Last night I was awakened again by a thunderstorm. Not nearly as bad as the one a few days ago, but along with the song playing on my alarm radio, it brought back some memories and some feelings I wish I could suppress a little.
The song was "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straights. A rock group that was popular from when I was in high school and through my Army years.
It was a song that had a whole lot of meaning then, and still does today.
These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me now
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms
I began to think as I lay in bed in the growing twilight, that sure is true.
I began to think about those political troglodytes. The ones calling for our immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Now I've been having second thoughts about the way we were brought into this conflict in the first place and I do feel that we were misled in our mission.
But what I've been hearing from the left particularly is this:
NO MORE VIET NAMS! Get us out now!
Well, let me tell you this.
No matter what brought us into this fight in the first place, that's moot now. We pull out now without finishing what we've started, it will be another Viet Nam.
Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms
From everything I've read and learned from my Senior NCO's when I was in the Army, all of whom were Viet Nam vets, we could have won there if the country had the political will to do it. We could have won in 1968 if our political leadership had the intestinal fortitude to carry on and not micro-manage the entire war.
From 1960 to 1973, the US Army never lost a major engagement in Viet Nam. We could have won. The Viet Cong ceased to be a viable fighting force after the 1968 Tet Offensive. We kicked there asses all the way to Hanoi.
Now we face the same problem. Too many people forgetting what got us here in the first place.
Remember 9-11? I sure as shit do. Maybe Iraq wasn't directly involved, but we sure as shit let the whole fucking world know we weren't going to fuck around any more. Remember Beirut? How about a whole bunch of other places we were attacked and we stood by and did nothing?
that's the whole crux of it. The terrorists and everyone else in the world thought we were just a paper tiger. We'd never do anything if we were attacked.
They thought wrong, and for a change we weren't hiding and for that I applaud my Commander in Chief.
We stopped, after years of being ones, pussies.
But one thing is certain. Those soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are all my Brothers and Sisters in Arms. They willfully serve where our leaders sent them. There's no draft. They're all volunteers. We owe it to them, every last one of them, not to turn our backs and pull out before they've finished.
Not to mention the Iraqis who want us there. They need us until things are stable.
We cannot fail them. Not any of them.
We have to let them finish. Because if we don't and Iraq becomes another dictatorship yet again, every last one of those brave young soldiers will have died in vain.
There's so many different worlds
So many differentents suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones
I know we all can't be the same. We all can't think alike. That's what makes our country different from everyone else.
We HAVE to finish in Iraq. We have to go in for the long-haul. I for one hope to never see it again, but I'd go in a New York minute to fight beside by brothers and sisters there.
Not for some altruistic desire to spread democracy in the Middle East, but so that those who've already paid the ultimate sacrifice won't have died in vain.
And if we pull out now, they will have.
Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms
In four days we celebrate our independence.
Let us not forget the independence of the Iraqis either.
And let us not EVER forget those who have already given there lives, and not let them have died in vain.
I cannot ever desert my brothers in arms.
Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Lyrics Copyright 1985 Mark Knoffler