Foreign policy has always been about national self-interest. I agree completely with Mr. Byrnes ("No new evil," Feb. 15) on this point.
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As far as terrorists being terrorists, that would depend a lot on your perspective. This country has supported groups in the past that were considered terrorists by the opposing side, the White Russian army post-1917 revolution, for example. In more recent times, the Contras, and in Kosovo, the Kosovo Liberation Army, which maintained direct ties to Osama bin Laden and whose members trained with al-Qaida.
Just because everyone else is doing it, or has always done it, doesn't make it right. Isn't that what we tell our kids? We should hold ourselves and our allies to higher standards than that.
Knowledge is power.
In the late 1980s, I did a presentation on terrorism for a history class. I covered a wide variety of groups: the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, Brigade Rossi in Italy, the Basque separatists, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Irish National Liberation Army, the Ulster Defence Force and the Ulster Defence Association. The last four were all in Northern Ireland, and the last two, at one point, received direct aid from British military personnel. I also presented backgrounds on Middle East groups, the PLO and many of its splinter groups.
One of the very basic goals of any terrorist group is to create support for itself by causing a government to inhibit the freedoms of its people or to out-and-out persecute a specific segment of that population. Northern Ireland is a prime example of this, as is Israeli occupied Palestine and last, but not least, modern-day America (American Muslims).
We have a president who claims to be a born-again Christian, yet where in the New Testament does it say that we should hate those who hate us? It doesn't.
We should stand by the claims we make as a nation, support democracy and believe in protecting those who are weaker than ourselves. We can, and should, help those nations who are in dire need, not because of some political agenda or the resources they possess, but because it's the right thing to do.
Mr. Byrnes stated, "It's how the game is played."
It's not a game, but it is a story. And in it we play Goliath. I wonder who plays David.
Remember, just because you haven't invented an evil, doesn't make it any less evil.