Letter: U.S. shouldn't be nation builders

Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:41 PM

Editor,

As an addendum to my earlier letter to the editor (Dec. 17) concerning our country's — both government and citizenry — lack of support for our military another another thing our citizens and our government should understand.

Looking for motive is not excusing or looking for an excuse. Detectives always look for motive behind crime, but no one thinks they are looking to excuse the crime.

Who believes the attacks on the United States have nothing to do with what our government does in Islamic countries? When looking for motive one is accused of "blaming America" for the attacks. It is unreasonable not to expect people to become resentful, and to want revenge, when our government bombs them, supports police states in their countries and imposes murderous sanctions on them.

Look at the United States' policies in Iran and our support of the Shah to understand the Iranian people's view of our country. Understanding motive is not attempting to assign moral responsibility to anyone other than the criminals who carried out the attacks. But our government's foreign policy has put the American people in greater danger and made us more open to attack than we would otherwise have been.

In May 1996, on 60 Minutes it was said said (by Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state), that half a million dead Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions on that country during the 1990s were "worth it." How could that remark, which was broadcast all over the Arab world, not help but provoke a response. If Americans lost that many of their family members, friends and fellow citizens would they not seek to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice much like we have done in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks?

This does not mean Americans are bad people, or that they are to blame for terrorism. It only means that actions cause reactions, and that Americans will need to prepare themselves for these reactions if their government is to continue to intervene around the world.

The people of the United States should understand that war is armed hostility between nations, and that includes every citizen of each country. War is not something we send our military off to do while we live on as if nothing is different. We cannot tolerate government policies that are likely to make each of us a target. The purpose of war is to kill, destroy, maim, injure and win! War is not to be taken lightly.

For the past 60 or so years, we have allowed our government to sacrifice the lives of our military as well as the lives of citizens of other countries. It is not the responsibility of the United States to free the people of the world. We are not and should not be nation builders.

John Jenkins

Gatlinburg