There was a very bad movie, in my opinion, in the 1960s called Catch 22. It depicted Army Air Corps pilots stationed in the Mediterranean theater of operation during WWII. The pilots were crazy if they continued to fly, but couldn’t go to the doctor and tell them they were crazy.
The military for the past 100 years has been in a catch 22 and a “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” situation. Here is the catch 22:
If you occupy it, you will be in a quagmire with no honorable way out(Iraqi, Afghanistan, Vietnam)
If you pull out without total victory, you leave a job undone and will have to come back again and fixed it later (WWI, Desert Storm)
If you stay, you will never leave (Germany, Korea)
If you don’t do anything, you get condemned (Rwanda)
If these are the results, the question must be asked, “Why are/were we there? There is no answer for some and they are content to describe our involvements with condemnation, loathing, and disgust of our great nation.
For others that answer is quite easy to answer pointing to excellent reasons why we fight.
In WWI, Europe had been fighting for 4 years with no end in sight and millions had been killed. German submarines had been sinking our merchant vessels and had become extremely hostile to our nation.
In WWII we were “viciously and brutally attacked” by Japan and harassed again by Germany.
In Korea we were asked to help repeal the invading North Koreans.
In Vietnam we were again asked to help repeal an invading force, North Vietnam.
In Panama we expelled a dictator who ran drugs and was hostile to neighbors and to us.
In Desert Storm we were asked by the Saudi Arabian government to protect them and asked to repeal the Iraqi military from Kuwait.
In Kosovo we expelled a ruthless dictator who committed genocide against a minority people living in his country.
In Afghanistan we rooted out the terrorist group that killed over 2,000 Americans on 911 and expelled the government that had allowed them free reign in their country.
In Iraq we expelled another ruthless dictator who threatened his neighbors with annihilation, gassed and murder members of minority groups living in his country, had torture chambers used to inflict punishment on political enemies, had terrorists training camps, mobile gas laboratories, and violated the Desert Storm cease-fire.
As I look back on the reasons we got into conflicts, most people would believe them to have been noble, just and worthwhile endeavors. We believe in freedom for all, men, women, black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim - ALL People; we believe that no one should be enslaved, abused physically and emotionally, or forced to give up their religion. Dictatorships, Fascism, Communism, and brutal religious zealots have no place in the true “American Way”.
What about those catch – 22s? When we take our eyes off the true American way, we lose our focus, we lose our will, and we lose our remembrance of the past. We loose sight of the principles of freedom and liberty for all and replace it for political agendas and the “have it now” mind set. What will the future bring? How many more noble, just, and worthwhile causes will we send our military men and women into? How many more catch -22s await our finest and bravest? Only God knows. May He save us and the American way.