An American airman on a "peace mission" near the horn of Africa.
Regardless of individual opinion of the war in Iraq or the politicians involved, it is imperative that all of us express our appreciation to every soldier serving around the world, as well as their families here at home. The sacrifices they make are the greatest that can be made. They are giving everything for that precious and noble idea that allows all of us to enjoy the life we live: freedom.
It has been said, "No one has greater love than to give up his own life for his friends." When a member of the armed services dies in action, he or she is doing so for his or her country -- not a mere mass of land, but the friends and family who inhabit it. This love and sacrifice must be honored at every occasion.
Ironically, many of our military and civilian personnel are injured or killed while assisting those who have, or still do, consider themselves our enemies. In an attempt to offer the possibility of peace, privilege and prosperity previously unknown to the vast majority of those in the Middle East, our people are maimed and murdered simply because they believe that the most basic human rights should apply to the men, women and children of Afghanistan and Iraq.
This has been the mandate of America and most western governments over the past century every time military force has been applied. Murderous tyrants and dictators are removed so that the people may receive the gift of self-determination. It’s a gift beyond measure.
The Bible tells of a God who allowed his own son to be sacrificed so that people would have the opportunity to experience spiritual freedom -- even those who killed him. Now the sons and daughters of free nations are willingly giving their lives so that people may experience social and political freedom -- even those who seek to kill them. Certainly there is no more noble cause than this.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair outlined a large part of his foreign policy in a speech on March 21. In it, he exposed the ignorance that plagues too many citizens of free countries, leading to a distorted view of the American and British position in the Middle East.
"The easiest line for any politician seeking office in the West today is to attack American policy," Blair pointed out. "A couple of weeks ago as I was addressing young Slovak students. One got up, denouncing U.S./U.K. policy in Iraq, fully bought in to the demonization of the U.S., utterly oblivious to the fact that without the U.S. and the liberation of his country, he would have been unable to ask such a question, let alone get an answer to it."
Blair eloquently defended his belief in the intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps even laying the ideological groundwork for eventual involvement in Iran.
"What happens in Iraq or Afghanistan today is not just crucial for the people in those countries or even in those regions; but for our security here and round the world….It is an entirely noble [cause,] to help people in need of our help in pursuit of liberty; and a self-interested one, since in their salvation lies our own security."
Despite the cries of "failure" on the part of some, the actual results on the ground speak for themselves. While a small minority of insurgents continues to disrupt the peacekeeping and rebuilding efforts, the vast majority of liberated people revel in their newfound freedom.
"Given the chance, the people wanted democracy," Blair said. "So they voted on religious or regional lines. That's not surprising, given the history. But there's not much doubt what all the main parties in both countries would prefer and it is neither theocratic nor secular dictatorship. The people -- despite violence, intimidation, inexperience and often logistical nightmares -- voted. Not a few. But in numbers large enough to shame many western democracies. They want government decided by the people.
And in America, I might add, the media and opportunistic politicians. We must rise above partisan positioning and support our troops, instead of encouraging those who seek to kill them. I believe that almost every soldier and their families understand that America is showing great love for the people of the Middle East. We must acknowledge their sacrifices, from the painful separation that spouses and children endure to the literal sacrifice that too many suffer on the ground. We must lift them up with public support and private prayer.
"And who is trying to stop them? In Iraq, a mixture of foreign Jihadists, former Saddamists and rejectionist insurgents. In Afghanistan, a combination of drug barons, Taliban and al-Qaeda."
Prime Minister Blair related a personal story that conveys the urgent need for this attitude.
"Shortly after Saddam fell, I met in London a woman who, after years of exile…returned to Iraq to participate in modern politics there. A couple of months later, she was assassinated -- one of the first to be so. I cannot tell what she would say now. But I do know it would not be, "give up." She would not want her sacrifice for her beliefs to be in vain."
Nobody, especially the loved ones of those killed in the fight for freedom, wants such sacrifice to be in vain. This is why we must support our troops. The ultimate outcome is largely in our hands. If we will stand with those who have fallen, then freedom’s mission will be accomplished and millions of people will finally have the choice to determine their own future.
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 929
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE
Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host
of the television program, Life
Today; and author of The
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for
complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.