This I Believe

Jack - Kokomo, Indiana
Entered on September 21, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that a free and honorable country is worth dying for. To that end, I would rather have the terrorists take down a building once in a while than to have my government illegally spy on it’s citizens, drop bombs on woman and children hoping to hit a terrorist, and suffocate suspects under water to get unreliable information. No thank you. I’ll take death if that’s the only alternative. Because, while I believe full-scale war is justified when faced with the real threat of extinction, I do not believe that’s it’s the correct strategy when dealing with terrorism. Bin Laden hit us on 9/11 precisely in the hope that we would over react and swing back wildly, mowing down civilians. That’s how he recruits. So what was the real alternative? I believe that it was to stand up for our principles, and die, if need be, to reinforce them.

I believe that the correct response to 9/11 is best illustrated by the response to the Oklahoma City bombing that Timothy McVey insisted was payback for Waco. Did we declare war on armed militias and carry out preemptive strikes because McVey was a member of a militia and we were afraid of more payback for Waco or did we take our chances, meaning risk our lives, by following the law? Was there not the real threat of a rash of terrorist attacks after Oklahoma City? And what would have been the reaction if we had ignored due process under the law and launched a preemptive frontal assault? Would we be safer now? Would we trust the government more or less as a result? Could it be that Bin Laden got what he really wanted out of 9/11; an over reaction that created a world wide front with the US on one side and civilians on the other? Is it possible that our politicians and especially our President were manipulated into this war on terror because they failed to understand that you might have to stand and die in the short run to win in the long run? I believe that this is true.

Because, over time, the public, any public, will move toward heroism and away from cowardice. That public isn’t just in the United States. It’s in those small villages in Pakistan and Iraq. If we really wanted to get Bin Laden, wouldn’t we need the support of the very same people who now cheer for him, shelter him, or at a minimum see the US and Bin laden as being equally bad? When the police are as bad as the criminals, there is no difference to the citizen. But when the police stand and give their lives, the people see this and they respect it. That’s the price of taking and holding the high ground. I believe that same price must be paid by the citizens of my country in standing up for our values when the next building falls. Just like we did after Oklahoma City.