Joe Rosenthal didn't know what was in his camera the day he snapped the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. There are times when a single picture captures the essence of an entire campaign. Maybe Michael Yon's picture from Baghdad has done it for the Surge. (Hat tip: Instapundit)
"I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John's Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome. A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from 'Chosen' Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John's, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope. The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. 'Thank you, thank you,' the people were saying. One man said, 'Thank you for peace.' Another man, a Muslim, said 'All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.' The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers. (Videotape to follow.)"
Photo on the right by Michael Yon
It is strange that in history every true victory is about the same thing -- not territorial expansion or power -- but the affirmation of the essential equality and brotherhood of man.
"All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother."
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
All just wars are about the restoration of peace. But it's important to remember that the flag raising on Suribachi occurred on the fourth day of a campaign that would last a month longer. In the War against extremism, as in Iwo Jima, the worst may be yet to come. But it's good to take a deep breath and remember what the journey is all about.