Re: Campbell’s article in your June 18, 2004 edition.
I agree wholeheartedly with Sen. Campbell. On September 11, 2001 the United States was the victim of a terrorist act that resulted in the loss of several thousands lives.
It showed us that there are terrorists and regimes that support terrorism who want to harm us and our way of life. It should also show us that we need to be ever alert and pro-active and not re-active to these threats that will certainly continue. Do we wait until a horrible nuclear, chemical or biological incident happens to us or do we act now to keep one from happening? We cannot go about our daily lives and continue to hope nothing will happen and look the other way. If we do, we do a great disservice to our future generations who will ultimately have to bear the brunt of the disastrous effects of such incidents.
We currently are in Iraq where we have removed a tyrant who thumbed his nose at the rest of the world and killed thousands of his own people. He had no regard for the rights of anyone. If he isn’t classified as a terrorist I don’t know who would be. Had we sat around and done nothing, who knows what would have happened in this world. All of us, especially our politicians, should remember, prior to World War II, there were many countries, the United States included, who instead of standing up against a tyrant, took the easy way out and did nothing. We all know the end result: the loss of millions of lives and the tragic effects on millions of other lives.
All of us, especially some in the media, seem to have forgotten that we are still fighting a war in Iraq. With all the bad press that is being generated it reminds me of Vietnam.
We live in a country where people have the right to speak their minds and protest, and as a fighter pilot with 323 combat missions in 1968, I signed up to protect that right. What the protestors and media do not seem to understand is that once our country is involved in a war, everyone needs to show support for our troops. Instead, by protesting or giving slanted reports, they give aid to and help our enemy’s effort. It happened in Vietnam and it is happening now. By protesting, they give the bad guys the idea that our country really doesn’t have the will to win. All this does is prolong a conflict, putting our military men and women in harm’s way for a longer period of time.
Our freedoms and way of life have always been worth protecting and have always come with a price. That price has been paid with the loss of life on both sides of a conflict. No one will say they like an armed conflict/war. On the contrary, most people would like to avoid an armed conflict/war. However, we must keep this country safe for our children and grandchildren. We must continue to act swiftly and decisively to eliminate any possible threats to our country.
I leave you with quote from John Stuart Mill.
“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
Thank you Sen. Campbell for your thoughtful article.