David Didn’t Love Goliath to Death

March 4, 2004 | by | Topic: Faith & SocietyPrint Print

At Grove City College I teach courses in military history, Russian history, national security and the humanities. The Lord called me to Grove City College after a 32-year career with the Air Force and Army. While Grove City is an enthusiastically evangelical Christian College loosely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., I have yet to recommend a single student to seminary. Nevertheless, in May three of my students will be commissioned in the US Marine Corps, one is enlisting in the Army and a female student is headed for an internship with the Central Intelligence Agency. I serve Christ by using military history to inspire young men and women into careers in the armed forces and our intelligence services. This is my calling.

On September 11, 2001, at the behest of radical Islamic jihadist Osama bin Laden, nineteen Muslim terrorists hijacked four American airliners and used them to kill almost twice as many people as the Japanese did with their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. There was one big difference, however. While most of the people the Japanese killed were soldiers and sailors, except for the military personnel who died in the Pentagon (evidently a “secondary target”), the vast majority of victims on 9/11 were civilians: men, women and children totally uninvolved in whatever inspired the hatred that drove the terrorists who murderously snuffed out their lives.

“To Provide for the Common Defence…” is a Constitutional imperative of Government. It also is a moral responsibility of all governments to protect their citizens from aggression. The Bush administration is fulfilling both its legal and moral responsibilities and doing so decisively in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in the global War on Terror. Consequently, Afghanistan, free of a murderous radical Islamic regime, is progressing toward a democratic form of government. Iraq has been liberated from the sadistic despotism of Saddam Hussein. Libya recently renounced its nuclear programs and claims it wants to rejoin the community of civilized, law-abiding nations. Despite what many would have you believe, the United States is safer today than it was on September 10, 2001, thanks primarily to the American military. It will be even safer after Task Force 121 extends its activities into Pakistan to eliminate the remnants of al-Qaeda.

While Christian liberals who support the killing of unborn children may find it difficult to grasp, we serve humanity when we prevent the taking of innocent lives. Quite often, in the name of peace, some Christians fail to understand that evil must be confronted and destroyed. David didn’t love Goliath to death. Rather, in a tenth century BC version of shock and awe, David smote Goliath with a stone to the forehead which stunned the giant so David could then decapitate him. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, warned that a strong man unarmed invites thieves to enter his house…just as terrorists entered our American house on September 11, 2001 to steal more than 3,000 innocent lives.

It takes only one visit to Auschwitz or the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow to understand the reality of evil. That is why students in my humanities classes read the transcript from the Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942. Meeting in a chateau in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, fourteen Nazi bureaucrats—most of them lawyers—enjoyed a sumptuous buffet luncheon while SS Chief of Security Reinhard Heydrich guided them through the policy and operational decisions needed to achieve the final solution to the Jewish problem. It took less than three hours to legalize and plan the murder of 11,000,000 European Jews. While pacifism gave us Munich, it took the Red Army, US Army and British Army to stop the Holocaust…but not until Nazi concentration camps claimed over 6,000,000 innocent lives. For evil to triumph, good men need do nothing.

I undertook my doctoral studies in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War. In a graduate seminar in military history, I recall one young student who intoned the tired old antiwar shibboleth, “It would be nice if they gave a war and nobody showed up.” The professor, a Marine veteran of the Korean War, responded, “Young lady, the aggressor always shows up.” If we fail to use our military forces decisively in support of policies that deter aggression, we will invite aggressors to show up. When they do, it will be the innocent who suffer. David didn’t love Goliath to death.

Earl H. Tilford

Earl H. Tilford

Dr. Earl Tilford is a military historian and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he is writing a history of the University of Alabama in the 1960s. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his PhD in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Director of Research at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left Government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security, and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism.

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