Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Memorial Day

I watched the ceremony and the speeches at Arlington National Ceremony. General Pace, Chair of the Joint Chiefs, spoke with sobriety and realism about the soldier's life. He commented that all soldiers feel real human fear in situations of danger. He also discussed another kind of fear that influences our forces: the fear of dishonoring the ethos to which he and his fellow soldiers and sailors have committed themselves.

The choir sang "The Mansions of the Lord"--a hymn of incredible power.

The Commander in Chief spoke of being "in the presence of greatness," in the place "where valor sleeps." He urged honor for those "who saw a dark shadow on the horizon and went to meet it." Shades of Lord of the Rings, but the right sentiment, I think. And, it's objective. The world does face the dark shadow of the terrorist fanatics, not because they are Islamists, as they happen to be today, but because the 20th century loosed a dishonorable hatred of life, peace and freedom into the world in the form of militant ideologies. These perverse warriors may well take on other guises when "Islamism" either runs its course or is defeated. As the President promised a long time ago, the war on terrorism will be a long one. We fool ourselves to think that it's only about Islam and Jihad and to focus support or anger about the conduct of this conflict simply on that.

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