Win­ning the war

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

I have mixed feel­ings re­gard­ing the prospect of a John McCain pres­i­dency. Con­sid­er­ing his past pol­icy ini­tia­tives, for ex­am­ple, I re­main some­what skep­ti­cal of the ef­fi­cacy of the McCain-Fein­gold cam­paign fi­nance re­form. Nor do I feel com­pletely com­fort­able re­gard­ing Mr. McCain’s po­si­tions on var­i­ous life is­sues. In spite of th­ese mis­giv­ings, how­ever, I feel ab­so­lutely com­pelled to bring at­ten­tion to a speech he de­liv­ered to the cadets at the Vir­ginia Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute on April 11 re­gard­ing the con­flict in Iraq. I would urge all think­ing Amer­i­cans to ob­tain a copy of this speech, avail­able at, and then take the time to care­fully read it. Do not settle for sound bites and news an­a­lysts’ re­ac­tions; read it for your­self.

The mes­sage of­fered by Mr. McCain re­gard­ing the piv­otal na­ture of the Iraqi con­flict is des­per­ately needed and long over­due. It is un­for­tu­nate that our pres­i­dent has been un­able to ex­plain as clearly and con­cisely the im­por­tance of vic­tory in this war. It is even more un­for­tu­nate to wit­ness the dis­grace­ful man­ner in which op­po­nents of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion have be­haved in re­cent weeks. It is en­cour­ag­ing, how­ever, when a leader such as Mr. McCain can rise to the oc­ca­sion and de­liver a sober, an­a­lyt­i­cal mes­sage of re­solve and hope. Mr. McCain’s stand clearly es­tab­lishes him among the as­sem­bly of his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant Amer­i­can lead­ers and makes him wor­thy of vot­ers’ se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion in 2008.

We must put aside, at least tem­po­rar­ily, other po­lit­i­cal is­sues and be­gin to think and act as Amer­i­cans. As Abra­ham Lin­coln once pleaded be­fore Congress, “The oc­ca­sion is piled high with dif­fi­culty, and we must rise — with the oc­ca­sion.” The dif­fi­cul­ties and pit­falls in­her­ent in the con­flict in Iraq, and more broadly in the strug­gle against Is­lam­ofas­cism, are for­mi­da­ble. This is not the first time, how­ever, in our na­tion’s his­tory that we have faced such a trial. The re­solve of this na­tion has been in the past, and can be again, equally for­mi­da­ble. We owe it to past, present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions not to fail in this strug­gle. I be­lieve that we, as mem­bers of this na­tion and of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion, are once again at a cross­roads like the one Mr. Lin­coln faced when he ar­gued, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

In spite of its short­com­ings and hu­man frailty, this na­tion is still the last best hope. This is not so much a dec­la­ra­tion of van­ity, but rather one of re­spon­si­bil­ity. I be­lieve Mr. McCain has clearly rec­og­nized this re­spon­si­bil­ity and I ap­pre­ci­ate his lead­er­ship. Joe Krog­meier Ve­nango, Ne­braska

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