From Pearl to Yemen, U.S. military serves honorably

Let’s give Yemen’s foreign minister Abdulkader Bajammal the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn’t know the 59th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was fast approaching when he made the unfortunate statement that the U.S. is partly responsible for the cowardly Oct. 12 terrorist attack on the USS Cole.

That comment is insulting enough all by itself. But to time it three days before the anniversary of one of the most horrific events on American soil involving our military suggests Mr. Bajammal needs to surround himself with more intelligent aides and work on a healthier respect for the American military.

Bajammal contends that America must share some responsibility for the attack because we helped create the terrorists who now consider us their worst enemy. Covert intelligence operations aside, that’s kind of like saying a woman deserved to be sexually assaulted because she was wearing a short skirt. Bajammal compounded the matter by saying Yemen wants to work with the U.S. to fight terrorism.

Why would you want to work to stamp out terrorism with a country that helps create terrorists?

Bajammal’s comments are typical of countries — supposed friends and foe alike — who spew anti-American sentiments no matter what our military does abroad. Europe still moans every time Hollywood comes out with a movie praising American soldiers for their World War II heroics. Yet, they’ll slam our country in the same breath for not getting involved in the war quickly enough — or for bailing Europe out in Kosovo or for being too slow to do so.

Today’s military involvements are confusing, of course. The business world’s win-win motto is nowhere to be found when it comes to our military efforts. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Granted, our military is not perfect. No country’s military is perfect because no government is perfect. But we must never forget that our men and women are putting their lives on the line every day in situations we would never want to find ourselves in.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the men and women at Pearl Harbor were going about their business when they were hit by Japan’s sneak attack. Today marks the 59th anniversary of that day that went down in infamy just as FDR said it would. What will become of Oct. 12, 2000?

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a rude awakening that American soil was not immune to foreign attack. The brutal assault on the USS Cole showed us that our military can be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

While we say thank you to the Greatest Generation on this anniversary, let’s not forget to thank today’s generation of military personnel who are fighting an entirely new battle.

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