Letter to the Editor: American history is essential to foreign policy

Jan. 26, 2016

In response to Brian Kevin Beck’s Dec. 9 letter

I honestly thought Mr. Beck’s letter was satire at first. I couldn’t believe that someone would write such an inflammatory call to arms in a college paper.

Mr. Beck is claiming we are facing a foe “greater than Hitlerian fascism, Russian communism, and Japanese imperialism combined.” 

What possible evidence does Mr. Beck have to support this statement? What context is he using for his analysis? As for military deaths, our greatest enemy ever was ourselves with nearly 500,000 dead in the Civil War. As for American deaths on American soil between 2001 and 2013 (according to a graph on a CNN webpage), 3.380 were caused by “terrorism” whereas 406,496 were caused by “firearms” proving again that we are our own worst enemy.

Mr. Beck suggests we close our borders to all immigrants and then go after our foe in “total commitment.” Before people start shouting the definitive (and simple-minded) closure to all immigrants, perhaps they should at least educate themselves with the immigration policies of our country and the various categories people fall in. 

Also, before proclaiming how a country should implement a strict policy concerning citizens of the world, perhaps one should familiarize themselves with treaties, alliances, and international law. As for proclaiming that we should have a “total commitment” to going after a foe, perhaps we should explore other avenues before committing the future lives and livelihood to one of war and death.

Freedom is not free. There is a heavy price to pay. But we should not pay that debt by giving away our rights, our civil liberties, and the possibility for a peaceful resolution. 

The world is a violent place and we should understand how we have fit into that world, learn from our past, and try to do better in the future. But sometimes part of that lesson is understanding that perhaps we are in places that we shouldn’t be in. Sometimes the lesson is understanding how we may have been responsible for the formation of a problem, even an enemy. 

Whether you agree with Mr. Beck or not, UW-W students, at the very least I encourage you to stop, think, ask, and have conversations. This is a learning institution after all.      

Jeff Ehren

Custodian, UW-W