Third, it's essential that our leaders exhibit courage. During the Cold War days of 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated, some in the administration thought it was the start of a coup. If that were the case, Lyndon Johnson would be the next target. But when Mrs. Kennedy said she intended to walk from the White House to the funeral, President Johnson helped lead the procession that marched through the streets of downtown Washington.
During last week's commemoration of V-J day, I thought about American responses to loss of life in Iraq compared to yesteryear's American response to loss of life in the Pacific. Taking Iwo Jima cost 7,000 American lives and thousands wounded. Okinawa cost the lives of 5,000 sailors, 7,600 soldiers and thousands more wounded. There were no calls to cut and run and no political attacks on Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Instead, those losses stiffened the backbone and resolve of the American people. But of course, back then, common sense prevailed. We hadn't become feminized and turned into a nation of wimps and nervous Nellies.
I'd like to see our political leaders adopt the character of their predecessors and say that we're not going to sacrifice liberties and cower in the face of our new enemy; we're going to kill him.