When I saw the picture on the front page of the New York Times last Sunday morning,
tears welled up in my eyes, and in fact, rolled shamelessly down my cheeks. There was Sgt. Brian Keith, also crying shamelessly, as his wife, Sara held him close... as he held their 6-month-old son, Stephen, for the last time in God knows when...MAYBE FOREVER.
Yes, there were tears all around, but there was a big difference between theirs and mine. My tears were from afar.
Sgt. Keith's tears and Sara's tears were and are, up close and personal. You see, Sgt. Keith is leaving SARA and STEPHEN to go put himself in harm's way...to fight, and maybe die for total strangers like me...and for my "kids", Josh and Kristin and my granddaughters, Parker and Campbell and millions of other moms, dads, grandkids, granddads and grandmothers who he will never meet face to face.
Many of those people have either lost the will to continue the fight in Afghanistan or were against it in the first place.
And now along comes the OBAMA/McCHRYSTAL "TANGO" to crowd it's way onto the bloody dance floor that is AFGHANISTAN.
I understand and respect the "Chain of Command" but a community organizer, "THE ANNOINTED ONE" (thanks, Sean Hannity) dressing down, THEN FIRING A 4-STAR GENERAL? I KNOW. I KNOW. IT IS WITHIN HIS EXECUTIVE POWER TO DO IT...BUT...LARRY, GET OVER IT.
I am not a military strategist. In fact, I probably know just enough to be dangerous... But not nearly as dangerous as this, already dangerous world, will become, overnight, if the Taliban in Afghanistan is allowed to move into neighboring Pakistan and join up with it's "Brothers in Terror", and then take control of Pakistan and it's nuclear arsenal....
Dangerous is not the right word. How about... EXPLOSIVE!! INCENDIARY!!
I don't think my new friend, Ben Stein is a military strategist either, but he has a way of making simple and understandable, things that seem complex and downright baffling.
He did just that three weeks ago at the TAPS convention in D. C. (For more, visit www.TAPS.ORG... TAKE A LOOK AT TAPS.THEY PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO THE KIDS WHO HAVE LOST PARENTS IN THE WAR...TALK ABOUT TEARS) Ben said, and I quote:
"There are about 304 million Americans. There are about 7 billion people in the rest of the world, and a lot of them hate freedom and the people who love freedom and that means us... Americans!!
There are about 1.5 million people in the U. S. military and they are the only "THING" standing between us and MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO HATE US BECAUSE WE LOVE FREEDOM AND BECAUSE WE DONT BELIEVE, DRESS, SPEAK, or PRAY THE SAME WAY THEY DO."
WELL SAID, NEW FRIEND BEN.
So, I say to you well-intentioned people with your heads in the clouds or worse places, GET REAL. LOOK AROUND. WE AREN’T IN KANSAS ANYMORE!! AND SO AREN'T THE BAD GUYS... PROBABLY.
SO I SAY AGAIN, WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF HEROES, BECAUSE WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF ENEMIES.
There will always be SGT. KEITHs and SARAs and STEPHENs. There will always be tearful farewells. There will always be folded flags and flag-draped caskets and 21 gun salutes and..."THE LITTLE ONES LEFT BEHIND," orphaned by wars thousands of miles away.
Because Americans will always love and champion FREEDOM and the BAD GUYS will always be somewhere in the mountains, or in the desert or in a high-jacked airplane or in the little ordinary looking little red brick house down the street ...or serving, sometimes with our own troops (see FT. HOOD).
So, America, stop kidding yourself with HOLLYWOOD bumper-sticker B.S. and specious proclamations about how we can "all live in peace if we just accept people as they are and not be judgmental."
It is time to "PUT AWAY CHILDISH THINGS". IT IS TIME TO PUT THE GROWN-UPS BACK IN THE GAME.
AND ABOVE ALL, IT IS TIME TO EARNESTLY PRAY FOR SGT. KEITH, and SARA, AND STEPHEN AND THE HEROES WHO STAND BETWEEN YOU AND THE HATERS OF FREEDOM, THE HATERS OF AMERICA and UNFORTUNATELY, THE HERO MAKERS.
Larry Gatlin is a country music singer and commentator. Look for his next appearance as a guest on David Asman's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" on the Fox Business Network on Wednesday, June 30.
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Larry Gatlin is a country music singer and songwriter.