981217-N-8492C-015Given Iran’s and North Korea’s advancement toward nuclear weapons, the threat of catastrophic attack against the United States is a legitimate concern. So is America’s military preparedness.

Whether on the left or on the right, most people recognize that national defense is a proper role for the state. Many acknowledge that military defense is the government’s most important responsibility.

So what is the status of America’s threat level and defense? According to experts, North Korea possesses catastrophic weapons. Iran is widely believed to be close to acquiring nuclear weapons. This alone constitutes a failure of foreign policy. After the worst attack in U.S. history by Islamic terrorists, in September of 2001, the United States identified these two potential threats to national security. We’ve indisputably let the threat expand.

After decades of negotiations by the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, the U.S. is functionally passive toward both terrorist-sponsoring states, arguably appeasing the twin threats while lulling the American public into a false sense of security.

How? By violating rights in the name of a kind of permanent national lockdown that purports to protect, defend and secure the homeland. Instead of activating a military strategy for elimination of the Islamic terrorist threat, for example—as against picking off terrorists one by one—the government has restricted Americans’ travel, blamed attacks on the exercise of free speech and imposed massive new spying on Americans through the NSA.

When the U.S. is attacked, we are not prepared. Islamic jihadists at Boston’s marathon, for instance, attacked the United States despite numerous warnings, investigations and red flags. In the hours after the assault, the government failed to alert the public to the heightened Islamic terrorist threat—they denied there was a terrorist threat, let alone that it was motivated by radical Islam—despite knowledge to the contrary. This endangered American lives, in particular the life of a campus policeman who was killed after the initial attack. Similar failures occurred at Benghazi and Fort Hood, with the government blaming bureaucracy and equivocating and rationalizing its failure to defend the nation after each attack.

These jihadist attacks were planned, coordinated, systematic military-style assaults on the United States—each was driven by the same philosophy that motivated the 9/11 attack—with connections to foreign sources known in advance of the siege. In each case, the U.S. failed to anticipate, identify, address, prevent and avenge the attack.

With regard to preparedness as such, we now know that we are losing our top military generals. According to a recent Reuters report, we know that America’s highest-ranking generals are being systematically fired by the Obama administration. For instance, the commander at the U.S. Strategic Air Command was reportedly fired during an investigation into his gambling, though the government insists that the general’s actions pose no threat to national security. We know that two days after the general, who was a deputy commander of America’s nuclear and space weapons, was fired, the Air Force general in charge of intercontinental missiles was fired for personal “misbehavior.” A week before that, two top generals with the U.S. Marine Corps were fired by the administration for supposedly failing to defend a base in Afghanistan.

The nation’s defense is the highest priority. This is not a controversial point. So why does the government fail to anticipate and eradicate worst possible scenarios for catastrophic military attack while putting the country on lockdown, evading evidence and firing top generals with neither disclosure nor scrutiny? The question remains valid. The conclusion that America’s defense is deficient—at the expense of individual rights—is undeniable.