Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remember the Fallen

Dont know who Roger Ray is, but it seems Mr Regions has got this 100% right, Good Job Marine!.... editor


Not anger, not seeking war - but desire to remember the fallen

In response to Roger Ray's article of last Wednesday, for openers, I question his reference to me as his comrade. Although my enlistment predated that of the Marines who were killed in Beirut in 1983, those men who put their lives on the line and lost them were my comrades. Every Marine who reads this knows what I mean. Roger Ray likely does not. That isn't all that he doesn't get.
His statement that "?he (James Regions) seems to be interpreting his painful memories to indicate that we must do to them what they did to us? until they decide they are not mad at us anymore," is cause for concern. Anyone who believes that this is only about someone deciding they are "not mad anymore" does not understand the mind-set of the Islamic terrorists.

He then makes the statement, "But the more important point for me, the one which I would love for James Regions to realize, is that 24 years after that lone bomber killed 220 Americans, he is still hurting, mourning and angry about it. And he wants us to be angry, too, angry enough to go to war over it." Puhleeze. Do we really need another amateur, pseudo psychoanalyst?

He is, with that remark, being disturbingly disingenuous — perhaps, deliberately — by creating a straw man out of an article that said nothing about being angry or going to war. He then used that misrepresentation to launch into a litany about the "wrongness" of the war in Iraq, including costs in dollars and lives.

My article was in no way about Iraq. It was about memorializing dedicated Marines and being alert. It was written on the anniversary of the massacre of the Marines in the Beirut barracks, just over a month past the anniversary of the 9/11 massacres, and had three purposes.

It was written, primarily, to honor the memory of those heroic Marines who died serving their country. I wanted others to remember their sacrifice, if only for a few moments, on the anniversary of their deaths and sent the News-Leader pictures of the bombing in hope that they would be printed. They were not.

The second purpose was to remind readers that acts of terrorism such as the Beirut bombing and the 9/11 sites are not likely going to stop. Terrorists will not stop when we leave Iraq. They would not have stopped if we had not invaded Iraq. They will not stop until Israel is annihilated and the Great Satan, the United States, is an Islamic nation.

The third reason for the article was to say that we have a hard time comprehending the depth of their dedication, since our devotion seems to be to watching television programs like dancing with stars and reality shows — which was the opening point of the article.

One of the most important things that we can do is to not forget. To forget and let our guard down is an open invitation to terrorists to strike again. Neither the Beirut bombing nor 9/11 is a drama with a solution to be found within two hours, not counting time for commercials.

The terrorists fear displeasing Allah much more than they fear anything or anyone else. They will, gladly, die for their beliefs. We have a hard time understanding their depth of dedication, hatred and fear, but we can remember it.

Pulitzer Prize-winner and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial page editor Paul Greenberg made these observations in last week's tribute to Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel literature laureate, "?we still have trouble recognizing evil as it gathers, or even when it is upon us. And so our reaction to it keeps veering between astounded panic and familiar laxity."

"The more far-seeing of our leaders have told us that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, but eternal is a long time. We grow tired. We nod off. Maybe if we ignore the threat, it will go away. We miss our isolation and imagine we can return there, retreat behind our oceans and be safe. It is a temptation, and every time we yield to it, we are shocked awake." Greenberg is absolutely right.

Back to the last week's response to "From the Left," to infer from my article that I want war because of hurt and anger is more than insipid isogesis; starting with a belief and finding purportedly supporting documentation. There is none. Perhaps Roger Ray needs to simply state his positions without misusing another writer's article as a pathetically phony pretext.

James Regions lives in Springfield. "From the Right" appears every Tuesday. Coming Wednesday: "From the Left."

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