In the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) was the hub for US activity in the war zone. Saddam’s nearby palace and the Green Zone a half hour east were still being hardened. But despite the hostile red zone I was shocked to find a thriving Burger King already set up at BIAP!
The chow hall at BIAP wasn’t bad. But nonetheless the Burger King was going gangbusters with an assembly line of basic orders for troops who stood in line for as long as it took to get burgers and fries wrapped in that waxy yellow paper. It tasted like home, and at one point the Baghdad Burger King was the third highest grossing BK in the world!
Housed in a mobile unit the Baghdad BK was a symbol of the home towns that so many troops had left behind to go fight a war on foreign soil. Its branding stood out like a beacon. The burgers and fries tasted the way they were expected to taste. Platoon Sergeants became heroes when they bought a sack of cheeseburgers for their whole platoon. It was a consistent taste and sight of home imported without change and it was awesome.
Around that time I also had a conversation with my interpreter. The moment is burned into my memory when he said, “Sir, I was talking with my father last night, and he said to me that the reason that America is so blessed is because they are honorable and they keep their promises”.
It was a heartfelt statement that I logged away in my mind under the “don’t forget this moment” category. I can’t help but wonder if his father still feels that way in the wake of broken trust. America has an immutable characteristic of being a force for good in the world. But of late it feels as though that has been tarnished.
Burger King did not change for a war zone. The signage, smells and flavors were immutable. Anything less would have been a disappointment. My interpreter felt the same way about America as a whole. We were a force for good.
From the time of its inception America has always had the immutable characteristic of being a force for good. We don’t always move as fast as we should. We don’t always get everything right. But as a nation we are built on the premise that we should move to the “good”, and we have a long tradition of getting there.
It took time but we became the world leader in abolishing slavery. We were slow to enter WWII but we became the force that pushed fascism back into a hole. We have a reliable reputation, an immutable characteristic, that America is a force for good. The progressive left desperately needs that to change.
The woke left needs the US and its culture and all of its components to be “mutable” as opposed to “Immutable”. If the left can build uncertainty at home and abroad then the immutability of America becomes doubtful. We would no longer be seen as reliable. The brand is diminished. The entire leftist woke agenda depends on things being seen as uncertain so that they can swoop in and provide their leftist version of how to fix it.
For something to be “immutable” it requires being defined as unchangeable, intrinsically immovable, unable to change even if it wanted to. “Mutable”, which is just the opposite, is to say that it can be changed, that it is not reliable.
Redefine gender, declare systemic racism, and teach alternative history to kids. Shut down all military training to root out so-called “extremism”. Posit “existential threats” that we will all die in ten years unless we move completely away from fossil fuels. A little anxiety, some revisionist history, mix in a dash of fearmongering and bake it in with government mandates and just like that you create uncertainty and defeat longstanding positions. But perhaps the destruction of America’s international reputation is also intentional.
Is the immutable characteristic of America to be a force for good in the world still in place? There was a time when Republicans, Democrats and Independents could differ on matters of general policy but in the end we were all Americans pushing for an image on the world stage that America was the biggest dog, but yet a force for good.
The Obama-Biden ticket was elected and that tone changed with the “great apology tour” in which they apologized for America simply being America. Michelle Obama said that “for the first time in her life” she was proud of America. The war in Iraq became an abandonment of allies. ISIS came in and filled the vacuum.
Fast forward to the Biden-Harris Administration and the gross incompetence of the Afghanistan pullout, abandoning citizens and allies. The Taliban is now back in power and has once again set up a safe haven for terrorism.
What was once a fringe element of society has now had the Oval Office for ten of the last 15 years. Using the power of the bully pulpit the progressive left began telling the world that we are not a force for good, and has chosen to portray to the world that we cannot be counted on. The left chooses for the world to see the brand of the US and believe that our actions may not be consistent, much less good.
It is intentional. The US must be torn down so that the left can build it back in their own distorted image. Just like a Burger King in Baghdad we must remain consistent. We must right this wrong and restore the sense that all is well because we are in fact an immutable force for good.
Phil Williams is a former State Senator, retired Army Colonel and combat veteran, and a practicing attorney.