To the Editor:
Any discussion of “When, Where & How to Use Force,” like the three articles published under this overall heading in the December 1993 issue [“Beyond Self-Defense,” by Joshua Muravchik; “The Core vs. the Periphery,” by Fareed Zakaria; and “Learning from Aidid,” by A.J. Bacevich], will be academic unless we maintain a strong national defense that will enable us to make these decisions. With this in mind, it is time we drew an analogy between our national defenses and the biological defenses of our organisms: our immune systems.
No one in his right mind would willingly, knowingly, and voluntarily diminish his own immune system. We are now far enough advanced in our medical knowledge to understand that when our immune systems are compromised, all kinds of opportunistic diseases can afflict us. If we allow our national defense system to deteriorate (the equivalent of a compromised immune system), we will pay the price of seeing the rise of all kinds of opportunistic tyrants and their followers (diseases) who will, in one way or another, take advantage of our weakened state. This knowledge is not in itself new, but the analogy is, and I believe we should take it seriously.
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