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Stop Doing the Terrorists Bidding!

As I write this, I am relieved to learn that we have reopened our embassy in Yemen, but we shouldn’t have closed it to begin with. Neither should the embassy have been closed in 2002 under the Bush Administration. But it is standard American procedure. We get terrorist threats to facilities abroad we close them. In my mind, this is the same as saying “How high?” when terrorists say “Jump!” They get a benefit without actually having to run the risks involved with staging an attack.

I’m not saying the threats were real. Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t. But if we honestly desire to eliminate or at least make terrorism rare, we must stop dancing to the terrorist tune. Every American, but especially our government employees needs to show the same willingness for his or her life to be sacrificed as we expect from our soldiers, sailors and airmen.

All US governments, regardless of party, have sold us on the idea that we can outsource risk to our military forces. Every servicemember I’ve ever known would dearly love this to be true. The ones I have talked to would gladly lay down their lives for us to preserve our freedom and way of life. We want it to be true. They want it to be true or they wouldn’t be in the military.

But the truth is they can’t do it alone. They can’t take all the risks themselves because al-Qaeda won’t restrict themselves to military targets. They can and do hit other government facilities and civilians. While the overall risk of the average American being killed by al-Qaeda is much less than the chance he’ll be die in an auto accident, we are all potential targets. We can’t flinch from the potential risk and we shouldn’t allow terrorist groups the ability to close our facilities at will simply by issuing threats. Make them try. They’ll likely fail. If they don’t we shall honor the dead as heroes who refused to bolt and hide from al-Qaeda.

References:

Salon
U.S. embassy open in Yemen after attacks on al-Qaida by Lee Keath
Tuesday, Jan 5, 2010
http://www.salon.com/news/2010/01/05/ml_yemen_al_qaida_2/index.html

Yemen: Terror Threat Closes U.S. Embassy.” Facts On File World News Digest: n. pag. World News Digest. Facts On File News Services, 31 Jan. 2002. Web. 5 Jan. 2010. <http://www.2facts.com/article/2002240650>. [Access available to Alaskans and other subscribers.]

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