The Keepers of the Peace
By: Guest Authors
By: David Bozeman
With all due respect to our commander-in-chief, mindful of the enormous burdens he carries, the American soldier has done far more to establish world peace than Nobel Prize winner Barack Obama. Our military men and women don’t need the validation of some intellectually esoteric committee in Scandinavia — the love and support of their fellow country men will do nicely. But neither should formal recognition of their service be confined to cursory holidays and observances.
When American forces were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq, when the toughest decisions were made to fight Islamic terrorism, Barack Obama was safely serving in the Illinois Senate, his wife and daughters by his side. In fact, his family and an adoring press corps seldom left him alone in the deadliest years between 9/11 and his 2008 election. Nothing here is meant to advance the ‘chickenhawk’ argument used by liberals against members of the Bush Administration who never faced enemy combat. President Obama was duly elected and patriotic Americans will not undermine his Constitutional authority to pursue his foreign policy agenda.
But in terms of tangible accomplishments thus far, it is the American military that has secured a semblance of order in Iraq. Remember Iraq? We were told for roughly half a decade that it was a lost cause, a quagmire, Vietnam redux, etc. etc. Though lasting victory is still not secure, Iraq has somehow faded from the headlines.
Policy and leadership certainly determine world peace. Still, our soldiers, from surge leader David Petraeus on down, volunteered to spend months in the most hostile, godforsaken corners of the world, in 100-plus degree heat, away from loved ones, fighting not always an army but a deadly strain of fanaticism. Despite plummeting favor at home and abroad for their mission, their morale showed no sign of weakening. With nary a complaint, all they ask is that we honor their fallen comrades.
Because of our military might, in only the second presidential election after 9/11, national security ranked as a secondary issue, allowing ‘hope’ and ‘change’ to dominate as themes in 2008. Again, leaders set the policy and our soldiers carry it out, but Obama’s earnest but fumbling attempts at world statesmanship pale beside their magnificent service. The Nobel Committee was dazzled by Obama’s desire for world cooperation, but it is the fear of terrorists for our military, not unrequited pleas for international harmony that have staved off the once considered inevitable follow-up to 9/11. The American soldier is worth not just a peace prize; in fact, their valor should be standard against which all future candidates are measured. Thank our military, Mr. President. That will be your first step to earning an honor that was bestowed — and I’m being as kind as possible here — prematurely.