Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Exception to the Rule

Today I want to discuss the war we are waging against Islamic terrorists in Iraq and around the world, and to argue that it is fundamentally a war of ideas and a war of values, a war of conflicting visions of humans and history, of faith and country. The war on terrorism we are fighting goes to the very heart of America’s national purpose and national security. Our core principles of freedom and opportunity are at stake.

In the flurry of news bombarding us each day of the ups and downs from all fronts in the war on terrorism, it is easy to forget the larger ideals that it is all about. Car bombings in Baghdad… pipeline attacks in Riyadh… assassination attempts in Islamabad… foiled terrorist plots in Thailand… victories in Afghanistan… arrests in Columbus, Ohio… may cause people to lose sight of the values we are fighting for in this war – and the values we are fighting against.

We cannot let that happen. A democracy such as ours can only go to war and win with the informed support of the people.

The terrorists can never defeat us militarily. But they can divide us and defeat us politically if the American people become disappointed and disengaged, because they don’t appreciate and support the overriding principles that require us to take military action. The same, of course, is true for our allies in Europe, Asia and throughout the Muslim world. They need to better understand and embrace our purpose and what it means for them.

What we are fighting for in Iraq and around the world is freedom. What we are fighting against is an Islamic terrorist totalitarian movement which is as dire a threat to individual liberty as the fascist and communist totalitarian threats we faced and defeated were in the last century.

What we are fighting for is an expanding worldwide community of democracies. What we are fighting against is the prospect of a new evil empire, a radical Islamic caliphate which would suppress the freedom of its people and threaten the security of every other nation’s citizens.

The Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said that the keys to victory in any armed struggle are to “know thyself” and to “know thy enemy.” His ancient wisdom should guide our modern conflict.

To win the war on terrorism, we must better understand ourselves and our enemies.

First, “know thyself.” From the beginning, we Americans defined our nation not by its borders, but by its ideals. They are spelled out in our founding documents. The Declaration of Independence says, “All men are created equal” and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Declaration also makes clear that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed,” not from the power of those who govern.

The Constitution explains that “we the people” sought to form “a more perfect union” to secure “the blessings of liberty.”

Equality. Opportunity. Democracy. Unity. Liberty. Those are the values America stands for, the ideals we are fighting for in Iraq and around the world. Those are the bright stars we must always chart our national course by.

As President Reagan once said: “What kind of people do we think we are? Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.”

In our time, that particularly means the hundreds and millions of men and women who live in Arab and Islamic countries, largely outside the realm of freedom which has otherwise expanded so magnificently during the decade and a half since the Berlin Wall was torn down.

American foreign policy has changed repeatedly over our 228 years of history to reflect changing realities. But remaining constant throughout has been our belief that we must protect and promote AmericaÂ’s unique ideals throughout the world. And more often than not, we have succeeded. Presidents of both political parties have upheld this principled core of American foreign policy.

Want to hear more?
Read the rest of Senator Joseph Lieberman's Speech to the Symposium Sponsored by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Committee on the Present Danger.

Wow! WhoodaThunkIt?

Oooops, there is one other: Senator Zell Miller

2 out of 48, is this an accurate reflection of the typical 'Blue State Voter'?



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