Fighting Terrorism

Who fights terrorism in our world today? Is it the military? Is it undercover operatives and spies, gathering information to prevent attacks? Is it police and other organizations on the home front? Or does the battle belong to all of us??

I recently was thinking about this after listening to a CD by LIFE Leadership founder Claude Hamilton. He said the attitude he takes when dealing with challenges he faces in his life is, “Well, at least we’re not fighting terrorism here!” It’s his way of reducing the size of his challenges, and putting them into proper perspective. It’s a good attitude for dealing with the things life throws at us on a daily basis.

As I thought deeper on Claude’s words, I remembered something I learned in school. I studied World War II, and how the ordinary citizens of the free world responded to the war efforts. Let’s investigate that a bit.

The men went off to fight. Some men who tried to go to fight were denied because of age (either too young or too old) or infirmity. Others stayed behind because they were needed at home, or in critical industries or positions, and governments refused their service. And if brothers joined and all but 1 died, the military sent the remaining one home, as was portrayed so vividly in the movie Saving Private Ryan. Those who didn’t go to fight served at home, in civil defense and in other crucial roles.

The women supported the men. Some went to work in factories to make the arms and munitions required. Some joined the Red Cross to help the wounded. Some joined the USO to help morale. Others knitted socks or sweaters or scarves to keep servicemen warm. Some rolled bandages. They took care of children and took on all the roles their absent men would normally have done, all in the effort to support the men.

Even children and young people got into the act. They collected metal for recycling into munitions and arms. They participated in civil defense activities. They helped out neighbors who were participating in war efforts and who were caught short for workers on the home front. They learned about the principles of freedom, the philosophies the free world was fighting against and about the places where they were fighting.

In some way, from oldest to youngest, everyone in the free world helped out in World War II. They all saw it as “doing their part for the cause of freedom.” In fact, this was a common thread in the newsreels and advertisements of the day. War Bonds were purchased by the thousands by ordinary folks, just so they could do their part. It was considered abnormal not to support the war, and people were shunned in society for it. People from all walks of life rationed luxury goods, and even things they’d previously considered necessities, all to support the efforts to win the war. And win they did.

Terrorism is the war that we are fighting today. Our news media, politicians and political candidates remind us of this on a daily basis. So, in light of what we’ve just discussed about World War II and the free world’s war efforts, I want to bring us back to the questions with which I started this post: Who fights terrorism in our world today? Is it the military? Is it undercover operatives and spies, gathering information to prevent attacks? Is it police and other organizations on the home front? Or does the battle belong to all of us??

I believe the war for freedom, against terrorism, is the same as those who we now call “The Greatest Generation” fought in World War II. While the military, the undercover operatives and spies, the police and so on are our active fighters today, we all have a part to play!

What is our part? Allow me to ask a series of questions, to define some possibilities for you:

  • Do you know the principles of liberty and freedom on which Western civilization, and most particularly your country, was founded? Have you read and can you understand your country’s founding and most essential documents?
  • Are you financially sound? Are you out of debt? Do you have a plan to get out of debt, and are you working actively on that plan? Do you understand and practice the principles of sound financial management, as taught by Warren Buffet and Benjamin Franklin (get out of debt, stay out of debt and invest in self-education)?
  • Are you stable relationally? How’s your marriage and family life? Do you communicate and work well together? Are you committed for life? Do you have friends on whom you know you can count for life?
  • How are you spiritually? I’ve written about my relationship with God a lot on this blog. Do you know Him? Do you read what He says in the Bible and follow it?

I could ask other questions, but I think you get my point. For every person who understands freedom better, for everyone who leaves the bondage of debt slavery, for every better marriage and stable family, that’s that many fewer people who have the potential to be terrorists. That’s families standing up in a trickle, flow, then flood for freedom, for liberty, for marriage and family and for the values they hold dear. This is fighting at the grass roots, folks! We are fighting for the hearts and minds of individuals and families, which is where the only true changes take place.

I use the information from LIFE Leadership as my weapons in this fight.

  • I understand liberty and freedom better, thanks to the Freedom series.
  • My husband and I have crawled out from under almost $100,000 of consumer and other debt, and just paid off our last credit card and car loan, thanks to the Financial Fitness series and Wealth series information. (We’re not debt free yet, but we’re a whole lot closer to it!)
  • The books I’ve mentioned in other posts and the Marriage Pack of CD’s have made our good marriage into a great one, that improves all the time. The Parenting Pack has helped us be better grandparents, even better than we were as parents. The books and CD’s of the LIFE series have helped us to make new friends, and be better friends to the ones we already had.
  • The books and CD’s of the AGO series, along with the coaching of our mentors, have helped our spiritual lives.

Consider what might be your part in our current war. Terrorism doesn’t just impact us at home when a sleeper cell is activated, or someone sneaks over a border to do something. It has already impacted the way we live, the way we travel and the way we view the world. It has impacted our children. What we need to do now is decide the impact stops here, it stops now and push back against it. We all need to fight against it together. No one is exempt this time, either. Because, as Benjamin Franklin said,

We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.

 

The Politics Of “The Greater Good”

English: NASA astronaut image of Diego Garcia ...

Diego Garcia

In 1965, the British government purchased the Chagos Archipelago, including the island of Diego Garcia, from its owners, their self-governing colony of Mauritius.  In 1966, the U.S. and British governments concluded a treaty allowing the U.S. military to have rights to the area for the next 50 years, with a 20 year option.  In 1971, the indigenous populations were evicted, in the name of U.S. military interests in the region.  History books say it was done for the greater good.  The indigenous people disagree, and continue to fight their expulsion in World Court.

The "Baker" explosion, part of Opera...

Bikini Atoll is part of the Marshall Islands.  The indigenous population was removed in late 1945, so in June of 1946, the U.S. government could begin atomic weapons testing there.  The islands continued to be used for this purpose until 1958.  In 1964, the U.S. government tried to bring back the people, but had to remove them again, because of unsafely high radiation levels in their bodies.  History books say the use of Bikini Atoll was done for the greater good.

These are two examples in the history of governments doing things against their basic tenets, all in the interests of what those in power rationalize as being in the greater good.  But at what point do we leave the good, making what we are contemplating wrong?  Is it only through the eyes of history that we see the compromises and slippery slopes that lead from bad decisions into worse consequences?

It happens in economics.  It seems right to many for the government to take care of the poor and elderly.  Someone has to do it.  But a look at U.S. history shows it wasn’t the government who did it before the Civil War.  It was families, churches and charities.  No one had to tell them to

Benefit Security Card .. HALF of the U.S live ...

Benefit Security Card

do it.  They did it from love and a spirit of generosity and compassion.

But when it became sponsored by the government during the Great Depression because private institutions were overwhelmed by the size of the need, compassion became pity.  Pity is a sad way to run charity.  It forces from the giver and expects no gratitude from the recipient.  It leaves no room for individuality of need or giving.  It does not encourage leaving the system.  It wipes out the humanity of the process.  It is something we are told being done for the greater good that harms the very people it intends to help, and the population.

The TARP bailouts by the U.S. government between 2008 and 2010 are another example.  This looked like a good idea to save American businesses and thus jobs that were declining and threatening to fail in the post-2008 crash.  However, there was no oversight in the funds, and some companies that were rescued still failed.  Others wasted the money on luxuries for their corporate leaders.  The government spent money it didn’t have on something it didn’t belong doing, mortgaging the future of our grandchildren on the debacle.  Another project done for the greater good failed because of short-sighted thinking and a lack of accountability.

Cover of "Star Trek: Insurrection"

Cover of Star Trek: Insurrection

In the movie “Star Trek: Insurrection,” there is a moving scene in which the Captain confronts his superiors, who want to move a small population away from their home, a move that will kill the people.  It would benefit the civilization the leaders represent.  The move is against everything they stand for as a culture.  As they rationalize to him, the Captain says, “How many are enough, sir?  300?  500?  1000?  1,000,000?”  His superiors stop him before he can go father, but we can get his point.

When a politician stands up and says they is going to fix something by throwing money at it or do something “in the interests of the greater good,” I pay closer attention.  Because the money that politician is about to spend isn’t theirs; it’s mine and yours.  The thing they may want to do may look good in the short-term, but could have unseen long-term consequences no one wants to visit on future generations.  The good the politician is promoting may or may not be my good, or your good.  It could be the good of someone else, and a “good” that causes a harm to you or me in some way.   This harm would at least be to take away some of my freedoms if it taxed my money to do it.  I don’t know anyone who likes more taxes, no matter the cause.

Portrait of William Pitt the Younger as Prime ...

Portrait of William Pitt the Younger as Prime Minister of Great Britain

Just because politicians say it’s “good,” doesn’t mean it’s always good.  Political office doesn’t convey godlike powers.  It never has and never will.  We have to look closer, at long-term and big picture consequences, particularly as we endure this season of U.S. presidential rhetoric and electioneering politics at every level.  In December of 1783, William Pitt the Younger told the British Parlaiment,

 “Necessity was the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It was the argument of tyrants; it was the creed of slaves.”

It has been said the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.  When it comes to governmental choices, however, the good of the one is the only choice promoting freedom we have available.  

(My great thanks to mentor David Phillips and husband Bob.  A conversation with them on a June afternoon prompted this post, formerly called ‘Diego Garcia, Bikini Atoll And The Politics Of “The Greater Good”‘.)