Wednesday, November 18, 2015


          by Charles Snow

Penn State University will increase security at Beaver Stadium for this Saturday's football game with Michigan as well as at a three-band concert in the Bryce Jordan Center the night before. Enhanced security measures are being taken because of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. It appears that terrorists can claim another (micro) victory in the U.S. because Penn State has decided to increase security and because many football and music fans have been forced to calculate how risky their attendance at these events will be.

I believe the vast majority of Americans, myself included, would like to see terrorism in the world reduced if not eliminated. Wouldn't it be nice to go to a football game or a music concert without wondering if somebody is planning an attack that will create fear and mayhem -- regardless of how small that probability is? The difficult overall question, of course, is how the U.S. should go about fighting terrorism around the world.

After we suffered our own devastating attack of 9/11, President Bush vowed to track down the perpetrators and exact justice. Although the mastermind of that attack, Osama Bin Laden, was in hiding somewhere in the Middle East, the U.S. chose to invade Iraq and remove its despotic ruler Saddam Hussein. It is now quite clear that we have been fighting terrorism incorrectly ever since. For example, U.S.-led "regime change" has not worked (e.g., Iraq, Libya). Neither has the belief that the American form of democracy should be spread to Middle Eastern countries. Currently, we find ourselves in the curious position of trying to fight terrorists in Syria without trying to remove its ruthless leader and trying to form a political alliance with Iran, arguably the country who most hates the U.S. Can such a strategy possibly work?

I don't have a specific plan that will allow the U.S. to successfully prosecute the War on Terrorism. I only know that regime change, the spread of democracy, and the belief that we are fighting bad guys instead of  bad ideologies, won't work. Somehow we have to return to the policies and actions that have made the U.S. a great country. We need to continue to make progress towards becoming a model democracy for all the world to see, and we need to stop trying to make other countries be like us.

I'll probably go to the football game on Saturday, and I doubt that I will worry about whatever security measures are, or are not, being taken. But when the thought of terrorism next crosses my mind, I know I will be disappointed and angry about how the U.S. is trying to fight it.

1 comment:

  1. Chuck,
    You won't have any problem getting into that Penn State game-- as long as you are a Christian.


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