Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pat Buchanan Makes a Rare Bit of Sense

I seldom agree with much of anything Pat Buchanan says, but every once in a while he surprises me with some very cogent and -- some might say -- progressive insights. Today's post on Real Clear Politics is one of those times (although he sort of loses sight of his point with a rant about immigration toward the end).

Here are the key quotes:

Terrorism, said Powell, is not a mortal threat to America.

"What is the greatest threat facing us now?" Powell asked. "People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?"

History and common sense teach that Powell speaks truth.

Since 9-11, 100,000 Americans have been murdered -- as many as we lost in Vietnam, Korea and Iraq combined. Yet, not one of these murders was the work of an Islamic terrorist, and all of them, terrible as they are, did not imperil the survival of our republic.

Terrorists can blow up our buildings, assassinate our leaders, and bomb our malls and stadiums. They cannot destroy us. Assume the worst. Terrorists smuggle an atom bomb into New York harbor or into Washington, D.C., and detonate it.

Horrible and horrifying as that would be -- perhaps 100,000 dead and wounded -- it would not mean the end of the United States. It would more likely mean the end of Iran, or whatever nation at which the United States chose to direct its rage and retribution.


Powell's point is not that terrorism is not a threat. It is that the terror threat must be seen in perspective, that we ought not frighten ourselves to death with our own propaganda, that we cannot allow fear of terror to monopolize our every waking hour or cause us to give up our freedom.

Powell and Buchanan are spot on correct. We must not allow the war mongers and fear peddlers in the Bush administration and the press (yes, you, William Kristol) to generate an atmosphere of terror so that they can, one by one, take away our freedoms in the name of keeping us safe.

I'll take freedom over safety any day.


Sedicious said...

It's a false choice: if you lose your freedom, you lose your security too. There is no security without freedom.

Angela said...

An even bigger issue is that the public is afraid to question the media and the administration and falsely assume that they are being fed the truth. The Bush administration has expertly manipulated the media like no other and our society is vulnerable to future worse attacks if we do not start to fight back by asking tough questions and demanding answers. This topic really makes me angry ... :)

Unknown said...

There is also no freedom without some degree of security. It's a balancing act.

If data-mining efforts can yield the names of terrorists, then I see no problem with them. How much freedom are we giving up if the effort is overseen by judges and is high-tech such that only computers are seeing the names?

If a nuclear devise brought in by terrorists kills 100,000 Americans, THAT is when the fear mongerers win. An up-tick in security may be freedom's best friend.

william harryman said...

I'm not a fan of data mining, especially when this government considers peace protesters to be in the same category as enemy combatants. I don't trust them to simply look for terrorists -- they are also looking for dissenters.

And then there's habeus corpous, or what's left of it. You or I can be imprisoned without a lawyer, without charges, simply because Bush says we are terrorists -- no proof needed.

The biggest crime in all of this, as Angela points out, is the media's complicity in this, by not exposing the reality of what Bush has done.

We can never be safe if we are not free.


Anonymous said...

As a long term Integral student coming to appreciate paleoconservativism more and more, can I humbly suggest that a more careful look at all of what Pat Buchanan has to say, in it's whole context, is in order. His critique of the severe damage of (Green) egalitarian ideology are right on the dot.

Anonymous said...

(PS. I'm not suggesting Pat Buchanan is Integral, I am suggesting he represents a healthy enthocentricity that is generally lacking in the West, and is a basis for stable higher growth. It is "I am proud of the good that I and my culture represent (Left Quadrants), and I am wise enough of it's limits that I am not going to coercively impose them on anybody (Right Quadrants)".)

Anonymous said...

(PPS. In contrast, Progressive politics still conflate the Left and Right quadrants all of the time, with huge (albeit unintended) adverse consequences. Ron Paul would call these adverse consequences "blowback", whether it be from the interventionism in foreign policy (increase in terrorism), monetary policy (debt, bubbles, price inflation and lower real wages for the low-middle class), regulation of medicine (expensive and substandard services making money for Big Pharma) or social welfare ("coercive charity" encourages a disempowering sense of entitlement in the receiver and leaves person to person giving to atrophy.)