Common Sense is a Necessary Component in the War on Terrorism

Forgive me for making the straw man argument, first.

Everyone is upset about the tragedy in Brussels, everyone wants answers but when solutions are proposed, it seems, everyone is too busy tearing down the proposals to actually listen. It appears to be easier to be completely negative than to try to work the problem out.

Terrorism isn’t a Republican or Democrat problem. It doesn’t affect socialists more than it affects free market proponents. It is, simply, a problem. A problem that needs to be resolved before our society devolves to the point where nationalism is the only answer we can see to solve every problem.

Of course, that is the problem with straw man arguments. They deal in fictitious absolutes and I, for one, don’t think national policy should be based on either fiction or absolutes. Life is about compromise. Every single person may want to own a Mercedes or Rolls Royce, but we also would like to own a house and eat food every day, so we compromise and buy a Chevy or Volkswagen. It is a very rare individual that gets everything they want without having to compromise.

The same holds true in politics.

Terrorism GroupsThe difference is that compromising in your personal life doesn’t send anger and hate racing through your friends and family because they want you to be an absolute pillar of…whatever…you get the idea. Making a principled stand is not a weakness, but neither is attempting to see the other side of an argument.

Polarization is at an all-time high in American politics and, in many cases, it doesn’t bother me at all. I am a fan of a slow-moving and deliberate government. Gridlock is good. When actions are taken in the heat of a moment, or when one side or the other has a temporary advantage, the American public is the one who comes to regret it. Washington politicians do not; they are insulated from the reality of living in the United States behind layers of media and money.

Actually, I don’t have a solution to terrorism. As an act of defiance, terrorism is both effective and visible. Although the photo of the Buddhist monk setting himself on fire is one of the most graphic and moving images to come out of the Vietnam War, the self-immolation did not significantly affect the war effort or change the outcome.

It certainly did not have the same effect as bombs exploding in Brussels or Paris or New York. The change the Buddhist monks were seeking was important – to them and to the entire world – and they were not willing to compromise their principles. They were also not willing to force their beliefs on to others. And that fact is one of the most important to keep in mind when talking about religion and terrorism and politics.

There are good reasons to limit the number of refugees coming from Syria and other parts of the Middle East, but religion is the least of them. There are advantages to conducting surveillance in Muslim communities within Europe and the United States that do not infringe the rights of the residents but allows police to watch for radicalization. Refusing to consider the advantages of these policies but only focusing on potential abuse is dealing in the same fictitious absolutes.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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