This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA the week of 12/22/2014

This is Christmas and at this time of the year we should be surrounded by family and friends. We should be listening to the wonderful sounds of the holiday and feeling that inner warmth that the time of the season brings to us. There is a sense of security and safety that envelops one during the season that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately our enemies don’t sleep and we find ourselves this year in the middle of an attack with consequences as great as anything we witnessed at Pearl Harbor or New York. No, lives were not lost nor did we witness any physical damage; however, we are in a new world of virtual reality connected by a network of data known as the Internet.

Last week Sony pictures was attacked by North Korea. The attack was not physical but was accomplished through hacking of Sony’s private data accounts; e-mails. The attack took place by slipping through various security “fire walls” and then accessing thousands of e-mails, personal data stored in data bases and personnel files. The reason for the attack was in retaliation for a comedic movie that Sony was about to release that poked fun at North Korea. As bad as the hacking was and the embarrassment that the disclosed information brought to Sony, other concerns have been disclosed that questions American leadership and resolute to do what is right within our country.

Sony acquiesced to the attack and announced that it would not release the movie. Sony has cowered to the anger of a third world dictator and shows no back bone nor leadership in confronting this newest version of terrorism. The majority of America would have not gone to see a show that many have referred to as horrible. That has all changed. If Sony really wanted to make a statement against an attack on its’ corporation it would release the movie and witness a blockbuster hit as Americans poured into the theater to see what all the commotion was about while voting for freedom of speech with their pocketbooks when purchasing tickets. What a message that would send to the world that American defiance is alive and strong. But alas, the movie will not be released and a second movie that also poked fun at North Korea and was set to be re-released has also been pulled from the theaters. So, in tensile town famous for its’ liberal views and screams for freedom of speech, the scream has been muted except for a few brave individuals that dare to speak out.
Ironically one of the few that has called for a unified stand against the cyber terrorist is an actor that was ridiculed in one of the leaked Sony e-mails. George Clooney, a powerful individual in the acting craft, was distraught at what one Sony executive said about him. In a world of pampered people, an insulting e-mail from Sony pertaining to Clooney was both shattering and sobering to a man of Clooney’s stature. How refreshing it was to witness Clooney stand up and display a level of leadership that has been void in Hollywood. George Clooney wrote a petition for his co-workers and industry executives to sign to show solidarity against the North Korean Hackers and send a message of support for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the freedom of speech. Amazingly, an industry that prides itself on being the moral conscience of America refused to support the petition. When first circulated not one of Hollywood’s finest would sign the document.

When it was America’s time to stand up and lead in the Middle East we preferred to see what our allies would do. We waited to act in Libya and this ultimately led to a tragic ending for several brave and dedicated Americans. We waited to act in Syria and thus allowed ISIS to develop. We waited to act in Iraq and thus ISIS is becoming a worldwide threat. Once again we are taking time to evaluate the current situation without saying anything substantive. Unfortunately another message of soft foreign policy from the greatest nation in the world. What we need to do is to state in no uncertain terms that we are going to retaliate and retaliate hard. We do not need to telegraph what we are going to do. That would allow our enemies an opportunity to prepare a defense. Today we have said that we will evaluate a retaliation that is comparable to the attack on the United States That is the wrong approach. Instead we need to send the message that if America is attacked that we will respond with consequences that are much greater than the attack on our sovereign nation. Then follow up on what we say.
Speak softly but carry a big stick. When attacked don’t talk about it, do something and in a manner that others will think twice before attacking our great nation again.

For you reading this on Christmas, Merry Christmas and rest assured that many young men and women are posted around our world keeping us safe from those who have pledged to do us harm. Remember them in your prayers.

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