My friend Peter Hicks told me a story the other night which contains a lesson worth learning. Peter once found himself playing goalie in a soccer game with some friends. Peter doesn’t play soccer, but the team was short a man and they convinced him to play so they could field a full team. Peter threw on a hockey jersey he had in his truck and took up his place in the goalie’s box. Hockey is more Peter’s speed, or Rugby, maybe even gladiatorial combat. He’s a big guy, broad and thick in build, and physically intimidating. So the game goes on and soon Peter finds himself facing an opponent striker on a break away, one on one. Peter charges the ball and the other guy gives ground, allowing Peter to take it easily. When asked by his teammates why he didn’t challenge a goalie in an obviously weak position, the opposing striker’s response was that he doesn’t know who Peter is but he does know he is a big imposing guy who had a hockey jersey in his truck and that someone else could be the first to charge him.
We would do well to to learn this lesson. After WWI and WWII the U.S. was the guy wearing the hockey jersey. We lost it, beginning with Viet Nam and completely with Bill Clinton’s debacle in Mogadishu. The IDF used to have a jersey on too, but they recently lost theirs the same way we did, by refusing to prosecute a war with sufficient force. They will pay for this mistake in blood, as we did.
There is no question that we have the premier military on the planet. We are perfectly capable of annihilating any foreseeable opposing force. What we may lack, and what many of our opponents believe we lack, is the will to do so. The Israeli’s recently joined us in that sad condition. We should both strive to correct it.