Always Vigilant

December 15, 2015

There’s a lot of talk these days about how to defeat ISIS and keep America safe. I for one am not one of those people who buys into the argument that what we need to do is send thousands of our soldiers to Syria and Iraq in a modern day crusade to destroy radical Islam at is core. Whether politicians like to admit it, everyday ISIS is losing territory and seeing its top leadership killed off. Sure ISIS remains a major international terrorist threat with the capability to recruit new suicide bombers, but this is going to be a long war won incrementally, not with one major attack on the capital city of the caliphate, Raqqa.

What I am more concerned about is the growing level of fear within American society and the fear-mongering of our leaders. Rather than educate the citizens of this country on how to develop their skills at spotting a threat or alerting the authorities to suspicious behavior, what is happening is the beginning of a bunker mentality mixed with old-fashioned bigotry and stockpiling guns. You don’t defeat ISIS by destroying their capital, buying your kids Kevlar backpacks, attacking innocent Muslims, or staying at home rather than enjoying life in a free country.

ISIS will be defeated when we show resolve as a nation to protect the homeland; when we don’t stand idly by when we see something that just doesn’t seem right; when we fail to understand that just because someone dresses differently or prays differently they somehow become the enemy; and when we forget that as citizens we have the responsibility to always remain vigilant.

There is not a sane person who doesn’t know fear; in fact fear is a good thing as it keeps us from falling prey to danger. But fear that overcomes one’s daily life, fear that generates hatred, fear that follows blindly those with easy answers, this is the fear that is frankly un-American. True American patriots are not flag wavers or bombastic blowhards. True American patriots become involved in protecting their community, taking reasonable precautionary measures, and never falling prey to those who promise a solution without any answers. In short American patriots always remain vigilant.


Being Safe and Sorry

November 19, 2015

In the wake of the Paris massacre and the yet unproven link between one of the terrorists and Syrian migrants, the Congress, most of the nation’s governors and the American people soundly reject President Obama’s decision to take in 10,000 refugees next year. The opposition to Obama’s promise is based not just on national security concerns and a lack of faith in the vetting process of the Syrians, both legitimate reasons, but a more sinister rejection of Islam and those people who hold to that religion, no matter what hardships they have endured.

When Ben Carson uses the term “dogs” in reference to the Syrians. Donald Trump pledges to close mosques, Jeb Bush wants only to protect Christian Syrians, and Ted Cruz talks makes off handed remarks about internment camps, it becomes quickly obvious that stopping Obama’s plan is more than just about national security and bureaucratic incompetence.

To use a word often used by former president George H.W.Bush, it would be prudent to delay any Syrian refugee resettlement program until the United States and its allies get a better handle on terrorist sleeper cells and lone wolf fanatics, and construct a comprehensive international strategy to destroy ISIL and its caliphate that bridges Syria and Iraq. It is just common sense to sort out the threat, build better intelligence networks, beef up security and go after ISIL where they live.

But because we are in an election cycle of enormous importance to the nation, fear too easily overwhelms reason and common sense. Let’s not forget that the 1st Amendment protects the ” free exercise ” of religion, Lady Liberty welcomes the oppressed – ” give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” and we as a people have always taken pride in the long and proud tradition of tolerating differences, ( and oh yes, Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian immigrant).

It is important that we as a people not let fear take over our lives and religious bigotry rule the day. The prudent course of action is to fashion an entry system for Syrian refugees that is not haphazard and filled with bureaucratic exceptions. This will take some time. But let us not as a nation fall prey to those who are anxious to make this an anti-Muslim crusade and make the all the followers of Islam into terrorists.