I was spurred to write this letter after reading the following speech given by Winston Churchill on December 8 th, 1944 as recorded in Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years by Jack Levien and John Lord.
This speech was given after he was attacked by “the British and American press and by some of his colleague” after deciding to hold Athens once the Germans were defeated and forced out. He made a decision to stay until a government could be stabilized fearing the vacuum would be filled by communists. His speech reads:
Democracy is not based on violence or terrorism, but on reason, on fair play, on freedom, on respecting the rights of other people. Democracy is no harlot to be picked up in the street by a man with a Tommy gun. I trust the people, the mass of the people, in almost any country, but I like to make sure that it is the people and not a gang of bandits who think that by violence they can overturn a constituted authority, in some cases ancient Parliaments, Governments, and states We are told that because we do not allow gangs of heavily armed guerrillas to descend from the mountains and install themselves, with all the bloody terror and vigor of which they are capable, in power in great capitals, we are traitors to democracyI shall call upon the House as a matter of confidence in His Majesty’s Government, and of confidence in the spirit with which we have marched from one peril to another till victory is in sight, to reject such pretensions with the scorn they deserve. (p. 327)
While Iraqis may not completely understand democracy to the extent that the western world does or Winston Churchill did, I believe that this speech is just as applicable to Iraq. It seems that some of the American people or at least many of the politicians believe that democracy is as easy as picking up a prostitute on the way home from work (to rework Churchill a little).
Our duty here in Iraq is to ensure that the “gang of bandits,” “the heavily armed guerrillas,” the “insurgents” in today’s terminology do not choose the government but the “mass of the people” are allowed to govern. It may not look like the democracy of America but with our help it will be a democracy or notbut at least a government of their choosing. If we pull out now we virtually guarantee that those bands will “descend from the mountains and install themselves, with all their bloody terror and vigor.”
In Churchill’s words, I declare, “Victory is insight” and it is time to call on our House and Senate “with confidence in the spirit with which we have marched from one peril to anotherto reject such pretensions with the scorn they deserve.” It is time that we stand by our commitment to the Iraqi people. We have an obligation to follow through and not abandon these people. “Victory is in sight.”
I have seen the Iraqi Army and the Iraq Police securing the streets and defending their country. I have seen the Iraqi people turning against the insurgents and actively fighting the foreign fighters. Granted they are not Marines yet and doubtfully ever will be but they will be effective. They still have some hurdles to overcome and need quite a bit of help in the logistical and support areas including armor, fire support, air support, and medical support to name some but these are not easy and take time to build.
It is not the Marines crying “bring us home” nor is it their families. The ones decrying this struggle are those that have no connection to it. They do not have family or friends involved. I cannot name a single Marine out of our 525 Marines deployed to Iraq that complained about being sent to Iraq; yet on the other hand, I can name more than 50 Marines that voluntarily reenlisted or extended just to make this deployment.
It does not come from our wives or children, who release their fathers and husbands for repeated deployments. Our families, who are closest to this fight, support what we are doing while those it does not affect complain and say “Bring them home.” On the troop side, morale has never been higher. The Marines are motivated and although they all miss their families and friends they understand that we have a duty to do and Iraq needs us, America needs us.
America is safer because there are Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen in Iraq. It is not the Iraqis who are asking us to leave. Instead they are fearful of what will happen if we leave. Most of them are poor farmers, fishermen, or sheepherders who do not understand politics let alone Washington. What they understand is a commitment by the American people to stand beside them, protect them, and help them get back on their feet.
So who is it making all the noise?
I will let you answer that and as I bring my rambling to an end.
I will leave the final word to the Lord:
Can a land be born in one day?
Or a nation be delivered in an instant
“Will I bring a baby to the point of birth and not deliver it?” says the Lord
“or will I who deliver, close the womb,” says your God.