By Marvin Hutchens | November 22, 2005
“I will take the ring, though I do not know the way.” And with those words, Frodo Baggins, a very young 50 year old hobbit accepted the responsibility for elven kind, man and all free folk to fight and destroy the evil that threatened Middle Earth.
In the days following the attacks of September 11, 2001, our nation was filled with men and women of such fortitude in the face of a newly uncertain future. It has been but four short years since that most terrible of days. Thankfully, the courage found in the hearts of those who responded to such evil has not faded from all of our citizens, for the task is yet incomplete. The battles hard won in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world to combat jihadists intent on destroying the West have severely weakened their ability to attack our home again. Yet for some here at home, the cost and time passed has been too great. For them the memory of that day is far away – and the message which our united hearts carried on banner high must be restated from time to time.
It is right that we question and challenge the details of our handling of the war, and right that our elected leaders in Washington do the same. Yet it has become too common a practice to make to do so in a public arena transmitted instantaneously around the world to friend and foe alike. Media and political leaders have become caricatures of the foolish who know no discretion and state truth and falsehood as one. The impact on distant shores being difficult to immediately know – it can be safely assured not to be to our advantage. And here, it challenges every citizen of our nation to parse yet another level of rhetoric in search for real understanding of our station in Iraq or elsewhere.
That everyday life does not lend itself to our continued awareness and remembrance of the loss we felt that day four years passed, or of the manner in which we stood together against the enemy of our very being, is a testament to our perseverance. This makes it all the more vital that we should take steps to remember for what we fight, no matter the battlefield. Afghanistan and Iraq being but two of the necessary battlefields to rid the earth of an enemy focused on ridding it of us. To separate Iraq from the War on Terror – no matter how one believes we came to be in Iraq – is to deny that the enemy of Iraq – jihadist and Ba'athist alike – are also the enemies of America and free people around the world.
To those who believe our departure from Iraq on any terms other than the successful establishment of a stable and secure Iraq – capable of defending its people and interests against internal and external enemies – I would offer caution. Caution your words against their unexpected adoption by our enemies, caution your hearts against the forgetfulness of hours passed, and by all means caution your aspirations.
The fortitude required to check that which we are most assured of equals the fortitude to hold such positions at all.