BIERCE: And I blame the government for it. A government that does not protect life is a flat failure, no matter what else it may do. Life being almost universally regarded as the most precious possession, its security is the first and highest essential -- not the life of him who takes life, but the life which is exposed defenseless to his hateful hand.
For someone who expends so much effort trying to come off as intellectual, Bierce possesses a fundamental lack of understanding regard the "American Experience". He doesn't understand the concept that Patrick Henry so boldly stated with "Give me liberty, or give me death". This epitomizes American history. Bierce seems to think that Americans would rather cry "Give me LIFE, no matter what". What Americans believe is the government's most important responsibility toward its citizens is to provide liberty, not security. Maybe where he is from, security is the most precious commodity, but at least for now ( and hopefully for a long time) we choose to value liberty over security.
However, one of the thirteen stated functions of the federal government in the Constitution is 'providing for the common defense' and as jerked out of historical context as the Bierce quote is it is apropos. For all the dollars we send off to Washington we do have a reasonable right to feel that our government will use some of them to actually protect us from foreign treats whether from enemy states or simply marauders such as the 9-11 terrorists. (Who ought be considered in the same category as pirate 'the common enemies of mankind'.). The current administration didn't produce the sorry state of affairs that led to 9-11. There is a long line of high ranking civil and military figures and several past presidents that have 9-11 to answer for. From the murder of US diplomats in Khartoum in 1973 down to the series of terrorist events Bill Clinton chose to ignore, starting with the first attack on the WTC in Feb 1993 the so called leaders who recoiled from dealing with terrorism because of its inherent messiness and potential for generating diplomatic headaches and bad press (the MSM feel the only response to terrorism tolerable is 'sympathy' for its victims) have the blood of 9-11 fatalities on their hands.
When Reagan and part of his White House team wanted to get serious with terrorism there was the biggest uproar imaginable within the government. No agency wanted to touch it. The Pentagon chieftains saw it as a messy no win engagement that would siphon dollars from big ticket weapons systems. (The US armed forces want to prepare and fight high intensity battlefield conflict such as the battle we endlessly prepared to fight with the Soviets over West Germany. The unconventional gray area conflicts that would have tobe (and now are) being waged with terrorists and their enablers was simply an unpalatable diversion. The State Dept urinated on itself with fear of the 'consequences' of taking such actions. The Arabs would get angry and the French would be unhappy and the Russians would use the attacks to 'make inroads' among the turban turner nations. Blah Blah Blah. This was why most of the anti terror campaign faltered from the start. When we intercepted the Klinghoffer killers aircraft and forced down in Sicily there was the damnedest uproar imaginable. 'Piracy, violation of international law', were among the mildest epithets Euroweasels employed. Now finally our government is doing something to crush the terrorists and still all the liberals and their ilk do is rant about 'prisoner abuse' and how we have made the Europeans unhappy.
Bottom line , if there is one thing we our owed by our government it is an effort to keep Americans from being killed en mass by foreigners.
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