OF COURSE we all rejoice that the crewmen of the U.S.S. Pueblo are back home safe — even if not as sound as they might have been had they not been subjected to almost unbelievable beatings and inhuman torture. But many are overlooking the other side of the coin. I'm not a military man. I personally DO place the value of human life far ahead of the value of materiel, ships, and military equipment. I did not vote to make the United States a military power. BUT IT IS A MILITARY POWER — in a world of military powers. And as such it must conduct itself as military powers are conducted — OR LOSE FACE, LOSE HONOR — and, in the end, lose all FREEDOM! And this poses some serious questions: To what depths of disgrace is the most powerful nation in the world willing to stoop? The United States stood disgraced before the world when it allowed the U.S.S. Pueblo to be captured, or to be in such position that it could be taken.
What Should Have Been Done
To maintain honor and prestige in the world the U.S. Navy should have: 1) either protected the Pueblo so that it could not have been taken or 2) sent superior naval forces immediately after it and taken it back at any cost — even to obliterating all North Korean naval forces. This nation had the power to do it. But that power is not worth much when held in disrespect and contempt by even little nations. The manner of release of the Pueblo crewmen after 11 months of torture and inhuman treatment was one of the most disgraceful and bizarre diplomatic episodes in the history of international affairs. Orientals would die before they would lose face. If they knew the TRUTH, no nation need ever go to war. But they do not know. And they no go to war. If America is going to be part of such a world, participating in its ways and its wars, it cannot continue to endure as a free country if it is willing to cringe and crawl before little pip-squeak nations like North Korea. Do we not suppose North Vietnam, the Kremlin, and the Chinese Communists were watching, and now are laughing contemptuously at us? Yet big, powerful United States, with the mightiest military power any nation ever had, has lost all pride in that power. It signed a document drafted by North Korea meekly apologizing for offenses it says emphatically it did not commit. It is like signing an unconditional surrender to a conqueror in time of war. The very fact that the United States repudiated the contents of the document, branding its statements as lies before signing, dishonors this nation the more. If this nation has so little honor left that it publicly confesses to signing officially to a lie, it brands itself as a liar! Military men enlist, or are drafted, as men risking their lives for the honor and freedom of their country. When the United States did have honor, it often lost a hundred times as many men to win a single battle. Military men have taught that human lives in certain instances are more expendable than military equipment or ships. Repeatedly in past wars that policy has been acted on. But now the weak excuse is that they saved the lives of the men. The men, who were not required to sacrifice their lives, are home. BUT THE SHIP IS NOT. The North Koreans still have it. Had Theodore Roosevelt been President, the ship would have been rescued immediately after capture. Authorities today protest that to have gone in after the ship would have cost the crewmen their lives. Of course we don't want to sacrifice those lives! But when a U.S. Naval ship was attacked and captured by an enemy naval force, which was an ACT OF WAR. And right or wrong, this nation has adopted the means of WAR — or maintaining and using MILITARY FORCE — to protect its honor, its freedom, and its sovereignty as a free nation. And to accept military DEFEAT, when attacked in an act of war, on the excuse that we were saving the lives of our military men, is to SURRENDER in battle rather than fight and risk the lives of soldiers or sailors. To carry that policy out to its ultimate conclusion, in repeated surrenders, is to lose not only HONOR, but ultimately ALL FREEDOM.
Upholding National Honor
In previous wars, the United States has sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives in uniform — for what purpose? Why, officials would answer, to PROTECT THE NATION'S HONOR, AND ITS FREEDOM! No military nation can operate a military force, by accepting defeat in an enemy attack, on the excuse we wanted to save the lives of men who had offered those lives to protect our honor and our freedom! The United States military saved those lives. We are glad they are home. But AT WHAT COST? First, they are home in obvious mental and moral exhaustion. They report having suffered inhuman tortures and beatings, prolonged isolation, attempts at brainwashing. But HOW MANY MORE LIVES WILL YET BE LOST IN FUTURE BATTLES because enemies will now be emboldened by this display of weakness to anticipate easy victories over a United States that is AFRAID to fight? Those lives were put on the block when those men donned their uniforms. If men sacrifice their lives for the honor and freedom of their country, then, even at cost of their lives — the way things are done in this world — the nation's honor should have been upheld before the world. It should have been an example that shouted to the world: "Don't tread even lightly on U.S. honor — because any nation who dares to do so will suffer the consequences." Then we should have been respected. I have mentioned before how I was standing not more than six feet from former President Theodore Roosevelt, during President Wilson's campaign for a second-term in early autumn of 1916. President Wilson was running for reelection on the campaign slogan: "He kept us out of war." Mr. Roosevelt repeated the slogan contemptuously. Mr. Wilson had been sending the Kaiser note after note, protesting the sinking of United States ships by German submarines. "I was President for seven-and-a-half years," said Mr. Roosevelt. "And if I were President now, I would send the Kaiser just ONE NOTE — and he would know that I MEANT IT! I did send the Kaiser a note when I was President. A German battleship was steaming toward Manila Bay to take the Philippines, then a United States possession. I sent a note to the Kaiser demanding that he turn his battleship back immediately! The Kaiser did not act. Immediately I sent a second note. But I did not send the second note to the Kaiser. I sent it to Admiral Dewey, in command of the U.S. Pacific fleet. My note ordered Dewey to steam full speed upon the German battleship, fire once over her, and order her to turn back. 'And if she does not turn back, SINK HER!' my note said. The Kaiser learned that I MEANT IT!" Yes, the United States had PRIDE in its power then. Today we have multiple times that power, but we are afraid to use it. Not only did this country lose face the world around by this incident, that disgraceful release was made to look like a heroic act. What a travesty on honor! Of course we are glad these men are back and alive. We would also like to have thousands of others back alive who died in battle to protect their country's honor and its freedom. Many, many centuries ago, the God of our fathers promised unconditionally to Abraham the overwhelming national greatness, wealth and power that has come to the United States and Britain. In Moses' day it was promised to the children of Israel of that day — IF they would be ruled by His laws and statutes. Otherwise, penalties would follow naturally for disobedience, and this great promise would be held back for a duration of 2,520 years. That 2,520 years came to its end in 1800-1803. Since the promise to Abraham had been unconditional, God was bound, and such vast national wealth and greatness as no nations had ever enjoyed came quickly — first to the British, then to America. But if we disobey God's right laws and reject Him, once He has KEPT His promise by bestowing on us that promise, He foretold multiplied national punishments, and a complete FALL of our nations. Britain already has been reduced to a third-rate world power. Among the punishments was this: "And I will break the pride of your power" (Lev. 26:19). This nation has rejected God in its schools and institutions of learning. Science has rejected God (though some scientists as individuals still profess Him), and set itself up as the Messiah to lead us out of our troubles. Our morals have hit a toboggan slide. Our homes and family life are breaking down. Our juveniles are delinquent. A tenth of us are mental cases. We are rapidly becoming a nation with crime running rampant. Our people are taking to stimulants, depressants, drugs, narcotics, in alarming proportions. Respect for law and order is breaking down — and, though we don't seem to know it, OUR NATION IS BREAKING DOWN! And here is another example: GOD HAS KEPT HIS WORD — HE HAS BROKEN THE PRIDE OF OUR POWER!