The Moose praises the intellectual honesty of a father and the courage of a son.
A few years back, the Moose was privileged to supervise a particularly outstanding and precocious summer intern at a think tank. Although he was only in high school, this intern was far superior to his collegiate colleagues in both his intelligence and maturity. He was clearly going to make his mark.
Indeed, this intern went on to an Ivy League institution where he enrolled in ROTC (although he had to train at another school because his college did not allow military training). Now that he has graduated, he has entered the Army as an officer and will soon be deployed to Iraq.
Yesterday, his father Eliot Cohen wrote a must read piece in the Washington Post titled, A Hawk Questions Himself as His Son Goes to War. With a bracing honesty, Cohen writes,
"There is a lot of talk these days about shaky public support for the war. That is not really the issue. Nor should cheerleading, as opposed to truth-telling, be our leaders' chief concern. If we fail in Iraq -- and I don't think we will -- it won't be because the American people lack heart, but because leaders and institutions have failed. Rather than fretting about support at home, let them show themselves dedicated to waging and winning a strange kind of war and describing it as it is, candidly and in detail. Then the American people will give them all the support they need. The scholar in me is not surprised when our leaders blunder, although the pundit in me is dismayed when they do. What the father in me expects from our leaders is, simply, the truth -- an end to happy talk and denials of error, and a seriousness equal to that of the men and women our country sends into the fight."
Today there are reports of a British memo that suggests that the U.S. and Britain are drawing up plans to withdraw the majority of troops from Iraq next year. If that is accurate, then we are once again not hearing the truth from our leaders who insist that there is no timetable for withdrawal.
What the American people and certainly the troops and their families need now more than ever are the unvarnished facts from our leaders. We have a straight talk deficit. Defeat in Iraq is unacceptable - it would hand the jihadists, who are the ultimate enemy of progressive values, an incomparable victory. But this Administration has failed at every step in this war to level with us. As a result, support is waning for the war.
We are blessed to have fathers like Eliot Cohen who have transmitted values to their sons that prompt them to enter service to defend our nation. Our prayers are that he returns home safely.
Those soldiers and their families deserve more from our leaders. --