I know that my cousin, Jason, is over in Iraq and is miserable. He is tired of being shot at, hearing blasts throughout the day and night, not having power even so much to shower, and being away from his family. I know that I love Jason, and don't want him to be miserable. I know that I want him home, safe and sound. We all miss him.
I know Jessica will be shipping out in January for Iraq. I know that Jeremy went through a similar experience that Jason is going through right now. I understand from their words, their nightmares, the look in their eyes -- I know that war is hell. I do not know it first-hand, and that is why I honor our troops -- current and past -- for everything that they have done, are doing, and will do.
There are many things that George W. Bush's administration have done that I do not agree with. I am very iffy about the war. I certainly didn't want it to begin; and since that war began it seems that it is imposing upon my family and friends and our way of life. I understand the reasons that so many people hate George W. Bush, hate the fact that we are even in Iraq, and are looking for change. I do understand this.
However, I also understand that Saddam Hussein was an evil man. Never mind that there were no WMD's found. It's a shame that we were led to war under false pretenses, although I think that blame goes squarely on the shoulders of intelligence, and not our current president. He, John Kerry, and the rest of Congress and the House received the same intelligence. They all felt that Saddam was a threat. Perhaps he's not linked with Al Queda. But sanctions were not working, and as we have learned from recent reports, he was paying off top officials in France and other parts of the UN in the Oil for Food program.
Maybe Hussein didn't have a direct effect on us, as we were told before entering the war. I do not know. But I do know, and feel, that getting rid of him was essential. Maybe not to Americans, but to the Iraqis. I know they are not all happy right now. There are plenty of insurgents and killings that prove that. But they are being given a chance to avoid more of this.
Take a careful look at those pictures. Think about how you would feel if you were a loved one of one of these men, women, or children who were killed and buried in such a fashion. How would you feel if you had to live your day-to-day life filled with fear? Knowing that you could not "rise up" against the tyrranical leader of your country, without being killed, just as the Kurds, or the Shiites have been? What if, for being Catholic, or Episcopalian, or Mormon, or Jehovah's Witness...or whatever reason...perhaps Jewish, or black, or hispanic, homosexual, liberal, or conservative, mentally challenged or handicapped -- what if you or your loved ones were killed for just being who you are?
This is the reason there is honor in the service of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't matter in the long run whose or what political agendas may have caused us to enter the war. The fact is, despite it all, again, our troops, are there with a purpose.
They are freeing a nation from tyranny. They are spreading freedom. Many are dying for this cause. Not a one of us wants to lose a loved one, but these false ideas that are being spread that our troops are dying in vain is a wrong one.
They are night fighting in vain. They are saviors, each and every last one of them, who answers the call of duty with a sense of honor and purpose. They are putting themselves last, and putting others first.
No, it's not a pretty sight over there. I know I would not want to be there, either. But I recognize the nobility in our soldier's fight. We have been commanded to love one another. To "love thy neighbor as thyself". War may seem, and perhaps even be, hypocritical in this case, but we know that since the dawn of time war has existed. It is Satan's playing field. But this war is not for oil, for power, or for control. We are not seeking to turn Iraq into a US state, as many in the world would like to believe. We are not seeking to usurp the authority of the UN. But few others would answer the call, for their own internal reasons. Those who did such as the USA and England have been dubbed evil. Our president has been compared to Adolph Hitler. The absurdity of that claim boggles my mind. Do people not understand who Saddam Hussein was?
One thing I admire greatly about our president is his steadfastness and yes, his stubborness. He is not doing the "popular" thing. He is hated by many. But he truly believes what he is doing is right. He is not in it for personal gain or power. He may be wrong (only God knows) but he is doing what he believes is right and just. He is trying to protect our nation and the world, but most of all, a reason I feel has not been mentioned nearly enough in the debates and in the press -- he is spreading freedom to the Iraqi people, and doing what he can to send a message to terrorists all over the world, that their evil and tyranny will no longer go unanswered. They won in their messages to Spain and to Russia, and they are trying the same with us. But someone needs to stand up to the evil bullies, even when it's the unpopular thing to do.
Free agency is a God-given right to all of mankind. I truly believe it is our responsibility, as individuals and as nations, to try and help oppressed individuals and nations to discover the beauty that lies in freedom. Captain Moroni did this long ago, and yes, he even had to do it through war. But freedom is a cherished gift that every person deserves. I know that I do not agree with many of the things that are going on domestically, in my own nation, because of that freedom. I think some people take advantage of it and use it for evil purposes. I do believe in legislation. I believe in freedom for all, as long as it doesn't affect the freedom of another. That is why laws exist -- to protect us from each other's bad choices and sometimes even our own bad choices. I know we can't legislate everything. Anarchy and dictatorships are extremes on the opposite ends of the scale, but they both are evil in their own rights. One does not have enough legislation, and one has too much. Keeping a balance of this scale is a delicate matter, and hence the reason this war, our presidential elections, and everything else that is going on is weighing on everyone's minds. But the thing to keep in mind, I believe, when we go and cast our vote, is to try and not be selfish. To not only think about ourselves, or our pocketbooks, or our own little niche in society. We must think of society as a whole -- our nation, and even the world community. Once we are able to transfer our self-centeredness into a more global purpose and sense of unity, only then can we answer the questions we must ask of each candidate and decide who is truly the best for the job. And then we should pray about it.
We are living in challenging times. These times have been foretold by prophets of old. It's not easy, and it's so much easier to slip into a sense of self-centeredness and try to block out everything and everyone that is around us. But this is wrong, and we cannot allow it to happen.
I remember just after 9/11, the solidarity we felt among the American people. I remember how strong the Spirit was for almost 6 months after that horrible day. We were united, with one purpose and one mind, "our hearts knit together in unity", and while solemn and grieving for the great loss on that day, there was a greater peace, a stronger sense of belonging, and a desire to look outside ourselves and to help one another. Where has this solidarity gone? What has happened since then to cause such a great rift among the American people? Why is there so much meanness in politics? Why is the gap between Democrats and Republicans so great?
Because Satan knows where to get us, individually, and as a nation. He knows exactly what he needs to do to allow that evil to fester within. He knows that the opposite of solidarity and unity is what is needed for him to win and for his followers, including the terrorists, to win.
And unfortunately, so far they are winning.