President Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. While still disputed by Liberals and Communist sympathizers (more on them later), this fact is increasingly accepted by the American people and much of the Western World. I mention this at the start of this article, because while he was President, this conclusion was far from acknowledged. I remember the taunts that he sent troops to Grenada, because he could not win in Lebanon. I remember the claim that Reagan’s tax cuts would cost the country’s economy in the long run, or that Star Wars would provoke the Soviets into World War 3. Although anyone with a working knowledge of history understood that Stalin’s acquisition of Eastern Europe was Act One of WW3; the ‘Cold War’ moniker cloaked the true nature of the conflict for many people.
Which brings me to the media. Flush from the propaganda victory which helped bring down South Vietnam, CBS led the way for the offensive against Reagan’s defense of the United States. National Security became mocked as somehow an excess of government action or attention, and traditional values like Family and the expectation of Civility by public officials were targeted for ridicule and assault, as if the majority’s interests were Unconstitutional. Indeed, the media assisted a number of lawsuits which claimed just that; only the fringe hold rights.
The Cold War therefore was a war with many fronts, some of them immediate and local, and the costs both real and personal for every American. The nation changed, sometimes for the better but not always, as it wrestled with the ideological enemy which began in Moscow, but which found allies even in American colleges. By 1980 Reagan faced a dire condition and a resolute enemy, yet when he left office the enemy was in full retreat. Reagan changed the world, and we all owe him a great debt and gratitude.
Yet there were other heroes of the Cold War, even among our Presidents. Because of his success as President, some people have wondered what if we had found a man like Reagan long before. What if a Reagan had been elected instead of Eisenhower in 1952, for instance. Yet even Reagan had his setbacks and defeats, and we cannot know that he would not have done, in Eisenhower’s place, exactly as Ike did. The conditions each President faces are indeed unique, and we do well to consider what options were truly open to them. And with that in mind, I again turn to the first hero of the Gold War, Harry Truman. I say here, quite plainly, that there were aspects to Truman’s Administration which I do not like at all, not least his partisan politics. Truman was a bitter enemy to most Republicans, and never made an effort to cooperate with the other party. Yet in the context of the Cold War, Truman has earned high marks from historians and people who understood the world he faced. Truman recognized, almost before anyone else, the ambition of Stalin and the Soviets, and he spared no effort or expense to protect the United States and the Western World from Global Communism. For his efforts, Truman was roundly criticized, even by his own party, and he did not run for re-election in 1952 in part because his own people deserted him. Yet Truman has been vindicated where the Cold War is concerned; he correctly measured the threat, and set up the defenses which made all the future efforts, including Reagan’s victory, possible. The Cold War was never a one man show, and part of what makes Truman great, is that he understood that he would never receive his due credit for the initial defense, yet he took on the challenge without shirking.
We see now another long war, and the man who first called us to defense also warned us that the fight would be long and difficult, enjoying victories but also suffering defeats, and sometimes those defeats would come from lowering our guard or from officials who take the easy road instead of meeting the call of duty. That President was falsely maligned for celebrating the success of one mission in the first campaign, his enemies pretending he was announcing the final victory prematurely. In so doing, these enemies gave aid and comfort to the very forces seeking the destruction of the West, as they showed the beginning of the relentless and often witless campaign to divide the American government against itself, a collection of Quislings willing to deny their own nation if it seemed they could personally profit by it. Major newspapers have deliberately and repeatedly revealed secrets which weakened the effort of our troops and the men who guard our nation. Major politicians have promised “support for the troops”, only to public second-guess every strategy and tactic employed in the war when it became opportunistic for them to do so. Political rivals have purposefully blurred the priorities of the nation in order to recruit voters to their personal crew on a theme of “Blame Bush”. And so just a few years after the swift destruction of Saddam’s regime and the initial work to begin a new chapter in Middle East governance, where the people freely elect their representatives under a Constitution which protects rights and advances individual freedoms as a template for a brighter future, we see groups and demagogues tearing apart that promise in order to feed their own empires of greed and pride.
This has always been so. Not every man is willing to fight when needed by his country, and not every man who enjoys the freedoms and blessings of America is willing to support the ideals which brought those very freedoms about. Freedom is too much for some individuals, we are told. Once it was the country rube who supposedly could not understand the depth of a democratic republic, then we were told the black man could not be trusted with freedom. Then we were assured that women could not be trusted with the vote, or that minorities would ruin this nation if given equal standing with white men. Oddly, it is still the party which claims to represent the poor man, and the minority, which does the most to deprive them of equal position with the privileged men of old, just as historically that party did the most to prevent those rights in the first place. But there have always been such men. By the grace of God, however, America has also always been blessed with people who were willing to do whatever was necessary to advance Justice, Freedom, secure the lasting Peace, and to act in true Honor, even at terrible personal cost. By God’s grace such a man still serves as our President.
It is our misfortune that after so long a war to defeat Communism, we are faced with yet another implacable enemy. It is hardly chance, however. Jackals have long been known to watch two powerful opponents fight, in hopes of picking off the survivor. And there are still many shards of the old Communist ideology still about, lusting to destroy the power which shattered Communism’s hope for world dominance, and those men who most resemble the Champion who won that fight. It is, to my mind, a false assumption on the part of the Islamofascists that they defeated the Soviet Union, or that they can win the long war against the West. It is, however, also clear beyond doubting that they are willing to murder a billion people or more in hopes of that goal. Before this war is finished, Islam must utterly divest itself of the violence of Fascism, or else it must suffer the devastation its feral rogues hope to unleash on the world as a whole. This has been done before, of course. Germany was purged of Fascism, as were Italy and Japan, but each at a terrible cost. And though the world was spared the nuclear holocaust of a Soviet immolation, the cost in lives, pain, and loss was still very large for so many years.
Tonight President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address. It will sadly be necessary for the President to remind the nation that we are still at war. It is even more sad, that many will fail to accept that this war is necessary, indeed inevitable, that the United States is the defender of the Western World, or that the actions taken in Iraq since 2003 have been right and effective. Instead of considering the President’s message thoughtfully, the opponents of the President will instead deliver a rhetorical knee-jerk response which ignores Reality, assists the enemies of America, and dismays the public who trust the government to speak plainly to them about what is going on. The media will do what it does best and most commonly; praise themselves as the true “experts”, and lie about President Bush in order to create a conflict about which they can report. And in so doing they will make the war longer, harder, and more costly.
In the end, I still believe the United States will prevail. God has blessed this country for a reason, and that reason, indeed God Himself, is unknown to the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, to Sam Brownback and Arlen Specter. It would not be right or fair to claim that God is a Republican, and He certainly is no Democrat. Yet it would be correct to suggest that in this war, He is the sure Defender of America, because of the ideals of America, and those who do His work are His allies.