Defeat, Retreat Or Vigilance:
Time To Recall FDR's Four Freedoms
ZERO PLUS 1216 DAYS,--New York, NY, Monday, January
10, 2005--The New
York Times reported today that Washington is talking about withdrawal
plans from Iraq, but keeping such discussions in whispers, out
of earshot from the White House.
One big reason for planning to "disengage"--a
word used by the Times to soften the term "withdrawal"--is
the war's cost of some $4.5 billion per month. There is also
the number of daily deaths of Americans, the total now soaring
upwards of 1,300. In contrast, nearly 3,000 died in the World
Trade Center attack.
patrolling in Falluja
Iraq offers a number of potential results depending
on one's point of view: A "disengagement" of any kind
from Iraq provides the protagonists and antagonists over America's
role to claim the U.S. left in "defeat" or "victory."
Someone seeking a middle ground between the two would halve
the opposites and claim the U.S. "retreated," or,
using the Time's word, "disengaged."
That's the reason a fourth option deserves thorough
consideration. That's the Vigilance Option.
America's historic role in helping nations acquire
and maintain freedom has been that of Vigilance. America's presence
in Asia allowed the seeds of democracy in Japan and South Korea
to prosper and flourish. In Europe, NATO has created a fence,
a post-World War II barrier, that kept communism at bay during
the Cold War and helped dismantle the Soviet Empire.
Vigilance was the reason numerous nations in Eastern
Europe are free today to chose their destiny. Standing in the
background with a sword and shield ready to protect the weak
and helpless, the neophytes of democracy, were allowed them
to go from wobbly legs of new independence, capable of walking
tall and proud with other nations whose democracies and freedoms
Iraq should be no different.
Talk of victory, defeat, retreat, disengagement
or any other words that suggest some endpoint to the role America
has in the future of Iraq creates a false message. The message
the United States needs to broadcast is that it will stand as
Sentinel of Freedom and Democracy, as it has for more than a
Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the groundwork for America's
role as the Sentinel of Viglance over the Four Freedoms
The American public currently sees the only alternatives
as defeat, victory, retreat or disengagement. This is only because
they haven't been reminded that America's legacy is that of
a Sentinel of Vigilance over the Four Freedoms. These Four Freedoms
were first presented to the world on January 6, 1941 by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In this speech, he spoke not of the dominant role
of the United States over other nations, but the right of all
people to enjoy these freedoms. He laid the groundwork for America's
role as the Sentinel of Vigilance of the Four Freedoms. Below
is the end of his speech delivered to Congress following the
attack on Pearl Harbor. What is important to note is that the
Legacy of Vigilance is not new. Neither is it selfish. If America
is a Sentinel of Vigilance, it is one for the world's future
more than its present. It is more concerned with the Four Freedom
Rights of the children's children's children than the deaths
of its warriors to preserve that right.
As you read what FDR chiseled into American history
more than six decades ago, ask whether America should be a Sentinel
of Vigilance for the Four Freedoms in Iraq. Or, should it erase
the words of FDR and the Legacy of Vigilance we have so preciously
guarded so the world might be a safer, more prosperous home
for its children.
Excerpt FDR Speech January 6, 1941
If the congress maintains these principles the voters,
putting patriotism ahead pocketbooks, will give you their
In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look
forward to a world founded upon four essential human
The first is freedom of speech and expression --everywhere
in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in
own way-- everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into
terms, means economic understandings which will secure
every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants
--everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into
world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments
such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation
will be in a position to commit an act of physical
aggression against any neighbor --anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite
basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and
generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis
the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the
seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
To that new order we oppose the greater conception --the
moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of
world domination and foreign revolutions alike without
Since the beginning of our American history we have been
engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution,
revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting
to changing conditions without the concentration camp
quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek
the cooperation of free countries, working together in
friendly, civilized society.
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands, heads
hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its
in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the
supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes
those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them.
strength is our unity of purpose.
To that high concept there can be no end save victory.
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