Posted at 12:00 AM on Friday, July 03, 2009 by David Horowitz
My wife and I celebrated our Fourth three days early by taking a trip to San Diego with Marine Colonel John Folsom -- first to visit the USS Green Bay, a massive LPD state-of-the-art landing vessel and then to view the change of command at Camp Pendleton, a ceremony installing the new commandant of the 1st Marine Division, Major General Richard Mills.
We were welcomed aboard the Green Bay by chief executive officer, Lt. Commander Randy Zamora, who was our guide throughout the tour. The Green Bay can carry 200 Marine vehicles including tanks, helicopters, Harrier Jets and nearly 1,000 combat troops. It can also launch missiles. It is also a vital element of the humanitarian missions Americans have carried out around the world.
It was impossible to be on board this ship or at the Marine Corps base and see the young men and women who are putting themselves on the frontline to defend us and our freedoms and the freedoms of others and not be moved. Nor was it possible for me to forget the ferocious attacks on them in the midst of a ferocious war -- attacks which began in July 2003 and lasted until January 20, 2009 when Barack Obama became president and realized that war is a dangerous business and our enemies are serious about inflicting enormous harm on us regardless of race or political creed. As I remarked to Lt. Commander Zemalya this fact is for the moment a blessing for our military and therefore for us.
Even as we chatted on board the USS Green Bay, the President was launching a new offensive in Afghanistan, mindful of the danger that would be posed by a Taliban regime in nuclear Pakistan. As American troops launched their offensive, for the first time in six years there were no protests or demonstrations denouncing them as invaders, occupiers, and aggressors -- which is what progressives and Democrats had been doing for the six years preceding Obama's election.
Though I could see in all my discussions with military personnel an uneasiness and uncertainty about the new President's commitment to the military, and to the special role America has played in the world as the defender of individual freedom, the fact that Americans can go into battle with the country united behind them is a good thing. For them, for us, for people all over the world who want to be free.
The ceremony for General Mills began with a concert by the band of the 1st Marine Division, and it immediately made me think about an article by an American leftist that had appeared forty years ago in the Nation magazine. The article was written by Robert Sherrill was an attack on the military reminiscent of the attacks on our Marines in Haditha and our troops generally in Iraq called "Military Music is to Music as Military Justice is to Justice." The title itself revealed the contempt and hatred that certain leftist elites have for the Americans who are willing to die for their right to say and think what they please.
What made me think of this was the performance of the 1st Marine Division military band which was as good as it gets. You would expect the Marines striving for excellence is something they live and die for to get this right. And they did. But the ignorant derision of the likes of Robert Sherrill and the Nation has nothing to do with the actual performance of Marines either musically or in combat. It has to do with their defense of a country for whom radicals have a fundamental contempt and hatred. For them, the enemy is us.
Meeting the young men and women at Camp Pendelton I thought of all those war critics who delude themselves or others into believing that they can support the troops while attacking their mission. It can't be done. As Colonel Folsom said to me -- that's like saying you can support the camp guards at Auschwitz but not their mission. You can't. And you can't tell a 19 year old risking his life in Anbar or Khandahar that his mission is based on lies and deceit, that he is fighting for oil and not for freedom, that he is an occupier and an aggressor, and not sap his fighting morale and his will to win, and therefore to survive.
Colonel Folsom is the creator of the Wounded Warriors Foundation. He was on Fox News today with Maria Wiener, the wife of Navy corpsman Jeffrey Wiener and the mother of two young girls. When Jeffrey was deployed to Iraq he promised his daughters he would take them to Disneyworld when he returned. He never did. Jeffrey Wiener was killed in Haditha fighting for the freedom of Iraqis and the safety of individuals all over the world whom the jihadists regard as "infidels" and therefore worthy of death. The Wounded Warriors Foundation saw to it that Jeffrey's promise to his children would be made good on, at least in part. They did get that trip to Disneyworld.
July 4th is a day on which we celebrate the birthday of our country -- the birth of a new force for freedom in the world. It is a day we need to count our blessings as Americans and that means first of all to thank the men and women in arms who make those blessings possible.
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