In the movie, American Sniper, Chris Kyle’s dad said that there are three types of people. There are sheep (victims), there are wolves (oppressors), and there are shepherds (defenders of the sheep). The United States has always been a shepherd to countless millions of people around the world who needed a defender.
Recently, there were 21 Christians publically beheaded. A Jordanian pilot was burned alive. A 7 year old girl had a bomb strapped on her and sent into a crowd of people. I doubt that she really knew that she would be gone forever when she pressed that button that took five lives and wounded forty others. Boca Haram kidnapped 250 young girls in Nigeria and gave them to terrorists to be wives and slaves. Platoons of 10 year old kids are being indoctrinated to fight and die for terrorist causes. And what does the United States – The Defender – do? The most compassionate and powerful nation in the world sits on the sidelines fighting brutal injustice with a Twitter hashtag held up by Hollywood personalities and politicians.
In the distant past, the American people and the international community had always looked to America to protect and provide for those weaker and in need. Pleas for money and resources pour in endlessly from organizations who want to “save the children” and the U.S. has always been the largest contributor when there is a humanitarian need or catastrophe. When did we draw the line on saving the children when the solution could require military intervention?
We sit in the wings talking about how other countries should step in. That idea sounds great, but if the other countries have neither the will nor the resources to step in and we don’t, the terror and oppression continues unabated.
We say we’re war-weary. Since the 1970’s, we’ve become less and less willing to help the “Sheep” in other lands. Even when we did help in Iraq, we got “tired” and bailed on that country prematurely, letting the enemy flow in through the back door as we were fleeing out the front door – exactly like what happened in Vietnam, the beginning of our habit of noncommittal to countries in need.
We have an all-volunteer military. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in the middle of the Vietnam war. I didn’t sign on to be a cook, a supply sergeant, or a jeep repairman. I was a warrior and that’s the job I wanted – just as do a large percentage of today’s military volunteers. I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a fighter and got wounded in the process. I have no regrets. We do not volunteer to be warriors just to end up doing practice wars in the hills of California. Yes, we as parents and community will grieve the loss of soldiers and Marines who die doing the job they’ve chosen. We mourn the loss of police officers who lose their lives in the line of duty, but just as we wouldn’t stop our voluntary police force from patrolling dangerous neighborhoods, we shouldn’t protest every military engagement, committed for a moral cause, because some of our warriors will die. The police and the warriors know the risk they’re taking, yet they sign up anyway. Supporting the troops and police doesn’t mean taking them out of the path of danger. It means to give them the best resources, intelligence, and weapons to do their jobs as well as our prayers for their safety.
Wolves will always hunt down and devour Sheep. Sheep will always suffer. Shepherds, few as they are, must be allowed to confront and defeat the Wolves and relieve the suffering of the Sheep using whatever means are necessary.