War is truly Hell!

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

By By Lloyd Albritton
Recently a certain Mr. Solomon from Walnut Hill called to correct me on a quotation I allegedly used in an earlier column. Mr. Solomon said that I had attributed the remark, "War is hell," to Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant. He informed me that it was actually General William Tecumseh Sherman who uttered that famous remark during the burning and pillaging of Atlanta. I thanked Mr. Solomon for this interesting historical footnote, but assured him that I had never used it in a previous column either correctly or incorrectly. Now that I am educated on the matter, however, I would indeed like to use it. "War is hell!"
A little over a year ago, just eight months after George W. Bush took office as President, Muslim terrorists hijacked four American passenger planes and crashed them into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing thousands of American citizens The fourth plane attack was aborted, but killed all passengers upon crashing. America was outraged and American flags flew everywhere. With one voice Americans demanded of our government, "DO SOMETHING!"
Afterward, many anti-Bush Americans accused our government of not doing enough to protect American citizens from terrorist attacks, some even suggesting that President Bush knew about the impending attacks in advance, but did nothing to stop them. Not a few pundits hypothesized that George W. Bush's election was itself the reason angered Muslims attacked America. Today, many of these same Americans are protesting that President Bush is over-reacting by his waging of war against Sadaam Hussein. They demand proof, and more proof, that Sadaam is a threat to America or to our allies in that region or that he has anything whatsoever to do with world terrorism. They profess disbelief in the administration's reports that Sadaam is an evil man who has murdered millions of his own people and that he possesses weapons of mass destruction with the intent of eventually using them against his perceived enemies. I have even heard comments that Sadaam Hussein is no more evil than President Bush himself.
Benjamin Franklin once said that the American form of government is the worst form of government on Earth, except for all the others. I do not doubt that our government and our leaders are flawed and that sometimes they deceive us. No government is ever to be entirely trusted. Yet, the checks and balances of our system, made possible by the freedoms guaranteed by our constitution, have always been sufficient to expose government shenanigans and dishonest politicians in due course. In that I trust.
Many of the President's political adversaries suggest that he is a blithering idiot who can't construct a decent sentence, much less corral a collection of the world's most powerful and intelligent men to follow and support him. Yet, like Ronald Reagan, whose intellect was also frequently questioned, Bush seems to be doing precisely that. I struggle to understand how an intellectual midget could impose his will on so many bright stars. It seems to me that his critics can't have it both ways. Is the President an idiot or a leadership genius? We simply can't have it both ways.
Does anyone really believe that George W. Bush is more evil than Sadaam Hussein, or is that just frustrated anger talking? Certainly, if he were orchestrating a war for the sole purpose of getting revenge on Sadaam for his father's sake, that would be a most culpable act. But, does anyone really believe that? I don't. I think such an accusation is about as silly as President Clinton's adversaries accusing him of having Vince Foster murdered. Winston Churchill once pleaded with the world to believe that Adolph Hitler was a threat to world peace and much of the world scoffed at him. They preferred to believe Hitler over Churchill. In the end, Churchill's warnings proved true and he was vindicated and Hitler was exposed to be the psychopathic murderer of millions that he was.
I do not have access to inside government information, and even if I did I don't have the skills to interpret it. Like most other Americans, I have only one decision to make. Do I trust my elected American government to tell the truth and to invoke their powers and responsibilities to protect America, or do I trust foreign governments who are the avowed enemies of America and who openly foment hatred and malice toward America?
To paraphrase the words of Joshua of olden times, "Choose ye this day whom ye will believe . . . , but as for me and my house, we will believe our own President."

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