February 10, 2005

Security vs. Liberty

What is a conservative to do? In the war against militant Islam we certainly want to destroy the networks of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Mullahs of Iran, the Saudi Wahabis etc.. But at what cost to our own personal liberties? Should we allow the executive branch to wage war against nations without a declaration of war? Probably. Should we allow the detention of US citizens without charges being brought by the government? Maybe. Should we allow for torture of militant Muslims who seek to kill us? Probably not. I don't have all the answers. But I do think these are questions that we should consider as conservatives. Today I heard a lecture by a professor from Stanford who represented Jose Padilla (dirty bomber) before the Supreme Court. She told me that there have been numerous cases where the government had no evidence against suspected terrorists. She believes that the government should not be able to declare US citizens "enemy combatants" and that even suspected terrorists deserve Constitutional protections of due process. I tend to agree with her in theory, but not quite in practice. I think with fanatics like these who want to kill everyone who doesn't own a Koran, we have to fight pretty dirty. We can't win with one hand tied behind our back. However, what happens when the day comes that the federal government kicks down your door to take your guns? Or when the government deems all Christians "terrorists"? What about when the government declares that all those who carry a pocket-sized edition of the Constitution are terrorists? Then, will conservatives support the idea of hamstringing the government in its fight against "terrorists"? I pose this question as food for thought. I am not certain where I come down on this issue. But it is something we should all ponder.


aaron said...

I don't like killing, fighting, or going to war. Historically, very bad things happen when people take up arms, even for what they believe is a just cause.

Really, I don't think world war II has ended, perhaps going farther back.

The war on terror is only an extension of the cold war and a further extension of world II and on and on...until the American Government stops, thinks and ends the fighting and blodshed, perhaps we can live in a world of peace.

I am no pacifist by any means; I believe in direct action to stop injustice. However, I don't believe violence is the answer. Violence only begets more violence.

What was most curious to me about 9/11 was why it hadn't occurred early.

The United States Government has directly killed or indirectly supported the killing of millions of civilians across the globe.

Akil said...

Someone has been reading too much Chomsky and Howie Zinn. Of course our government has gone to war, and has killed innocent civlians in the process. However, to only focus on these incidents while giving a pass to the truly brutal regimes out there is to be inconsistent, and dangerously so. This nation has done the best job of upholding liberty in the world, as compared to the rest of the countries. I don't here liberals screaming about the atrocities of Saddam or Osama though, they only talk about US foreign policy. The scale of violence and bloodshet committed by the Mao's, Stalin's, Saddam's, Milosovic's and Amin's of the world is much greater than that of sporadic violent acts committed by the CIA or DOD. Knee-jerk reaction to all bad things in the world doesn't make sense, especially when your reaction consists of the argument that the United States is the entity to blame. To remedy this, I hereby proscribe for you a dose of Dan Flynn's book, Why the Left Hates America. A book report is due by the end of the week.