John Mark Reynolds- Contributor
Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey
Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy,
at Biola University.
the Good Men
The Courage of Our Regular Troops and the Challenge to the
Rest of Us
[John Mark Reynolds] 9/26/03
During the Clinton administration, it was sensible to wonder
whether the United States could win a war like the Second World
War anymore. Where would we get the heroes of Bataan or Normandy?
My own generation seemed consumed with the quest for personal
peace and affluence. As my grandfathers passed away, there seemed
to be no one to replace them.
It's a truism that some good always comes from even the greatest
evil. The horror of 9/11 taught us that heroic men still exist.
The firemen and policemen of New York who ran the wrong way up
the stairs of the Twin Towers reminded us that the carefully
coiffed talking heads on the television are not the entire nation.
The Catholic schools and public schools of Staten Island may
not have passed muster amongst the chattering classes, but they
still produce men with the old values of duty, patriotism, and
service. Rural West Virginia can still produce a Jessica Lynch.
The foot soldiers still exist in the forgotten corners of the
culture where the infection of the effete elites have not yet
Of course, most who
serve never have a chance to become heroes. Heroes are rare.
The combination of personality and circumstance
that produces them is unusual. At least in modern times, it is
not the hero who wins the wars. It is the regular soldier, airman,
sailor, or marine who makes victory possible. Many of them will
never kill or fire a gun in anger. Often they are found serving
in roles that do not seem very glamorous, like food services
or truck driving, when telling grandchildren what "papaw" did
during the War. It is these men and women of common valor who
provide the substance for the great armies that defeat dictators.
I am lucky to know one of these uncommon common men. He is not
yet twenty-five, but Jon Dyk is home from the War against Terror.
A marine who was classically educated in the Torrey Honors Institute
and who spent a successful semester at Oxford, he went to Iraq
to free a people and defend the nation. He did not have to go,
but his family had taught him the importance of duty in the life
of a patriot. His service in the Marines was a natural result
of such teaching. Jon Dyk was a regular Marine. No one will write
his story in books, but his boots, multiplied by the thousands,
won the Battle of Baghdad.
He placed himself in harm's way and saw first-hand the importance
of what the United States is doing. He saw the lies of much of
the major media who try to turn a great success into failure.
He saw the gratitude of the regular people of Iraq, and their
thirst for liberation. Jon Dyk served like thousands of other
Americans. As they have always done, the regular American soldiers
will accomplish what we ask them to do.
So we know where we will find the regular G.I. Joes who will
fight and die for the nation. They are being trained in traditional
families all over the nation. The problem is in the future leadership
corps if the War is as long as the Cold War.
Where will the future officers and analysts come from in this
long War? Harvard and Yale could be counted on to produce the
officers and brain trust of the first world wars. They can be
counted on NOT to do so in this present war. Of course, some
will serve from these old elites, the current educational equivalent
of France and Germany, but just as many will actively undercut
the war effort. On the home front, the word processors of their
professors will mostly be silent in the War on Terror, if not
usefully idiotic for the other side.
So this war will find few graduates of our elite universities
on the front lines. Fortunately, their day is passing. Free market
alternatives are popping up all over the world. Knowledge is
no longer locked in libraries, but can be googled in a moment.
Schools like Thomas Aquinas College and Biola University here
in California represent some traditional alternatives to the
leftist dominated old elites.
Patriots should begin
to withdraw financial support from schools with a majority
of professors who give aid and comfort to the
enemy. Parents would not have allowed their children to sit under
professors who had a good word to say for Hitler should not waste
their children’s time with professors who cannot grasp
the evils of Sadaam Hussein. A professor may have the right to
be wicked, but one need not pay for it, especially with the minds
of our sons and daughters. Ask questions. Find out what your
tuition money is supporting. Vote with your wallet and support
the professors and schools who understand the value of freedom.
We will likely find the officers and troops for the front lines.
The cities and countryside of California still have traditional
patriots who believe in God and country. The situation is less
clear on the home front. There are probably enough warriors for
the army, but is there still enough courage back home? What of
the home front?
World War II and the Cold War were won because the people the
warriors left behind remained stalwart in the face of difficulty.
Blessedly, the wastrels of Woodstock were outnumbered by the
crew cut millions who supported the cause of liberty. The question
is whether our generation has produced a few brave soldiers willing
to fight and if necessary die for the nation, while the rest
of us are content to waste their sacrifice. The War on Terror
requires few front line soldiers, but does require a determined
and united home front.
If we are not careful, the very might of the nation will lull
us into inaction at home. The sacrifices in the homeland have
not yet had to be so very great. However, just now the president
is calling for more of our treasure and there are inconveniences.
Since war must be prosecuted by the blunt instrument of government,
inefficiency and waste will be the natural result. Can we tolerate
even this small sacrifice? The opinion polls do not look promising
at the moment. Jon Dyk and his fellow marines faced months with
no showers and meals ready to eat for my liberty. I suppose I
can endure long lines at the airport and a few dollars more of
income tax to finish the job he started.
What else can we do? Pray first of all. God answers prayer.
Pray for the President and the armed forces. We prayed for Jon
Dyk everyday he was gone. Second, we must build organizations
to educate the public to the importance of this long War against
Terror. All Americans must be willing to face an economy strapped
by the War without grumbling and complaining. If our grandparents
and great-grandparents could face rationing during World War
II calmly, then a mild recovery must not throw their children
into a panic.
Finally, we must face up to the reality of this conflict. The
battle against radical Islamic terror is the great battle of
our time, as the battle against communism was chief fight of
an earlier generation. Almost every conflict is unimportant compared
to it. Surrender to the forces of 9/11 would be an unmitigated
disaster in many ways worse than defeat to communism. Our political
decisions must be dominated by this question above almost any
other. As a sad result, this means that patriots may be forced
to abandon the Democratic Party. It has become worse than useless
in the War against Terror.
Saying this does not attack the individual patriotism of many
Democrats. There are a few Democrats, like Joseph Lieberman,
who could be trusted with leadership of the War. Hundreds of
Democrats from the cities and rural America are defending their
nation even now in the armed forces. Local Democrats in California
are often patriots.
The national party,
however, is in the grip of the men who would have lost the
Cold War and threaten to lose the War on Terror.
The elite of the California state party may be even worse. To
the common people of the Democratic party, an appeal must be
made, “Do you support a party that would have allowed the
Butcher of Baghdad to continue in power?”
Most of the Democratic
leadership in California are part of the party of Clinton.
They are the face of America that comforts
Bin Laden if he still draws wicked breath. Clinton’s moral
depravity and weakness convinced too many people globally that
our nation is decadent and will not endure a long fight. This
perception of weakness leads to danger and increased terrorism.
The dead enders of
Baghdad are counting on Howard Dean or some Democrat to bring
the boys home. The wicked calculus is plain: “Just
wait America out and the nation that lost in Somalia will quit.” The
more the Party of Clinton represent us to the rest of the world,
the more attractive radical Islam appears. Globally the national
Democrats appear to be the party of Sadaam, Sodomy, and Surrender.
The Democrats lack the global stature to lead.
In California, the governor has signed a law that he has vetoed
numerous times -- that compromises our security, as even he previously
recognized -- just to attract a few votes. No Democrat in the
legislature effectively lobbies for an effective prosecution
on the War. This leaves patriots little choice.
Any Republican who can win in California is better than Gray
Davis and Cruz Bustamante who cannot be trusted in the War Against
Terror. In the grip of political correctness, both have proven
they will sell our nation out in order to win political power.
If Churchill could send aid to Stalin to defeat Hitler, patriots
can vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger to end the limp on terror
At the moment, support for the president and his party is support
for the War. No plausible alternative plan for this War has been
presented by his opponents. Until one is produced by the Democrats,
Americans will have to put our trust in George Bush and the Republicans.
Fortunately, our President seems more than up to the task.
I believe that this
War will be won. Men like Jon Dyk are still abroad fighting
and winning. A new leadership corps will come
from the emerging conservative intellectuals. The rest of us
are not so foolish to forget 9/11 so soon. The homeland will
not abandon the armed forces. When the end of the War on Terror
is over, in a free Middle East, liberated men and women will
write that we stood firm. The world will once again owe America
a debt that, once again, we shall not bother to collect – for
our nation will have gone on to other battles and new frontiers.
2003 John Mark Reynolds