As I prepare to go into NYC Thursday and get an idea of the wreckage from the attack first hand (instead of just images) I have noticed a sentiment in my online reading that quite frankly baffles me.

That sentiment is the call for complete pacifism and a complete lack of understanding of the difference between murder and self defense.

“Yeah, there’s no time like now to start forgiving, to turn the other cheek, to show the world that we’re really tough, and that we’re committed to making the world work better. What better way would there be to do that than to not go to war in response to a cowardly and disgusting act of war.” – article

Be safe:

Personally, I think that is a completely naive to feel that a pacifistic and passive reaction to being attacked so violently is a realistic alternative. I understand the desire to prevent the loss of innocent life but those lives must be weighed against the price in our own innocent lives.

I am still old-fashioned enough to think that the first job of this nation is to protect ourselves in our own enlightened self-interest. What does that mean? That means that a narrow view of keeping ourselves safe will not suffice. It means that sometimes we must risk our own citizens, even our own innocent citizens in order to secure our nation in the longer term and therefore save our nation and our future citizens.

In other words, sometimes to have to have a war – with all it’s risks – in order to be safe and secure.

There is much to be concerned about. We need to make sure we get the right people. We need to make sure we hurt the right nations. We need to be as compassionate as we can while remaining effective in our response. In other words, we must be clear, focused and just. In addition to all that we must be absolutely committed to the needs of our nation.

We must be clear that it is not acceptable to fund, harbor or support those who would attack our nation or our allies. This is a lesson that must be taught to any country who doesn’t already understand the consequences.

There must be no mistake, both in our minds and those of the world.

Will something like this happen again? Of course it will. Violence as an arm of politics has always been and will always be with us. This is a fact of our species and one of the blessing/curses that makes us vigorous and drives us to advance and expand. Man is a predatory animal with instincts of conquest and territory. This will not change though we might get some respite when we turn our urges outward from this small planet.

The issue then is not to hope for the impossible that the world will change from the lion to the lamb. What we have to do is keep our goals clear.

  1. Protect our freedoms and constitution.

  2. Protect our citizens.

  3. Protect our allies.

  4. Protect innocents everywhere.

  5. Minimize the loss of life in the process.

Take careful note of my priorities. This is a crucial issue. We have been in a dangerous habit for the last decade or so in America of sacrificing freedoms for dubious protection from threats both real and imagined. We have allowed our privacy to be invaded. Our police are more free to invade your life, your home and your communication than ever before.

Be true:

This trade of freedom for safety has insidious consequences. I both trust and fear the enforcement agencies in this nation. I believe that in the vast majority those men and women who serve to enforce our laws are good people. Yet, I fear their abuse of their power.

Why? Because they are what we demand that they be. When we call for them to save us from drugs and don’t mind those nasty search warrants we tell them that we want them to invade us. When we demand that they save us from “child molesters” and don’t worry about gathering evidence we tell them that we wish them to be judge and jury.

If we tell them to invade our privacy to save us from terrorism, they will do as we ask. We cannot afford that.

“There will be pressure to suspend our freedoms, to allow the government to invade our privacy and control our speech as part of the glossy new war. If terrorists force America to give up its freedoms, then they will have won. If we are stampeded into imprudent action out of fear, then it will once again be true that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. If we use our rage instead of our wisdom, we’ll be just another dictatorship, and Sept. 11 will become the day we destroyed ourselves.” – article

So how do we proceed? We proceed by bringing our vast resources to bear, but within those rights that are the spirit of the constitution.

Yes, that might take longer.
Yes, that might leave us vulnerable.
Yes, that might lead to more lives lost.

However, if we do not heed our own freedoms then we will succeed on winning a victory with no substance, we will no longer be a nation that deserves to win.

Be deliberate in your wrath:

Granting then that I feel a response is a requirement for both ethical and practical reasons the question then is what kind of response is going to be effective – both in cleaning away those who hurt us this time and in dissuading or minimizing the damage of those who would do it to us in the future…

I think this is a matter of defense, not law enforcement. The rules are different. I think we have to identify those who are directly responsible for these attacks on an individual level and I think they need to go away, permanently. I am just fine with a sniper shot from a nice distance.

Assassination is an acceptable tool to enforce a defense policy.

Moving up the chain I think the organization that is supporting these attacks need to go away. Their gathering places and their training camps. The warehouses where they store their arms and the databases where they keep their data. Take their funds away.

Cruise missiles and smart bombs or selective incursions work just fine for this.

Further up the chain, we come to the nations that harbor and fund these groups. Those nations need to understand that this will not be tolerated. Economically they must be cut off, militarily they must be taught that they cannot match us.  These nations must understand that we will not tolerate them preventing us from pursuing these terrorists into any corner of the globe.

Aircraft carriers and strategic bombing is a fine tool to suppress any military action.

You can see that I do not advocate carpet bombing innocents. Basically, it means find out who did it and who is planning to do it in the future. Kill them and wipe out their organization. if the country they are in tries to prevent that then simply destroy their armed response so that we can finish our task.

For the most part, this escalating response scale will hurt only those we need to hurt to stay safe. Their choice.

Be prepared:

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry: article

Two days ago it would have been thought that an attack like this was impossible. Yet it happened. We live in a world that is more dangerous than we thought it was, a world of enemies who are smart and patient, enemies who will hate us for the foreseeable future.

We live in a world where it is completely possible for a group like this to obtain control of a strategic weapon of destruction. A missile in other words. Next time, that plume of smoke might be a mushroom cloud. Crazy? Far fetched? Paranoid? How can we know anymore? When one bomb didn’t destroy us, they tried four (or more) airliners. We will not crumble. They will try something bigger next time perhaps.

Strategic missile defense is needed. Can we set up a shield to swat down 1000 missiles? No. Can we build one that will swat an airliner out of the sky or a single missile fired from a terrorist camp in the Middle East? Hell yes.

Domestic military air patrols are needed. We must be vigilant of our airspace as we have not been since the height of the cold war. If an airliner goes off course we must know immediately, we must be able to intercept it and evaluate the correct response. We might save many lives that way even when the problem is conventional aircraft trouble. We need to be sure that no aircraft approaches out airspace without our knowledge. Period.

The list goes on and on. I am too tired to do so myself tonight. I apologize in advance if I rambled, I find that if I don’t write as these things are forward in my mind I simply never write them at all.

Goodnight, be safe.