“That’s not who we are.”
This is what people say when they complain about fighting back really hard against Islamic terrorists. I hear Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say it. I have heard Republicans Lindsay Graham, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio say it. And I’ve heard some conservative talk hosts, like Glenn Beck, say it.
Their premise is that war is bad. Of course war is bad. War is a bad thing primarily because the initiation of violence is always wrong. Wherever there’s war, somebody initiated violence. Somebody started it.
Yet to fight back is not to further the wrong. To fight back, in fact, is to make every attempt to defend oneself and correct the injustice. If the Allies had not fought back against the Nazis in World War II, the Nazis would have won, and the world would be infinitely worse than it is today.
The same applies to the Islamic terrorists. Because these enemies are greater cowards than most initiators of violence, they are, in a sense, harder to fight. They hide behind governments such as Iran and Syria, and they hide behind terrorist organizations, whom we claim to be fighting, but we really don’t. And when someone suggests we take them on with real force and fury to match their own, we’re told, “That’s not who we are.”
And these career politicians wonder why there’s so much fury and anger out there among voters.
It reminds me of a conversation I once had about guns with a political leftist. He favored total gun control, while I maintained that people have a right to own guns for self-protection.
His retort was interesting: “You mean you’re in favor of fighting fire with fire?” It later occurred to me how consistent this attitude is with the pacifist, leftist argument. The premise of this argument is that force is wrong. Note that in this sweeping generalization, the initiation of force gets lumped together with all force, including retaliatory self-defense.
What this means in practice is that the force initiated by Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Islamofascist states such as Iran and ISIS is lumped together with the exercise of force by the United States—a nation which, at least for the most part (and certainly in comparison to those countries or gangs), still (somewhat) defends and protects the rights of its citizens.
Appeasement can take many different forms. In each case, the underlying premise is that we cannot and should not “fight fire with fire”—not at all, or, at most, only occasionally and haltingly, with limited force — and certainly not with all the firepower we have.
Where does that leave us? It leaves us with an enemy who has already defeated us on moral terms, and now only needs sufficient ammunition to finish the job. It’s more dangerous than you can imagine. Why? Because when a fighter has the consistency and passion of morality behind him, and he’s faced with an enemy who lacks any such consistency, he knows he’s going to win.
Victory against bad guys is never assured. Nothing is ever assured. But defeat is a certainty so long as the good guys continue to apologize for the fact they are good, or to claim that there’s really no such thing as good or bad, after all. I don’t believe that’s how most Americans feel, which explains a lot of the anger out there. Our leaders, even former “Tea Party” favorites such as Marco Rubio, have a different perspective.
America has many problems, and many reasons for voters to be angry. For one thing, our government has made sustainable and robust economic progress impossible. The government is to blame. But, even worse, the government has failed to do the one thing it should be doing: protecting us from bad guys. It’s healthy that there’s as much rage out there as we’re seeing.
Whether the anger will be channeled into the right ideas, or the right policies, is another story. But when a government of a once great and free people has been as negligent and inept as ours has been, rage is a mighty healthy thing. It’s not enough, of course, but it’s a start. The politicians deserve what they’re getting.
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