Did anyone see Judge Andrew Napolitano's exchange with Bill O'Reilly? Judge Napolitano said it's appropriate to have a trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York. Mohammed's alleged crime was committed in New York, and therefore he should be tried there. O'Reilly says that as a terrorist, Mohammed is less than human and has no right to a fair trial (my paraphrase). O'Reilly says an 'enemy combatant' has no right to a trial in an American court. Napolitano points out that there has been no declaration of war and therefore Mohammed is not a prisoner of war, but rather a human being accused of a crime.
In America we consider people innocent until they are proved guilty in a court of law. Napolitano referred to the fact that under the United States Constitution those who commit crimes in a place must be tried in that place. O’Reilly responded, “I don’t care about the Constitution! The Constitution isn't here, you're here. Don't be a pinhead.”
O'Reilly is representative of many Americans who want to believe that this country is in an official state of war against all Muslims. If a Muslim commits a crime, it’s an act of war on the part of all Islam. O’Reilly’s hatred and paranoia is so strong that he is willing to turn his back on the very foundation of this country. Bill O’Reilly not only hates Muslims, he hates America. Anti-American terrorism has won a big victory in Bill O'Reilly and those that follow him. If we sacrifice justice and act instead out of vengeful hatred, we are no better than those we claim to oppose.
The Real War
I served 21-plus years in the Air Force. Since leaving the military, I have looked for ways to continue serving America. I think that climate change is the greatest challenge of our generation, so I have joined a grassroots organization called 1Sky to fight for climate change legislation.
It seems to me that so much more is asked of the young people entering the service today. The U.S. unquestionably has the greatest military force on Earth, but how much more can our forces take? If you are concerned about the sacrifices borne by the men and women of America’s military, you should also be concerned about global warming.
The current wars are primarily ideological, but let’s face it, the reason for most wars boils down to one thing—people fighting over too little of this or that resource. As climate change takes more of a toll on our world, there will be fewer resources and more wars. Our forefathers fought to secure their freedom, so do we really want our young people to die to secure resources? While some may consider this a valid patriotic goal, would it not be more patriotic to ensure that we do not have to fight for them in the first place?
It’s true that access to critical resources is vital to our national security, but going to war to secure them will just delay the inevitable. Eventually there won’t be enough left even for us. Ultimately, this problem cannot be solved with brawn; it requires brains. Fortunately, in addition to having the greatest military on Earth, the U.S. has historically been the seat of scientific innovation.
The longer we bury our heads in the sand, the further behind we lag in technological advances. Other countries are already investing large amounts into alternative energy research. Even China, which currently depends heavily on coal-fired power plants, has its eyes on the future. They now invest more in solar, wind and battery technologies than the U.S. They know the country that makes the next big breakthrough in energy technology will have a strong advantage in the world economy.
National security is the ability to control your nation’s destiny from within rather than having it dictated by an outside force. In this day and age, national security is as much about a healthy economy as it is about a strong military. If we do not develop the new energy technologies here at home, we will have to buy them from other countries. How is that any better than our current dependence on foreign oil? Our national security depends on us regaining our technological edge.
America has been referred to as the leader of the free world. If we cannot lead as the world faces its greatest challenge, we do not deserve the title. America, return to your true role as leader of the free world. Lead in peace, not war. Ask our senators to pass strong climate change regulations. Ask President Obama to lead the world at Copenhagen.
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