Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Confronting Lawlessness - Domestic vs. Foreign

On what legal basis is the United States government authorized to respond to foreign lawlessness in a way that is different that the government is authorized to respond to domestic lawlessness?

Each time I hear about covert action orders to kill people, instructions to break the law, support to overthrow other governments, I ask myself, "How are these actions justified when, in our own country, such actions would provoke the most vehement objection?" How soon will we justify such behavior against "the enemies within" the United States? I worry that our civil liberties, our freedom, the result of such a long and arduous history of vigilant protection, are being eroded by our own fear; our fear and our reluctance to accept our own responsibility to be courageous.

Is there something that we must do to protect and encourage the protection of our freedoms? Pointing a finger at "them" and saying "they are the enemy" strips us of our responsibility. Looking back in time, under what government at any time in history were freedoms improved by increasing the people's fear of "them"?

Fear, a response to a threat, can be met by finger pointing, blaming others for what has happened. It can be met by another form of finger pointing: charging others with the responsibility of making us feel safe. Or it can be met with individual courage, where each of us takes responsibility for our fear and choose to act honorably in spite of our fear.

April 14, 2004

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