I do not know Justin Lansford, but I know how bad I feel about what happened to him.
The brave young Brookwood graduate was injured by a roadside bomb this week in Afghanistan. He is a close friend of my wife's cousin, and I hear second-hand updates about him. His friends and family are worried sick. He has already lost a leg, and his life hangs in the balance.
I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the men like Lansford who put their lives on the line for us. They serve with dignity and honor and they do it on a volunteer basis. Our country is lucky to have them.
What's more, I'm tired of seeing them come home in pieces or in body bags. And that won't stop until we win this war.
I know a lot of people wonder how we're ever going to win. Wars against countries are winnable. One country's military defeats that of another. Surrender terms are reached. A truce is signed. The war ends and the rebuilding begins.
But this war against an insane ideology is another animal. As the years roll on these maniacs keep on coming. Like rows of shark teeth, take one out and one takes its place. We even cut the head off the snake, and still the war goes on.
We remain "terrified" here, too, don't we? Otherwise why would we continue to give up liberty for the illusion of safety? Why allow the government to eavesdrop on us and feel up toddlers and old ladies at the airport? I even wrote a column once defending the TSA because of the American sympathizers who'd been arrested. But I know now how silly that was because there just aren't a lot of blue-eyed, blonde ladies who side with al-Qaida and the Taliban.
But thousands of Muslims do. Millions maybe. And until that changes, this will go on.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Muslims around the world who stand by and do nothing while radicals and fanatics hijack their religion are just as guilty in my eyes as a guy who charges an American base with an AK-47. The fear, sympathy and outright support of the Muslim world is the No. 1 thing that perpetuates this conflict.
Oh, but that's changing we're told. Arab Spring. The uprisings in the Middle East were a good thing.
But Egypt just sentenced a comedian to a fine and jail time for the crime of "offending Islam."
That's what our service men and women face: A religious culture so tyranical that it puts people in jail who "offend" it.
Well, I'm offended, too. I'm offended every time terrorists behead someone or set a school on fire with women and children inside. I'm offended every time they blow up a market or a police station.
And I'm offended every time a man like Lansford has to give up body parts and a normal life trying to protect the world from these maniacs.
If you're a Muslim, this is your fight. It doesn't matter if you bow to Mecca from Palestine or Paulding County. The lunatics infest your religion like cockroaches. We are weary from fighting the infestation.
It's high time you did some cockroach stomping of your own.
Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost,com. His column appears on Fridays.