Years ago, I hosted a couple of TV specials for a dynamic young singing group, a large chorus put together and sponsored by an international organization called Moral Rearmament.
The concept began in Switzerland, as I remember, and had a wide welcome across several continents and the U.S. Its stated purpose was simply to use the enthusiasm and vigor and fresh-faced appeal and altruism of young people to promote peace . . . and avert war.
I’ll never forget the lines of one of their signature songs, whose chorus began
Freedom isn't free, freedom isn't free
You've got to pay the price, you've got to sacrifice
For your liberty.
Of course, being an anti-war organization, Moral Rearmament’s “sacrifice” was a contribution of time, energy, communication, good deeds, and education that would work against armed international conflict throughout the world. It was such a contagious idea, as these effervescent young boys and girls presented it, that I happily made time to host the two specials.
I don’t know what’s happened to those young people or the Moral Rearmament organization; they just dropped out of sight or faded away, sadly or perhaps inevitably. And I hate to think about the wars, regional and international, that this world has suffered since then. And even more, I hate to admit that there’s a warlike component embedded in the human condition — and we may never be rid of it.
In a recent published interview, talking about the first movie produced by his new United Artists venture, starring himself, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise said “I hate war; my personal opinion is that war never accomplished anything.” I actually do think the world of Tom, and I share his hatred of war itself. But my immediate reaction was the desire to ask him, What about our own Revolutionary War?
There most likely would never have been an America — the country that has blessed us and the rest of the world for 250 years — without it. And what about our own Civil War, bloody and inexcusable as it seems, that kept our States united? And what about World Wars I and II? In both cases, weren’t those wars forced upon us, to rescue all of Europe from Germanic subjugation in World War I, and all the world from a surging evil axis led by the insane regime of Adolph Hitler in World War II?
In any of those cases, should a free and democratic people just have refused to take up arms and allowed itself to be taken over by a crazed dictator? What serious options did a free people have?
A statement by Thomas Jefferson rings in my ears, “From time to time, the soil of liberty must be stained with the blood of martyrs.”
Isn’t that a pitiful but undeniable truth?
Can anybody read much history without having to acknowledge that there have always been small and large segments of humanity driven to impose their will on other segments? And, as admirable and well motivated as “peace movements” surely are, does any overview of human history give us any real hope that one will truly succeed?
I’m an incorrigible optimist, but I’ve finally had to give up on any such idea. I reluctantly have come to the conclusion, along with Thomas Jefferson and the Moral Rearmament kids, that there will always be plots and schemes against free and blessed people, for any number of selfish, jealous, or power-hungry reasons. And the free and the blessed will have to defend themselves and others — with military arms.
Someone forwarded some shocking data to me just recently, which tends to prove my point about freedom being not free, but costly, not just in good deeds, but in blood. And a couple of other points as well. The statistics were compiled by the Congressional Research Service, and can be confirmed by any skeptic at its Web site. Go to www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf for more. What follows is a condensed version of the facts that are known.
As tragic and painful a burden as the fatality numbers in our current Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are, and however much we might hate being there, confronting at least two modern Hitlers and their expressed desire to destroy both the United States and Israel, the fact is that America has suffered military fatalities every year since 1980, numbering from as few as 817 in 1997 to as many as 2,392 in 1980, the last year of President Jimmy (Nobel Peace Prize) Carter! And America suffered over 10,000 fatalities during the Clinton years!
And even more shocking to me is the comparison between our total military fatalities in Iraq (3,500 and counting) and the recorded murders in the United States (14,000) in a single year, an alarming percentage committed by persons in this country illegally.
Doesn’t this tend to prove the apparent reality that there are everywhere destructive elements in our human makeup, and that diplomacy will not likely make the difference between war and peace? And that this may not be a good time to have best-selling books attempting to disprove the very existence of a creator who has endowed all men with constructive attributes too: certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Oh, and this same Congressional Research Service study disproved the media-promoted falsehood, beloved and endlessly repeated by the left, that in our volunteer army the brave young men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq are mostly minorities who “couldn’t get jobs in the land of the free.” Here are the fatalities over the past several years in the battle called Iraqi Freedom, by race:
European descent (white): 74.31 percent
Hispanic: 10 percent
Black: 9.67 percent
Asian: 1.81 percent
Native American: 1.09 percent
Other: 0.33 percent
Sounds like a pretty even-handed distribution, doesn’t it? How do you suppose our “main stream” print and TV media missed this very important data? War is horror, but a sad fact of life.
So is blatant dishonesty.
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