Time To Remember The "Global" In The War On Terror
Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here] concept is an original idea.And those well-crafted words brings me to what I feel, increasingly, is wrong with our position in Iraq.
Increasingly, the Western world has attitudes rather than policies. It's one thing to talk as a means to an end. But these days, for most midlevel powers, talks are the end, talks without end. Because that's what civilized nations like doing – chit-chatting, shooting the breeze, having tea and crumpets, talking talking talking. Uncivilized nations like torturing dissidents, killing civilians, bombing villages, doing doing doing. It's easier to get the doers to pass themselves off as talkers then to get the talkers to rouse themselves to do anything.
I read of the Druze "300" valiantly standing between the ambitions of Syria and Iran to overwhelm Lebanon in order to assume a power position over Israel and give Syria a port for transshipment of weapons from Iran and NoKo, and I think, why aren't we fighting alongside the Druze?
Why don't we have an adequate force on the ground with air support, to stop the advance of the Hezbollah - Syria - Iran front? Why aren't we using our military assets to give Lebanon breathing room?
We're not fighting this short war because we are tied up with the long war. There are similar opportunities in Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Gulf -- like precise attacks on Iran Revolutionary Guard facilities near the Iranian border -- but the long war is limiting our options.
I'm reading Doug Fieth's War and Decision, and going back to the first days after 9/11, we see these bursts of short wars to very much be in the initial response planning. Remember, we are supposed to be fighting terror and those who support terror, not just al-Qaeda. The Pentagon planners envisioned military actions in Africa, Asia and even South America to take out terrorists and their support network.
Then Iraq and Afghanistan turned into long wars.
The fact that they did turn into long wars maybe shows that the short war option may not be viable. Can we strike here and there and change things? If we support the Druze, can we save Lebanon, or will saving Lebanon require another long war?
A good question, for sure, but perhaps the best way to answer it is to try the short war option. Seize the ship with the weapons. Knock out the training camp. Close the bank account. Stop the next Janjaweed attack in Darfur. Capture the terror-king and his henchmen and transport them to some unknown prison for a friendly debriefing.
Do. Do. Do. We are doing a lot in Iraq and Afghanistan; we are converting whole societies bit by bit, allowing them to taste freedom from extremism and tyranny. It's time to do more elsewhere. I don't hear any presidential candidates talking about this, but as we draw down our troops in Iraq over the next few years, transferring authority to a more stable Iraqi government and a better trained Iraqi army and police force, we need to consider "where next?" for our hegemonic military.
We can go anywhere and do just about anything, so let's do hurry up with getting a few tens of thousands of troops available to support freedom and trounce terror in theaters around the globe.
This is not going to be the Global War on Terror until we take it to the terrorists globally.