Homeland Security has the power it has because we are afraid. Terrorists have probably planned dozens of attacks our government has thwarted and not publicized. We know that some suspects are detained longer and “questioned” in ways that standard civil law does not allow, yet we look the other way because we’d rather be sure we are safe and let one man or woman suffer for it.
Real ID is on the way in a year or two. Wire tapping is already allowed on national security threat “suspects”. American citizens are systematically losing one small freedom after another, and more power is being handed over to security, intelligence, and military organizations. Why?
Because there are threats. Because we can’t guarantee the safety of our borders and citizens unless we are free to violate citizens’ rights to locate the bad seeds. Because the preservation of existence has outranked the preservation of liberty.
I’m pretty sure that the writers of the Constitution had no idea what would befall our world in this day and age. War was war, simple and straightforward. If you had an unresolvable issue, you declared war. You waged war out in the open. Thousands were killed from this illogical method of combat, but it was simple, straightforward, and mostly honorable.
Terrorism brings a new age of combat. An age of intelligence gathering, secrecy, spying, and government monitoring. From a purely military perspective, there is no end to this war. You never stop terrorism.
You slay one generation of extremists and their children cry out for vengeance. You kill off their children and their neighbors cry out for justice. No one can bear the sight of a slaughter. It is unbearable to think of children destroyed for the sins of their parents.
Terrorism is a battle of ideals. Two sides see the world differently. One side feels oppressed by the other’s worldview and/or destined to spread their worldview around the world. It is violent evangelism. “Turn our way or die.”
Fear of people willing to kill and die for what they believe in. Fear of not understanding why they hate us so much. Fear of who and where might be the next victim. Fear of living a normal life and one day exploding. Or breathing an invisible toxin. Or drinking contaminated water. Whatever it is. It is fear of what might happen. Not what is, or what was. But what could be.
In the end, our government has failed to address what caused these people to hate Americans/westerners so much that they are willing to take their own lives to kill their enemies. Until we get to the bottom of their violent hatred, this “war against terror” will NEVER end. Mark my words.
There is no end to a war of ideals except for these very limited options:
- Wipe the opposing people off the face of the earth.
- Discuss and find a way to resolve the past.
- Compromise on issues of present day conflict.
I see none of these happening. Obviously, I don’t condone genocide. I think #2 is the only path. The compromise mentioned in #3 doesn’t resolve anything, really. It just means that everyone loses a piece of what they hold dear.
I would have infinite more respect for a George Bush or a Barack Obama, if there was a legitimate acknowledgment that the war on terror will never end until grievances are addressed and resolved. Perhaps they cannot be resolved, but retaliation upon retaliation never resolves a conflict. Someone must attempt to bridge the gap.
Someone must at least be willing to hear out their opponent with an attitude of respect. Vilifying an entire group of people only feeds the sentiment of justified war.
We should NOT settle for living the rest of our lives and our children’s lives in fear.