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The best defense against terrorism is a good social program?

February 19, 2015

When Rudy Giuliani said that President Obama “doesn’t love America” he was articulating what many people think privately, but are afraid to say publicly. The perils of articulating what many are thinking were apparently not lost on the former New York mayor, since he almost immediately tried to walk back his comment.

Given that this is a country that was founded on the ideal of free speech, that’s a shame.

Mayor Giuliani’s impression of the President’s rhetoric coincides with that of many others.

It is not lost on most of the people that actually listen to the President that he is almost invariably critical of anything American, and is apparently most comfortable apologizing for the country’s existence.

Even taking into account the composition of the captive audience for  the President’s closing remarks at the recently concluded “White House summit to counter violent extremism” it was hard to miss the dig about “anti-immigrant sentiment”. (Italics added)

It was also hard to miss that the title of the summit didn’t say anything about defending against or defeating our enemies. In fact, a great deal of time seems to have been spent on denying that we have enemies. Apparently our problem is a lot of misunderstood young people.

Somewhat lost in the televised rhetoric was that the main recruiting tool for the terrorists seems to be the promise of participating in a “holy war” to destroy everyone who doesn’t embrace the most radical interpretation of Islam. It’s hard to see how a jobs program can compete with that.

With the possible exception of the President’s closest confidants, we can’t really know what the President thinks, although phrases spoken by his closest allies like America “is a nation of cowards” seem unambiguously national in scope.

Patriotism is defined as the love for one’s country. Granted, that shouldn’t mean never acknowledging faults, just as loving one’s child doesn’t mean accepting misbehavior without question.

Still, there is a difference between a parent telling a child, “I love you, but I don’t like what you are doing” and telling the child, “you’re horrible, you’ll always be horrible, and I wish you had never been born.”  Mr. Obama too often sounds like the latter parent.

Making any kind of excuse for the barbarism of the radical Islamic State or any of its offshoots makes it sound like the parents who excuse their child for killing the neighbor’s baby because the baby was crying.

The world isn’t going to conform to the President’s vision of Utopia any time in the next two decades, much less the next two years. Trying to nation build by lecturing other nations or groups about achieving a classless society or bribing them by offering money for social impact programs may work as a sociology theory, such as is taught in our colleges.

As a real world strategy, it doesn’t work at all.

That approach hasn’t even worked here. We throw literally billions of dollars from both government and private sources into social programs to keep young people from joining gangs and using drugs. It doesn’t seem to have eradicated gangs or drugs.

As a defense strategy, even if we could somehow force other nations to follow that model,  it wouldn’t make us or them safer now.

Perhaps the President would be better off addressing the concept of global self-defense before we have a lot more to worry about than “global grievances.”

Perhaps words don’t matter, but in the absence of action, they are the only yardstick we can use to measure or be measured. Social programming isn’t going to change that, just as it will not halt burnings and beheadings.

From → op-ed

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