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PEACE: Foreign Policy & Terrorism | December 25, 2001




An Essay in My Christmas Newsletter 

As September the Eleventh demonstrated, in this ever more dangerous world, we cannot afford to lose the War on Terror, which we are told may be as drawn out as the War in Vietnam (even though we are not now fighting a foe backed by a superpower) -- let us learn from experience, not repeat it.

We must focus on well-defined goals, but we must be patient in achieving them.

We must give the military all that they need in order to do the job we expect them to do. The men and women in the military must give and obey lawful orders. Defense contractors must deliver reliable goods at fair prices.

The media must respect that certain operations must be kept secret, for the sake of the missions and the safety of our troops and operatives. The government must respect that because the military is subordinate to the civilian authority -- the Commander in Chief is elected (however indirectly) by the citizenry -- the people must be provided, through the media, with as much information as possible; and the information provided must be truthful: As Presidents Nixon and Clinton could testify, the people will not follow leaders whom they no longer trust, even if it is in their own best interest to do so.

We must not "pull any punches" in fighting our clever, ruthless, suicidal enemies; but we must be true to our ideals in our dealings both at home and abroad. America's greatest strength has always been her good example; but holding ourselves to such high standards, our every fault is magnified just that much more for our enemies to exploit.

We must do what we as a nation think right; but we must also consider the deep-seated concerns of our allies, if we wish them to remain our friends.

We must recognize that evil comes in many forms, which feed upon one another: From terror, tyranny, and intolerance to ignorance, poverty, and disease...this nation was founded in opposition to every such evil. That is the America we all love and will give anything to defend.

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