Tonight, I decided to catch up on some of my reading and I had to stop at John Cafferty’s blog, The Cafferty File. He has posted the question, Should The U.S. attack Al Qaeda without permission? I read though hundreds of responses both for and against, with many excellent responses on both sides (and some just plain ignorant). Though I did see hints of it, I didn’t see anyone mention our country’s responsibility for global leadership.
As a proclaimed “Super Power, how our government executes it’s foreign policy sets the standard for other countries in how they interact within their own spheres of influence. It is nothing new that we project to the world a contradiction on a most global scale. In one hand, we hold freedom, honor, respect, peace and love as values that all people should strive for. In the other hand, we hold a bloody dagger of rage, torment, anguish and revenge. It’s no great wonder that our enemies hate us with such loathing and that even our allies turn their backs on us or at best, tisk and shake their heads.
Each of us has our own idea of what is means to be an American. A question I often have is what do other people in the world think is means to be and American and how do we want to be seen by them? Are we arrogant, militaristic, dictators pushing our beliefs on those who want nothing of it or are we a strong, rugged nation of people that cry foul and intervene on behalf of those who are powerless to stop the international hooligans? Are we really still the world police force, commissioned to right the wrongs of the world? The full spectrum of these simple questions spawns so many more but it comes right back to how can America be a world leader, spreading the values of freedom, honor, integrity, and peace by casting world opinion aside and just doing what we feel is the right thing to do?
Many could argue that it is simply the right thing to do and we must act to prevent the evil-doers of the world from gaining a foothold. Others would say that we are arrogant for even thinking of acting alone without a coalition of nations and we are no better than those who run around blowing up cars in crowded marketplaces. Never before 9/11 did I think about how others saw us; saw me.
However, things change. Out children will never know what it was like to wonder if we would ever be attacked. Our children will have to wonder will it happen again? If we as a nation do not stop and focus on what it is we want to be, then we will become what we fear the most; a memory. Each and everyone of us needs to be committed to the values that our country stands for in the world: Honesty, integrity, Honor, Strength, Bravery. Should the U.S. attack Al Qeada without permission? My question is why is it up to the U.S. to shoulder this burden alone? Why must others reap the rewards of freedom that were purchased with the blood of our fathers/mothers/sons/daughters?
When others are too weak to defend themselves, we have a moral obligation to intervene. We also have a right to defend ourselves from those who would see our way of life destroyed, but always, ALWAYS in an manner that doesn’t violate our core, American values. When our nation begins to start acting like we want others to see us, then the image of America may return to that of a nation that is a beacon of hope for the people of the world. Today, let’s take a minute to reflect upon what it means to be American. Let us consider the cost for our role in in the war not only now but for the future of our children. Let us consider the price already paid by our Armed Forces and the sacrifices that they have made. Let us consider what it truly means to be a leader in the the world community. Then, perhaps, we’ll be able to leave to our children an America that is a better and a world where John Cafferty won’t have to ask that question again.