Monday, November 13, 2006
Make no mistake; the next two years under the democrats will be spent searching for those responsible for the debacle in Iraq. Some will say it was Cheney and Bush’s fabricating the conclusions on the pre war intelligence. The intelligence committees all have one less than an equal number of democrats. Many will want to blame Rummy.
The WMD were there and were moved to Syria before the war began. Judging Saddam's intensions (using facts) were way beyond America's intelligence community.
Regardless of whether you think Iraq was a mistake, and I do; it is still on the list of bad guys who want to harm us and had the capability and money to do so. The issue was not should we wack Iraq but when. By wack I don't mean military force except as a last option.
The invasion, Rummy’s responsibility was a success in three weeks with few casualties and cost. Post invasion, not a part of the defense dept was a major scew-up. Cheney is a killer not a nation builder. Put him with Rummy. You have to look for others to blame our current debacle on, but don't look too hard it was Bush's idea from the get go. Paul Bremer, the architect of this major disaster was Bush's man.
The lesson to be learned from this disaster is to stick to our strategic object, if we ever define one. That should be to safeguard the American people from Islamic Jihadists. No Middle East nation is anything more than a collection of rival societies and tribes. Borders and governments (except for Iran) mean nothing. It is certain clerics and their followers who want us dead. Americans do not want to hear that, so nobody says it. But that does not change reality. Do we need to eliminate so called religious leaders who spread the hate and inspire their followers to action. Absolutely.
When someone wants to harm you the most critical decision you have to make is determine who the enemy is and what is his center of gravity (those people and capabilities, that if removed will eliminate the threat).
I ask who do think our enemy is and what is his center of gravity among the Islamic Jihadists? Americans are the worst people on earth at identifying the threatening centers of gravity and having the will to make that center the target for destruction. We never clearly identify our long-term strategic goals and match our foreign policy to achieving those goals.
Where does this mindset begin? It is with the American people. The American people just want to be left alone. We have no interest in foreign policy. We leave it to the politicians with only media oversight. A recipe for adventurism like Korea, Vietnam, Granada and now Iraq. We have no more Imperialist ambitions. We grabbed all the land and resources we need in the 1800's.
As for strategic goals here are mine. First we do need a conscious sense of identity. When one says I am an American it should fundamentally mean the same thing no matter who in America says it. Being an American should require accepting certain values and responsibilities. Those should be simple, clear and ingrained in every American. Second, we want to be left alone. We do not want our lives or our identity threatened by anyone in the world. Third, we do want and need fair trade with other nations. That is it. But we fail to realize that a good portion of the world does not share that objective. There are still those with Imperialist ambitions and there are more diffuse enemies such as Islamic Jihadists, who want to do us direct harm. We didn't pick them as an enemy, they picked us.
You can ask what behaviors are we doing that have caused Islam to want to kill us? They will rattle off a few, like getting out of the Middle East. But that is smoke. This is truly a religious war. The Islamic Jihadists hate us for what we are, Infidels, and they want us dead or converted to Islam. Until we realize that, we are wasting our treasure and blood perusing the wrong enemy or worse, spreading democracy or nation building which do nothing to attack the centers of gravity of the Jihadists.
Bush has wasted 4 years of this nation's treasure and blood perusing democracy and nation building. The three-week war and finding Saddam and the other members of the 50-card deck were achieved in 6 months. We should have gotten out. No WMD and no Bathists to sell them. Our stated strategic objectives achieved in Iraq. But should we have ever gone into Iraq? Eventually, but nowhere near second after Afghanistan.
But if one looked at the big picture, one would realize this Islamic Jihadist war started in 1979 when an Islamic cleric seized our embassy in Iran with loyal religious zealots. It was started not by a government, not by a conventional army, not even a guerrilla army. Mostly radical students with AKs. But who was the center of gravity, Khomeni and his like-minded clerics. Bombed barracks, bombed embassies, bombed discos, the Cole and 9-11 all part of cleric inspired, religious motivated desire to see us dead.
The American people have the least understanding in the world of foreign policy, strategic objectives or a national strategy for victory. They don't even know what victory is. Our leaders never explain that to the American people. Our schools do not even acknowledge that it exists. Even the rest of the world has no idea what America's goals are? That is because we don't have any. We make them up to justify our actions on the world stage for any given crisis. We rightly earn the name "cowboy". We now have anti war liberals clamoring for military action in Darfor. Nothing could be further from our national goals. How can this be?
Simple. The lack of clearly stated goals and metrics that can be measured leaves a vacuum where any idea can be rationalized by anyone with access to the media. Therefore anyone can, after the fact build a case for mistakes.
If America is to be successful on the world stage then it first must have public national goals. These goals should have the same status as our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Every American should know what those goals are. They should be taught from first grade on. Those goals need to be simply put, easy for everyone in the world to understand and the American public unified behind them. I have offered my three. What are yours? Foreign policy should address all world action against those goals. Helpful behavior encouraged. Harmful behavior attacked. Until we do, any idea or ambition by our politician can gain legs. There are no standards to measure the actions of our leaders against. That is the root cause of the disaster we now have in Iraq. Brilliant military success preceded by, and succeeded by political rangling and misguided objectives. What blow have we struck against the Jihadist's center of gravity?
Keep this in mind when the search for the guilty begins. We, the American people are the most to blame.
Liberty or Death.