I hope to keep this brief because terror attacks bring me down. I like to keep things light and a little hopeful on this blog. It’s hard to do that after what happened in the last year — in Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando and now back to France in Nice.
Despite reports to the contrary, the terrorists are winning in France.
I’m not here to score political points for a conservative movement. Even if I wanted to, President Obama is out of office in less than a year, anyway, so what’s the point?
Ever since 9/11, we’ve heard a variety of things that we have to do “or the terrorists win.” We have to live our lives or… We have to show Muslims we accept them or… We have to shop in the mall or… We have to fly an American flag attached to the passenger window of our SUV or…
You get the idea.
All of those ideas pale in comparison to one thing: If you concede terrorists cannot be stopped, the terrorists win.
To repeat, I’m not suggesting Obama has waved a white flag.
But these quotes from French politicians sound like a concession speech to me:
“Times have changed and France is going to have to live with terrorism.” — France prime minister Manuel Valls
“The question is, are we able to prevent it? And my answer would be, unfortunately no.” — Nathalie Goulet, head of the France’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee
Wrong. No, those quotes are worse than wrong. If you allow yourselves to accept terrorism, you lose. It’s just that simple.
A government that shrugs its shoulders and advises its citizens that it cannot keep them safe is not a just government. More than anything else, that is a fundamental purpose of a government. Consider: a government passes laws, imposes taxes, etc. If terrorists don’t follow these laws and you won’t stop them, then why should I, the private citizen? I have to protect myself.
That is one step closer to anarchy.
If France’s elected leaders cannot say they can keep their citizens safe, France needs a new government.
On the plus side, I think both of our major political candidates get that basic tenet. On Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” on Thursday, presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton didn’t use talk as tough as her Republican challenger, but one of the main points of her argument was particularly insightful. Host Bill O’Reilly mentioned sending in NATO troops, which splits the burden amongst nations along with the United States.
“Let’s not kid ourselves,” she replied. “If we do that, America will have to lead.”
You’re damn right, Madam Secretary. We will have to lead, because France will not.
Whatever you want to say about Clinton or Donald Trump, I sleep better at night knowing that both of them recognize when other nations accept a new reality of terrorism, we won’t. The United States, for all of its flaws inside its borders, is ready to take command when people outside the borders threaten our way of life.
I don’t claim to know how to defeat terrorism.
But what I do know is accepting it won’t keep us safe.