Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The Problem With Homeland Security
There are two things you should learn the first evening of a martial arts class: The best way to win a fight is to avoid it, and if someone doesn’t care what happens to them it is impossible to stop them from hurting you.
The first point is the very best case for Diplomacy that can be made, so much so that the very motivations of our leaders who are itching to fight should be called into question.
But the second point is one that should be considered regarding all the hoo-ha surrounding the “leaks” in our defense strategy. It is impossible to completely defend yourself against people who will die to hurt you. You might be able to stop them from killing you, but you can't stop them from hurting you. A country is made up of people, we are the corpus of our homeland. To destroy a country, the people must no longer act as though they are a country. This can be achieved either by killing enough of them that the remainder become absorbed elsewhere, or it can be achieved by convincing the people of a country to give it up.
It is with this in mind that I say this about the September 11 attacks of 2001: we were hurt, but we were not killed. Our government did do a pretty good job of limiting how we could be hurt, in spite of itself. It is not possible to create a vacuum-sealed border where we maintain a perfect homeostasis with the rest of the Earth. It won't work, because there will always be a way to hurt us, so long as there is a motivation to do so.
The best way to defend against Terrorism is to stop the fight before it happens, and it is in this area that our Government has become increasingly incompetent. Diplomacy is not just a lost art in the neocon world in which we now live, it is a despised tactic by the high and the low alike. That is to say that the Bush administration is not really concerned with our safety, with our well-being, nor is it particularly sophisticated in the way in which it prefers to deal with foreign policy matters. It would be unfair to leave the Clinton Administration out of this, since they controlled the Executive branch for 8 years before Bush and his cronies got elected.
I know this sounds terrible, but it's true. It will never be possible to completely stop terrorists from hurting us as a country. All we will be able to do is make it miserable for the law abiding citizens who live here. The erosion of civil liberties will not make us safer, it will make us less American. It is our Bill of Rights which really makes us who we are as a country, and if it is destroyed then Al Qaeda has succeeded in destroying America. Remember, to kill a country, you either kill enough people, or you convince them they aren't that country anymore.
It seems that we might be doing most of the Terrorists’ work for them.
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