First published on Finding UnCommon Ground on September 14, 2012.
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When photos surfaced earlier this week of our Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ bloodied and beaten corpse, the news from Libya and Egypt became personal.
What am I saying? It didn’t become personal; it’s been personal for Americans for quite some time. We were just reminded of it this week.
Citizens of the United States came face to face once again with the dreadful truth.
Our country is the object of deadly aggression by Islamic terrorists.
And what a week for a wakeup call. Think it’s a coincidence our embassies in Libya and Egypt were under fire on the anniversary of 9/11? Hardly.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wondered aloud how this could happen. I wonder the same thing. Have we learned nothing?
We don’t tolerate bullying in our schools. We don’t allow our grandmothers to carry cuticle scissors on airplanes. Yet there is doubt about whether Marines guarding our embassy in Cairo were allowed to have live ammunition. There are questions about why the embassies were not better fortified for the 9/11 anniversary when intel indicated aggressors were primed to strike.Some are quick to condemn our own citizens who speak against Islamic terrorists. Quick to label our fellow Americans’ words hate speech. But the fact is Islamic terrorists have repeatedly demonstrated real, tangible hate against us.
Remember Tehran, Lockerbie, Nairobi, the World Trade Center 1993, the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, Shanksville, the Pentagon, and the World Trade Center 9/11. Add to that Cairo, Benghazi, and Sanaa.
Pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle turn against each other in crisis, providing an easy diversion from the terrorists’ actions. We need to pull together and stop handing the terrorists convenient excuses on the silver platter of our round-the-clock infighting and commentary.
“Yes, American reporters. We attacked because the United States hurt our feelings.” Give me a break.
I don’t want war. I repeat, I don’t want war. But inaction is no good either. Wringing our hands and rethinking our strategy every time terrorists attack our people communicates weakness. Swift, unwavering justice that takes out terrorists—not innocent civilians at home or abroad, is warranted. Let’s roll.
These wise words from Maya Angelou apply: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
We’re way past the first time. This week the terrorists sent us a reminder. They showed who they are, and we need to believe them. Others who hate the U.S. are watching. Let’s show them we unequivocally, unapologetically defend our own.