What has changed?
In the battle of Antietam during the Civil War, our nation was willing to sustain 23,000 casualties in a single battle and over half a million American men (and boys) during the war. This occurred at a time when the population of the United States was just over 30 million people.
During World War II, the United States sustained just under half a million war casualties to squash a threat to the world's security.
In both of these wars (and the wars before and in between them), the United States supported the nation's war efforts. The loss of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of lives was tragic, but Americans understood that such was the reality of war.
In 2009, we no longer have the will to engage in war.
A few years ago, the tragic loss of 18 lives in Somalia and the horrid treatment of the dead and dying Americans was enough of a rallying cry to pull out. In Antietam, a single cannon shot could wipe out 18 soldiers.
In Iraq, just over 4,000 American soldiers have lost their lives from the beginning of the war in 2003 through 2009. And by 2007, America was ready to pull out. It was considered a debacle.
Afghanistan is now becoming a more and more desperate situation. Desperate from the standpoint that more and more lives are being lost on a weekly basis. And America has a low tolerance for the loss of life during war.
So what has changed?
It is my belief that America will never again be able to fight in a major military conflict. If Israel is attacked in a massive way by its islamic neighbors, America will not be there to help. If China rises up and decides to attack South Korea, or Taiwan or Japan, America cannot be counted on to defend these allies.
America doesn't have the stomach for war.
This is a direct result of 40 plus years of liberal philosophical teaching in our public education institutions. Liberals have convinced us that we haven't been on the right side of any war. Liberals have convinced us that we do not have a superior economic system or a superior political system. Liberals have convinced us that our freedoms are not worth fighting for. Liberals have convinced us that democracy and freedom and the free enterprise system aren't worth defending.
And America has bought it.
Probably not if you phrased it in those terms. Most Americans would say that they think freedom and democracy and America itself is worth fighting for. But not if it means the loss of life. Somehow, we've gotten it in our heads that we should be able to march into a country and fight a war and win it without the loss of life. And we should be able to do it quickly. Like the movies. Two hours at most. And none of the major characters, the good guys, will ever die.
That's why Obama can't decide what to do in Afghanistan. It's not a movie. It's not a sound bite. The telepromter doesn't have an easy-to-quote speech prepared.
Afghanistan will require a decision. A hard decision. One that could cost American lives.
And Obama doesn't have the stomach for that. Neither does America.