I have been seeing many posts on social media lately about the drone strikes in the Middle East, especially in Pakistan. One such post made reference to an alleged strike on October 30, 2006 on a school in Bajaur, in which 80 young people between the ages of 7 and 17 were killed. Much confusion and speculation surround this strike, even today. There were many responses to the post, some supportive and some critical, but one jumped out at me in particular. It was along the lines of (and I paraphrase here): “Good riddance. Collateral damage. They are all future terrorists anyway”. Whether the strike was perpetrated by U.S. and whether this post was accurate are both inconsequential. The sentiment of the response was clear, and such ignorance could not go without reply from yours truly.
Sweeping generalizations like this are often the weapon of choice by those who are uninformed sheep. If these young men are future terrorists, it is because they grow up in a world where they have to worry about bombs dropping on their heads EVERY DAY. Many of today’s terrorists were young children when the “War on Terror” began. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who lived in the Middle East hated America when we began our campaign of manifest destiny into the Middle East during the first half of the 20th century. And, believe it or not, this remained the case on the day that two planes crashed into our largest city. Sure, there was a large enough and influential enough group to orchestrate such an attack, but that was not representative of the whole population or of Islam at large.
Children, watching their family members become “collateral damage” and their country fall under the indefinite control of a foreign occupation, learned to hate America. Just as we grow up the product of our culture and our life experiences, so do children in the Middle East. We are manufacturing a generation of hostility that will remain a threat to our country for decades to come if we do not take the necessary actions to return to the nation that we once were. A nation that values freedom above all else. A nation that respects the freedoms of other countries to differ from our own, while coexisting in a diverse world of many cultures.
Our forefathers would be disgusted at how we have twisted the meaning of those sacred documents that helped forge our nation and were meant to serve as a reminder of the shortcomings of the empires that have risen and fallen before us. They were meant to be a cautionary tale, to pass down the wisdom that lead to the successful rise of America to the “shining city on a hill” that drove foreigners to dream of living here, not plot to carry out terrorist attacks. We know how to be that city on the hill; we have just abandoned the principles that got us there. A nation that has something truly good going for it does not need to force its policy onto others; they will replicate it on their own. I support our troops, but I do not support sending them to die on foreign shores in a failed campaign to dictate global policy. We need to realize that the best offense against those that would do us harm, is a good defense. Get our troops home, end foreign occupations, invest in defensive infrastructure here in America, cut unnecessary military spending, get our fiscal house in order, and start leading by example again!