On May 23, President Barack Obama told more than 1,000 jubilant, uniform-prepped-and-polished graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy that the world has a "new feeling about America." He declared: "I see it everywhere I go, from London and Prague to Tokyo and Seoul to Rio and Jakarta. There's a new confidence in our leadership." If only it were true.
Obama boasted, "We can say with confidence and pride: The United States is stronger, safer and more respected in the world."
"Stronger, safer and more respected"?
"Stronger," as in Obama's plan to initiate more than $500 billion in automatic cuts to the defense budget over a decade, starting next January. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the Democratic-controlled Senate voted May 24 to authorize another reduced spending package for the Pentagon.
"Safer," as in the report card from the Bipartisan Policy Center, including many of the original 9/11 Commission members, which reported on national preparedness 10 years after those catastrophic terrorist attacks: "Our country is undoubtedly safer and more secure than it was a decade ago," but "we fail to achieve the security we could or should have." The report concluded that the federal government has failed to meet nine of the 9/11 Commission's 41 recommendations.
"More respected," as in The Washington Times' report that according to a poll by even two left-leaning groups, "a majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than two years ago and believe President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security."
In February, Gallup reported that "Americans continue to express much greater dissatisfaction than satisfaction with the United States' position in the world, and their views have improved little since hitting a low point in 2008."
Why do we have such a weak, unsecured and disrespected U.S.?
Maybe a significant reason is that Obama paraded U.S. weaknesses and mistakes to the world in his 2009 "apology tour." (Check out http://bit.ly/JIG7J1 to see The Heritage Foundation's report on the top 10 decries of America by Obama.)
Sandwich all of those apologies and countless others since then with the apology in March for the unintentional burning of Qurans in Afghanistan and we have a perfect recipe for America's global disrespect and dissolution.
Mr. President, you don't build national or leadership strength, safety and respect by groveling and groping.
If you want examples of how America could become "stronger, safer and more respected," then look no further than to our amazing, exemplary, courageous U.S. military personnel — especially those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and republic, including some of the people I met on my two trips to Iraq. They are the ones who truly create the good U.S. qualities and deserve the credit for them.
One thing we can say for sure: Though the federal government and this administration have weakened our standing in the world and despite the lack of leadership by the commander in chief, our dedicated service members are responsible for strengthening our republic. To all who have served or are serving our great country, I salute you!
My father fought and was wounded in World War II, in the Battle of the Bulge. I served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea. I am also an honorary Marine. My brother Aaron served in the U.S. Army in Korea. And our brother, Wieland, served in the Army in Vietnam, where he paid the ultimate price June 3, 1970. Wieland was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with "V" device (first oak leaf cluster) for his heroism. His name is etched among those of more than 58,000 other fallen service members on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. (Go to http://bit.ly/JQd0Nt to watch my 91-year-old mother speak about Wieland in her interview on Fox News Channel's "Huckabee.")
It's fitting for a soldier like Wieland that Memorial Day falls every year a week or so before the anniversary of when he gave his life for the cause of freedom. Though we didn't win the Vietnam War, my brother did not die in vain, just as the case is with other service members today.
Whether they be for our freedom or another's, the words of Jesus are true for all: "There is no greater love than this: that a man lay down his life for another."
About such patriots, Gen. George S. Patton was right: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived."
Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook's "Official Chuck Norris Page." He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.