30 December 2009


In posing this question from the standpoint of a head of state Machiavelli clearly thought it was better to be feared. When President Obama was elected there was an international outpouring of “love,” following the departure of the fearsome George Bush, culminating in the Nobel Peace prize. Obama has done everything possible to encourage this sentiment, opting for multilateralism, dialogue, closing Guantanamo, ruling out “torture,” effectively apologizing for his predecessor, etc.

But while western Europeans may be enthralled, our enemies remain unimpressed, for this has only reinforced Al Qaeda’s notion that Americans are weak, vulnerable, and can be worn down in the long run. “Change” has engendered new “hope” that we can be defeated. Terrorists know they will be treated kindly if caught and now be turned over to the dysfunctional U.S. justice system.

In this case is it not better to strike “fear” in the hearts of our enemies? Killing them alone will not work because they want to be martyrs. What we need to do is make them face the most horrific circumstances possible from their standpoint. How about assigning them aggressive female guards and whatever else they would view as a fate worse than death Let them face what they perceive to be hell on earth. Let them fear us. Let us not hear any more about “our” values, which only generates contempt on their part. We should terrorize the terrorists. Only then will we gain their respect. It is nice to be loved when possible, but in this case it is better to be feared.

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