My brother-in-law George is a retired cop who’s married to the widow of a man who died in Vietnam.
The last time we were together, he asked me, with a touch of sadness, “What was it all for?” I knew what he meant, and I thought of the graves in military cemeteries representing 246 years of lives lost and blood spilled to defend America.
Between 1775 and 2019, 666,441 Americans died in combat from Concord to Kabul.
But that’s only part of the honor roll of sacrifice and heroism. There are the soldiers who survived but came home bearing physical or psychological wounds – in some cases suffering for the rest of their lives. And there are the widows, orphans and gold-star families.
All of this should occasion an outpouring of gratitude. It still does in some quarters, but less every year.
On paper, we have a military second to none – a defense budget of $693 billion in 2019 (36% of the world’s military spending), an active-duty force of 1.35 million, with 800,000 in the reserves, 800 military bases outside the United States, ships, planes, tanks and missiles that could rock the planet.
In 1939, when World War II started in Europe, our army was ranked 19th in the world, smaller than Portugal’s. Three years later, we had mobilized to fight a two-front war. By 1945, our enemies had been reduced to rubble. Germany signed terms of unconditional surrender in Reims and the USS Missouri steamed into Tokyo bay.
Then, we rebuilt Germany and Japan, kept the peace in Europe, fought off totalitarian onslaughts in Korea and Vietnam and went to war with jihadist terrorism in the Middle East.
And yet. And yet. Where are we today?
We have the weakest president in my lifetime. Given that I lived through Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, that’s saying a lot.
The greatest international threat to our security is Communist China., Not only does the President refuse to confront Beijing, but his family seems to be in the PRC’s pocket. Imagine that, prior to Pearl Harbor, one of FDR’s kids got hundreds of thousands in “consulting fees” from Nazi Germany.
Lenin said capitalists would sell Bolsheviks the rope they used to hang us. At the Wuhan lab we subsidized China’s development of bio weapons which killed 600,000 Americans.
After 10 days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian terrorists, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said we must treat our best friend in the region and a gang sworn to our destruction with something approaching parity. We’re going to lead an international effort to rebuild Gaza, while Israel awaits the next Hamas offensive.
Defending America is about more than guns and bombs. Thanks to the radical Left’s control of both this administration and the culture, anti-Americanism (a treason chic) is the new normal.
Critical race theory – “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” the urgent need for “racial equity” – is taking over our educational institutions, from public schools to colleges and universities.
Under Biden, the U.S. military is training recruits to loathe the nation they’re expected to defend. Earlier this month, Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was relieved of command of a unit of the U.S. Space Force for speaking out about critical race theory’s rapid advance in our armed forces.
Lohmeier – who will soon be in charge of a weather monitoring station in Greenland – told an interviewer that the “intensive teaching that I heard at my base (claimed) that at the time the country ratified the United States Constitution, it codified white supremacy as the law of the land.” If you disagreed with that, you condemned yourself as a racist.
This complements the on-going purge of patriots from the military, with monitoring for extremism and the so-called Capitol Hill insurrection as the excuses.
In Biden’s new action army, we also have transgenderism inclusiveness training (“Before I take that hill, Sarge, I need to ask –Which pronoun do you prefer?”), the fight against Islamophobia, so-called, and the president of the United States boasting about flight suits for pregnant pilots.
On the home front, there’s the war on the police that’s turned our cities into shooting galleries with urban homicide rates soaring in the wake of police budgets slashed and following last year’s “mostly peaceful” protests.
While killing domestic energy production, Biden just approved the pipeline which will carry Russian oil to Europe. The president thinks national security is irrelevant, unless there’s a way for Hunter to make money off it.
The border is wide open, with a tidal wave of gang members, guns and drugs flowing in. While Alejandro Mayorkas, the standup comic who heads Homeland Security, assures us that the border is closed (who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?), the man Biden picked to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wants to shred the Second Amendment. And the social media giants that helped elect Sleepy Joe want to eviscerate the First Amendment – even banning the last president of the United States.
If the men in Arlington Cemetery were alive today, they would look in dumb disbelief at what America has become in the third century after our founding.
Let’s honor the men who made the ultimate sacrifice for a country that no longer exists — and those who may be called upon to do so themselves to get it back.