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Turning Enemies Into Allies 07/13/2006

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

Japanese PM Koizumi imitating Elvis Presley.

President Bush spent the day with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the last sixty years, Germany has gone from an evil dictatorship to free democracy. The United States sacrificed treasure and tears to eradicate the Nazis, rebuild the nation, and establish peace across the Atlantic.

President Bush recently welcomed the leader of another former enemy with the visit of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Japan's freely elected ruler is a fan of Elvis Presley, so the two world leaders toured Graceland together. To many of our parents and grandparents, this sight would have seemed impossible after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, dragging the United States into a world war that cost our nation hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Japanese were fanatical, fighting to the death across the Pacific. Their kamikaze pilots, submarines and soldiers struck fear in the hearts of people worldwide. With a cultic zeal that surpassed the Nazis, the Japanese mercilessly swept across the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Their victories, though minor, foolishly emboldened them to attack the United States. Even after America destroyed the city of Hiroshima with an atomic bomb, they refused to end their declaration of war. It wasn't until the second city of Nagasaki disappeared in another fiery explosion that Emperor Hirohito surrendered. Peace followed and the United States helped reconstruct the island nation as a prosperous and free society.

Half a century later, we face an enemy even more terrible. Several years of small victories, including the bombing of embassies in Kenya and an attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, emboldened radical Muslims to engage in a massive assault on the United States. More lives were lost on September 11, 2001, than on December 7, 1941, primarily due to the fact that Japan targeted soldiers and our military infrastructure while al-Qaeda targeted innocent civilians and our financial center. In the last world war, President Truman understood that war was something to be won; that the struggle for survival would be determined by who surrendered first. Yet he also understood that people yearn for freedom -- even those suffering under an aggressive, tyrannical regime. As President Bush recently said in a speech, "Liberty has the capacity to change an enemy into a friend."

In our current worldwide struggle against radical Islam, we face the same kind of suicidal fanaticism found in Imperial Japan. The only way to win this war is to completely defeat those who attack us and extend a hand of hope to those people who desire freedom.

Freedom doesn't come free. It's bought at a high price. But the alternative costs much more. That is why we must not back down from the war in the Middle East. We have committed ourselves to fighting; we must stay committed to victory. Those who want to retreat before the mission is accomplished put our children and grandchildren at greater risk than our sons and daughters currently at war. Had we not dropped a second bomb on Japan, as difficult as it was, the first bomb would have only enraged our enemies. If we do not eradicate radical Islam, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan will only motivate those who continue to murder and maim civilians and soldiers on a daily basis.

Israel faces the same grave issues and current events reveal the unrest that can prevail here if we don't prevail there. This is the goal of our enemy. We must be committed to our goal: protecting and sharing freedom's blessing.

We are laying the foundation for peace and democracy in the Middle East, but we cannot back down. We cannot lose our nerve at the eleventh hour. If we complete the task, then a future president may entertain the descendant leaders of our enemies at Elvis' home.

Author: James Robison               Randy Robison

Word Count: 628

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 Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.