So we bombed a village in Somalia today, killing at least 6, wounding at least 20. Said an unnamed military source:
We launched a deliberate strike against a suspected bed-down of known terrorists.
A crucial doubt sandwiched by irrelevant certainties. Yeah, he sounds like he works for the state. No word on whether the dead were these known terrorists. I suppose it doesn't matter.
You hear a lot of talk in the States about limited government. I've always wondered what that means beyond low taxation. Does a limited government get carte blanche to commit acts of war against other nations? Does legality exist only in isolation? Does it only matter in a domestic sense?
It's been one of the greatest philosophical crises of our age, and one that affects us in the real world and not just in some ideal scenario: how does one act as a tyrant abroad while fostering freedom at home? It's an old question really. It destroyed democrats of various ideology in the wake of World War One. And it has devastated American political philosophy in the wake of the Cold War (of which the War on Terror is a thematic and psychological sequel). Everywhere one sees the acrobatics of liberals, libertarians, and supposed small-government advocates who believed that America could do as it pleased to the Arabs or the Pashtuns while respecting the citizenry at home. Well, it isn't true, and it never has been true. All politics is local. The war always comes home.
Maybe we've been losing so long that we can no longer raise our voices in outrage. Maybe all the liberals, libertarians, and anti-state conservatives really do have a problem with killing six people with missile fire because their village just might have also contained a terrorist. Maybe we watch this all, throats hoarse, eyes watering with exhaustion, powerless to stop the clear cases of excess, powerless to even question our government's claims of higher wisdom, a wisdom which, never revealed to the initiate, is assumed to be beyond him, beyond us.
Maybe that's all true, but I already hear the screaming that will no doubt reach a maddening pitch by November, that if anything, America is too soft, too yielding, that we must be more aggressive, harder, fiercer, more frightening, less relenting, less respectful of granting barbarians the protection of law, more willing to do anything, more capable of doing anything, and less willing to tell us, for public knowledge is an insecurity, and we will stomach no gap through which a human being may pass.