We, the people of the United States, have been victims of ‘acts of war’ a number of times. There are the painfully obvious examples—the British impressment of American seamen in the early 1800s, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941, or the al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001. There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of smaller examples throughout American history. In the last several years it seems to me that acts of war against the United States have been on a significant uptick, but the U.S. government has done little to firmly assert our national sovereignty. Taken individually, these are minor, isolated incidents. Taken collectively, they point to a disturbing trend.
Don’t believe me? Here are just a few prominent examples:
- In April 2001, a U.S. aircraft operating in international waters was antagonized by Chinese fighter aircraft, one of which collided with the U.S. craft. The damaged U.S. aircraft made an emergency landing on the Chinese mainland, and the U.S. airmen were detained in violation of international law until the U.S. government issued a letter of ‘apology’. The Chinese government then refused to allow U.S. authorities to repair and fly the aircraft out, so we had to disassemble and ship the aircraft out of China. (Hainan Island Incident)
- In January 2008, a U.S. Navy ship operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf were harassed and antagonized by Iranian forces. (Persian Gulf Incident)
- In August 2008, members of the Mexican military entered the United States and held a U.S. Border Patrol agent at gunpoint, ultimately claiming they didn’t know what country they were in. This is a regular occurrence on our southern border. (Mexican Border Incursion)
- Earlier this month, Somali pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama—a U.S.-flagged cargo ship—holding its crew as hostages. Most of the crew were released or escaped, but the captain was held hostage until being rescued by the U.S. Navy. (Maersk Alabama Hijacking)
- Just today, the Iranian government has sentenced a U.S. journalist to eight years in prison for ‘espionage’, likely because her reports were at-times critical of the Iranian government. Iran had every right to deport Roxana Saberi, but holding an American citizen as a political prisoner is an act of war. (Roxana Saberi Conviction)
There are probably hundreds more where they come from over the last few years, and it’s time that our government begin acting decisively to protect Americans from foreign acts of violence and oppression. We cannot permit acts of piracy, abduction, and confinement by foreign powers against our citizens without cause.