Not so much as a conservative, but as an American, I am thankful for the men and women of the United States armed forces and intelligence services. Every day, while we go about our business and fret about our petty concerns, they are risking their lives to keep us safe and free. Over the years, I have had the privilege of teaching a number of students who went on to join their ranks. One of them, Moti Sorkin, is an Army Ranger and was a platoon leader in Afghanistan, where he kept a blog. Here is what he wrote on the anniversary of 9/11:
[U]ltimately, protecting America involves more than just killing bad guys. That means I’ve often got different missions than the ones I envisioned in my sleep-deprived days of Ranger school, where I dreamed of mowing down the Islamist horde with an endless belt of 7.62. Despite what Brian DePalma and his ilk might think, I don’t go around dictating law with the muzzle of my rifle, and neither do my men…Every mission we have is dedicated to helping Afghanistan, and to making this country a better place. For the only way Afghanistan will no longer be a threat to America is if it gets better…
I am thankful that I have gotten to know such people, and I am thankful that our country continues to produce them.
— John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.