How Many More?
[Governor] “If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” CNN debate moderator Bernard Shaw asked that question of then-presidential candidate Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988. The viewers wanted the visceral response but instead received a thoughtful and principled one, one that effectively sunk Mr. Dukakis’s campaign. Instead, we got George H.W. Bush, which led to a series of falling dominoes, weakening Saddam Hussein’s influence in the region, forever changing the balance of power in the Middle East.
Standing in the concrete rubble and melted steel of the 9/11 attack, which turned out to be the graves of so many Americans, George W. Bush proclaimed to the still shocked but angry crowd, “ I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” Maybe the younger Bush should have taken a lesson from Mr. Dukakis, not his father, senseless vengeance only leads to senseless death. I remember Gov. Dukakis being pilloried by the press, his opponent, and ultimately the voters in November of 1988 for exercising logic. Oh, I understand the bloodlust that could overcome you if a loved one was raped and murdered,(I’d want to tear them apart) but do we not require more than Neanderthal responses from a president?
Franklin D. Roosevelt resisted the urge for revenge following World War II and helped to rebuild Japan and Germany into an ally, before his death. I was not frightened by President Biden’s resolve last evening when he promised to find the planners and killers of 13 American Marines, “Know this; We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” I was heartened, that despite the fervor of pundits and politicians looking for political benefit, he held fast to his promise to leave Afghanistan by August 31. It would have been easy to pound his fist and call for more shock and awe appeasing the war hawks. Despite his obvious dismay, anger, and sorrow, so far, Mr. Biden is not looking for a pit of concrete to stand in, and yell through a bullhorn.
His response, throughout the withdrawal, has been reasoned but inconsistent because it has changed with the developments. Mr. Biden talked of months of transition, but it was days. He hoped for no deaths of Americans, obviously, that was wrong. Although people have short memories he never promised a panacea, “There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss and heartbreaking images you see on television. It's just a fact,” said Biden on August 22.
Having a son who served his country, I grieved with the now Gold Star families for the loss of their sons and daughters. My first thoughts were let's go get them but thankfully I am not the President of the United States. I am convinced now more than ever that Mr. Biden was right to withdraw and eliminate more body parts of brave American soldiers blown apart over the desolate landscape of Afghanistan. On August 18 of this year, I warned of mass execution, [some brutally violent] the rights of women in the region withdrawn, and publicized victory laps by the Taliban meant for American consumption. I just hope the man I helped elect President of the United States, stays the course and we can finally stop asking the question; How many more?
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