Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A conservative point of view that I respect

The novelist Mark Helprin has written a well-considered essay on the "War on Terror". It appears in the current issue of The Claremont Review of Books. Here is an excerpt from his essay:

This country and its elites in particular have yet to shed the illusions that we need not work full out in our defense; that we need not, as in the past, display full commitment and devotion; that the stakes are low and the potential damage not intolerable.... Politicians of both parties badly judge the American character when, gazing at their own mirrors, they assume that we are a shallow people incapable of sacrifice and austerity. How would they know, never having had the courage even to ask? How can these same politicians have the temerity to expect and order so many military families to risk the ultimate sacrifice, and yet quake at the prospect of informing the rest of us that we may have to do with a little less? We can afford to pay many times over for anything this war requires. The money is there, and to direct it into well thought-out and effective measures for the common defense is an obvious responsibility of self-preservation.

Read the rest here.

I don't agree with everything he says, but I do agree with his central point: This country must decide if it is indeed fighting a war, and if we do decide that we are fighting a war, we need to commit ourselves to winning it by mustering all the resources it takes. The single most elementary function performed by any government is to protect its citizens from outside threats. Our government is failing to do this.

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