Saturday, November 24, 2007

What We Can Afford

So what if we lose? We’ve lost before. Not wars, actually, but the peace. Vietnam. We lost that, the peace. So what? We got a lot of new Vietnamese immigrants. An overall plus, I’d say. Good people. Hard workers. Y’see, when you’re this big, you can afford to lose. Barely feel it. It’s like business -- not every deal is a profit. So what?

What if we’d lost WWII? So what? It wouldn’t have been an unconditional surrender, like what we imposed. It would have been a negotiated surrender, maybe not even a surrender. A cease fire. Like the Korean War. What’s so bad about that? Say they won some big battles, wiped out our armies, our navies and machines, beat us back to our own shores. So what? We can feed ourselves. We can buy our own products.

If Hitler kept Europe, well, the trains would have run on time. Just the Jews would have had a problem. Let the Jews tend to their own cares. And if Japan ruled in the east, and Italy ruled some of Africa -- so what? Would it really be all that different? China has been an enemy since Japan fell. Africa is useless. Europe has just been an expense, and half of it was an enemy anyway. And the Russians may have stayed a friend. An equal trade, almost.

See the point? Losing is winning, if you can imagine it. It's easy, if you try. It’s just caring that makes it bad. Iraq doesn’t matter. Kuwait was just an Iraqi province. Not our concern. It’s only the oil. We have our own oil. And even if we didn’t, there are buses. The Iraqis? They can tend to their own cares. Let the Germans be the world police.

If we lose in Iraq? Who will even notice. What does it even mean, to lose. Seems like fewer Americans would die, if we lost. It's so obvious. And we wouldn't be hated. We'd get our moral authority back. One among equals -- what could be more democratic? When you think that hundreds of millions of Moslem women don the veil as a sign of chastity and reverence -- why, how admirable. We have much to learn from the Moslems. It's time we started listening, instead of always shouting.

Yes. Yes.

The point? There is a way that it's true. Certainly. It's just caring that makes a thing bad. Rape could be sex, with the right attitude. Abuse is a turn on. Given a certain mindset.

America is a self-invented country, that founded itself on an ideal. It is unlike anything the world has ever seen, to this very day. The closest thing was Israel, and is. Problems? Of course. But they are not American problems. They’re human problems. Americans come from every habitable continent, united not by any quality of skin or shape of feature, but by a craving for freedom and desire to prosper. How beautiful. When we forget who we are, then we're just people on some land. Like the rest of the world. When we remember what we're for, we are a light in a high place, and all the world longs to be with us, or in darkness.

It's not just about winning wars. That's part of it, of course, because nations have interests. But it's the good that we do, the light that we bring, the lives that we enrich. No one can save anyone. We can only save lives. But in the physical world that has to be enough. And the alternative is to be like the rest of the world. Merely selfish, or actively vile.

We define ourselves by what we do. We do it as individuals, and as a nation. So we must have forbearance when faced with foolishness -- we must distinguish between evils, and apply patience and severity with wisdom. We must love peace, and go to war reluctantly, but when we go, we must prevail. Because there is only one thing more precious than blood, and that is our soul, with all that it stands for. Lives can be lost, and it may be a tragedy, but such is the nature of this world. Wars can be lost, and that will bring disgrace and turmoil, but perhaps wisdom. A nation dies when it loses its soul.

So what if we lose? If we lose, it will because we chose to lose. For the second time. Nothing comes back from the dead, twice.



ForgiveFor said...

Too cool! Thanks for your essays.

Jack H said...



G.W.C. said...

Often, when I've met a legal immigrant to the U.S. I've made a point to shake their hand and say, "Welcome to the United States of America. Welcome home." Many people would be surprised by the strong reactions it get, not to mention the even stronger friendships I've created with just those few simple words. Of course, I usually screw it up by saying something like, "Now, get a job, pay taxes, and speak English." But, sometimes they just laugh.

Jack H said...

Welcome home.

That's good enough for me to use. Someday. I'll wait until everyone has forgotten you said it first.