"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." -- JP Curran, 1790

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Powder Keg and the Match

We will never have true justice in this world. If you're looking for justice, such a lofty and abstract concept as it is, you'll have to wait for the afterlife. All we can do is a rudimentary approximation, like so many things in life. We imperfectly worship God's perfection, we imperfectly pray for our own wishes, and we imperfectly seek justice and mercy. In Calculus we can use various rules (Taylor Series, Disk Method, etc) to approximate true values, along an infinite scale of possibilities. With greater advances in technology, we can quickly approximate with greater precision than ever before.

We war because we seek justice, but it would do us well to stand back and look at this from a more macro-perspective from time to time, as well. Hamas has broken their cease fire by shooting rockets into sovereign Israeli territory. How would we react? Probably much in the way Israel has, with bombing run after bombing run. What is sad is that Hamas insists on placing their military armaments in civilian areas, near schools, and markets in the hopes that their own civilians will be killed before a sea of public sympathy for their terrorist causes. Precision is not in the vocabulary of the Israeli military, at least not to the extent that we use it in the United States. They don't have much choice in this case. They have been attacked, and they must defend their citizens. It is the one true responsibility of all governments...to protect citizens.

Across the globe, we see Pakistani and Indian troops storming to their borders while claiming that there will be "no war." What isn't explicitly denied is implicitly permitted, and that's the attitude that the Indian government has taken with its stance towards Pakistan in the wake of terrorist attacks in their country. The last century saw three major wars between the two nations, but they never had nuclear weapons before. How tempting is it for developing nations, now firmly planted on the world's map, to use every weapon available to them once the bullets start flying?

One thing is for certain: we cannot tolerate terrorism in a free world. It's just too easy for bad guys to murder innocent people. There are only two possible solutions to this complicated problem. 1) end free society, or 2) eliminate the terrorists.

Although some nations and even some Americans would advocate #1, it's just not us, and it won't happen as long as we have some opposition to the liberal (fascist) ideologues in government. The only possible answer is #2.

Therein lies the problem.

How do we eliminate hundreds of thousands of people? We could drop bombs (nuclear and conventional) and kill a few million here or there, rather quickly. The costs would outweigh any benefits in that case, though.

We have to neutralize them. Make them meaningless and superfluous in the greater international community. To do that we have to say what we mean, and mean what we say. Our word is stronger than our military might, and that's saying something! If we say we will get something done, then let us do it! The Bay of Pigs invasion did more to harm our national posture than almost any other act in the 20th century. The country of liberators, the savior of Europe in the Great War and WWII, suddenly backed out against a small communist island nation, and left many to die and many more to suffer under decades of communism. A stern response, and the elimination of the Castro regime in the 1960s would have served us well in later years.

If we say that we will stand by Israel in their fight for safety and security, then we must stand by them. We can also stand by our pledge to bring peace and stability to "Palestinians" as well. We've called for an independent Palestinian state, and that's something that we should enforce, soon. We should have used military force to help Afghanistan in their fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda prior to 9/11, because we implied our support. In 1991, after our swift victory in Desert Storm, it would have been wise to push for a decapitation strike against the Hussein regime, which is something Iraqi citizens were ready for.

In a nutshell, we have to stop being reactionary, and going with the flow of international events. It seems that Congress and to a lesser extent the White House does not have a good finger on the pulse of international events, because they have both hands firmly grasping public opinion polls.

So the question remains of who is the powder keg, and who is the match. In some sense, all nations are a powder keg, and certain events (like terrorist attacks in Mumbai, D.C., NYC, Israel, and elsewhere) are the match. But you can also look at this another way. Free societies are a powder keg, full of power and free will. We simply do not tolerate others dictating our way of life, nor will we ever. Tyrants are the matches that set us off, but we do so in the name of justice.

"Collateral damage," poor public opinion, international outcries against 'aggression' and retaliation are all consequences of action. This we know for sure. However, what are the consequences for inaction? I think we learned that lesson on 9/11, and it's not something we should allow the world to repeat. Either way, we will only approximate justice. So let's get on with it. Sphere: Related Content

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