TerrorismCommentary by Pete du Pont
November 07, 1996
Host intro: How far should the united states go to guard against terrorism? Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says the first thing to do is ask the right questions.
The big threat to world security comes from state-sponsored terrorism. Technology--metal detectors and street barriers and the like--may control some risks at acceptable cost, but it's still easy to poison, gas or blow something up. Real deterrence, and hence prevention, stems from the political courage to use American power. Talk, pointless economic costs, showy legislation and counter-terrorism summits typically have substituted for meaningful action.
By and large, economic sanctions and legislation granting broader police powers and stiffer sentences are understandable reactions, but they inevitably prove ineffective or counterproductive, as well as destructive of liberty. The government already has the responsibility and the power to deal with terrorists, which it has failed to exercise very effectively. It's mostly common sense, not rocket science. The message to terrorists has got to be, in the immortal words of lt. Harry Callahan, "go ahead, make my day."
International terrorists must be given no quarter. Hunt 'em down. Their sponsoring governments are responsible for their behavior and should get no quarter either. A responsible U.S. Government must fulfill its basic defense function. That means that terrorism must not pay. And that means we'll have a lot less of it.
Well, those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: If you don't know the term taxpayer choice, you will soon. Tomorrow, Pete du Pont explains how it could revolutionize welfare.