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Fortitude and Caution

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.


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While the loss of any US servicemember is a tradegy for all of us and a great cost, the larger goals of the US winning the War on Terror is too important to walk away from. We can get lost in the argument on intelligence, or which party did what, but at the end of the day we are still left with an enemy that seeks the most horrific end to every life in western civilization (not to mention the towns of Iraq and the weddings of Jordan).

Our enemy is clearly in Iraq, in Anbar province, gathering in Syria and on the Persian border.

Our support, rightfully, is with the people of Iraq who have now voted twice in droves to see a new birth of freedom for their country. Their security goals are our security goals. Their long term freedom is our long term security.

Abandoning the fight now would prove everything our enemy says about Americans. That we have no stomach, courage and fortitude.

You are right on with your analysis.

Kind regards,

Bill Rice

It's strange for me to think that the memories of that day have faded in the minds of many Americans. I can remember 9-11 like yesterday. When I recall the images from those attacks, the horrifying pictures of people falling to their deaths, I can still feel the raw emotions, the shock and outrage that filled me on that terrible day. We have to see this war through to victory.

The aQ operatives in Iraq are second stringers, and not many of them, to boot.

The Cairo Conference legitimized the Sunni Insurection against occupation.

If the Sunni, in large part, participate in the Dec 05 election, Iraq will be stable.

US troops will have completed their mission, successfully.

President Talabani has said that aQ is a criminal element, seperate from the War. So does Jordan's King.

Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr says US troops should be out by the end of '06, no longer needed to secure or detablize Iraq.

Withdrawal and handover should take months, given the logistical requirements of moving 150,000 men and their equipment.

We should be discussing 'stay behind' force structure and equipment predeployment, not chest pounding protestations of resolve.

We are mopping up, as we speak. Victory is at hand...
Enjoy the moment.