Yesterday morning, in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I sat down at Matt’s Big Breakfast to get a quick bite before my trip.
But after Providence led me to sit next to a Marine Staff Sergeant, a simple meal became something else entirely.
The young man was 28 years old, the same age as my oldest son, and he had just left his wife and three kids in Orlando. He was about to begin another tour in Afghanistan.
Over breakfast, we had a candid discussion about his unit, about Iraq and Afghanistan, and about his Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama… and you’ll be shocked by some of the things that he told me.
First and foremost, though, I have to say that this man’s parents should be proud. In a world of “failure to launch,” he’s tackling the tough duty of being not just a father but also a provider.
“I have three kids and a wife, so I need this job,” he said softly. “I have responsibilities.” His words spoke a universal truth to me about the duty of fatherhood, something we don’t teach well in America.
Yet being a father and a provider was hardly the only wisdom that this young soldier possessed.
A Man of Duty and Honor
I asked him what type of unit he was in, and he said, “They just transferred me from a training unit to an infantry unit. We’re sure to be mixing it up. Things have heated up, now that we announced we’re leaving.”
There it was, another universal truth: Never announce your plans to the enemy. This young Marine intuitively understood a crucial element of diplomacy and foreign policy that even the president doesn’t get.
You see, Obama blundered by making his timetable for exit public knowledge. Regardless of what we’re doing, why would we announce it to the enemy? There’s no reason to preemptively reveal your plans to surrender… yet Obama is doing so anyway, which means we should expect the same results in Kabul that we’ve seen in Baghdad.
Speaking of Baghdad, the young Marine dropped a bomb to me: “We’ll soon be back in Iraq, some guys are already back, we’re expecting to go again,” he predicted. So much for a successful drawdown.
And then he touched on yet another universal truth: We can’t dictate democracy to people who don’t want it.
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“Americans don’t understand that all of the moderates have left Iraq, the people who are left want to live under the strict Islamic rule, why should we stop them?”
The Shiite radicals who govern Baghdad, along with the Sunni radicals who govern ISIS, will never stop rebelling against our intervention because they consider us infidels. They don’t want our help, and we shouldn’t give help where it isn’t wanted.
Finally, my new friend turned his attention to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Can you believe how my boss is trying to order Israel around?” He was calling Barack Obama, the Commander-in-Chief, his boss.
“I’m glad Israel is giving Obama the middle finger… if the Palestinians were raining rockets on my kids, I would want to fight back, too.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
You see, Israel doesn’t want conflict. They pulled out of Gaza and gave it to the Palestinians, but in return, Hamas has repaid them with a rain of rockets. What’s more, Hamas continued to let the rockets fly despite Israel’s willingness to expand the temporary cease-fire with Gaza.
No country should be expected to sit around while a belligerent neighbor tries to kill them.
Fighting for Post-Obama America
As we finished our breakfast, the young Marine left me with these truth-filled words: “Sometimes, I don’t think Obama is even on our side. He takes actions that we all know are going to fail.”
Yet in spite of his beliefs about his Commander-in-Chief, this young man was returning to Afghanistan, living proof that America is bigger than one president. Soon, Obama will be gone, and America will go on.
I felt a kinship with this young Marine, and I considered it my patriotic duty to buy him breakfast. And as we walked out, I said a prayer under my breath: “Thank you God for young men like this.”
Your eyes on the Hill,