leaving it at that

Since evil entered the world, people bent on power have acted to take what they want at the expense of others’ happiness, freedom, property and lives. While it’s horrifying, it’s not new. I don’t know if evil has increased or we are just more aware of it, if we just have more access to it seeing it, hearing about it, reporting it, following it. Global communications brings incredible opportunity to learn and explore…and to witness pain and suffering all in real time.

I’m hearing a lot of chatter about the situation in Iraq, how militants have seized key areas using the weapons the Iraqi-trained forces have left behind while being pushed out of a defending position. I’m hearing social media and water cooler discussion rebating the philosophy of whether the US should have wasted our resources, the lives of our citizens, all just to push the pause button on the inevitable – that insurgents would return the moment our forces left Iraq…that it would all be in vain.

I guess what I’m feeling comes down to this – when we question “was it worth it?” we lessen the sacrifices that thousands of our military families have made. As a country, as a military entity, we chose to fight to save innocent people from militants, from terrorists. That hasn’t changed just because evil has raised its ugly head again so soon after our forces came home.

I read an article on the NBC news site today – one in which they interviewed veterans who had fought in Iraq. They posed questions along the lines of “was it worth it?” and “how does this make you feel?” and “should our forces go back to Iraq?” One man’s statement really went where my heart is. iraq-loading-1006

Dan Whisnant is a Marine reservist who served in Fallujah during the fight eight years ago to save and secure that city west of Baghdad. He shared memories of guys he had served with who lost their lives saving and securing people in a land so far away. He wasn’t interested in answering those questions, he simply said, “there’s nothing any of us can do to make those guys come back. But what they did was honorable. What they did at the time definitely saved lives. Their sacrifice and impact should definitely be remembered forever. I try to leave it at that.”

I just have to imagine that if my homeland was under the tyranny of a dictator, or if my family was being picked off one by one and terrorist fighting had come to my front door, I would be praying for heroes to come and save us. Heroes did go to their doors in Iraq. Thousands of men and women from America left their families, their safety and security and freedoms behind, to make sure others were safe and secure and free. The article says that nearly 4,500 of them paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the process. So many more came home permanently wounded both physically and emotionally.

Instead of dissecting and debating past military involvement from the safety of my American home while exercising my freedom to ask questions like “was it worth it”, while I’m far from the violence the Iraqi people are facing each day, I think I’ll just pray that we do what should be done. I’ll be praying that we stand true to our values as a country and as a military force. I will be praying that should we choose to go back to Iraq and step in, we make that decision based on the reasons we went in before – to save and secure lives in the name of freedom.

Part of finding joy in my journey is learning that I can’t wrestle with everything. I CAN spend my energies in prayer. I CAN choose silence when others choose to pick philosophical fights. I CAN support our amazingly talented and dedicated armed forces as they sit waiting to hear whether or not we will step into this arena again. I WILL choose to keep a prayer-full watch on the developments.

And as far as joining in on the debate goes, I’ll join Mr. Whisnant and just “try to leave it at that”.

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