Don't Forget the Forgotten...
In the 12 years since 9/11, an entire generation of Americans has grown up in the shadows of towers that no longer stand. These are the children who experienced the tragedy through pictures -- the Statue of Liberty wreathed in smoke -- and stories, of heroes racing into collapsing buildings to save people they'd never met. In their textbooks are photographs of the giant flag unfurling over the Pentagon, and on their computers the video of a President standing on rubble, vowing to help the men responsible meet their Maker.
These are the children who never knew the White House without barricades or got off an airplane into the outstretched arms of family waiting right at the gate. What they do know is life without a mom or dad. Almost a million military kids have had one or two parents deployed at least twice since September 11 -- and thousands of them are still coping with the fact that they're never coming home. This generation of Americans lives with the reminder of 9/11 every day -- in the empty seat at the kitchen table or the missing chair at middle school soccer games. They understand that horrible day 12 years ago as the spark in the smoldering wreckage that led to war.
And while the rest of the country has time to pause and reflect, for our military families and their brave service men and women, there's no luxury of remembering, no chance to stop and rest. With every explosion or car fire, the pain of that day -- and its consequences -- is never more real. Since 9/11, more than six thousand American soldiers, airmen, and Marines have been killed in the fight for justice -- the most recent on Thursday when forces attacked Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. For our selfless military, the toll of that day is ever rising, borne across the world by warriors who laid down their lives to keep the flames of freedom burning.
In the years since the "War on Terror" began, they've known everything from the jubilation of catching Osama bin Laden to the heartbreak of the Boston bombings. They fight because their country needs them, and they fight to keep their loved ones safe -- but more than that, they fight to preserve principles that make America great. Ken Connor, who was the President of FRC on that fateful day, reflected back on what really matters after 9/11. His conclusion was a familiar one: faith, family, and freedom. From that piece he wrote in the days after the attack:
George Washington once said that the trail of the Continental Army into winter quarters at Valley Forge could be traced by bloody footprints in the snow. What drove those courageous patriots to such sacrifice? What carried the Army Rangers up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day? What made uncommon valor common on Iwo Jima? ... It was virtue. Men will not willingly sacrifice themselves in the full bloom of life unless there is something worth dying for... The virtues that Americans have always defended -- those things that have ennobled the sacrifices of grieving wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters are the eternal verities, the bedrock virtues on which American civilization stands. We cannot ask the nation's young men to go forth into danger merely to defend grasping consumerism. We cannot expect mothers to kiss their sons on the cheek and send them off to war to defend the right of pornographers to exploit women and children... Can the nation demand that its soldiers enter into the horrific Moloch's maw of combat so that the innocent unborn can continue to be slaughtered? ...As Benjamin Franklin observed, 'Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.' May Americans today also be deserving of it.
It's Just a Little White (House) Lie
Not qualified for ObamaCare subsidies? Just lie. That's the headline of a new Forbes article on one of the greatest scams in the health care law: income verification. As part of the President's mammoth program, Americans are only entitled to health insurance subsidies if they meet certain qualifications --qualifications, it turns out, the administration isn't interested in authenticating.
Today, House Republicans will try to close that gigantic (not to mention expensive) loophole with a bill demanding that Health and Human Services do more than just take an applicant's word for it. And while liberals in the House and Senate are happy to talk about fraud, very few seem willing to do anything about it. Or worse, actively opposing it -- like the Obama White House. Senate Democrats are so reluctant to crackdown on the abuse that they've introduced a non-binding resolution on the subject. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) countered with a bill that actively addresses the problem -- but it almost certainly won't see the light of day under the Democrats.
Fortunately for Congresswoman Diane Black (R-Tenn.), she has the backing of House leadership to put a system of verification in place before Americans enjoy the subsidies. As the Wall Street Journal explains, the vote puts House liberals in a tough spot. "Democrats have been unusually quiet in their opposition, perhaps because it is hard to justify voting to give Americans subsidies they aren't legally entitled to. Savings for taxpayers aside, the political merit of the House bill is that it puts a spotlight on a major ObamaCare failure and makes Democrats vote either to fix it or go along with that failure. It also highlights another case in which the Obama administration is refusing to enforce black-letter law." Will the Left go along with yet another case of the White House's lawlessness? We're about to find out.
Dr. Carson's Diagnosis on Syria
Indications are that the President gained little ground in his national, primetime address last night. It looked like a debate between President Obama and President Obama as he first attempted to build his case for military action against Syria only to be followed by his reasons for delaying action in Congress. The President's speech left many with the impression he was simply looking for an exit strategy from his "red line" comment.
Dr. Ben Carson, the legendary neurosurgeon, has some advice for the President: try clarity. In a piece for the Washington Times, Dr. Carson suggests four questions the White House should ask itself before involving itself in Syria's civil war. "What's the best thing that happens if we do it? What's the worst thing that happens if we do it? What's the best thing that happens if we don't do it? What's the worst thing that happens if we don't do it? If one thoughtfully answers these questions, it is pretty easy to see that the worst things could be catastrophic not only in the Middle East, but could trigger World War III."
At some point, he suggests, America needs to start clarifying its goals in the Middle East -- and choose leaders "whose foreign policy is guided by America's best interests, rather than their own political motives." To hear more from Dr. Carson, don't miss next month's Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., which features some of the best and brightest in the conservative movement. To register today, click over to ValuesVoterSummit.org.
** Earlier today, FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin joined a press conference in honor of 9/11 and the other September 11 tragedy: Benghazi. To watch, click below.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.