and accurately. :-)

    I also never said that Saddam shouldn’t be removed from power. It is the way it was done, by practically flipping the bird at the U.N. that was wrong and what created this quagmire and there needs to be accountability.

    Thank you for your comments to my comments.

  • Shark

    DAVID: “…doing in Iraq what we did for Germany and Japan was the right thing.

    Well, first, we killed probably 70% of males over 16 in Germany, and we bombed their country to smithereens.

    Next, we dropped atomic bombs on two of Japan’s largest cities.

    Then we occupied them.

    And Iraq – what’s wrong with this picture?

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Shark:

    We also lost over 290,000 of our troops in WWII. In Korea we lost over 140,000, and in Viet Nam, a fight which we had won, but which politicians forced us to run from, we lost over 30,000 troops, I believe.

    So what are you talking about? We’ve lost 600 in Iraq so far. Iraq is nothing like any of those wars.

    Perhaps you don’t remember, but after WWII, many began to claim that we were losing the peace over there. As a matter of fact, the January 6, 1946 edition of Life Magazine had this headline in it:

    Americans Are Losing The Victory In Europe

    Here’s another headline for you:

    Grim Europe Faces Winter of Misery

    Thanks.

    David

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    I do realize that you are politely telling me that I am done posting on this thread…

    Boom,

    I wasn’t asking you to leave the thread, comment as often as you like. I prefer lots of debate and all I wanted to say was that I appreciate your thoughtful posts. I realize you might not be used to having people thank you for disagreeing, but I appreciate you taking the time to leave comments.

    Finally, there is that word “quagmire” again. I don’t know whether to laugh or sigh. All I’ll say on the use of this word is that it is beloved by those who hate the WAY we removed Saddam from power.

    I do think HOW Saddam was removed is a legitimate point of debate, but when you use the word “quagmire,” it hurts your argument because, really, the ultimate quagmire was what we had BEFORE the war. For 12 years we were trying to contain a madman, with hundreds of thousands of military flyovers, watching while Saddam murdered his people and the people of Saudi Arabia grew ever more resentful of our presence in their country.

    Qaugmire is sitting doing nothing for 12 years trying to keep a tyrant boxed in, spending billions a year just to “contain” a kook. What we have NOW, after 12 years, is progress, painful though that progress may at times be.

    Thanks.

    David

  • Eric Olsen

    Another element in the was-Iraq-really-optional discussion is, would we have rather waited to deal with Uday and Cusay, who were even more vile, debased, demented and insane than Saddam? Iraq was not going to go away or get better or get less expensive to contain?

    And if any among us expected a ticker tape parade and dancing in the streets from among those elements who benefitted from the Baathist regime, and/or who despise rule of civil law and personal freedoms as explified by the US, then I guess it’s time to snap out of it.

    Do these difficulties make regime change wrong? Quite the opposite: they indicate the exact direction the country was heading in, and indicate that we didn’t move a second too soon.

  • Shark

    David: “…in Viet Nam, a fight which we had won, but which politicians forced us to run from, we lost over 30,000 troops.”

    David, with all due respect, BOTH of the above statements are so far off that they rightfully bring into question your overall credibility.

    American dead in Nam was closer to 58,000 plus.

    And your statement that we ‘won’ the ‘fight’ in Vietnam is too absurd and deluded to be countered with reality.

    ie. I SURRENDER!

    (Hey, maybe we should send YOU to Iraq and you can ‘debate’ those bastards into submission! Worked with me!)

  • boomcrashbaby

    I realize you might not be used to having people thank you for disagreeing

    Wow. Not only am I not used to it, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced it in my life or even heard of it, both on the net and off. I stand corrected.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    And your statement that we ‘won’ the ‘fight’ in Vietnam is too absurd and deluded to be countered with reality.

    You are right, I was answering your post quickly this morning and did not find the Vietnam stats. We did lose over 58,000 in Vietnam and, unfortunately, our politicians led this war in such a way that we could only lose.

    Why? Because we didn’t try to win, intead, we tried to keep the status quo for as long as we could until, politically, we were worn down and had to withdraw troops. If we had done in Vietnam what we did in Iraq, it would have been a different story entirely.

    You want to parallel Iraq and Vietname? Okay, lets look at the true Iraq quagmire, 12 years of sitting on our butts while Saddam laughed at us and did whatever he wanted, including taking potshots at our jets at various times.

    How many billions were spent flying over 300,000 sortees over Iraq in the 12 years of “containment”? How many more billions keeping soldiers stationed in Kurdish territory, Saudi Arabia, and at various other places in the Middle East, again for containment? How many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi murdered or starved to death while Saddam built plush palaces? How many tens of thousands in the Middle East growing resentful of our presence in their territory during the 12 years of containment.

    That is the ONLY comparison between Iraq and Vietnam because, just as in Vietnam, we were trying to contain a persistently aggressive regime but lacked the political will to make the final move against the aggressors. We defeated the Vietnam paradox by taking Saddam out of power and what we have now is progress.

    Any comments on the other points that I made or is comparing Iraq and Vietnam the flavor of the month for those opposing Saddam’s removal from power?

    Thanks.

    David

  • Shark

    David, seen Vietnam lately?

    We left and it turned out to be a pretty decent place.

    I firmly believe we won’t conquer the world with armies, but with rampant feel-good capitalism.

    We lost that ‘war’, but it’s only a matter of time before they’ve got a Starbucks and a Wal-Mart on every corner.

    Forget the bullets, man, give ‘em Coke! *Before long, they’ll be as materialistic and corrupt as we are!

    *see Russia for more

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    …and if that doesn’t work we may have turn to Zappa’s idea of employing Pork Aerosol Gas Bombs.

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    We left and it turned out to be a pretty decent place.

    What, you mean after the North murdered 2 million people during their takeover of the South? Fact is, the place would be even more decent if they were a Democracy. They’d already have Starbucks and Wal Marts on every corner.

    Thanks.

    David