What Would George W(ashington) Do?

Unsettled. Uneasy. The continued violence in the middle east combined with the revelation of yet another horrific terrorist plot against innocent citizens sets my nerves on edge. Going about the everyday business of life seems almost profane in light of all the death and destruction being faced by people throughout the world. I find myself glued to the news stations with horrified fascination as they describe this latest plan to actually create and detonate explosive devices in midair. I stare in wonder at the pictures of these young people who've been arrested - plain, ordinary looking folks, yet so full of hate for other plain, ordinary folks like me and my fellow citizens. While I'm terrified by the bombs they mean to create, perhaps I'm even more terrifed by the long term effects their actions could have on my country. Will we, as a nation, spend the rest of our lifetime on the run from an enemy that can pop up anywhere, anytime, around any corner, behind any door? An enemy that has no concern for it's own self-protection, one that is in fact happy to die in service to the cause? These terrorists are like cancer cells - they grow in secret places, ready to strike wherever the body is vulnerable, with no regard for their own safety or protection.

And what has America done to inspire this hatred from this group of Muslims? I know we're a young country, and like most "teenagers" can be pretty hard to take with our arrogance and our desire to have it all right now. That arrogance has led us to intrude ourselves and our ideals into the middle eastern world in ways that have fueled the unrest in existence there since our nation was nothing more than wilderness.

Richard Brookhiser, author of What Would the Founders Do? writes about America at the time of the first George W - Washington, that is. He reminds us that our own American Revolution often "shaded into terrorism," and that the British relied on "guerilla warare" to assist them in thier fight to maintain dominion over these rogue United States. Indian massacres in New York and Pennsylvania, "laid forty villages to waste," guerrilla warfare in the south had inhabitants "persecuting each other with savage fury," and bands of "marauding "cowboys "terrorized" Westchester County north of New York City. Brookhiser writes that George Washington eschewed this guerilla type warfare, and always favored establishing a professional army that was responsible to the Congress. It was the conduct and bravery of this "professional army" that is now generally credited with our victory over the British. "The Americans didn't always do right," Brookhiser states, "but they did right more often than their enemies, and it did them a lot of good."

I wonder how Washington and the other founding fathers would handle the situation the country now faces, some 230 years after the drafting of the constitution and the original fight for freedom from tyranny. Brookhiser writes that "America is about liberty or it is about nothing." I think the terrorists we're facing know that, and are striking at the very heart of what we love the most about our country and our lives. Along with my uneasiness about the possibility of more terrorist attacks, I'm also angry. I'm angry that a group of "religious" people have the effontery to decide my nation is "corrupt" and that its ordinary citizens don't deserve to live. I don't believe George Washington would take that lying down, and I don't believe we should either.