The primary responsibility of government is to protect its citizens from internal and external threats. Last week, that basic trust was shattered with the attack by Major Hassan on his comrades in arms at Fort Hood. Many ask the question, “How could this tragedy happen?” Easy, government, especially big ones, are inefficient, incompetent, and essentially answerable to no one. Look at the record. Washington has let us down on everything it has ever promised: affordable healthcare for the elderly and poor, eradication of poverty, excellence in education, a money supply that guarantees stable prices, care for our veterans. The list of federal government failures goes on and on. Now, we have the Fort Hood tragedy. Of course, they will spend millions on the investigation and no one will be held accountable because government works very differently than the real world.
What Americans should really be questioning is not how the federal government could allow a “terrorist” to infiltrate the ranks of our military and commit such a heinous act, instead Americans should ask the question of themselves: how could we allow our government to put us in this position in the first place? We need to question the actions of our government like never before and hopefully come to the reasonable conclusion that our government in Washington is more responsible for our vulnerability to terrorism than the terrorists. Put another away, if we have any hope of living in relative safety Washington must change.
Let’s begin by setting the record straight: terrorists hate the United States not because we are free or capitalist, like the pundits and politicians would have us believe, but because the United States has done the Arab world wrong. Qatar, my country of current residence, is an incredibly wealthy country because of its primarily free market economy which allows Qatari citizens to reap the benefits of oil, natural gas, and private ownership of the means of production. Under the above logic, terrorists should be blowing up this place into small pieces. They are not. On the other hand, Qatar is also not involved in occupying any other country’s territory in the Middle East. It is not responsible for propping up corrupt dictators because it serves its own interests. Qatar is not trying to force its way of life and its system of government on anyone. The Emir is fulfilling his solemn responsibility as leader of the country to keep his citizens safe from external attack.
On the other hand, Americans are “free” but their government in the last twenty years has occupied Middle East territory by invasion and the enforcement of a no-fly zone. The U.S. government has propped up with financial and military aid corrupt dictators in Iraq (let’s not forget Saddam Hussein), Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. For God’s sakes Saudi Arabia still cuts off hands for stealing and stones women for adultery. Washington is currently in the process of attempting to force our system of republicanism on two countries that have as much chance of success with it as we would have with monarchy. In the process of our meddling, literally millions of Middle Easterners have been killed, tortured, imprisoned, and maimed. All of this was done in the cause of our national interests.
And absent from all of the meddling mentioned above is our unflinching support of Israel to the detriment of the Palestinians. We supported Israeli atrocities in Gaza directly with financial aid and indirectly with our no vote on the resolution condemning Israel at the United Nations.
These actions of our government are what make us less safe and more vulnerable to terrorist attack. Now, I know that Qataris are fellow Muslims and therefore somewhat shielded from the wrath of their brethren. But, what about free and capitalist countries like Luxembourg and Switzerland? They are closer to the Middle East but significantly less vulnerable to attack. No, the difference is that these countries mind their own business and consequently have not made the same enemies that we have.
We would not like it if NATO sent troops onto Texas soil to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States. We would balk at the idea of moving Iowans off their farmland and offering it to any Israelis who would be interested in relocating. We would not stand by idly while a coalition of Middle Eastern countries invaded the U.S. because they perceived our country as being a part of some “axis” of evil” antithetical to their national interests – set up a Green Zone in D.C. and force upon us a structure of government – say monarchy, that is so foreign to us it isn’t even funny.
The point is that we would respond to a call to arms if any of these scenarios had any possibility of happening. So why are we surprised when others respond to a call to arms against the U.S. when we do these things to them? Look in the mirror America. We will not be truly safe until you do.
For good or bad, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The Irish Republican Army fought for years to free Northern Ireland from British control. The minutemen fought a guerilla war for our independence. Don’t we wish the Zimbabweans or Cubans or Venezuelans would rise up and overthrow their respective dictators? There are two sides to every issue. Our country is facing an onslaught of violence because of its government’s actions.
In 1802 Thomas Jefferson indicated to Rufus King his foreign policy goal, “We wish to cultivate peace and friendship with all nations, believing that course most conducive to the welfare of our own. It is natural that these friendships should bear some proportion to the common interests of the parties.” We have strayed far from the wisdom of Jefferson. Yes, Major Hassan’s act was despicable. He should be brought to justice. He should be executed if found guilty. But, instead of strengthening our resolve to continue the fight against terrorism because of this incident like our politicians and military leaders are apt to do we must reconsider our countries actions toward others and hopefully prevent the next barbarous attack on our countrymen.