The Iraq War is not spread out. The confining cortex of military involvement is small by comparison and yet, young men and women, patriots not yet 20 years old, have died and continue to die in the effort to preserve America as the democratic leader of the world while allowing us to live with comforts that have become a way of life.
The battle area compared to WWII is diminutive, and while it demands constant attention, our progress, as defined by differing interpretations, cannot be seen in the same light. The two conflicts, supported by all elected representatives during the time of their tenure, share the initial unanimity of American resolve. Today, however, our elected and politically focused congress quarrel with each other as to the degree of support intended, and jockey for position as the anticipated presidential election approaches.
When, in 1941, the news of attack reached Washington, the president led the nation in prayer. When the stunning destruction of the twin towers was in evidence all across the world the president said, "Bring it on."
Some among us would venture the notion that by the end of WWII America had a plan for the orderly resolution of the victor's spoils.
Not patient people
On that basis, some among us would venture the notion that America has no plan of resolution for Iraq, a conflict that surges on the misguided religious tenets of human beings who blow themselves into pieces. They seek to meet their God and receive rewards for murdering Americans and anyone else whose happenstance placed them at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Americans are not patient people. Our history reveals that we are insistent about resolution and control. This is true on the national level of administration and true in any honest evaluation of one's basic premise of attainment.
We want "it" now, whatever "it" is. This conflict makes us nervous. We are edgy and need to blame the lack of progress, after three years, eight months and several days, on somebody. Naturally, the commander-in-chief comes to mind, and that has been going on for months as we observe the bellicose and exaggerated accusations of "political party" assaults.
That, too, is the American way.
World War II ended. It took several years to equate the various identities of the vanquished and to what degree they were allowed to function. America took nothing as "spoils of war."
Iraq, after the same amount of warfare time, has not ended, and that bothers us. As individuals, we disagree with the various aspects of cause and effect in this quagmire, but we will agree that it is a testing time for both our patience and willingness to persevere.
The one common denominator in these two conflicts of equal time is the deaths of those who have left us too early. The willingness to voluntarily offer themselves as the buttress that keeps us from harm, and to die in the process, if necessary, is to remind us that Americans are members of a country that has been blessed by God.
When even one of these patriots is lost we are no longer the same body. We have been dismembered.
Edward Clark is a Danville businessman and community columnist for The Advocate.