The Secret to America's Defense
It has been a long time since Americans have expressed such deep and serious feelings about our country, our liberty, and our security as we have seen since September 11 th .
The terrorist attack on the United States has generated more outward devotion to God and country and a more unified resolve to take whatever steps are necessary, than America has seen in decades. For the moment, we seem to be reflecting on what means most to us-our families, our faith, and our liberty. What a remarkable thing it would be if this jolt to our nation could serve as a permanent reminder to us of what we should be doing to avoid such catastrophes in the future.
Amidst all the proposed methods to deal with this problem, students of the Founders' formula for peace and prosperity cannot help asking the question: Did the Founders have answers to these perplexing difficulties? What advice would they give us today if they were here? Besides the task of bringing to justice those who have wronged us, the Founders did have something to say on these subjects. Their wisdom has yet only been heard very faintly, if at all, since September 11 th , but it needs to be sounded from the rooftops again and again, for it is the only permanent solution.
Philosophy of Defense of Franklin and Washington
Clear back in 1747, Benjamin Franklin vividly comprehended the task ahead. Said he:
Were this Union formed, were we once united, thoroughly armed and disciplined, were everything in our power done for our security, as far as human means and foresight could provide, we might then, with more propriety, humbly ask the assistance of Heaven and a blessing on our lawful endeavors.
Peace was the goal, but strength was the means. Franklin envisioned the day when a prudent policy of national defense would provide the American people with the protection which their rise to greatness would require. He wrote:
The very fame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for 'tis a wise and true saying, that "One sword often keeps another in the scabbard." The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent.
Franklin further saw that those in authority have the inherent responsibility to initiate the means by which adequate defenses can be provided. He declared:
Protection is as truly due from the government to the people, as obedience from the people [is due] to the government.
In later life he held to the same solid philosophy of peace through strength as an assurance of survival in the future:
Our security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth; that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain [India], when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying, "Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you."
GeorgeWashington also saw the fallacy of a policy of interdependence with other nations (could he have foreseen our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, for example?) which made the United States vulnerable in time of war. In his first annual address to Congress, he spoke of the people's general welfare, then stated:
And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essentials, particularly military supplies.
Washington felt that neither politics nor world circumstances should lure the American people into a posture of complacency. He felt that vigilance was indeed the price of freedom, and unless it was promoted with firmness and consistency the future of the United States would be in jeopardy. In another speech he said:
The safety of the United States, under Divine protection, ought to rest on the basis of systematic and solid arrangements, exposed as little as possible to the hazards of fortuitous circumstances.
An integral part of any effective defense of our country is to know where the enemy is, how he operates, and what his plans are. This is done through intelligence gathering agencies and procedures which were developed to a high degree of accuracy. Then, beginning in the 1960s, the intelligence gathering operations of the United States were systematically dismantled and Congress ceased investigating internal subversion. This amazing and scary story is told by Dr. Skousen (written in 1987) as follows:
Why Doesn't Congress Investigate Subversion Anymore?
Once upon a time the leading Communist leaders in labor unions, government agencies, the State Department, the media, and other organizations were being continually exposed by congressional investigations. Not only was the public thus kept aware that alien forces were gnawing away at the vitals of the nation, but these investigations also exposed Americans who were cooperating in such schemes.
In his exposure of subversion, constitutional writer, Kenneth W. Ryker, thought it was time to alert the nation to the fact that the reason we don't have congressional investigations of this kind anymore is that the Soviet Union mobilized all of its propaganda forces and friends in Congress to completely eliminate the internal security subcommittees in both the Senate and the House.
This campaign took over twenty years to achieve, but it finally succeeded. All such investigations of subversive forces were made to look "un-American," and consequently these two important investigating committees were slandered and maligned to the point where powerful left-wing pressure groups were successful in having both of them eliminated through bills passed by our own Congress!
This writer specialized in a study of these tragic developments during sixteen years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and I agree with Ryker that we are more vulnerable today than we have ever been in our history. At this very moment, the American counter-intelligence forces are so completely shackled by our own government that a whole army of KGB surrogates operates freely throughout the United States as though they were special guests of the State Department. I personally participated in a case where the State Department prevented us from arresting a Soviet agent as he boarded a Russian ship with eight suitcases filled with intelligence reports and top secret documents.
Ryker Exposes Tactics of Attorney General Edward H. Levi
On this next subject let me (still Dr. Skousen writing) quote directly from Ryker's report:
"The destruction of our personnel security program, and the inability to protect ourselves from domestic subversion, can largely be laid directly on the shoulders of Edward H. Levi, appointed Attorney General in 1975.
"Although Levi only served for two years, he did more to destroy the internal security safeguards of this nation than any Communist ever did. He did it by issuing his infamous 'Levi Guidelines' on March 10, 1976, which effectively ended FBI intelligence operations and investigations of subversive activity. These had begun in 1936 under a presidential directive and continued under every president up through Ford.
"Under the 'Guidelines,' the FBI was stripped of its authority to gather domestic intelligence and was turned into a purely criminal investigative force. When the guidelines were received in Moscow, there must have been a tremendous victory party in the Kremlin.
"These 'Guidelines' also destroyed the FBI informant program which had been built up over many years, because it applied unrealistic restrictions on the use of informants.
"The inevitable result has been the tremendous increase in espionage and subversive activity. Subversion isn't even recognized anymore. We don't know how much subversion exists because the 'Guidelines' destroyed our capability to determine such facts through informants and intelligence operations."
What the Freedom of Information Act Did to Intelligence Gathering
The Ryker report then discusses the Freedom of Information Act:
"In order to fully understand the scope of the disaster that has befallen our domestic security programs, it is necessary to comprehend the effects of several destructive pieces of legislation passed by the leftist-controlled Congress in the 1960s and 70s.
"One of the greatest aids to subversives . is the so-called 'Freedom of Information Act.' Passed in 1966 and amended in 1974, this legislation was ostensibly offered to promote open, accountable government. But as is the case with much 'liberal'-originated legislation, it has had consequences far different from those ostensibly intended.
"For example, the Act has made it extremely difficult for the FBI to collect background information on individuals.
"This same situation has developed with informants who may have valuable intelligence information on security matters or other crimes. They refuse to provide the FBI with the information because of fears they will be identified if their statements are released under FOIA requests."
"Even city and state law enforcement agencies are ending the free flow of criminal and domestic security intelligence formerly provided to the FBI, because it may end up in the hands of killers or terrorists, as the case may be, under this catastrophic Freedom of Information Act.
America to Stay Out of Eastern Hemispheric Affairs
The second part of a strong national defense was explained by President Washington in his Farewell Address. He warned future U.S. leaders to stay out of any permanent alliance with other countries. Said he:
Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.... Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interests, humor, or caprice?
Washington said when we ally ourselves with other nations by calling them favored, then it makes other nations think we don't like them. Our "favored" nations' wars become our wars, and their enemies become our enemies.
We were drawn into nearly every war of the 20th century because of our alliances we had previously entered into such as the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, etc. As the United States became the policeman of the world, the world's criminals targeted the U.S. as the Number One enemy.
America - The Great Neutral of the Earth
Can you envision, with the Founders, America so strong, so neutral, so compassionate to the suffering peoples of the earth that she would become the mediator between belligerents? Under-Secretary of State J. Rueben Clark summarized this incredible vision of the Founders in 1939 by saying:
America, multi-raced and multi-nationed, is by tradition, by geography, by citizenry, by natural sympathy, and by material interest, the great neutral nation of the earth. God so designed it. Drawn from all races, creeds, and nations, our sympathies run to every oppressed people. Our feelings engaged on opposite sides of great differences, will in their natural course, if held in due and proper restraint, neutralize the one [with] the other. Directed in right channels, this great body of feeling for the one side or the other will ripen into sympathy and love for all misguided and misled fellowmen who suffer in any cause, and this sympathy and love will run out to all humanity in its woe.... If we shall rebuild our lost moral power and influence by measures such as these which will demonstrate our love for humanity, our justice, our fair-mindedness ... we shall then be where ... we can offer mediation between the two belligerents. America, the great neutral, will thus become the Peacemaker of the world, which is her manifest destiny if she lives the law of peace.
In summary, we put forth, once again, the wisdom of the Founders to restore America and to prevent further aggression on our country.
- Bring those to justice who perpetrated this crime on our citizens.
- Restore our intelligence gathering capabilities.
- Extricate ourselves from entangling alliances.
- Humbly ask for the assistance of Heaven and a blessing on our lawful endeavors.
We at NCCS express our deepest sympathy to those thousands of suffering families of the September 11th tragedy.
W. Cleon Skousen