The previous post briefly touched on the topic of national security as it affects the current generations of American youth. It may seem counter-intuitive to talk about terrorism on a day that commemorates a man who dedicated his life to nonviolent social change. It makes more sense when you realize that terrorism has been affecting the United States for a long time before the current conflict with Islamic extremism:
That’s right folks, the United States has been dealing with threats from non-nation-state actors for a lot longer than most people realize. Originally begun as a college fraternity, the Ku Klux Klan was comprised of former soldiers of the Confederate Army who resorted to violence against civilians to disrupt the abolitionist social order which was emerging in the American South during the years following the Civil War. Although solutions may have been developed for dealing with them, they would have been discontinued with federal troops were withdrawn from the South following the election of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876:
Likewise for US strategies developed for combating Viet Cong guerrillas during the 20th century. The reason why the American public appears to suffer from amnesia regarding our history of dealing with this type of threat is because our narrative of history likes to explain it away as part of some broader conflict against a conventional adversary: the Vietnam War was just a proxy war that took place during the Cold War against the Soviet Union; the struggle against the KKK was just unfinished business from the Civil War; our current problems with extremist violence are part of a struggle against “radical Islam”.
And the reason why we keep ignoring this threat is because of its very nature. It’s unpredictable, can strike at any time, and comes with little advance warning. Perhaps the best assurance that can be provided to the American public is to admit that no predefined strategy exists for solving this problem. It’s like having a heart attack– diet and exercise can prevent it from happening, but when it does occur, you can’t plan for it. You just have to deal with it as it happens using whatever resources you’ve got, including human beings:
- Young, Art, Artist. <9:[Section four. Liberty bonds getting kicked around and howling "I wanta go back to par"]. [publication date, 1921] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2009617616/. (Accessed January 16, 2017.)
- Humboldt website about Reconstruction and the Civil Rights movement: http://users.humboldt.edu/ogayle/hist110/unit4/Reconstruction.html
- February 3 is Women’s Heart Disease Awareness Day: http://greatglentrails.com/events/winter-events/go-red-for-women