As I sat in my home here in Payson and watched the airliner smash into our symbols of freedom, a sad sick feeling developed in the pit of my stomach. And it has yet to go away.
As a prior member of the Airborne Infantry and Rangers regiments, I also watched with envy their daring night combat jump made onto the airstrip in Afghanistan. I held my breath, counting my cadences, to 4,000. My canopy deployed. So did theirs. These soldiers will move out, any time, be chuted and loaded within the hour, go anywhere in the world, jump in and fight.
I understand. They are American patriots. They will go wherever they are needed, do the unthinkable and never ask for recognition that is the American Special Forces, Rangers and Paratroops. Yet most Americans are only now beginning to accept that our leaders declared war, aligned the nation for a protracted conflict. We are facing a war that may last forever.
We don't face an asymmetrical threat. We face an asymmetrical ideology. Our enemy's ideology probably will survive our bombs and missiles and special operators. It will survive and likely thrive, long after Osama bin Laden is dead, buried, or smells up our jailhouse. The terrorist will still be around, or killed only to be replaced with someone else. This is not to say we will fail in our war on terror, it is only to say that we need to look up our history books. The British against the IRA, the Spanish against the Basque separatists, the Israelis against the Hamas, Hezbollah and others Our military will perform, we will continue to support our leaders and our leaders will continue to lead, and eventually we will learn how to secure our land from terrorists. It will be a long endeavor ...
Lawrence D. Okendo