Baby Boomers, Barack Obama, and War

“Was it moral suasion that made Qaddafi see the wisdom of giving up his weapons of mass destruction? Or Iran agree for the first time to spot nuclear inspections? It was the suasion of the bayonet. It was the ignominious fall of Saddam–and the desire of interested spectators not to be next on the list. . . Rogue states are, by definition, impervious to moral suasion. Moral suasion is a farce.”

Charles Krauthammer in “Democratic Realism

I haven’t supported every use of American military force during my lifetime. I thought Vietnam was a mistake and that Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon had it wrong.

In a previous column I admitted being leery of war in Iraq. Now I realize the doctrine of preemption is a necessity because a first strike from a rogue nation could be catastrophic – and you can’t deter a suicidal adversary.

The United States is at war, and yet our biggest challenge in foreign policy isn’t what’s going on in Iraq. It’s dealing with domestic public opinion here at home that is influenced by the generation that came of age in the 1960s as well as by political celebrities like Barack Obama.

Previous eras saw a resolve, toughness and realism that is sorely lacking today. People understood then that being at war with Hitler’s Germany and Hirohito’s Japan meant that many of our fighting men would die or be wounded.

Imagine what would have happened if Baby Boomers had to cope with the kind of casualty rates experienced during World War II. There wouldn’t have been enough newspaper ink or TV time to cover all the tragic stories.

  • Battle Deaths: 291,557
  • Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 113,842
  • Non-mortal Woundings: 671,846

Each life lost back then was as dear as any today. Doing the math on just battle deaths alone shows that 6,480 families a month received the worst news possible from the War Department.

Between December 1941 and August 1945 Americans sacrificed, suffered, and endured more than most of us will probably ever know or have to live through.

April 2004 has been a terrible month as our brave soldiers continue to die as Iraqi insurgents and fanatics seek to weaken American resolve. There has never been a more critical time for the Bush Administration to make clear why we’re in this war against Arab-Islamic radicalism.

History has shown that when freedom and security are at risk sometimes there’s no good alternative to fighting. Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Democrat Barack Obama, however, actually does see an alternative in this case and is strong in his opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Obama charges the Bush Administration with deception regarding weapons of mass destruction. This administration believed Iraq still had WMDs for the same reason most of the civilized world did – Saddam defied U.N. resolutions, American and British threats, and acted as if he had something to hide.

Intelligence failures don’t surprise me at all. The intelligence community is, after all, government. I’m a Republican because I’m skeptical of the government’s ability to get things right.

Candidate Obama derides what he calls President George W. Bush’s “go-it-alone strategy.” He is evidently upset that the French and the Germans haven’t joined us and doesn’t care that more than 30 other nations have.

Barack Obama apparently has faith in the fiction of the “international community,” and believes that only “international institutions and alliances” legitimize the use of American military power.


President Bush’s succinct answer to this is “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.”

Democrat Obama is going to have a difficult time convincing voters that the U.S. should seek the approval of other nations before we act in defense of our interests. Especially when those nations don’t share our interests.

My vote for the U.S. Senate will go to Republican Jack Ryan who supports the Bush Doctrine. Our foreign policy must be based on the reality that diplomacy doesn’t always work, and that the potential of modern weapons in the hands of barbarians has made this a very small and dangerous world.

There will be battle deaths in this struggle. So we must live up to the legacy of strength and perseverance shown by the generation that fought World War II both on the battlefront and on the home front.