September 12, 2001

By Tom DeWeese

America is a different place today. That’s good. Because we need to be. Many of our citizens were beginning to forget why America is special. When asked where our wealth and high standard of living came from, many would simply shrug their shoulders and say, “was is not always so?”

Many Americans may have forgotten (or never were taught) that such a wonderful life has a price – eternal vigilance. It means we revere our history and understand how we got to be the greatest nation on earth. It means we stand for our liberties. It means we fight back when attacked. It means we accept no substitute for the right to live as we wish.

The right to live, free of fear from government oppression; free to travel; free to associate with whom we choose; speak what we wish – as individuals is the key to our liberty. Few societies in the world share that vision and understanding. Consequently few enjoy our happy lives. Their lives are more drudgery than joy. Many find that their government has reduced them to the statues of meaningless pawn to be sacrificed when necessary. Many try to escape to our paradise because they desire our precious breath of life. Others seek to destroy us, perhaps to obliterate our golden image from their jealous minds.

Hate is a powerful weapon. It can find ways to overcome even the most awesome military power on earth. That was proven with the horrible terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Americans were dumbfounded. How could such a thing happen in this country, many asked. Why would they sacrifice their own lives to kill innocent people?

Hate, and indifference opened the way for that death and destruction. Hate on the part of the terrorists. Indifference on the part of individual American citizens who don’t care enough to understand the source of their liberty or to defend it from those who condemn it. Instead of standing for our rights, we push the problem off to global diplomats to discuss how we should behave. We let them dictate our response. We permit our leaders to sit in endless meetings which legitimize hate mongering against us. We obey the UN and stop short of defeating Saddam Hussein. We permit nations to harbor terrorists who seek to do us harm. We sit by while our ships are attacked. Embassies are bombed. Then we naively apologize for our wealth and success. We just want to be safe. We just want those nasty people to leave us alone. Lack of resolve has made us weak and vulnerable to attack. And so it happened.

Now the nation is coming together. Reawakened. Resolved to fight. The nation’s reaction must be swift, sure and complete. Our leaders have a responsibility to resolve this issue and restore national security. Terrorism must be wiped from the face of the earth. Marginal or measured responses will only serve to anger this enemy and guarantee more attacks. Terrorists everywhere who make war on innocent men, women and children must be obliterated. There must be no safe harbor for them. Americans must once again be free to live in our own country or walk down the street of any other nation without fear. That will only happen when our enemies understand that to pick on an American, any American, puts their own existence in jeopardy.

But in fighting this war, the U.S. government has a responsibility to its own people. Americans have proven time and again that we are willing to temporarily sacrifice some of our liberties in order to help bring about a permanent victory over our enemies. But we are not, and should not, be willing to sacrifice it forever.

It is the duty of the U.S. government to quickly find these murderers and win this war. Then, just as quickly, the government must restore our free society. We must not be forced to live in an armed camp of surveillance cameras, metal detectors, identification papers, strip searches, bank account surveillance and massive government data banks under the excuse of protecting us.

Living in that sort of world means the terrorists have won. Only when Americans once again resolve to live in a totally free society without fear of hijacking, kidnapping and murder will America be able to claim victory over terrorism and again stand as the beacon of freedom for the world.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.