I’ve not been paying a ton of attention to the news the past few days — something almost as important has kicked off, deer bow-hunting season — but I have been checking in a few times a day.
Have I completely missed the United States’ reaction to our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans being killed, apparently because somebody made a movie depicting Mohammad in an unfavorable light.
I’ve heard a few folks comment about the situation, but I haven’t seen where we sent a brigade of the 82nd Airborne in there to crack some heads. Nor have I seen where we lobbed Tomahawk missiles one after another at enemy camps and training grounds, although the latest reports say two destroyers are headed for waters near Libya.
President Obama promises justice, but why the wait?
If we’re trying to piece together some sort of consensus in that part of the world for an appropriate response, we might as well give up on that and ask Arkansas Razorback fans who they want as the next football coach.
But to recap: Armed criminals invaded a U.S. consulate in Libya, killed four people, including the ambassador.
Doesn’t that call for an immediate deterrent response?
Reports have indicated that military personnel at some of our overseas posts do not carry live ammunition. If I didn’t know that policy is true at some locales, I wouldn’t believe it. But it is. In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, we carried weapons while on guard duty, but we had no ammo. How stupid is that? All that tells a potential enemy is that he has to kill the guard because he or she has a weapon. That might be the point anyway, but at least the guard should have an option beyond telling the invading enemy to halt.
I don’t want our nation at war with anyone, if for no other reason than I’ve seen that horrific type of politics up close. But there comes a time when the doves should live in the real world and meet force with force. Some would say that plays right into our enemy’s hands, but this letting them pick off our military members and now our ambassadors one by one isn’t getting the job done.
Killing an ambassador, someone there by definition to work out peaceful outcomes, cannot stand. If war is what it takes, then war it should be. Congress should declare war on the various groups responsible, and then our military should carry out the necessary missions.
These days, war needn’t be the trench warfare of World War II.
Ship- or sub-based missiles are effective. Even ground-based military vehicles and the included armament can level a city block in the time it takes a fanatic to burn an American flag.
Ambassador Stephens and his colleagues were civilians. They were there to build peace, not destroy it.
One of the lessons our parents taught us was that we shouldn’t lower ourselves to the level of the enemy of the day. Extremist fundamentalist Muslims are not the enemy of yesteryear. They don’t wear a uniform. They don’t care if they live or die. They don’t care how many innocents they kill with their bombs. They only want to kill Americans. The more, the better.
That’s terror’s currency.
We have little choice but to do whatever it takes to remain relevant on the world stage.
Going back to President George W. Bush’s words in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. leaders have said that our nation is not at war with Islam. Increasingly, on foreign soil, Islam seems to be at war with us.
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Rick Fahr is a longtime journalist in Arkansas who most recently was editor and publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.