Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
But First, There Must be Life.
August 20, 2006
Nearly five years after 9/11, we are well into an epic, generational struggle. A struggle that pits freedom against tyranny ... hope against fear ... democracy against Islamic radicalism. The men and women of our Armed Forces are fighting with heroic resolve ... and they deserve to be supported in their mission. They deserve to be supported by all Americans and people of good will who are willing to call evil by its name, able to rally our friends and allies behind the global expansion of freedom and democracy, and unafraid to passionately pursue reform of our dysfunctional international institutions.
There are those voices today that support appeasement over strength and surrender over vigilance. The US Declaration of Independence states "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal... with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." But first, there must be LIFE... Without it, there is little need for liberty or much of anything else. But there are global violent extremists who would extinguish the lives of those individuals who treasure liberty and freedom. Recently, thousands of lives were targeted in a foiled plot to smuggle explosive devices in airline hand luggage to blow up planes in mid-flight, or take over aircraft and crash them into targets inside the U.S. We owe much to a strengthened terror surveillance program for the foiling of this hateful plot.
What a horrendous tragedy was about to happen as the news hit the airways the morning of August 10, 2006. Had the extremist terrorists plan to blow up five American airliners succeeded, the consequences would have been, as Scotland Yard said, "mass murder on an unimaginable scale." Thousands could have been killed: men, women and children, of all different faiths and stations in life. They would have been burnt and mutilated by pathological fanatics whose perverted idea of "life" prompts them, allegedly, to conspire at carnage. We are told that the plot had been in the works for months, and its goal was catastrophic. One after another, planes would have exploded in the sky, sending innocent unsuspecting men, women and children to their deaths.
Counterterrorism officials said the plan thwarted in London appears to bear the fingerprints of al-Qaida, and may even have been "the Big One" they have been dreading since Sept. 11, 2001, particularly as the five-year anniversary of the attacks on the United States approaches. "In terms of scale, it was probably designed to be ... a new September. 11," said Jean-Charles Brisard, a French private investigator who works with lawyers of many Sept. 11 victims. "It involved the same tools, the same transportation tools and devices." Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at Sweden's Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies who has done extensive research on al-Qaida's recruiting efforts in Europe, said the foiled plot in Britain "could very well have been an attempt at a major catastrophic event." He warned against doubting the gravity of the threat.
To be repeat, there are those, to the dismay of many, who support appeasement over strength, surrender over vigilance and the weakening of national defense. It is disheartening that today we hear voices of "cut and run" pessimism. This defeatist rhetoric, seem to lack any plan for safeguarding innocent lives, to reinforce homeland security or any plan to win the war against fascist terrorists. These strident voices call for immediate "give up and withdraw" from the war against terrorist operating in Iraq. These voices call to negotiate with Islamic militants who have no respect for human life; to negotiate with those whose goal is to destroy those who honor life, liberty and property. These same voices call for a reduction in spending for national defense and to weaken the fabric for homeland security. Think of it, we did not negotiate with the carnage of Hitler's Nazis Germany or with Japan's Hirohito and his attack on the innocent lives at Pearl Harbor. We were determined than, as a people, to defeat the Axis powers. If we had not acted as we did, speculate where might we be today? But we did act. And a willing and committed people along with statesmanship-like leadership moved forward with a will and a determination to protect the homeland and to preserve freedom for millions. Thanks to the leadership of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. And thanks to, to John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missal crisis and Ronald Reagan in his call to Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall."
All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time," said liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith back in 1977. "This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership," Galbraith concluded. If so, then George W. Bush came up with the right action at the right time to confront without equivocation America's major anxiety after the September 11 terrorists attacks. President Bush may not have established, at the time, a convincing link between Saddam Hussein and September 11. But the coalition forces including American service men and women did succeed in removing from power the terrorizing carnage of a brutal murderer who himself was a weapon of mass destruction. These brave men and women paved the way for an elected representative government in Iraq and to free them of a life of terror. And that was a cog toward beginning to defeat the forces of global terrorism.
It is true, we face daily the threat of terror from the fascist forces of radicalism and the extremism of Hezbollah and al Qaeda. This is no time for moral equivalence; it is the time for moral clarity where there is freedom from tyranny and hope against fear. Now and always, LIFE must be valued where liberty and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed for those who seek it. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.