60 years later
During my campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2006, the most incisive question I got came from a radio commentator: "WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?" My reaction was immediate: PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE! It says so in the Preamble of the Constitution....e.g.
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Everyone has a different opinion on the war and our current President. This article is not specifically about the war or the President. This article is about us and our times. I was 11 years old the day after World War II was over, I sold EXTRA newspapers along my paper route in the Monterey Peninsula on that exciting day. My father was in the Navy and training for the invasion of Japan, which fortunately was averted after we dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
As a child I felt completely involved in the war effort through the rationing of clothing, food, fuel, steel and many other civilian commodities. The daily drama of Allied operational successes and failures was graphically depicted on the front page of America’s newspapers and in our living rooms via civilian radio. The depth of the military draft into America’s youth population meant involvement of all sectors of American society.
/s/ LeRoy CollinsLC note:
When I submitted this commentary to my Webmaster and neighbor down the street, Larry, he reminded I already had a commentary up on the website (#103) regarding this same essay (i.e. You ain’t gonna like losing). But since it was so topical, especially with the Presidential Campaign in full swing, I decided it deserved a revisit. That is the prerogative of the writer.
What a difference 60 years makes..!!!
'You ain't gonna like losing.'
President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism. But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq. Bush's mistake was in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII. It is not.
Back then, they had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression but they still believed fervently in this country. They knew that the people had elected their leaders so it was the people's duty to back those leaders.
Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind, and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not- whether the war was going badly or not.
And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter. The people stuck with the President because it was their patriotic duty. (Remember that concept?)
Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war. Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old, pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort. Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining.
You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President. Interestingly enough, in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made upbeat films and entertained our troops to help the troops' morale. And a bunch even enlisted!
Teachers in schools started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance and with prayers for our country and our troops!
Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.
A newspaper would have been laughed out of existence if it had complained that German or Japanese soldiers were being 'tortured' by being forced to wear women's underwear, or subjected to interrogation by a woman, or being scared by a dog.
There were a lot of things different back then. We were not subjected to a constant bombardment of pornography, perversion and promiscuity in movies or on radio. We did not have legions of crackheads, dope pushers and armed gangs roaming our streets.
No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so dearly to preserve.
He was wrong. It is not the same country. It is now a cross between Sodom and Gomorrah and the land of Oz. We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.
We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty, to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. It has been estimated that about one third - or over three hundred million - of all Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorist's cause.
Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits. So...we either win it - or lose it - and you ain't gonna like losing. America is not at war. The military is at war. America is asleep!
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.