By Jim Killebrew
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[December 18, 2014]
seems to be a truism that people's opinion about an issue becomes
stronger in direct relationship to the closeness the issue
personally affects the person. In the 1960s when people were asked
about their opinion about the Vietnam war, those who did not know
anyone fighting in that war had the most neutral opinion while the
people who had family or close friends actually over there had the
strongest opinion about the war.
It is generally accepted that if a situation personally affects the
physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental status of a person, that
person will have a stronger opinion about that situation than will
the person who is only remotely interested in the situation. This
phenomenon occurs fairly consistently for any given issue or
situation. That is the reason we have such a wide range of opinions
along a continuum that stretches from the most extremism positions
of both for and against, positive to negative, good to bad, right to
wrong. For sure, in our pluralistic society pollsters have very
little trouble finding diverse opinions from stratified demographics
they choose to survey.
Take the current national discussion regarding the CIA report
released last week from the democrats regarding the use of enhanced
interrogations, or as some people refer to it, "torture." Many from
both sides of the issue have spoken their opinions and offered a lot
of evidence for support of each perspective. Again, however, there
is a division of opinions with disbelief on both (or all) sides of
the argument. This is to be expected when the discussion continues
to revolve around generalities and casual, non personal context.
When the argument is placed within the context of a reality that
Suppose a person was known to be part of a terrorist cell that has
operated within the United States for a number of years. There is
chatter on the internet that indicates a nuclear device is going to
be detonated in a large American city. The CIA, Homeland Security,
FBI and other Federal Agencies have zeroed in on the cell group and
have identified at least three members and have identified them as
part of a network of terrorists who have previously been involved in
terrorist acts around the world in the past. Now, on a certain day a
nuclear device is detonated by one of the terrorists in that cell
group in a large city that has killed 1.2 million people. The
Federal agencies quickly round up that person, and hitting a break,
capture two more members of that cell group.
When each of those members of the terrorist cell group are in the
interrogation rooms the authorities discover that two of the members
have already placed nuclear devices in two other American cities.
The estimated loss of human life will likely reach another 3 million
people. Now the question: "What do those authorities do in that
situation with the two alleged terrorists who are known to have
already planted nuclear devices set to explode within the next 48
hours, but the authorities do not know which two cities are
targeted?" Do they use any means possible to discover the location
of those devices, or not?
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Suddenly, the question is not just some survey group doing some kind
of stratified poll of a bunch of statistically significant sampled
ratios of people asking them for their opinion regarding what should
be done. Although this may sound like a plot for a television show
like "24", in today's world this scenario may not be out of the
question. As terrorists around the world are becoming more vocal in
their desire to carry out attacks on civilized citizens, it seems
prudent that governments of free-world countries should have
contingency plans in place to address such questions and situations.
Now, rather than the large-scale scenario describe above, what if it
was simply a family rather than a city? A child is abducted and
murdered ISIS style "lone wolf" by a person on a personal jihad in
response to the ISIS leaders in Syria and Iraq who have put out the
call for individual jihadists to implement their reign of terror.
The authorities apprehend two other terrorists who have carried out
their jihad by kidnapping children in two other families. The death
of those children are imminent unless the authorities can obtain
information from the terrorists about the location of the children.
The situations are different, but the questions remain the same.
Post 9/11 we have been told these "enhanced interrogation tactics"
were submitted to numerous political oversight groups, the highest
political leaders, and the legal authorities from the Department of
Justice, CIA and FBI. We have been told that post 9/11 there was a
consensus that the enhanced interrogation tactics and their
accompanying procedural implementation guidelines were approved for
use with enemy combatants who had information about subsequent
terror acts. The American people and the politicians need to get
their act together; we are living in a hostile world where we are
only as safe as the most recent interruption of a terrorist attack.
The greatest danger we face in our country regarding this issue is
the continual in-fighting among the politicians who seem to be
trying to score points for their own political fortunes rather than
seriously doing their jobs in trying to work toward establishing
ways to protect the American people from these terrorist actions.
They need to have that settled prior to being placed in a situation
where the terror has already been carried out. Once settled, we do
not need another set of oppositional politicians bringing it up for
debate ten years after the issue has been settled.
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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