“An age that does not exalt courage will be confounded by the Alamo, and baffled by the men who stayed in it. Any age that fears war more than servitude, or death more than honor, must denigrate the Alamo. Ages that do not honor the concept of “Liberty or Death” will fight no Alamos. Ages that do not cling to the great values of Love, Honor, Courage & Sacrifice, the soldier values, will not only fail to ‘Remember the Alamo’; they may not long endure.”–T. R. Fehrenbach
From an excellent photo-essay by Michael Yon:
I have developed a strong belief that the war is winnable, though on current trends we will lose. …In my view, we need more troops and effort in Afghanistan — now — and our commitment must be intergenerational.
The idea that Afghans are tired of war seems an illusion. … The culture is old, but the population is a teenager. Most Afghans today probably had not reached puberty when al-Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks. Eight years later, Afghanistan is more an illiterate kid than a country.
…Afghans don’t like to see Americans living in tents. Tents are for nomads. It would be foolish for Afghans in “Talibanastan” to cooperate with nomadic Americans only to be eviscerated by the Taliban when the nomads pack up.
The child-nation will fail unless we are willing to adopt the people. Many Afghans clearly hope this will happen, though of course we have to phrase it slightly differently. Afghans are, after all, proud and xenophobic. They are not just xenophobic but also Afghanophobic [fighting each other]. Most houses are built like little Alamos.
Half-solutions failed in Iraq and are failing in Afghanistan.
The Alamo is appropriate here.
Anglo settlers and disaffected Tejanos joined together to stop the oppression and wrest freedom from Santa Ana and his army, just as Afghanis have joined with Coalition Forces to stop the oppression of bin Laden and the Taliban, to obtain our mutual security.
Gen. MacChrystal is asking for reinforcements, just as Col. Travis did:
Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible…Victory or Death-William Barret Travis, Lt. Col. Comdt.
Is there a final verdict on the Alamo? Perhaps one need look no further than John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960. After speaking at the Alamo, JFK had hoped to avoid the gridlocked courtyard. Turning to his host, a Daughter of the Republic of Texas, he asked for the Alamo’s back door. “Senator,” she returned, “there are no back doors at the Alamo. Only heroes.”
Today we have another young, charismatic Democrat president looking for his own back door to our Afghan Alamo. Only this time, he’s not just trapped by adoring crowds, but by his own words and shallow political expediencies.
On the back of Travis’ appeal he was charged to carry, Capt. Albert Martin wrote an answer for Washington today:
“Since the above was written I heard a very heavy Cannonade during the whole day. Think there must have been an attack made upon the Alamo. We were short of Ammunition when I left. Hurry on all the men you can in haste.”
Let them win. Then bring them home. That we may long endure.