The Price of a Prolonged Campaign

Let the second-guessing begin.

We haven't even announced we're expanding this war beyond Afghanistan, but just the possibility and along comes the hand wringing. Are we overdoing it? Can we still hold the coalition together? Is this another Vietnam? When is enough, enough?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no Patton. But I am a person and one that sees a lot of emptiness for a lot of friends this Thanksgiving.

There's the family of Bill, a broker pal mine, who'll be gathering around a table without Bill carving the turkey. He was very fussy about carving the bird. But he's gone. He perished in 2 World Trade Center.

Or the pregnant wife of another friend of mine, named David, gathering with his extended family this year. But without David or his laugh-out-loud impressions of famous people. You see, David died on September 11 too.

The scene is being repeated at thousands of dinner tables across the country. Families gathering. But not whole. Not intact. Empty. Void. Scary.

That is the face of terrorism, my friends. It sticks with you. It haunts you. And it reminds you, there but by the grace of God could have gone anyone of us.

But no, it was them. Gone now. But I hope not forgotten now.

This campaign against terrorism isn't about vengeance. It's about values. Keeping our families together. By protecting our families throughout. That's what we fight for and hope for and pray for. So that no other family will have to endure the emptiness these families must surely feel this holiday.

So every time someone tells you we're getting in a little too deep, I say, look to David's family or Bill's family or the thousands of other families torn this Thanksgiving.

Some ask, can we afford a prolonged campaign?

I say, can we afford not to?

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