About three years ago, I took then-Presidential candidate John McCain to task for saying during a town hall meeting that it "would be fine with" him if the U.S. military stayed in Iraq for "a hundred years."
I was not only taken aback by McCain's apparent level of comfort with prolonging a war where we were losing young Americans on a daily basis, but also by his continued, stubborn support for an ill-conceived, ill-planned and ill-managed invasion and occupation of a country based on faulty intelligence at best, and on lies, fear mongering and deception at worst.
At the time I said:
Let's give John McCain the benefit of the doubt.
Let's assume that he exaggerated by ten-fold when he said that it would be fine with him if we were in Iraq for one hundred years.
Let's assume that we will "only" have 10 more years of bloodletting in Iraq.
What will we say then?
I then commented on the further heavy price America and Americans would pay for those additional years in Iraq.
Finally, on a very personal level, I reflected on the fact that, if we were to be in Iraq for "only" ten more years from then, my then 8-year-old grandson would be 18 and could end up serving in Iraq, and I asked, "What will I tell my grandson then?" if the Iraq war is still raging then.
Well, my grandson is almost 12 now and we are still in Iraq with 50,000 of our troops still serving there and -- as fate would have it just a few days ago -- still dying there.
Hopefully, we will keep our commitment -- this time to the American people, not to some distant, fickle government -- and bring our troops home from Iraq soon.
In a gloomy mood, I said three years ago:
Perhaps I won't have to tell [my grandson] anything. If I am fortunate, when my grandson -- and America's young sons and grandsons -- end up in Iraq 10 years from now, I will no longer be here.
But many of those who got us into this tragic war will still be here. What will they tell America's parents and grandparents when their sons and grandsons don't come marching home?
Enter the Afghanistan War, a war that I supported because of what was done to our country in the dastardly Sept. 11 attacks by al-Qaeda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden and with the consent of and protection by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A war that has now become America's longest war -- ever.
A war in which we have now taken out most of the al-Qaeda and Taliban criminals who perpetrated 9/11, including its master mind.
A war where, according to President Obama, "it's now time for us to recognize that we've accomplished a big chunk of our mission..."
A war that has now claimed 1,600 of our sons and daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, etc.
A war on which polls show that more than 70 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan.
A war that must draw to a close, sooner rather than later.
A war that, on Memorial Day, cruelly claimed the life of Pfc. Anthony Nunn from Burnet, Texas, population 6,000.
But why mention this hero in particular?
First, because he was indeed a hero who joined the Army in June 2010 when he was only 18 and was killed a little more than a year later by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.
Second, because as so many of our brave troops, Nunn comes from that typical small-town America, with a tight-knit community, with a small high school and a great high school band -- Nunn was the band's second chair trombone player -- with its Dairy Queen and its Dollar Store, its historic square and its Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. As American Thinker puts it, a small-town America with
...bedrock patriotism and strong community spirit... light years away from the headlines and buzz generated by national news outlets and pundits in New York and Washington. To understand that, just look at the honest faces of the people lining main street in Burnet, Texas.
The people "lining Main Street" were holding small American flags, saluting or holding a hand over their hearts, saying a prayer as the flag-draped casket carrying their hero came home.
Third, and very personally, because Anthony Nunn was barely nine years old when the Afghanistan War started.
Because, just like my grandson three years ago, he was still a child for whom his parents and grandparents must have had so many dreams.
For whom the end of his life came much too quickly in a much-too-long a war.
Yes, I supported the "good war," but as I see more and more of our youth die in these wars -- kids who were only eight or nine when we started these wars -- the more and more I see truth in the words of our thirty-first president, Herbert Hoover: "Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die."
And the more and more I anguish when I think of my grandson and millions of other grandsons...