Sunday, March 18, 2007


There is a lot in the news about what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places around the world. And there is a lot of punditry that goes along with the news. I have heard in recent days that "the American people" think this or that. It's almost nauseating. We are at war and "the American people" whether or not they support the war, generally do not, in my experience, really understand what the American Fighting Man and Woman thinks and feels. They do not get it when a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman describe why they do what they do. In short, most people do not understand what it means to be a Warrior. For those that would like to get a glimpse of how a military man thinks, why he fights, and what he fights for, please see '300'. It is more than an action flick. It is a view into the heart and soul of men that fight for a living and a cause. Like the American fighting and dying on the field of glory in today's war, these men are not potters or sculptors or blacksmiths. They are soldiers. They fight. They die. It is not just a vocation, it is a life lived with others in mind. Warriors run to the sound of clinking armor and whizzing bullets while others cower. Warriors struggle with any enemy that would threaten the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breath free. Warriors are free men who battle enslaved pawns. The men and women I see fighting today are that kind of warrior. They live and breathe to do what they do...fight.

And what of the rest of us? Those of us who can not or will not bleed with them? What lesson can "the American people" take away from a movie? That death in the struggle is honorable. No one wants to die. But it happens. It is up to the American people to allow the American Warrior to die with honor. We can and should mourn at the loss of one of our own. But that loss should cause us to stand and beat our chests with patriotic pride, glad to live in a country worth fighting for.

If folks could gain even a cursory understanding of the ethos of the warriors that stand and fight in the gap for the freedom of fellow citizens they will never meet, I think much of our national angst would be replaced with national pride.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this important perspective and for continuing to minister to these brave men and women. Your prayers and heart surround and protect them and comfort their families. You must be such a blessing to these soldiers. Thank you for serving. God bless you and keep you safe.

Maria C.
Cape Cod

Susan said...

When I hear the words, "The American people" on the news, I know right away I'm about to hear something with which I disagree. I am from a family of warriors, for generations. The women wait at home, and mostly we've been lucky in every war that our warriors have returned, more or less whole.

Thank you for being there.

Jim Baxter said...

In league with the stones...

Every September, I recall that is more than half a century (62 years) since I landed at Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division in the original occupation of Japan following World War II. This time every year, I have watched and listened to the light-hearted "peaceniks" and their light-headed symbolism-without-substance of ringing bells, flying pigeons, floating candles, and sonorous chanting and I recall again that "Peace is not a cause - it is an effect."

In July, 1945, my fellow 8th RCT Marines [I was a BARman] and I returned to Saipan following the successful conclusion of the Battle of Okinawa. We were issued new equipment and replacements joined each outfit in preparation for our coming amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan.

B-29 bombing had leveled the major cities of Japan, including Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo.

We were informed we would land three Marine divisions and six Army divisions, perhaps abreast, with large reserves following us in. It was estimated that it would cost half a million casualties to subdue the Japanese homeland.

In August, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but the Japanese government refused to surrender. Three days later a second A-bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese government finally surrendered.

Following the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant..." Indeed, they had. Not surprisingly, the atomic bomb was produced by a free people functioning in a free environment. Not surprisingly because the creative process is a natural human choice-making process and inventiveness occurs most readily where choice-making opportunities abound. America!

Tamper with a giant, indeed! Tyrants, beware: Free men are nature's pit bulls of Liberty! The Japanese learned the hard way what tyrants of any generation should know: Never start a war with a free people - you never know what they may invent!

As a newly assigned member of a U.S. Marine intelligence section, I had a unique opportunity to visit many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo and Hiroshima, within weeks of their destruction. For a full year I observed the beaches, weapons, and troops we would have assaulted had the A-bombs not been dropped. Yes, it would have been very destructive for all, but especially for the people of Japan.

When we landed in Japan, for what came to be the finest and most humane occupation of a defeated enemy in recorded history, it was with great appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise for the atomic bomb team, including the aircrew of the Enola Gay. A half million American homes had been spared the Gold Star flag, including, I'm sure, my own.

Whenever I hear the apologists expressing guilt and shame for A-bombing and ending the war Japan had started (they ignore the cause-effect relation between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki), I have noted that neither the effete critics nor the puff-adder politicians are among us in the assault landing-craft or the stinking rice paddies of their suggested alternative, "conventional" warfare. Stammering reluctance is obvious and continuous, but they do love to pontificate about the Rights that others, and the Bomb, have bought and preserved for them.

The vanities of ignorance and camouflaged cowardice abound as license for the assertion of virtuous "rights" purchased by the blood of others - those others who have borne the burden and physical expense of Rights whining apologists so casually and self-righteously claim.

At best, these fakers manifest a profound and cryptic ignorance of causal relations, myopic perception, and dull I.Q. At worst, there is a word and description in The Constitution defining those who love the enemy more than they love their own countrymen and their own posterity. Every Yankee Doodle Dandy knows what that word is.

In 1945, America was the only nation in the world with the Bomb and it behaved responsibly and respectfully. It remained so until two among us betrayed it to the Kremlin. Still, this American weapon system has been the prime deterrent to earth's latest model world- tyranny: Seventy years of Soviet collectivist definition, coercion, and domination of individual human beings.

The message is this: Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. As earth's choicemaker, it is our human identity on nature's beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man's free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

Free men should not fear the moon-god-crowd oppressor nor choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, "Know ye not that you are in league with the stones of the field?"

Semper Fidelis
Jim Baxter
WW II and Korean War

Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40