The Bear and the Termites

An essay by LT Jerry M. Lentz, U S Coast Guard (Retired)

Call it the House of Freedom.  Call it democracy.  Call it the American way of life.
I prefer "House of Freedom" because of how diligently it must be defended.
In the House of Freedom, you are allowed to advance in society and accumulate
your life's belongings based on your own efforts.  Because one is allowed to
enjoy the benefits of his own creativity, true greatness can be achieved.  In the
House of Freedom, man does not live like animals who simply take whatever
they are strong enough to steal.  Residents of the House of Freedom are envied
world-wide.  There are many enemies.  The Bear wants to come crashing through
the walls and take all he can get.  The Termites want to eat the very foundation
of the house and the house itself.

The Bear is a large and highly visible adversary.  Because of his size, he easily intimidates
those around him.  Most residents of the House of Freedom unite against this easily
identifiable enemy.  But now, the bear has grown weary and has gone back to the
forest.  He spent too much energy trying to take the untakable - in Afghanistan.

The residents of the House of Freedom breathe easier and have lessened their defenses.
Most are ignoring the invisible enemy all around.  The Termites have vast numbers and
have infiltrated seemingly impossible strongholds.  Few notice that they are around until
a house collapses, or they try to launch the World Trade Center into earth orbit, or
blow open a billion-dollar ship - always killing Americans.

What do you do when you find a termite mound that causes trouble?  You send out the
USS Orkin Man and his powerful task force to solve the problem.  But what if we
decommissioned the USS Orkin Man and all his resources and replaced it with
USNS Flyswat?  I can tell you what will happen.  The Termites will eat the
House of Freedom!


This page was last updated on: March 19, 2011

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