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American Diplomacy
Opinion
March 2015

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PERILOUS TIMES: Planning for the Unspeakable
by Thomas R. Hutson (U.S. Consul General, ret.)

Of course there's a plan.

The U.S. Government has paid billions of dollars to think-tanks, academics and assorted retired military, diplomats and pundits to cover every contingency.

So, what happens to the Muslims in America when—not if—there is another 9/11-scale or even lesser attack on or in the United States that can be traced to the forces of fundamental Islam?

History shows we were not very kind in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. The plans to intern hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans in Prisoner of War-style barracks must still be available.

Unspeakable, you say?

Hardly, as the fever pitch and paranoia double and redouble every day.

I sometimes drive a visiting Muslim friend to services at the Islamic Foundation of Lincoln in the northwest part of the city. A sobering sight to see how well they are attended—by far more men than women. All making contributions to America, their recent new homeland.

But, what happens when push comes to shove? When the commitments to a faith, to a religion that is more like a way of life leaves little choice but to fight, even kill.

Of course, that is not the America that they or we all bargained for.

But, those of other faiths, religions and beliefs will be hard pressed to sort out what our country must do.

Even the Obama administration, led by a President with a decidedly Islamic middle name, is torn inside about what will have to be done.

Rudy Giuliani suggests the President does not really "love America". Rand Paul and most other Republican hopefuls have distanced themselves from such a harsh condemnation. But, Rudy was mayor, lest we forget, during 9/11. So, he can say pretty much what he thinks—and does.

What's missing from this unspeakable scenario is a demagogue who will indeed call a spade a spade, a terrorist a terrorist, an existential enemy abroad in the land for what it is.

It would be very hard to quarrel with that in terms of our national security.

But, the consequences are as un-American as were the communist witch-hunts during the McCarthy era.

As a boy growing up in Red Cloud, I remember cheering on Joe McCarthy in the televised hearings when were finally able to receive telecasts down in the Republican River valley from Hastings and Kearney using a 100-ft tall antenna.

We look back on those horrific periods of American history with both a wonderment how they occurred, and fear that they might reoccur.

If Europe is any guide, the place where NATO provided peace and stability for more than a half-century is looking pretty grim.

My own gut instinct is to do whatever is necessary to protect my country, right or wrong.

As a former diplomat, upon reflection, I remind myself we must turn to the wisdom of the Israeli diplomatist, Abba Eban, who said, "Diplomacy should be judged by what it prevents, not only by what it initiates and creates. Much of it is a holding action, designed to avoid explosion until the unifying forces of history take humanity into their embrace."

As far as planning is concerned, having worked on myriad contingency plans at either the Department of State or the Department of Defense, I suppose it is a necessary function. Although we all must recognize that "Life is what happens while plans are being made."

Let us hope and pray that there will be the wisdom of an Abba Eban on all sides as we head down this roadway to the even more perilous times that lie ahead.bluestar

American Diplomacy is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to American Diplomacy.


Author Thomas R. Hutson was born in Omaha, grew up in Red Cloud, graduated from UNL in 1962, served as a Russian-speaking Army Intelligence Officer for five years and then spent the next 40 years in and out of the Foreign Service with tours of duty in more than 40 countries. He is currently President and CEO of CONSULTIMATE, LLC, and CONSULTIMATE International, Inc., and works assiduously in memory of his daughter on Bessie’s PEACE , trying to help schoolgirls in peril in such places as Nigeria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malawi and other countries. Twenty-nine year old Elizabeth Maren "Bessie" Hutson, was brutally gunned down by a madman with a shotgun as she was walking her dogs near her home in the historic Mt. Pleasant part of Washington, D.C.

Author

Note from author:

We will be honored to have the farewell and forever marker in the DACOR section of Rock Creek Cemetery for our beloved Bessie (her 52nd birthday will be on March 30th) shown on your fine publication.

Especially as we begin a long and initially lonely road under Bessie's PEACE: A Search and Struggle for Her for Disarmament, Nonviolence and Reconciliation now being led by a marvelous young woman from Nigeria to create scholarships for girls in peril and women at Marymount International School in England; Kent School in Connecticut; University of Maryland, College Park; and Bellevue University in Nebraska.

By late summer, it is also expected that more than "JUST ONE GIRL" will be enrolled in high schools in Nebraska and Iowa under the belief that "It is far better to HELP ONE GIRL IN PERIL than to curse Boko Haram".

Indeed, a very strong Ukrainian community in Nebraska is now considering how to bring out of peril substantial numbers of their faith from that unending conflict.

I should mention also Jemila Ibrahim and her mentor at the University of Nebraska Omaha; and her virtual "kitchen cabinet" who are advising and encouraging this quiet young Muslim woman who simply would not stand for this madness in her country to continue without forceful and effective leadership to a better future.


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