3519 Days

3519 days ago, some cowards committed a heinous attack on unknowing, innocent people. Their leader was an evil man, set on imposing his own brand of religion on the world, and on destroying the nation we live in. 3519 days ago, our nation vowed to put a stop to this man and his band of brutal, hateful people.

3519 days ago, one of my closest friends died at the hands of these murderers. For 3519 days, I’ve been boiling on the inside. An honorable man was dead, while a dishonorable man sneered. The Arab world sneered.

3519 days ago, many opponents of our nation cheered at the death blow we’d been dealt. America was bleeding, and our opponents knew that we didn’t have the wherewithal or the national courage to finish what they’d started. See, if you don’t understand the Eastern mindset, you don’t understand that they were winning in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because no matter how many we killed, no matter how many elections we sponsored, or wells we dug, as long as this pestilence escaped our grasp, we were losing face. It’s a Middle Eastern thing, that no matter how much we Americans try, we can’t comprehend it, because they think differently than we do. Not wrong, just different, so it’s illogical to us. The Israelis understand this. They’ve demonstrated over the last 50 years that to earn respect in the Middle East you’ve got to seek peace, but demonstrate that you will respond with superior force and see your goals through, no matter the cost. President Reagan understood this–in 1986, Libyan-supported terrorists bombed a disco in Berlin, so he bombed Qaddafi’s home, among other targets. Libya suddenly became eerily quiet with regard to sponsoring or supporting terrorism against the US.

Today, the Arabs learned a lesson. The USA will respond, and will see the task through. It took 3519 days, but that face of evil was just removed from the earth.

Tomorrow, when the next group of terrorists starts planning, they’ll do it with the knowledge that the US military can get them anytime, anywhere, with cruise missiles and drones, or with a few highly trained American soldiers who will fly hundreds of miles into badguy-land to look them in the eyes and put a cap in their skull. And those 72 virgins, or whatever their own personal cause-worth-dying-for might be, won’t look quite so attractive.

5939 American service members gave their life in the defense of this nation in the Afghan and Iraqi theaters in the last 3519 days. Almost 6000 died, many thousands more are permanently wounded. Roughly the equivalent of the population of five high schools the size of my daughter’s…most of them were not much older than she is now.

3519 days ago, the USA was permanently changed. Today, the world’s view of the USA was permanently changed as well.

To the thousands of service members who have given a measure of sacrifice that most US citizens can’t even comprehend, I say “Thank you.”

To a few dedicated, anonymous heroes who had the honor of performing a mission into Pakistan, not knowing for sure what the outcome would be, I say “Hooah. Nice shooting.”

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