Defeating Terror

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Stephanie, May 23, 2006.

  1. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    DESPITE THE POLS, WE'RE WINNING


    May 23, 2006 -- WITH the formation of Iraq's new government, it's a good time to take stock of where we stand in our confrontation with Islamist terror. You wouldn't know it from the outrageously dishonest headlines, but we're winning.
    We could do even better, if we put national security above partisan politics.


    Our enemies are far from giving up, of course. But they realize now that Americans won't quit after suffering the first dozen casualties. That came as a shock after the cowardice of past presidential administrations.

    Our enemies can still grab the tactical initiative by killing the innocent, but terrorists around the world have been shoved onto the strategic defensive. We tend to overlook that. So let's consider just how far we've come:



    * The mainstream media said it couldn't be done, so the Iraqis did it: Under new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, they formed a permanent government based on free elections. (Those free elections were supposed to be impossible, too - remember?)

    Yes, Iraq could still break into bloody bits. But it hasn't, despite ceaseless predictions of doom. Now the great danger isn't from terrorists but from a premature troop draw-down before our midterm elections. We could throw it all away over a few congressional seats.

    * Headlines from Afghanistan always read "Five Soldiers Killed and Wounded," not "150 Taliban Killed." If today's journalists reported the Battle of Midway, we'd read "U.S. Aircraft Shot From Skies," with a brief mention of the destruction of the Japanese carrier fleet buried at the bottom.

    The Taliban was decisively defeated. That doesn't mean it's gone. The religious madness the Taliban represents will remain at the edges of Afghan life - it's part of the cultural package, just as bigotry haunts the fringes of our society. But Afghanistan's a far less-menacing place than it was. In the real world, that's enough.

    * Pakistan's a worsening problem - overshadowed by the less immediate issue of Iran. Taliban remnants and al Qaeda terrorists survive because the Pakistani military is afraid to go into the country's tribal areas to root out them out. Riddled with extremists, nuclear armed and incapable of controlling its own territory, Pakistan should have Washington in crisis mode.

    * Al Qaeda has been broken. Yes, its remnants remain deadly. Yes, autonomous terror cells pose a growing threat. But the organization behind 9/11 has seen its surviving leaders driven into caves and remote villages where they live in constant fear. Islamist terror may have moved beyond al Qaeda, but our government and our military deserve credit for shattering the greatest international terror ring in history.

    * The United States has taken this war to our enemies and to their homelands - without suffering another terrorist strike on our soil. While that long-awaited strike still seems only a matter of time, the greatest strategic surprise to this columnist has been the inability of our enemies to hit back to date. Kudos to the feds and the folks in uniform. In the Global War on Terror (or whatever it's called this week), the cardinal indicator of success is what doesn't happen.

    * A fundamental reason why we've remained safe from further attacks on our homeland has been intelligence successes. While our intel system is far from all it could be, it's not nearly as incompetent as it's portrayed to be.

    Poor intel has become an easy excuse for flawed decision-making. We need to be honest with ourselves: No matter how much we improve, we'll never have perfect intelligence. To pretend otherwise is to lie to the American people. Instead of blaming our institutions, leaders in both parties have to lead.

    * Domestic politics hurt us in our struggle against terrorists. The phony claim that the government "spies on American citizens" is about party sympathies and the upcoming elections, not about threats to our freedom. To the chagrin of a biased media, a convincing majority of Americans believe it's just fine to listen in on terrorist phone calls.

    If journalists really cared about our right to privacy, they'd be tackling online auction houses, corporate information-sharing and Internet spyware - not wartime efforts to prevent another 9/11.

    * At least 40 times more Americans will die on our highways this year than will be lost in Iraq. More Americans will be murdered in Prince George's County outside of Washington, D.C., than are likely to die in Afghanistan. We're doing pretty well overseas; our crunch-time strategic problems are here at home: the inexcusable lack of a serious alternative-fuels policy; the need to face our immigration crisis with honesty, decency and respect for the rule of law - and, above all, a political system held captive by extremists on the left and right, corrupted by an irresponsible media culture.

    Plenty remains to be done. We must see our Iraq mission through to the end - unless the Iraqis fail themselves. We must restore integrity and common sense to our foreign policy by ceasing to pretend that the Saudis are our friends and by living up to our rhetoric about support for democracy. And we need to take a very hard line on China's currency manipulation and cheating on trade.

    Still, any fair-minded review of the last several years of American engagement abroad would conclude that, despite painful mistakes, we've changed the world for the better. The results have been imperfect, as such results always will be. But the bewildering sense of gloom and doom fostered my many in the media is as unjustified as it is corrosive.

    Our global report card right now? A for effort. B for results. C for consistency. D for media integrity. And F for domestic political responsibility.
    http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/68912.htm
     
  2. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    that I completely agree with is:

    "We must restore integrity and common sense to our foreign policy by ceasing to pretend that the Saudis are our friends and by living up to our rhetoric about support for democracy. And we need to take a very hard line on China's currency manipulation and cheating on trade."

    Why can't we do that? Because the far east and the mid-east each own approximately $1 trillion in U.S. debt. If the Saudis didn't have us by the balls this way, we could have taken on the real root of Al Qaeda terror--Wahhabi fundamentalism, which is a Saudi phenomenon, not an Iraqi one. Why have we sacrificed our financial independence this way for some unnecessary tax cuts? (I call them unnecessary because the Clinton boom shows clearly that our economy could grow without them.)

    The article continues the right-wing article of faith that Iraq actually had something meaningful to do with terrorism. Late breaking news--Iraq wasn't involved, all Bush's "reasons" to invade have been debunked, and most are now known to have been known false at the time he said they were true.

    When the article admits that we've made mistakes and have a long way to go, it undercuts its own attempt to paint the mainstream media's choice of headlines as the problem. That's not the problem. The problem is incredibly poor judgement by this administration about what will really make us safer in the world. (My list, which I've repeated many times, begins with locking up loose nukes faster than Bush's lazy 2020 goal, reducing our deficits so we're not beholden to China and others, actually inspecting containers that enter our ports, and taking the moral high road in our treatment of prisoners and aid to other countries, in order to reduce anti-Americanism.)

    Mariner.
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Gee I'm sure your credentials as MD, even from Harvard, outweigh Peters degrees from the War College and experience as Lieutenant Colonel. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    That's just bullshit. The Clinton "boom" was heading for recession because the middle class had been bled about as dry as possible. The Bush tax cuts staved it off. Get some reality, huh?
     
  5. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    There are plenty of people with military and political credentials who agree with me. Besides, I'm not speaking from credentials, or asking anyone to agree with me on that basis.

    It's important to try to hold the media to standards of fairness, and the right has a good point that for many years there was a general bias in the media towards the left. With the rise of right-wing talk radio and the Fox network etc. etc., I don't think that argument can be made as easily anymore. The attempts to paint any and all signs of failure in the president's policies as bias on the part of the media look an awful lot like whining to me.

    GunnyL, I simply don't agree with you. Of course there's a business cycle. But face it, under Clinton we had significant growth without the current Bush tax cuts, and we reduced our deficit. Bush has piled on more deficit than any president in peacetime history. I can't understand how Republicans, who bill themselves as fiscally responsible, condone credit-card spending as we had under Reagan (until he came to his senses, raised taxes, and created the late 80's boom) and Bush. I don't see why it's not more obvious to people that having countries we don't love hold so much of our debt constrains us--hamstrings us--in our international activities. It seems pretty commonsensical to me. Yet this subject is never talked about here, where there's a simple drumbeat of "lower my taxes." Did you catch the fact recently that even Grover Norquist, ultimate guru of the small gov't/low tax cause, supports an increased gasoline tax? Times are changing.

    Mariner.
     

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