Day By Day

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Case for Preemption

Cliff May responds to the "Hornets Nest" argument -- you know, those idiots who call up talk shows and say that if we hadn't poked the hornet's nest, we wouldn't have all this trouble with the Middle East. He writes:

If we learned anything from 9/11 it's that doing nothing while tyrants and terrorists plot to kill Americans is not a viable policy.

But that was U.S. policy for more than 25 years. When Iranian revolutionaries seized our embassy yelling, "Death to America," we said to ourselves: "They probably don't mean it."

When, in 1983, the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah slaughtered hundreds of American troops in Lebanon, we said: "If we get out of their way, perhaps they'll settle down."

After the first attack on the World Trade Center, in 1993, we did nothing to those who sent terrorists to our shores.

So before we decide that pre-emption has been a failure, let's acknowledge this: It is because the alternative failed that President Bush came to the conclusion that sometimes it is necessary to use force before attacks occur. It is not enough to attempt to punish our enemies after the blood has been cleaned from our streets.

Nor is deterrence a realistic policy. You can't deter someone who believes that murdering children will earn him a place in paradise....

He concludes:

If Americans have learned anything, it should be this: When people say they intend to kill you, take them seriously.

Lots of wisdom in this article. Read the whole thing here.

Unfortunately, lots of Americans are so invested in ideology or so avid for political advantage that they are impervious to experience. They are all to willing to withdraw back into the comfortable pieties of the pre 9/11 world and a policy of appeasement, retreat, and inaction.

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