The Third Rail

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

"The United States does not have a security system, it has a system for bothering people." We seriously need to improve our domestic anti-terrorism forces NOW. I am angered and filled with rage that our top officials have publicly stated that we need to accept that America will suffer a nuclear attack. Let's deal with this issue honestly and discuss painful facts about our failings. But telling the American people that we need to just accept the inevitable is bullshit. Instead, THEY need to work their ass off to prevent such a thing. I know it's hard work, but if it's not done, time to put in people who will provide solutions.

Why We Fight. I honestly feel at times like there isn't a war on. People still carry on as if we're still in peacetime except that they now have a higher tolerance of body counts when our armed forces are abroad. I don't think this is enough. I'm a firm believer that we lost the Vietnam War not because of military defeat (although Westmoreland was an idiot, the US did not lose a single important battle during the war, and leadership remarkably improved after Westmoreland's dismissal.), but because of incompetence at our highest political levels.

I'm not advocating the stab in the back thesis best exemplified by the Rambo and Missing in Action movies. Instead I'm stating that Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara were fundamentally clueless at the political dimensions of war leadership. There was a dichotomy between the war abroad and peace at home. This contradiction could not be maintained, and therefore you saw the rise of the peace movement and the subsequent civil strife in the late sixties and early seventies. That would have been avoidable if our leaders had made it well known that sacrifice would be necessary and have a real plan for victory. Of course such an effort would have concentrated the nation's minds on the war itself, and it would have demanded a real plan for victory. The Johnson administration instead hoped to be able to play with their toy soldiers and do the job as they thought best without the meddling of the parents of the sons and daughters sent off to war. There would be no way the nation would tolerate amateur hour, and a strategic battle plan that that relied entirely on the North Vietnamese giving up on their own (as opposed to being driven to surrender). They gambled and lost, but the true losers were the American people and the brave people of South Vietnam who still today live in impoverished tyranny. Unreconstructed hippies who would doubt otherwise need to be reminded that the same charges of corruption and brutality were labeled on Taiwan and South Korea, but it is impossible to find anyone today who would argue that it would be better had the Communists taken those lands over as well.

So what does any of this have to do with the current war? I think the government is failing in rallying the people. We have no propaganda effort, no world statement of goals like the Atlantic Charter, and no vision of a true peace after we defeat Al Qaeda. I happen to think that the real root of these Muslim terrorist groups is the tolerance for these corrupt and despotic regimes. The Arab Street KNOWS we aren't serious in dealing with our enemies. We constantly let them survive, and are horrified that the status quo may change. This needs to change, and the only way to do this is promote a vision for the Middle East that states that any further act of aggression will see the end of their terror regimes, the destruction of weapons of mass destruction and the regimes which acquire them, and the eventual withdraw of US troops AFTER VICTORY. Instead all we have now is a recipe for perpetual war.

By having a clear set of standards and objective ala the Atlantic Charter, we clearly limit our aggressive intent and settle fears OUSTIDE the Middle East of any US aggression. Furthermore, a bold statement will winback the diplomatic initiative on our end, and rally the American people behind a plan of action. This is necessary in preparation for the destruction of the Hussein regime in Iraq. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. The survival of the Hussein dictatorship is a major piece of evidence that the terrorists use to prove that America does not have the stomach to finish the job. No one can respect someone who tolerates half measures. Although I think the link between Hussein and Al Qaeda is tennuous, I see the war's root causes in the Middle East diplomacy that allowed the Hussein regime to survive. There can be no true peace (a harmony among nations) until Hussein is ousted. A well worded charter of principles can link the destruction of Al Qaeda and the end of Hussein. It can also undermine the Iranian government while simultaenously supporting the Iranian's people desire for freedom. It would do this better than the mere axis of evil phrase. Finally, it would serve notice to our "allies" such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia that after the terror war is over, our policies towards their false friendship would change, and lead to a situation where we can withdraw American troops from the Middle East without losing face.

Fortune favors the bold, and the tentative and half-assed leadership of our President isn't cutting it. We need a man of vision in the White House ala FDR, not Warren Harding. Why is this important? I want to see this war end, I want peace with victory.

Sorry I'm late. It's been two weeks since my last post. Little did I know I'd receive emails asking what's the issue. The issue WAS that my email program went down. A lot of bloggers are journalists or academics, and hence they can afford to constantly post during the day. I can't. The most I can do is spend time during each lunch break, scan the web, and email myself the links. Once I get home and grab dinner, I am finally able to post. If I'm too tired or busy, nothing for that day, but I try to post 2-3 times each week. Unfortunately, my email program crashed last Wednesday with several days worth of posts, and I couldn't get email up until yesterday. However, all my old email was lost, so I need to start anew.