By Saba Long
For over two centuries, the United States has been bound together by founding documents that defined who we are as Americans, and they served as our compass through every type of change, President Barack Obama asserted in a speech last week at the National Defense University.
The hour-long speech touched on a number of topics including a brief historic account of the numerous terrorists’ attacks on Americans in the 1980s and 1990s – a clear reminder that we have faced threats and assaults long before September 2001.
In the spring of 1983, Regan Administration dealt with the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which killed 17 Americans, and just a few months later suicide bombers attacked Marine barracks killing 241 serviceman.
In this decade-plus of continuous war, the press, the public, our military and political leaders are debating what kind of country we want to be. As we deal with radicals both at home and abroad, we must keep our country safe. It is a sentiment shared by Americans across political spectrums.
We witnessed that solidarity the night that broadcast networks announced bin Laden was dead, and Americans across the country collectively breathed a small sigh of relief.
The incredible work of Seal Team Six is just one bullet point in a long, evolving timeline of threats and attacks against the American dream.
The annals of history will also codify the measures we take to ensure the safety our citizens. The fog of war has clouded our moral compass as witnessed in the treatment of enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay and the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Wartime technology is ever changing, intensifying the debate on the use of drones.
Not all drones are bad. The truth is they have repeatedly saved the lives of our bravest soldiers – and even civilians.
The drone attack against American traitor Anwar Awlaki raises serious debate on the Constitutionality of drone attacks against American citizens. We need defined standard operating procedures for the use of drones.
In this final term of the Obama White House, we will likely continue to deal with ethically challenging situations, as it is the nature of a rapidly evolving global society. Cybersecurity attacks are increasingly becoming a matter of national security. We will continue to debate the role of government, particularly the use of foreign aid as a vital aspect of a comprehensive national security strategy.
And the U.S. Constitution will also serve as our guide as we continue to debate moral issues such as the rights of migrant workers, LGBTQ males and females of all ages and the online privacy of all American citizens.
The conviction of fear is both “our sword and our shield,” as the President stated in his closing remarks.
May the choices this country collectively makes continue to uphold the dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.