The United States has never been one of those “attack first, ask questions later” kind of countries. Somehow the events from 3 years ago have caused us more fear than we can remember. So much in fact, that we have been willing to throw away 227 years of growth just so that we could get revenge for something that hasn’t happened yet. That causes me more fear than anything else that could have happened.
1898 – The United States decides that we want Cuba to be an independent country from Spain. Congress passes an Act that declares Cuba independent, and authorizes the president to use military force if necessary to make sure that Cuba gets their independence. Of course, Spain tells us to buzz off. We declare war, Spain declares war, we go at it. War was formally declared, nothing was done preemptively.
That’s the closest we came to preemptive military force, and if you sat down with enough people, you would more than likely find some that believed it was in fact preemptive anyway. Either way, both sides declared war, both sides knew what was happening, and the definition of preemptive military force was not met.
1962 – There are missiles in Cuba. Soviet missiles are in Cuba. I wasn’t alive, so I have no idea what fear must have been involved, but I get scared trying to imagine it. There were actually missiles off the coast of the United States that were within easy range of the eastern seaboard.
So, even though the fear is rippling through the nation, what do we do?
Kennedy had to choose and choose quickly. Whether to respond immediately and attack inside Cuba, attempting to destroy all of the Soviet missiles before they were launched, or come to a diplomatic solution.
How scary would that be?
And how did he handle it? Peacefully, diplomatically, amazingly. Somehow, even though we were struck with fear, we were able to talk our way out of the situation without everybody losing.
September 11th, 2001 – One of the most horrible days in our country’s history. The President again is faced with a hard decision. He is backed up by most of the nation when he decides to go after the terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks on American soil.
Even to those who may understand why the attacks happened in the first place, and may be against the use of force over diplomacy in any situation, this one was hard to argue. It is something inevitable that comes with somebody invading your country and killing your citizens.
We were struck with fear again, except this time it was fear directed towards an act that had actually taken place.
2003 – All of a sudden, it becomes important that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. All of a sudden, even without concrete proof, Iraq is responsible for attacks on America. All of a sudden that fear that everyone felt 2 years prior is being used against them in order to try and build a case for attacking Iraq PREEMPTIVELY.
The world is interested in working things out, we have people on our side. Instead, we ditch them completely, changing the attitudes of world citizens towards America forever.
We attack Iraq, we Shock and Awe the hell out of them. We kill thousands and thousands of Iraqi citizens, combative and non-combative. We don’t find any weapons of mass destruction.
Seriously, how much can possibly be wrong with this picture. Take our primary goal and toss it to the side for a while. Take a country that hasn’t attacked us EVER and make it our primary goal to establish a democracy and rid the world of their leader.
Is that what fear has made us become? A force to be reckoned with, a society of people only interested in revenge for things that may or may not happen in the future?
Come on people! That’s not the country I grew up in. That’s definitely not the country that I love. That’s nowhere close to the country that people across the world at one time respected and admired.
How is it logical for a nation to have laws for it’s citizens, but then at the same time throw those laws to the side when it comes to the actions of the nation itself.
Consider the story in the post below. If you were on a 12-person jury deliberating my fate for the actions I carried out against the “man with a gun”, what would you think. Should I go? Should I be punished?
Of course punishment would be in order. I killed a man, not in self defense, but in blind fear that I might have to use self-defense at a later point. In the meantime, I caused total destruction to the things and people around and close to him.
I would be locked up for life.
And what did the United States do? Helped Saddam get weapons of mass destruction. Let him use them against people in his country and outside of his country. Then years later, go back and demand that he destroy the weapons of mass destruction that he obtained with our assistance in the first place.
When Saddam refused to cooperate with our requests, we attacked his country and his people. We did this even though the rest of the world thought more time was appropriate. Everybody else agreed that he was not an imminent danger because realistically, we knew everything he was doing anyway.
That’s where my fear sets in. Anybody that pisses us off could now be subject to a preemptive strike, another campaign of Shock and Awe. How many times do we get pissed off before World War III and then World War IV begins.
Total fear. I’m scared of my own country.
Iran – we don’t like them.
Syria – we don’t like them.
Saudi Arabia – we love their oil.
Now that it’s happened once, how many times will it happen in the future? And why has this now become a campaign issue?
We know what Bush’s stance is on using preemptive force against our “enemies”, but what is Kerry’s? He has come out and said that he would use force against terrorists and if necessary, he would authorize the use of preemptive military action.
I don’t want to have to deal with choosing between 2 gun toting individuals that are willing to strike any country that gets in the way of our free market and democratic policy before that country even tries attacking us. That scares me.
I don’t want it to be a bad thing to believe in a pre-9/11 foreign policy where we tried to solve issues with our minds and our words, not with our superior military might. If we are supposed to be a nation of resolve, why did we not have the resolve to stay the course of peace.
I want to world to respect us again. I have always believed that the United States is in a great position as a young and powerful country to lead the process in making the world a better place. I never imagined it would be through tactics usually used by the playground bully in grade school.