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Austin Bay
Austin Bay
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In Praise of American Persistence

Comment

Osama Bin Laden's death is the result of American persistence and American military professionalism.

For at least a century, America's enemies and their propagandists have portrayed the United States as lacking the will to engage in an extended struggle. The roots of this myth actually extend into the 18th century, but with the 20th century and the global proof of America's economic, political and cultural success, the accusations of spinelessness and fecklessness became more elaborate and insistent.

America can be blamed for giving its critics a basis for their argument. On a daily basis, an open society with freedom of expression offers domestic and international observers diverse, multifarious and totally contradictory images. The libertine and decadent are real enough. Jazz Age drunks in speakeasies morph to '50s beatniks, '60s hippies, then '90s dot-com zillionaires on skateboards.

If your current vision of America is shaped by TV programs like "The View" or "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," it would be reasonable to conclude that America is an utterly decayed nation of sexually frustrated gossips and sado-maschists — in other words, an easy enemy that will cower and capitulate.

However, if your vision of America is shaped by the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, the building of the Panama Canal, the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Battle of Okinawa, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program, the Internet and similar endeavors, a nation of genius, courage and persistence emerges — a nation to emulate, not injure and anger.

An interpretation of Vietnam informed Saddam Hussein's February 1990 speech in Amman, Jordan, in which he sketched his vision of recent history. After World War II, France and Britain "declined." Two superpowers arose, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. Suddenly, the Cold War ended. Saddam then proceeded with a rambling proposition that America was "fatigued" and would fade, but "throughout the next five years," the U.S. would be unrestricted.

He implied defeating the U.S. entailed exploiting the scar of Vietnam and threatening massive U.S.

casualties. "Fatigue" and domestic self-recrimination would stall U.S. power.

Saddam miscalculated. America responded to his invasion of Kuwait with Desert Storm. Bin Laden's America as a "weak horse" metaphor echoed Saddam. Bin Laden focused on America's hasty withdrawal from Somalia after the Blackhawk Down fiasco.

Both men ignored the more telling lesson of Nov. 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall cracked. From 1947 until 1989 — despite the inconclusiveness of the Korean War, despite the existence of Cuba as a Soviet satellite 90 miles from Florida, despite draft dodgers and Weathermen terrorists, despite the American retreat from Vietnam, despite the Watts riots of 1964, despite Watergate, despite the humiliating 1979 occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran — the U.S. successfully contained and defeated the U.S.S.R. in the Cold War's long and tedious struggle.

That took extraordinary persistence. It took resilient, adaptable, creative and able American military and security services. Most of all, it took the basic, consistent support of the American people, the ones who go to work, pay the bills, wear the police and military uniforms, and, to paraphrase John Kennedy, will "bear any burden ... to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

As the Cold War ended, another twilight struggle began, one America didn't notice and didn't want. Al-Qaida attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. Al-Qaida operatives attacked U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. The attack on the USS Cole was an al-Qaida operation.

America, however, did not ignore the horror of 9-11. Another long struggle for the terms of modernity had begun, one that would pit multifarious America and its radical experiment in liberty against murderous religious fanatics whose vision of the future linked 21st century technologies with 12th century feudalism, 20th century dictatorships and tribal misogyny.

The religious fanatics bet on their will to win, their will to persist.

The U.S. special operations team that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was the tip of a very long spear made of intelligence agencies, military services and police departments. It is a spear wielded by the American people.

The bottom line to bin Laden's death is this: Don't attack America. The line above the bottom line? Don't underestimate America.

Ever.

To find out more about Austin Bay, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
Ever since my days in Vietnam, I have been asking myself; “What the heck happened to this country?”


Politicians abuse their authority and “We the People” did nothing. Every standard was lowered so the “touchy-hutchie and feel good” Liberals could feel good. And after almost 60 years; what have we to show for all this liberalism?


A country losing its liberty and freedom; and a standard of living in decline; a debt we can never repay and under current administration policies only gets bigger.


Every Generation…Must make the necessary sacrifices for the next. Embedded in the American DNA is a powerful force…FREEDOM and self-determination; and when threatened will push back and right itself. Currently our DNA is being threatened by internal and external forces.


Internal…by a far-left minority that has gained a temporary upper-hand, mainly due to the election of Obama. Un-checked this progressive liberal/socialist ideology would eventually destroy the American DNA. This ideology is nothing new and has always failed and will fail again. However, the scars left by its failures will take generations to heal. In the meantime, these scars will be a continuous reminder that will prevent its reoccurrence.


External…by those, adhering to a flawed interpretation of a Religion, which says that all non-believers must die. Not only must they die, but their civilization must be eliminated from the face of the earth. They have declared WAR upon all non-believers. In WAR, people (those good and bad) die. This WAR is not a policing action; where the “rule of law” is adhered too; nor is it governed by “rules of war”. This is a WAR the likes of the “Crusades”; for self-preservation and our enemies have no rules, except “all non-believer must die and their civilization destroyed”. For America and the Western World to survive they must fight this WAR like no other. It will be long, painful, and difficult, but eventually FREEDOM will prevail.


Can America Survive? You can bet she will and come out of this stronger and more determined than ever!


Comment: #1
Posted by: Neal from PA
Tue May 10, 2011 9:09 AM
Ever since my days in Vietnam, I have been asking myself; “What the heck happened to this country?”


Politicians abuse their authority and “We the People” did nothing. Every standard was lowered so the “touchy-hutchie and feel good” Liberals could feel good. And after almost 60 years; what have we to show for all this liberalism?


A country losing its liberty and freedom; and a standard of living in decline; a debt we can never repay and under current administration policies only gets bigger.


Every Generation…Must make the necessary sacrifices for the next. Embedded in the American DNA is a powerful force…FREEDOM and self-determination; and when threatened will push back and right itself. Currently our DNA is being threatened by internal and external forces.


Internal…by a far-left minority that has gained a temporary upper-hand, mainly due to the election of Obama. Un-checked this progressive liberal/socialist ideology would eventually destroy the American DNA. This ideology is nothing new and has always failed and will fail again. However, the scars left by its failures will take generations to heal. In the meantime, these scars will be a continuous reminder that will prevent its reoccurrence.


External…by those, adhering to a flawed interpretation of a Religion, which says that all non-believers must die. Not only must they die, but their civilization must be eliminated from the face of the earth. They have declared WAR upon all non-believers. In WAR, people (those good and bad) die. This WAR is not a policing action; where the “rule of law” is adhered too; nor is it governed by “rules of war”. This is a WAR the likes of the “Crusades”; for self-preservation and our enemies have no rules, except “all non-believer must die and their civilization destroyed”. For America and the Western World to survive they must fight this WAR like no other. It will be long, painful, and difficult, but eventually FREEDOM will prevail.


Can America Survive? You can bet she will and come out of this stronger and more determined than ever!


Comment: #2
Posted by: Neal from PA
Tue May 10, 2011 9:09 AM
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