Friday, March 21, 2003

It's time to pull together

It’s time to circle the wagons — in a manner of speaking.

Remember the old western movies? When the wagon train was about to be attacked by Indians, the wagonmaster would order the wagons to circle. Then, the women and children would huddle in the center while the men shot at the Indians from beneath the wagons.

We are now in a similar situation with Iraq. Only, the women are working alongside the men!

A few weeks ago, I suggested that the matter of attacking Iraq be debated before a decision was made. The debate has occurred and war will probably be in full swing as you read this.

Some of that debate took place on The Brazil Times’ opinion page. Some has taken place in the streets of Terre Haute and other cities across the United States and around the world. But, the time for debate is over.

When the first shot was fired, loyal Americans needed to put aside their differences and rally around our flag, our President and our troops.

I especially appreciated the thoughts of a young man stationed in the waters off shore. He was interviewed by MSNBC reporter Bob Arnot. When the sailor was told high school and college students had walked out of classes to protest going to war with Iraq, he said (and I paraphrase), “That’s fine. That’s why we’re here — to defend their right to free speech. But I hope that when the shooting starts, they will support our troops.”

Excellent thought, although supporting troops and being against war has never been mutually exclusive.

President Bush said last week he wished there was a way to avoid war. When the commander in chief says he doesn’t want to go to war, does that mean he doesn’t support the troops? I believe he does, indeed, support our troops, for the President is the only one who can put our brave young people in harm’s way.

As I wrote before, I remember Vietnam. I do not want to see pictures of anyone like that Hanoi Hannah, Jane Fonda, giving comfort to the enemy while our boys are dying in the sand. Neither do I want to see peace protests that encourage the enemy to fight more vigorously, thinking the protesters will cause the President to call our troops home before the objective is won. We saw too much of that during the Vietnam War debacle.

No, it’s time to circle the wagons. If we are gong to be in this thing, then let’s be in it to win, as quickly and with as little bloodshed as possible.

Frank Phillips is The Times’ managing editor. He can be reached at the office or via e-mail: frankphi@hotmail.com. The thoughts expressed in this column are Phillips’ own and do not reflect the opinions of the ownership or associates of The Brazil Times.