Responsibility

I’m a moderate in most things, but I frequently get called “liberal” because I don’t accept much of the Neoconservative silliness.
I got involved in a discussion in my Facebook group, The Intelligent Round Table, and the general commentary favored the rights of citizens and Americans and how the government was intrusive and spied on all us innocent people. So I wrote this in answer:
Turn the situation around and look at it from the other side.
Say you’re charged with the task of protecting your people and your government. You accept that responsibility.
Now what? Are you going to decide that you can’t possibly spy on people inside the country? Knowing that there are enemies who are going to universities, working at jobs, taking classes, suborning others? Not fiction; it’s happened and continues to happen.
Or are you going to exempt citizens, while realizing that naturalization or even native birth won’t prevent them from actively working against your country by raising funds for terrorists and attempting to encourage others to attempt terrorist attacks?
Do you believe, if you’re in that situation, that you could excuse failure by taking the high moral road?
Recall something I posted earlier, about military officers: a commander is responsible for everything his command does or fails to do.
Excuses aren’t acceptable. The costs of failure are high, even extreme. Remember Poland in 1939. France. Belgium, Holland, Norway, Finland. Or Nanking, or for that matter all of China under Japanese control, and other places like the Philippines.
Or more recently, Kuwait. Without foreign intervention, Kuwait would now be a conquered province of Iraq. And even when the Iraqis were driven out, they hauled everything they could steal with them until finally being forced to abandon their loot.
I can’t prescribe a solution for this dilemma. I can only say that it’s much more complicated than simplistic suggestions are prepared to accept.
Older, educated, trained, and presumably competent people get to make most of the decisions. But the final decision often comes down to a young person with little education or training or judgment. And at that level, things aren’t straightforward at all. Act, or don’t act? Follow orders, or deviate while accepting responsibility (think Wikileaks). Even then, those responsible people exercise poor judgment, as evidenced by the documents that were leaked. And some of those younger people command aircraft and have literal life or death at hand.
It’s not a perfect world. Indeed, it’s quite messy, because we are discussing humans and human behavior.
If this makes you think, then I’m happy. I don’t care which side of the question you eventually favor, so long as you think about it and then accept responsibility for your conclusions.

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