During the French Revolution, the King’s (King Louis XVI, dethroned – called Citizen Capet) fate was determined by Maximilien de Robespierre. Robespierre said that “Citizen Capet was a ‘criminal toward humanity’ and killing him merely ‘a measure of public safety’.”(Coulter, 2011) This was just one instance, of many, in the span of world history where the fate of one has been decided to protect the fate of many.
“The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.” – Albert Camus
The ‘War on Terror’ will never end. You cannot extricate evil from humans. Humans’ will is subject to the whims and discretion of individual’s choices. You cannot control all of humanity – nor can you protect it. This is a question much greater than us – and I think that we should at least start having a conversation about recognizing that, so that we can attempt to protect the individual liberties and natural rights of Coloradans, and all of those people living in the respective States of this country. There are bad people all over the planet – and some of them do want to do harm to American people. You will not stop them by killing innocent people who live in those countries – with that approach, you create more enemies.
The recent study by Stanford and New York University, outlining the amount of innocent civilian’s deaths in Pakistan, should bring us to have a discussion about the executive powers of a President and the potential impact of wars not declared by Congress. Congress is who we can hold accountable for such atrocities, but they are not technically responsible since the ‘War on Terror’ was not officially declared by them. Also, by having a war on a subject, it will allow the powers to be to perpetuate that war for an infinite amount of time.
Wars on subjects, just like hatred towards factions of people – is a dangerous road that has serious consequences for the life, liberty, and property of citizens. The world is imperfect, and I do think there are bad people roaming around that we should defend ourselves against – but there is a fine line there that we should not cross when it comes to protecting the American people’s civil liberties – including their life and property. Indefinite detainment is real (suspension of habeus corpus is “okay” with provisions in Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)) – and just as we should have constitutional declaration of wars – we should have people in Congress that mean what they swear when then hold their hand over the Constitution. Remember – policy is interpreted by those with the opportunity to use force – could you be a threat to public safety?
In my lifetime, I want to make sure that we, as a country, never turn into a mob that decries that it is okay to kill people “in the name of public safety”. Remember – our actions overseas can soon reflect on our actions towards our own citizens. We are being terrorized into thinking that killing innocent people is okay if we are protecting public safety, and we have to understand that those human beings who have lost loved ones are full of pain and remorse from their losses – which we would have too if someone was flying drones over us day and night (oh wait, we do already have that, they just haven’t been outfitted with ammunition, yet).
There is a place for war – but there is also a place for peace. To truly protect our country, I think we should have a discussion of a more efficient means of implementing a smart and strong foreign policy that truly protects the borders and economy of this country.
Coulter, A. (2011). Demonic. Crown Forum. p.112
Greenwald, G. (September 25, 2012). New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama’s drones. Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/25/study-obama-drone-deaths?newsfeed=true
To read the whole report: Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan