Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged. – Samuel Johnson
Recent events in the Middle East, remarkably associated with the memorial of the events of September 11th, provide us an opportunity to re-examine our motives, task and purpose in our foreign policy engagement there. Our politics, especially as relates to foreign relations, should be driven by a National Strategy, which should be pinned to our national ethos; where we are trying to go should be determined by what we believe, not driven by convenience.
But, what do we believe? What are the ideals which should be driving our National Strategy? Theoretically, those ideals are enshrined in our Constitution. However lacking we, as individuals, may find that document in certain respects, it does still represent our best expression of common will. And where is the Statesman to translate those ideals into National Strategy and National Policy?
There are a lot of those grand ideas whose actual practice I find repugnant. I find the Westboro Baptist Church an abomination. I haven’t seen this movie yet, but I will probably feel the same way about it. I find gay marriage and adoption morally wrong, but I find the “licensing” of marriage by the State wrong, period. Yet, here I am, still serving in an Army sworn to defend the God-given rights of these individuals to express their beliefs as they see fit with my very life. In fact, I am in Afghanistan to give the Afghan people space and time to develop the internal security and structures to secure for themselves the same blessings of Liberty I (supposedly) enjoy.
If we are to continue under our Constitution, we have a right to expect the State that enacts it to provide redress for our wrongs. The whole point of giving up some of our Natural Rights to a government is to allow for the development of a civil society instead of a state of nature where it remains on the individual to provide redress for their own grievance. If the State cannot or will not provide redress, in this case if the State cannot or will not avenge our State Department personnel in Libya, then they are proven illegitimate.
I pray we are not come to that pass. I will leave you with another quote, and some good links for further reading on the current situation.
He thus treated the point, as to prescription of murder in Scotland. “A jury in England would make allowance for deficiencies of evidence, on account of lapse of time: but a general rule that a crime should not be punished, or tried for the purpose of punishment, after twenty years, is bad: It is cant to talk of the King’s advocate delaying a prosecution from malice. How unlikely is it the King’s advocate should have malice against persons who commit murder, or should even know them all.—If the son of the murdered man should kill the murderer who got off merely by prescription, I would help him to make his escape; thought, were I upon his jury, I would not acquit him. I would not advise him to commit such an act. On the contrary, I would bid him to submit to the determination of society, because a man is bound to submit to the inconveniences of it, as he enjoys the good: but the young man, though politically wrong, would not be morally wrong. He would have to say, ‘Here I am amongst barbarians, who not only refuse to do justice, but encourage the greatest of all crimes. I am therefore in a state of nature: for, so far as there is no law, it is a state of nature: and consequently, upon the eternal and immutable law of justice, which requires that he who sheds man’s blood should have his blood shed, I will stab the murderer of my father.'”
Boswell: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides