Joseph E. Schmitz' Perspective:
The attack on the Boston Marathon should be a wake-up call for the U.S. (Getty Images)
The Boston Marathon terrorist attack is a wake up call. We have enemies who can and will continue to attack us on our own territory. It happened in Boston yesterday. It happened in Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009. And it happened on U.S. sovereign territory in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
Even as we continue to mourn the tragic loss of lives at the Boston Marathon, and as we pray for the speedy recovery of the scores of injured runners and bystanders, one thing is certain: the perpetrators of this terrorist attack are more aptly termed “enemies” than “criminals.”
The good news, as explained below, is that under our Constitution we need not rely exclusively on our federal government to defend ourselves against enemies, whether they are foreign or domestic.
The truth is that “We the People” have been attacked again by an enemy, and the attack has all the appearances of the improvised explosive device (IED) attacks by our various enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade in the so-called “War on Terror.”
Immediately after the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, the president announced to the nation, “We will find out who did this, and we’ll find out why they did it. Any responsible individuals, and responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”
The full weight of justice?
It’s time for the American people to demand that the political branches of their national government face the facts: we have deadly “enemies,” not just “criminals,” and some of those enemies are living among us. Some of those enemies have formally declared war against us, yet the political branches of our federal government seem bent on downplaying the ongoing war.
Failing to call our enemies the self-declared enemies that they claim to be is a form of provocative weakness. The Boston Marathon terrorist attack is yet another manifestation of the practical consequences of provocative weakness.
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon, we talked about “taking the war to the enemy.” But we never really defined the enemy other than references to international terrorism. Identifying al-Qaida by name as an enemy was about as close as we came to understanding our enemies in the War on Terror. But how well did we do then? And how well did we do now? Who are the “live-body” terrorists behind al-Qaida?
Centuries ago in “The Art of War,” the Chinese military leader Sun Tzu explained: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
More recently, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said essentially the same thing, admitting that, “the Bush administration didn’t do a good job. We were careful, and words were always sensitive. You can’t win a battle of ideas . . . unless you describe the enemy, say who it is, say what’s wrong with it, say what we do and why that’s what’s right.” Secretary Rumsfeld added, “the Obama administration is much worse. They won’t even use the word in their hearings. The attorney general doesn’t want to even discuss it.”
In another interview, secretary Rumsfeld explained, “Unless you are willing to identify who the enemy is, and the nature of the enemy, and what it is that they’re trying to achieve, and what their methods of trying to achieve it are, you obviously can’t prevail.”
The American people ought to demand that their leaders in Washington know our enemies better. And the American people ought to renew our efforts at the state and local levels of government, and primarily in our families, to teach our children who we as Americans are.
We need to find out, as the president said, “who did this,” and “why they did it.” But in addition to talking about “justice,” we also need to admit to ourselves that we are at war.
If we do not admit that we are at war, and if we do not educate ourselves better about our enemies, we will at best — as predicted by Sun Tzu — win only half our battles against these deadly enemies (most of whom make no bones about declaring war against us).
If in addition to failing to know our enemies, we also allow political correctness to hamstring ourselves to the point of not knowing who we are, we will “succumb in every battle.”
The good news is that under our Constitution “We the People” do not need to rely exclusively on our national government to defend ourselves against enemies. Article I, Section 10, of the Constitution provides that, "No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.”
When the federal government fails to fulfill its duty to protect each of the states “against invasion” (U.S. Const., Art. IV, Sec. 4), state and local leaders have both the power and the duty to protect their citizens against not only criminals but also against “enemies,” whenever their respective citizens are “in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay” (U.S. Const., Art. I, Sec. 10).
Who decides when citizens are “in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay”? Based on the final provision of our Bill of Rights, that decision ought to be left to those most closely affected, i.e., “to the states respectively, or to the people” (U.S. Const., Amend. X).
Joseph E. Schmitz served as inspector general of the Dept. of Defense from 2002-2005 and is CEO of Joseph E. Schmitz, PLLC. Read more reports from Joseph E. Schmitz — Click Here Now.
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