This is an axiom, as true for foreign policy as it is for our faith. We may not be bound by history, but we are damned if we ignore it. The root of conservatism is the tendency to see value in traditions not as ends unto themselves but as visible reminders of the sacrifices of those who have gone before.
Robert Kennedy had rejected the anti-Semitism of his father, Ambassador Joe Kennedy, and had pledged to send 50 jet fighters to Israel to help that small, embattled country survive in a sea of enemies. For that, he would pay with his life.
Four hundred years ago, the Second Defenestration of Prague occurred when a Protestant mob threw the Austrian emperor’s representatives out of a castle window. The Bohemians then started the Thirty Years’ War, which changed the course of world history and led to today’s nation-state world order.
Memorial Day is an opportunity to reflect on the debt that the many owe to the few. Wars must sometimes be fought to defend the innocent, restore justice, and punish evil. When wars are fought, those who fight them sometimes fall. We must remember them.