Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons." These words, spoken by Frank Zappa, sum up the ideas of the Republican Party, according to many people who have been grossly misinformed.
For the next few weeks I will be working on debunking common misconceptions associated with the Republican Party and showing the party as a diverse group of people who promote traditional values, fiscal conservatism and upholding the Constitution.
This week's misconception is that Republicans are war-happy. The truth is that Republicans believe in protecting Americans' civil liberties and will not tolerate anyone who threatens our safety, our freedoms or our people.
With the recent murders of the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other American diplomats in Benghazi and growing anti-American protests in the region, there has been a lot of talk about possible war with the Middle East. Congressmen such as Sen. Chuck Grassley have called it an "act of war."
With troops still being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, the question must be asked: Is war really necessary, or are people just becoming too comfortable with the idea of war?
I would venture to say that an overarching movement with Americans today is to be as anti-war as possible.
I have heard many people say war is unnecessary, and stronger communication would solve more problems than war.
Though stronger communication is a strong start to resolving anti-American feelings, I believe another overarching theme prevalent throughout America is when liberties are threatened when innocent people are killed simply because they are American some sort of action must be taken. Ulysses S. Grant said, "I have never advocated war except as a means of peace."
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, though petrifying, unintentionally instilled a renewed pride in being American. Americans' civil liberties were being exploited, the safety of the people had been compromised, and Americans were ready to show we were proud of our country and we would protect its values by any means possible.
When war was declared by President George W. Bush, the country swelled with patriotism and support for the troops, the president and America.
On the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, another tragedy struck at the heart of Americans. Diplomats in Libya were killed in the streets of Benghazi.
Again the American people had their safety compromised, and our liberties were threatened. Another attack of terrorism had been committed.
President Barack Obama's efforts at making peace with the Middle East have erred on the side of cowardice.
On Sept. 12, at a fundraiser in Las Vegas, Obama stated, "I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe."
Nowhere in this statement did he state a plan to bring those responsible for the attacks into custody. Nowhere in this statement is there any allusion to First Amendment rights being threatened.
In contrast, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addressed a statement saying, "America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We'll defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion." In one simple sentence, Romney has promised justice for the victims and protection of our rights.
Justice does not necessarily have to mean war, but anti-American protests are gaining momentum in the Middle East, and with cowardly responses, such as those from the Obama administration, these protests are not seeming to be fazed. As the Republican platform says, "The current administration's most recent national security strategy ... increases the risk of future conflict by declaring to our adversaries that we will no longer maintain the forces necessary to fight."
War is not a primary form of defense, but it should not be obviated from the realm of defense either.
When Americans' lives, liberties and rights are being endlessly threatened, it seems as though there may be no other choice. Again, the Republican platform addresses this: "A strong and effective strategic arsenal is still necessary as a deterrent ... with the possibility that a terrorist group could gain control of a nuclear weapon, it is folly to abandon a missile shield for the country."
Republicans are not a party of little boys playing battle with their toy soldiers; they do not want war any more than any other person, but Republicans also recognize it as an effective form of defense for our country. I know of no Republican who, without just cause, promotes risking the lives of troops and civilians of any country for any reason.
War may not be the answer to the Libyan attacks, but sitting back and increasing security in the midst of violent protests is not the answer either. War affects everyone, but so does fear of conflict. Sometimes, in order to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense" actions such as war are a necessary evil. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it."