Op-Ed

Weed out evil without losing our freedoms

I spent many years working in the Middle East, and for the most part I enjoyed the experience. But things have changed.

As in a Carole King song, “you can’t talk to a man with a shotgun in his hand,” you can’t negotiate with a tyrant whose only agenda is your destruction. This being said, according to Harvard University psychology professor Steven Pinker, we are living in the most nonviolent world in 500 years. However, most people’s perception says otherwise.

The U.S. Armed Forces implement the state monopoly on violence only after our democracy has asked them to do so. This legitimate controlled use of the gun has reduced wars around the globe. A gun is not something macho to brag about and is used only when all other means have broken down. It is the rationale behind the existence of our military forces.

The opposite of a constitutional state is a failed state that has no legitimate use of force. No mandate from its citizens. They do not know the gun as an instrument of peace and stability. Failed states can drag down a whole region into conflict. This is why it is so important after our military enters a failed state they build a judicial system. Why they must not only train a military but police, judges and public prosecutors.

This new way of waging war has left most of us questioning what is the best way to battle an unseen enemy. All the solutions so far – wiretaps, cameras, more body checks, listening devices, more of a police state – aren’t freedom, quite the opposite. Terrorist groups such as ISIS are winning without much effort.

Every time they kill 20 to 200 people, governments implement policies voiding more freedoms we’ve enjoyed. Fear is what ISIS and all the other extremists groups are peddling and it’s working for them. Our sad truth is that our freedom and way of life will continue to diminish until an order is given.

The sad truth is that millions of good Muslim people are going to pay a high price for a few, as is usually the case. Not all Germans were Nazis but who paid for the few that followed Hitler?

The general populations of all nations have been asking why Muslim countries haven’t policed themselves, ridding themselves of these extremists? These extremists are killing other Muslims, as well as waging wars outside their own countries. These extremists have been allowed to flourish and are the invasive plants that must be eradicated before they take over the world.

The sad truth is just as it is in a garden when an invasive population has grown too large to weed out separately; the good plants are killed along with the invasive ones.

Unless the leaders of the Middle East step up, understanding that we will no longer tolerate their weeds, and weed their own garden, these leaders along with their weeds will be eradicated and cease to exist.

Once again our military’s men and women are willing to risk their lives for a less violent world. Maybe one day armies can be disbanded when ideas and human failure meet somewhere in the middle. Until then, we must unite as one nation, join with Canada, Europe, China and Russia and weed this garden of evil.

Jolene Steuckrath, an Ashland native based in Texas, has lived and worked in the Middle East for more than a decade.

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