Terrorism: Where is the legacy of the Greatest Generation?

JD Lock, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired)

23 November 2015

 

The United States engaged Germany and Japan (the original suicide jihadists with their banzai and kamikaze tactics) on a global scale and, in doing so, was the first nation in history to successfully fight and win a two front war.  For decades, we stood on a precipice and stared down into the abyss of nuclear war before defeating the Soviet Union, the ‘evil empire,’ in a Cold War.  And, during that time, we created Mankind’s most powerful military.

And now?  We’re a nation of immigrants that sees a threat in all, to include 5 year olds?  A nation of laws that now wishes to circumvent our Constitution while wrapped in the flag to infringe upon the individual rights and freedoms of its citizenry to monitor our actions and communications?

 

How the mighty have fallen.  This once great and powerful nation, fed by a Pied Piper media that ‘leads if it bleeds,’ has become a nation of sheep; a nation whose citizenry now literally cower and quake in fear whenever some ‘po dunk scum bag’ of a jihad terrorist posts a video with an image of NY Times Square or the US Capital in the background and proclaims, “You are next!

 

The journalist and author Tom Brokaw coined the term “The Greatest Generation” to describe the generation who grew up in the United States during the hardships of the Great Depression and then went on to fight and win World War II.  In his book by the same name, Brokaw wrote, "It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced." He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the "right thing to do."

 

The Greatest Generation - ‘they fought!’  The same cannot be said for today’s.  What fighting?  What sacrifice?  Today’s society has bought into an all-volunteer armed forces (except, of course, when ‘stop loss’ is required to keep the force manned) where the selfless few defend, sacrifice and die for the selfish many, fighting wars, manning the ‘ramparts of freedom,’ all while US society continues to bury the future in massive debt, kicking the proverbial can to fund national security down the road for our children and grandchildren to pay.

 

Americans love to quote that “Freedom is not free”…but do we really know what that entails?  Thomas Jefferson, ‘father’ of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, once declared that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  In the 21st Century, such tyrants are jihadists.  One must accept risk in an open, democratic society and, included with that risk, is the potential to shed the blood of patriots…and citizens…from time to time.

 

Terrorism is a TTP…a tactic, technique and procedure.  It is not an enemy; it is not a country but since 9/11, it has won as though it were.  As a society, America needs to take a stand, not a knee.  Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed America to be “the last best hope of earth.”  Our leaders may have failed us but that does not mean that we must give in to the mass hysteria and rampant paranoia fostered by a relative handful of extremists inflamed by a self-aggrandizing media.  To celebrate and embrace what is America is the greatest weapon we have against terror.  To display courage in the face of adversity, laughter in the face of danger.  We are Americans.  We were once a Great Society.  Grow some gonads, America, and become such a society once again.  Let’s show the world why the United States is the ‘last best hope of earth.’