my previous article,
I pointed out that killing innocent people is terrorism, no matter
who does it freelance terrorists, an international conspiracy,
a foreign government, or our government. It would be wrong for our
government to respond to this week's tragedy by committing further
acts of terrorism against innocent foreign people.
the terrorist conspirators and punish them yes. Bomb innocent people
I commented on some of the common themes we're hearing now to justify
rash action by our government against foreign countries. Here are
some more examples of what I've received in my mail:
don't mind giving up some more of my liberty in order to put a stop
to these despicable acts."
understand your sentiments, but I respectfully disagree with them for two reasons.
you have no idea what liberties are going to be taken from you. And
whatever they are, you can have no expectation of ever getting them
back even if the underlying problem goes away completely. For just
one obvious example, income tax withholding was instituted as a war
measure in 1942, and it is still with us today.
taking away our liberties rarely achieves the goals used to justify
the new oppression. Because of the Drug War, our government now rummages
through your bank's records, looking for suspicious transactions you
may have entered into; you and your property can be searched and seized
without a warrant, without being convicted of anything, without even
being accused of anything. And yet drugs are as widespread today as
when these intrusions were put in place.
easy to say you support intrusions that you believe aren't likely
to affect you personally. But I can assure you that any invasion of
civil liberties will affect you more than they do the truly guilty
(who will quickly learn about the invasions and how to circumvent
about the situation in the 1930s, where the British under Chamberlain
tried to appease rather than oppose Hitler, with horrible results?"
historians believe that if Chamberlain hadn't signed the Munich pact
in 1938, but had instead gone to war immediately with Germany, an
unprepared England would have been defeated easily. Instead, the delay
gave England time to get ready to resist Hitler and even then,
a better-prepared England just barely survived.
"Munich" has become an all-purpose cliché to justify
striking out violently against any foreign power that displeases our
politicians: "If only Hitler had been stopped at Munich!"
(as though at the time anyone had the resources to stop him). We need
something more substantial than clichés to prevent future terrorist
are people like Adolf Hitler who are pure evil. You can't hide your
head in the sand and pretend they don't exist. Our government must
intervene overseas to root them out just as we did in World War
are people with diseased minds in every part of the world from
your neighborhood right on up to heads of state. Once you accept the
idea that a preemptive strike is justified, where do you stop?
is easy to cite World War II as an example of our government's proper
intervention in world affairs but only if you start the story in
the 1930s, just as people are starting the terrorist story at last
1917 World War I was winding down to a close. Germany was suing for
peace. A negotiated settlement was close, and the world could have
returned to its prewar borders and peace. But it was not to be.
that point Woodrow Wilson took America into the conflict. That intervention
changed history irrevocably for the worse. Millions of fresh American
soldiers streamed into Europe tipping the balance of power and
overwhelming an enemy exhausted from three years of war. Germany and
Austria surrendered, the German emperor fled to the Netherlands, and
the Allies imposed devastating conditions upon a defeated Germany.
action transformed a functioning Germany with Kaiser Wilhelm on the
throne into a prostrate Germany eager for revenge. And so a nation
of great artistry that had produced the likes of Goethe and Wagner
was willing to accept a dictator who promised to help them get even.
humanitarian spirit that propelled America into a war to "end
all wars" laid the groundwork for two of history's worst murderers
Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler.
no one can say for sure, it seems very likely that if America had
stayed out of World War I there would have been no World War II. And
without that war and without a Soviet Union, there would have been
no Cold War, no Korean War, no Vietnam War. The 20th century wouldn't
have been an era of perfect peace, but it would have avoided being
history's bloodiest 100 years.
Woodrow Wilson or anyone else have foreseen all this in advance?
and that's the point. Once you embark on the use of force for any
purpose you have no idea what will fly up out of Pandora's box.
you don't look for the causes that precede the events, you have no
hope of ever preventing a repetition of the events.
the terrorists did last Tuesday was wrong. But if we don't inquire
into the background, and instead go off around the world on a holy
Jihad of our own, we will unleash consequences none of us can predict.
But we can be almost positive that they won't be to our liking.
you think that if we were to withdraw from the Mideast, that eventually
some Arab dictator would unite the Arab-Islamic world (violently)
and pose a real threat to us?"
dictators aren't going to give up their fiefdoms to a single ruler.
Nasser tried it with the United Arab Republic, but it lasted only
a year or two. Bureaucrats in Europe love a central authority because
it gives them more dictatorial power. But that isn't likely to happen
in the Middle East.
what you suggest could be possible anywhere in the world. Does that
justify the U.S. running the entire world? (Speaking of a single dictator!)
it occasionally right to intervene on the behalf of people that are
being massacred, such as in Serbia?"
a free country, you should be free to send money or even yourself
to any country in the world to aid any cause you believe in (which,
incidentally, isn't completely legal under federal law today). But
the American government shouldn't use your money to intervene or stir
up resentments for causes you may not believe in.
world is our business, we all live here. Should people be suffering
in East Timor or Iraq or Ethiopia/Eritrea and we just stand by and
let it happen if we can do something? I don't think so. Taking more
responsibility for all the people of this planet and all the nations
of the world would be a better stance."
should be your choice. You should be free to help anyone anywhere
in the world. But our politicians should not have the power to inflict
violence on people in other countries in your name making you a
target of retribution.
are a world power and we must act like one. This means being unpopular.
This means intervening in the world because we have a responsibility
to the world."
it means having people attack us violently no matter how many security
measures are taken and no matter how many liberties you give up. Is
that what you want?
speak of our government meddling in other people's affairs. Give some
government has been giving money and military hardware to prop up
dictators for over fifty years including people like Manuel Noriega
of Panama, whom our government then kidnapped and put in prison in
America. And supporting the very Afghanistan government that supposedly
today is harboring Osama bin Laden. Although a lot of the support
for dictators was explained as a way of fighting communism, it continues
today. Yes, I know that often the people who eventually replace the
dictators are just as bad but that doesn't justify our government
giving your money to either the dictators or their replacements.
you know that our government still gives foreign aid to Afghanistan?
Yes, the same country Bill Clinton attacked with Cruise missiles.
we have troops stationed in almost a hundred countries even today.
dictators took over America, how would you feel about foreign countries
that helped keep those dictators in power? How would you feel if foreign
troops were stationed in your city?
you really think there's anything strange about foreigners who love
McDonald's but hate our government?