I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives in the heinous attack on our embassy in Libya. The human in me wants revenge. My emotional response is that I want a target chosen and a new smoking crater somewhere in Libya, anywhere, as long as they also feel the shock of a senseless attack and the pain of loss. My rational side knows better though. We can righteously express outrage because we are better than our enemy. It is a common pitfall when faced with senseless violence, or personal attack, to respond in kind and thus become the enemy. Don’t get me wrong, if a sensible target is found, I am most definitely NOT opposed to a forceful response. I am a big believer in Reagan’s concept of peace through strength. The exercise of that strength must be reasoned and with purpose. The whole point is to not have to actually use the force very often. It is in this way that we maintain our justification, and keep the moral high ground. We can’t become the enemy. We must also stand united. Presidents’ power is limited by their support. Even if President Obama comes up with an appropriate response that will discourage attacks in the future, and provide some measure of justice for this attack, it won’t work without the will of the American people behind it. If you find an elected official or candidate using this attack for political gain, or to cause discord among the people, tell them that you’re smarter than that and they aren’t going to get away with it. You don’t have to vote for the President in November, nor do you have to support any of his policies or agendas. I’m not voting for him in November. I disagree with him on a wide range of issues and philosophies. I’ll tell you this though, I am going to stand firmly behind whatever his response is. This is what will give us strength and make the response effective. When we are attacked, we have to stand together. Nothing else is more important. Make it clear to all that you won’t tolerate anything else.
Representative Steven Smith
Sullivan County NH District 5