Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bombs and Bombast

("How ISIS Defeats Us")

Mr. Bruni is completely right. And utterly wrong.

Yes, the last 14 years have taught us some basic lessons. First, that the two planes which struck the World Trade Center changed the landscape of New York, the face of this nation, and the course of much of the world. We have spent untold trillions of dollars in defense against possible further attacks in the United States, many trillions more in boots on the ground and bombs in the air in hunting down those who we perceived had done us wrong, or could do us wrong. And we have demonstrated that, for all our physical might, we have been unable to stop the conflagration that has ensued.

The other conclusion is that many in this country have played upon our worst instincts and helped produce a country gripped with paranoia and irrational fear. We have turned our collective back on suffering, whether it be from those in Mexico, West Africa or now from Syria. We are in grave danger of losing our moral compass.

To call out President Obama for speaking bluntly against those who incite our internal riot is an error. He has been the adult voice in the room when it comes to our emotional response. If he does not, in moments of crisis, forcefully challenge those who would weaken our moral resolve, then he would be complicit in a terrible crime. If he has shown annoyance or disdain for Mr. Trump, Mr. Rubio, Dr. Carson and those others who have miscast the danger as a marketing tool for their candidacy, if he has demonstrated disgust for the governors who pander to prejudice, if he has denounced the hysteria and hyperbolic predictions, then he has done what he has a mandate to do.

We have gone down a terrible path these last 14 years and the maze that now confronts us is almost impossible to decipher. ISIS has gotten into our heads and into our hearts, has weakened us in ways that are central to the core of our being. If we do not want to veer towards defeat, then it is not with bombs and bombast that we will win but with belief in humanity. If we close our hearts and our borders we have lost the war.

1 comment:

Michael Gansl said...

So well said. I hope it is not a lonely voice in the wilderness.