Everything in this world flows from doing what is right. It is not about being right. It is about doing right. When we are in the twilight of our lives, approaching our deathbeds, the only thing that will matter when we take that last look in the mirror is if we did what was right.
I know that there is much that I do not know. I know that there are many people who have deep convictions that are diametrically opposed to mine. I only pray that those people that disagree with me do so with noble intentions.
As I look at the America I love, I see a country torn asunder by the Iraq War. Yes, there have been fierce political disagreements since the First Continental Congress, but the “You-tube” generation allows hatred to be magnified. LBJ and Everett Dirksen would castigate each other on the floor and in front of the cameras, but then laugh about it in the Oval Office over scotch, joking about who would get in the best zingers the next day. I wonder if that comity still exists.
The thing that bothers me about the antiwar supporters is that they have nothing to lose. There are no consequences to being wrong.
From a purely hypothetical standpoint, let’s say that the antiwar crowd turns out to be completely and utterly wrong in the long run. I think they are already wrong on most levels, but history has not rendered the final verdict yet.
Hypothetically, if Iraq turns into a peaceful haven with hearts, flowers, sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and everything that’s wonderful, the antiwar crowd will have been wrong. What are the consequences of this? Nothing. The left can shrug their shoulders and say, “ok, we were wrong.” That’s it. There are no negative consequences to being wrong. Therefore, their position is riskless.
The left has done this before. The Bush tax cuts were going to destroy the economy. They didn’t. The left was wrong. Yet the economy is good, so no harm, no foul. When the worst case scenario is expected on anything, and the best case scenario occurs, there is no harm with taking a worst case scenario position. Being wrong is irrelevant.
This is tolerable on economic issues, but can be lethal when dealing with a war. It allows a cavalier attitude to prevail.
Now think about the supproters of the war, myself included. I have said many times that I will go to my grave believing the Iraq War was the right thing to do, and that we must stay there until the job is done. What happens if I was wrong from the beginning?
Picture the worst case scenario. What if President Bush did deliberately lied to get us into a war specifically for oil and to avenge the attepmt on his father’s life? What if the whole war was based on a lie, that the White House knew there were no WMD? The left believes those statements are true, and I reject them out of hand. However, hypothetically, what if I turned out to be wrong?
I will tell you what the result is. Everything in I believe in will have been blown to kingdom come. My view of the world will have been shattered. I will look in the mirror and fight the urge to hate my own skin. I will pray to God to forgive me that I believed what I was doing was right. It will not matter. I will have blood all over my hands for innocent deaths.
If I am wrong…I am done. If the supporters of the war are wrong, they are finished.
Therefore, the argument over the war consists of one side with nothing to lose and no reason to care and another side with everything they believe in at stake. You can be d@mn sure that I am sticking to my principles until I am proven that those principles were wrong.
It looks now that the supporters of the war are being proven right. Yet it is not about being right. It is not about winning an argument and gaining debating points. It is about doing right, which means liberating millions of people from dictatorship and giving them a chance at freedom and liberty. I will believe forever that this is the right thing to do.
When I look at the serious candidates running for President, I want to see their integrity on this vital issue to me.
Hillary Clinton keeps changing her position. Triangulation is fine for domestic policy, but not when dealing with a war. Hillary wants power. She wants to be right. She gets angry when told she is wrong. Yet by not taking so many different positions in such a short time span on such a critical issue shows that her views are based on naked political calculations. That is simply not honoroable.
John Edwards supported the war when it was popular, but then turned against it when it became unpopular. Unlike Hillary, he has not turned back in favor, but Dick Cheney rightly pointed out in the 2004 Vice Presidential Debate that he “could not stand up to Al Queda if he could not stand up to the Howard Dean Voters.”
Barack Obama claims to have been against the war from the beginning, but that is easy to say when there is no vote to be cast. He was not in the Senate at the time, and therefore did not have to make a tough decision. At least Hillary and Edwards were faced with a tough choice, and they were right to support the war even as they back away from it now.
Dennis Kucinich is not a serious candidate, which makes it easeir for him to take a clear position. Nevertheless, he voted against the war from the very beginning and never wavered. He is wrong, but honorably so.
Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson have been accused of supporting positions that many people, including many republicans, have objections with. Nevertheless they have never wavered on the Iraq War or the War on Terror. Romney wants to double Guantanamo, and McCain wanted a full scale escalation. Giuliani would be further to the right of the Bush Doctrine than Bush himself.
Changing a view does not mean one is insincere. It just has to be a sincere change. Brian Baird, a liberal congressman in liberal Washington State, came to the conclusion that he was wrong. He was against the war from the beginning, and now sees signs of progress as possible. he is also not running for President, which gives extra credence to his conversion as being a sincere one.
One can even have been for the war and then switched sides against it in an honorable manner. However, this honor has to be based on conviction, and that conviction must come from facts.
If the men with their lives on the line every day are supporting the war (George W. Bush had 75% of the military vote in 2004 to 25% for his opponent), and believe things are getting better, I believe we have to take their opinions seriously. Some would say their words are not absolute, because we live in a civilian society. Yet there is a middle ground. We trust, but verify. People going to Iraq are verifying that things are getting better.
When the history books are written, I plan to tell my grandchildren that I grew up in a world where America, while not pefect, strived very hard to do the right thing. We were not always right, but we tried to do it right.
We have to honor the concept of honor itself. We have to be moral, ethical, decent human beings. We have to strive to make the world a better place. Our beliefs must be based on integrity and decency.
Everything I believe in is on the line. I pray to God I am helping support those who are doing what is right. We must win the War on Terror, no matter what it takes.