A Legacy of Retreat, Shame, and Betrayal

Karen and Billy Vaughn
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Posted: Jan 24, 2015 12:01 AM
A Legacy of Retreat, Shame, and Betrayal

Tuesday’s State of the Union speech was yet another glaring reminder of just how out of touch our president seems to be with reality and the true threat of radical Islam on the West.

Our son Aaron was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He’d seen the enemy our president refuses to acknowledge face-to-face. His heart had been seared by the blackness of those who exist solely to discharge the terror of Jihad not only on America, but the entire globe.

After returning from a deployment in 2010, he uttered hauntingly clear words to his father, “Dad, they hate us, but they fear us. Brute, lethal force is all they respect.”

In August 2011 Aaron drew his last breath shoving the full weight of his brute, lethal force down the throats of those terrorists. He died a hero. In return for that courage, ultimate sacrifice, and willed determination to defeat evil at any cost, he was made a promise—that his actions would mean something.

As they placed that folded flag in our arms, they promised us it would mean something; that our son’s death would be avenged and his enemies defeated.

Instead, this administration promptly launched a gut-piercing era of retreat, shame, apologies, and betrayal. And the saga continues.

In Tuesday’s address, President Obama boldly claimed that “In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL’s advance.” In reality ISIS controls more territory in Iraq and Syria today than ever before.

He also touted ending the 14-year war in Afghanistan. But “ending” is different than “winning.” Men and women didn’t offer their lives so that a war would “end.” They offered themselves for victory, security, and American prosperity. Ending conflicts before they're resolved creates power vacuums that leave America more vulnerable.

Maybe we should ask the more than 10,000 American soldiers still in Afghanistan if they believe the war is over. Better yet, ask their loved ones.

Instead of securing the threat of ISIL, the Middle East is now littered with top-notch recruiting areas for the “JV squad” our president thought so little of only a year ago.

As former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, “Weakness is provocative.”

The jihadists laughed as we elected this president not once, but twice, while he assured us there were no real threats to our nation. Can you imagine how they mocked us as Vice President Joe Biden explained in a December 2011 Newsweek interview, “The Taliban, per se, is not our enemy”?

As noted in our book, Betrayed, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t bother naming the Haqqani network an official terrorist organization until September 2012. However, military testimony given in August 2011 described the network as the most lethal, most resolute, and resilient of the insurgent elements on the battlefield.

This downward spiral of impotence in the face of threat makes us appear weak. And when America is weak, the world is in chaos.

On January 11, in the absence of American leadership, France stepped onto the world stage in a brazen act of defiance and solidarity to rally against the barbarism of Islamic jihadists who had carried out horrific attacks across Paris.

As dignitaries from 40 nations joined over 3.7 million citizens, America was a no-show. Our president decided to stay home. After all, he was busy with plans to entertain the 2014 NBA champions in the East Room of the White House after, of course, delivering a powerful Monday afternoon message on identity theft.

If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, days later our State Department deployed folk singer James Taylor to France to tidy up our fractured relationship. Nothing a soulful rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend” couldn’t fix, right?

It would all be funny if it weren’t so serious…so costly.

Acknowledged or not, terror stands at our doorstep once again, America. And like before, it dares us to defend ourselves. We’re taunted almost daily with threats of additional “lone wolf” attacks. For God’s sake, did we ever dream we’d see a woman decapitated in her place of work…in America? Or a broad-daylight hatchet attack on police officers?

Our enemy has always understood—better than we—that our greatest weakness seems to be our lack of will to acknowledge evil—our desire to bury our heads in the sand and pretend we’re safe. We need to prove to this enemy, to this administration, and to ourselves, that America is awake.

We must send a message that we are not only the land of the free, but the home of the brave. A message that we the people will honor the sacrifices made on our behalf, will live our lives with tenacity and power, and will not be decimated by terror and fear.

We need to make a promise to ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren that we will preserve for those who come after us the liberties handed to us by the generations which came before and those still fighting today.

And last but not least, we must continue pounding out our anthem in the ballot box—as we did this past November—that those leaders asleep at the wheel will be replaced.