ascf news review - july 2013
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AMERICAN SECURITY COUNCIL FOUNDATION
National Security Report
Promoting Peace through Strength
In This Issue:
A Step in the Right Direction By Alan W. Dowd
ASCF Senior Fellow
Volume V, Issue VII July 2013 Page 2
At the heart of the American Security Council Foundations Step Up America program is a recognition that the men and women who serve in law enforcement and the military need the publics support now more than ever. Toward that end, the Step Up America program aims to educate and provide students, families and communities with the knowledge and tools they need to guard against national, homeland and cy ber-security threats, while valuing and respecting the role our military, law enforcement and first responders play in protect ing the nation.
Thats an ambitious goaland a worthy one. Lets unpack it by focus
ing on three key words in the Step Up America mission.
Regardless of the causesthe fraying of the family, the downplaying of what Reagan called civic ritual, the rise of moral rela-
tivismthe American people need to be reminded of some core truths about their country.
First, we are blessed to live in America. The stuff we take for grantedconsensus-based government, economic opportunity,
the rule of law, individual rights, equality before the law, majority rule with minority rights, freedom of movement and con-
science and speech, civilian control over the military and over law enforcement, clean water, dependable electricityis the ex-
ception rather than the norm in this broken world. Only 43 percent of the people on earth live in a free country. Only 13 percent
live in a developed, industrialized democracy. Only 4 percent live in America.
Second, America is a special country. Millions have made their way here from other lands because, as Reagan explained,
America is freedom. (The preceding paragraph captures some of the byproducts of that freedom.) When they arrive, these
Americans-in-the-making find a culture eager to graft in the new and the differenta nation where a refugee from Czechoslova-
kia could be entrusted to oversee U.S. foreign policy as secretary of state, where an Afghan immigrant could represent U.S. in-
terests in Kabul or Baghdad (or both), where a Cuban or Taiwanese immigrant could grow up to serve in the presidents cabinet,
where the son of a Turkish diplomat could grow up to run Americas most ubiquitous company (Coke), where a kid can start out
as the son of a Soviet army officer, survive the Nazis, flee from the Red Army and become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Of course, theres another reason America is special: Millions of Americans have journeyed to other lands to defend freedom.
When the guns fall silent, Americans leave behind constitutions guaranteeing free government, equal rights, free speech and
That brings us to a third core truth about which some Americans need to be educated: The natural order of this world is not
orderlyand is certainly not conducive to freedom. The blessings of freedomindeed, freedom itselfmust be defended.
Freedom is special and rare, as Reagan put it. Its fragile; it needs protection.
The hard work of protecting freedom is carried out by people in uniform, which explains why the Stand Up America program
helps Americans draw a connection between law enforcement and the military. One group wears a flag on their shoulder, the
other a badge on their chest. One group defends our freedom on faraway shores, the other on nearby city streets. They rush
toward dangerwhether its a burning building or a broken country, terrorist hideouts in Boston or Abbottabad, killer storms or
brutal tyrantswhile the rest of us run away from danger.
Page 3 Peace through Strength
The late John Keegan argued in his History of Warfare that All civilizations owe their origins to the warrior. But more than
that, all civilizations owe their preservation to the warrior. This is especially true of our civilization. We dare not think about
it, but the line separating us, protecting us, guarding us from another dark age is terrifyingly thin.
How thin? Americas active-duty military comprises just 1.4 million personnelthats less than 0.5 percent of the population.
If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service and not support the cause for which they fightAmericas
survivalthen these people are lying to themselves and rationalizing away something in their own lives, but more impor-
tantly they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation, as Gen. John Kelly (USMC) explained in
2010. Its not Bushs war. Its not Obamas war. Its our war and we cant run away from it.
Kelly knows well the price of preserving our civilization. He spoke those words just days after his son was killed in Afghani-
The veneer protecting us from the bad guys here at home is just as thin: There are an estimated 800,000 police officers in
America. That thin blue line, as it has been called, is what stands between danger and safety, order and chaos. Too many
Americans forget or take for granted that freedom without law, without some infrastructure of order, can quickly descend
into license and then into anarchy. Those 800,000 police officers represent the rule of law. As so many of their badges re-
mind us, they protect and serve the law-abiding public from those who show contempt for society by breaking the laws of
Likewise, those 1.4 million warriors who wear our nations uniform protect us and our interests and our way of life by keep-
ing watch over our enemies, keeping our allies secure, keeping the skies and sea lanes open, and keeping the anarchy and
violence so commonplace in other parts of the world at arms length.
If our defenders overseas and protectors at home merely placed themselves in harms way day after dayas they dothey
would deserve our respect. The fact that they place themselves in harms way so that the rest of us might live in peace and
safety and comfort and security should elicit more than our respect. What first-responders, law enforcement and military
personnel do is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
So, how can everyday Americans show respect for this special group of public servants? Put another way, how can we step
up for these American heroes?
We can step up for America by supporting the troops and their families while deployed; supporting the crucial mission they
are executing, as Gen. Kelly reminded us; and welcoming the troops as they return home. The opportunities are literally all
around us. Groups like the American Legion, USO, VFW and others are eager to connect Americans with the heroes who pro-
We can step up for America by hiring veteransand by providing incentives to hire veterans. The unemployment rate among recent veterans is much higher than the general-population unemployment rate. Wal-Mart is setting a good example, taking the initiative to hire more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years.
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We can step up for America by comforting the wounded. Lincolns counsel of 1865 remains just as true today. We
must care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan. And we must remember that
in the 21st century, the battle is sometimes borne by cops on the beat, as the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt
We can step up for America by supporting government officials, policies and candidates committed to protecting the
innocent and punishing the guilty.
And we can step up for America by promoting and teaching American exceptionalism. Weve got to teach history based
not on whats in fashion but whats important, Reagan advised, warning that an eradication of the American memory
could lead to an erosion of the American spirit.