We have heard it said that America is divided between givers and takers. I agree, but the point of separation that I have in mind has nothing to do with taxpaying. It is rather the separation between those who have served and those who have been served. The spouse or parents of those who have given their all receive the folded flag of a "grateful nation"; it is not evident to me that our nation is grateful. Professions of national gratitude ring hollow when issued by a citizenry immersed in
President Obama's firm determination that no more American combat forces will be introduced in the Middle East battlefield may well thwart his intention to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the new threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
When long-serving State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly travels to Annapolis to seek support for his office during the next four years, he will have two potential close supporters in the Maryland General Assembly – his younger brothers Bob and Andrew.
The best hope is that the newly empowered Republicans, hoping to counter the brand of negativism that haunted them throughout the Obama administration will swiftly put forward their own legislative agenda and bring much of it up for a vote in both houses.
President Obama is now in danger of steering a perilous course in confronting the threat of Islamic State in the Middle East by seeking to avoid any suggestion that American ground troops will be needed to defeat these extremist forces. Mindful of the grave mistakes of the Bush/Cheney administration, Mr. Obama has gone out of his way to say American soldiers will only serve as advisers or embassy guards.
In Mr. Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, he made a defense of the concept of the just war, which he can reasonably argue he has decided to enter on the grounds of long-range self-defense against this newly sprouting terrorist offshoot of al-Qaida. It now looms as the greatest challenge of his presidency, and to a positive legacy.
In Mr. Obama's own continuing anguish — the consequence of his predecessor's rush to an unnecessary war in Iraq waged on false intelligence and premises — he cannot let his hands be tied in responding with all military force required to eradicate potential threats.
As people of different faiths gathered Sunday at the Baltimore Basilica for a prayer service for peace in Iraq, Archbishop William E. Lori implored the crowd to keep praying after news of the crisis no longer dominates headlines.