Posted by Peter Lawler
Heres an inspirational story for 9/11--a "professional" conservative who actually volunteered to defend his country. My opinion, all along, is that the president should have asked for more of this kind of real citizenship.
Thats an awesome story.
"And then last summer I read about the Army’s recruiting shortfalls and thought to myself, we’re failing the test. But as soon as those words crossed my mind, I felt convicted. We are not failing the test. I am failing the test. National will is a reflection of millions of individual choices, and the choice I had made to this point was to simply stand aside and lament others’ decisions. But that was no longer enough. And so then, finally, I joined."
National will is a reflection of millions of individual choices...and nothing more! To lament the decisions of others is to forget that they may have more important fish to fry...or they may see it my way...I am failing the test!
His speech on the evening of 9/11 should have begun thus: "Weve had one hell of a day, and the full details we learn over the weeks to come will only add to the grim horror. Im going to need men, young men ready and willing to confront and conquer the enemies of our country, our civilization, our communities, our neighbors and our families. Tonight, its too early to present specifics of my intentions. But your country is going to war, as we went to war in 1776, 1812, 1861, 1917 and 1941. Today the gloves came off, and our enemies are going to start dying, in droves. I formally request the Congress convene tomorrow to declare war against those nations on the State Department list of state sponsors of terror. Additionally, i ask that they consider adding Saudi Arabia to the list of belligerent powers hostile to the United States. Im claiming all power that our previous wartime Presidents enjoyed, and Im telling you, the American people that tonight. Security measures are going to be erected, many of which will be inconvenient and bothersome, but when you might feel the need to complain about them in the future, be mindful of this day, and be mindful how you wished sterner measures were in place to prevent this satanic attack from being carried out. Questions are going to be asked of this American generation, and answers are going to be provided, just as the Greatest Generation provided answers to the demands made upon them. Your country needs prayer, as do the victims of this attack, pray then, pray for the wounded, pray for the orphaned, the widowed, and pray for the strength and light this country will need, as she sets her course to close with the enemy, and utterly vanquish them. For it is evil things we fight, bad faith, blasphemy, supremacism, hypocrisy, mass murder and misogyny. We go forth, armed in the truth, and armed with the resolution for victory, and for nothing short of victory. May God Bless America, and may the Almighty fill us with the power and the firmness needed to fulfill our historic mission." That, or something very near it, should have been the message we heard from the President. We need UNEQUIVOCAL leadership, we need serious statements, not qualified, not ameliorated by addendum that it was only "in his opinion." We need Lincoln, we need Churchill. And we need a DESIRE to close with our enemies and pulverize them. And that means Tehran, and that means Damascus. And afterwards, its time to make the house of Al Saud pay dearly for funding America hatred all across the 4 winds. The house of Al Saud is soaked in the blood of Americans. And that bill needs to be satisfied.
Peter - This is indeed an inspiring story. Harry Truman did roughly the same thing, as you know.
You mention a category of acts of citizenship that the president did not ask for. As I recall, he asked for more volunteerism, he asked for patience, and he asked for confident consumerism. In your view, what else should he asked for?
He should have asked for volunteers for military service. Contrary to Rumsfeld, we could have afforded and really used a big army.
Do you also think he should have managed fiscal policy/the federal budget differently, in light of new and unforeseen circumstances?
Well, he should have made a better (or some) effort to control spending. But the tax cut, especially with its family-friendly features, may have spared us a deep recession and had a lot to do with the Stock Market rebound. I probably would have tried much harder to combine the cuts with closing loopholes that keep too many of rich from paying much at all, and as we talked about at length, I would keep a reformed estate tax (having a low rate and very high exemption but also making it much harder to plan to get around it). Generally, the pres. should have talked and done more make it clear that fiscal discipline matters. So, sure, hes far from being beyond citicism, as your question suggests, and I can even see why certain libertarians yearn for the Clinton years (a smart Dem prez chastened by a motivated Rep Congress) when it comes to fiscal part of domestic policy. Let me repeat, though, that I think Bush did well not to engage in McCain-like posturing about no tax cuts during wartime etc. That the president is too optimistic about the beneficial outcomes of adhering to certain fundamental principles--like taxcuts and aggressively spreading freedom--is obvious, but maybe some optimism is warranted, even now.
All of that and a less party-building approach to the Republican controlled Congress and its complete lack of discipline.
Well, sure. "Complete" might be a slight exaggeration, though.
My brother went too. I would have gone as well, but with a wife and baby my options were limited to "only if they need me". My brother was single, has a Masters Degree in Architecture and enlisted into the Army. He told me that the army needed help and he wanted to go. God bless him, he came home 5 months ago without a scratch... Hes a little leaner, and that commercial with the father and his son that did two things that hed never done before... That was my experience when my brother came home. I almost wept when I saw the commercial the first time. He left my kid brother, and came back someone Id aspire to.
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