During the course of war, the minority party has two choices. It can acquiesce to the majority party on war strategy for the sake of national unity, and provide opposition on domestic programs. Or, it can obstruct successful war operations for the purposes of reacquiring power. Since there is an election on the horizon, it appears as though the minority party has chosen the latter course of obstruction over unity. With that in mind, the party has developed a campaign statement disguised as a guideline for national security which they call 'Real Security'. The following is an analysis of their main points:
The plan opens with, 'The first responsibility of our government is the security of every American.' After years of promoting excessive taxation and redistribution of income, they have finally recognized the primary maxim of government's relationship with its citizens, that of security, not income equality. It is a good start.
'Promote alternative fuels and reduce dependence on foreign oil.' Good idea, stick with your strength. They are good at promoting this argument. So far, their plan is moving in the right direction.
After criticizing President Bush and pre—war intelligence, the plan goes onto talk about contracts going to '...companies such as Halliburton, KBR...' If their dissertation on national security has to include criticism of legitimate companies, it is definitely off track. The contractors are doing an admirable job for American forces. The quality of food, materiel, and equipment in a combat zone is unequaled in the history of warfare. The contractors are making the sacrifice of being away from family and country for the troops much more tolerable. The opposition's security plan is losing focus.
'And despite record high fuel prices, our country remains heavily dependent on foreign oil because of an energy policy that benefits the big oil interests.' Aside from being another knock on free enterprise, that statement is disjointed and obviously not well thought out. If fuel prices were lower, would we be any less dependent upon foreign oil? The prices are subject to the current supply. If they want to change our dependence upon that supply, they should focus their energy on one of the previous paragraphs outlining their strength——the debate on the search for alternative fuels.
'Rebuild a state—of—the—art military by making the needed investments in equipment and manpower so that we can project power to protect America...' Anybody who uses the over—utilized term 'state—of—the—art' has run out of purposeful adjectives and has again failed to think the problem through. What does that term mean in this context? Will they make the military more aesthetic? More lethal? Better organized? Since the left despises free enterprise (read Halliburton and big oil), it is very odd they would use the term 'investments' when speaking of the military. They only use the 'investment' word when it comes to increased government spending. The problem is that they do not want to project power out of fear of alienating world opinion. Instead, they prefer to talk ceaselessly at the UN while terrorists attack our interests, as happened in the 1990s.
The plan goes on to say, 'Eliminate Osama Bin Laden...finish the job in Afghanistan.' If any statement within their manifesto demonstrates their inability to understand strategy, this is it. Looking back at World War II, if only Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, and Montgomery planned and executed the capture of Adolph Hitler, think of all the lives, time, and money that would have been saved. Basing your plan on eliminating Bin Laden is not responsible policy. It is an added benefit as we continue to destroy his network, but never should it be the primary emphasis of tactical operations. Concentrating on the pursuit of Bin Laden would distract from the primary mission. It reminds one of Senator John Kerry's campaign comment that he would not do one thing differently than that of President Bush; he would do everything differently. Aside from pleading with the French to support us, what would those changes be? That is a good 30—second campaign commercial, but once again, it is empty in terms of war strategy.
'...finish the job in Afghanistan.' The terrorist government was overthrown within a matter of months and democratic institutions have been established. Terrorists are being sought out each day. What could the left possibly do differently?
'Double the size of our Special Forces.' This is another demonstration of a profound lack of understanding the American military. Doubling the size of any force does not necessarily correlate to an increase of effectiveness in the same proportion. Forces in special operations do great work. But as the name implies, the work within those organizations is specialized; they assist the overall mission, they are never the main effort to successful completion. Relying too heavily upon Special Forces distracts from the conventional purposes of regular forces.
'Combating the economic, social, and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive.' The left cannot escape the mentality that criminals or terrorists must have an inner rage formed by a supposed lack of economic opportunity. It sounds similar to their application of the failed analysis and attempted rehabilitation of the criminal caste in America. This is nothing short of saying that their violence is a result of our lack of understanding and a shortage of funding for social programs. The left lacks a basic understanding of the cultural and religious dogma driving the terrorists, or, more likely, they refuse to acknowledge it and hope it will just go away.
'Renew longstanding alliances.' Could they be referring to NATO, the organization that we dedicated a half century of funding and military personnel only to be ignored during our hour of need? Or could it be the UN, the organization that turned a blind eye while Saddam Hussein manipulated the corrupt Oil for Food program and turned it into a palace funding vehicle? These organizations are anachronistic and need to be reformed prior to relying upon them and before we continue to dedicate resources to their continuity.
'Secure by 2010 loose nuclear materials...' The left is enamored by using 'the process' and setting arbitrary target dates. We need to aggressively pursue the terrorists to ensure they never acquire the material, whether it is tomorrow, next year, or 2010. This is why we did not leave Afghanistan or Iraq as soon as their terrorist governments were overthrown. Yet, the left wants us to leave immediately. Who knows what would happen to those materials if we left the region prematurely.
'Provide firefighters...police officers with training, equipment, etc.' Sounds like nationalizing departments for which states and municipalities are responsible. This could lead to more bureaucracy, which of course, corresponds to more taxes.
'Protect America from biological terrorism...by investing in the public health infrastructure...' There goes that 'investment' word in the public sector again. If they used that word in its proper sense in the private sector, they would contribute to a stronger economy. It also appears to be another attempt to nationalize the health industry at the expense of national security.
'Responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.' If they have to qualify redeployment with 'responsible', it means a complete, irresponsible, and premature withdrawal before mission completion. This is not effective policy; it is failing to carry through an operation they are now walking away from.
'Insist that Iraqis make the political compromises necessary to unite their country...' Insist? Apparently, nobody within the diplomatic or defense organizations realized it was that easy. This is the same logic that produces policy to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. The Iraqis need to figure this out on their own; this is how they will grow into the democratic mind—set.
'Hold the Bush Administration accountable for its manipulated pre—war intelligence...' If this is a matter of semantics to avoid the 'impeachment' word, they are being irresponsible in a time of war. This is the same intelligence that the French, Germans, and Russians agreed upon. Even the former president insisted upon regime change when he reviewed the identical intelligence prior to September 11th.
'Free America from dependence on foreign oil...' This is the only logical statement in their strategy. Again, this is an area that they are legitimately qualified to handle. Perhaps they should concentrate on this and let President Bush and his administration continue to execute this war to its successful completion.
This security strategy presented by the Democratic Party is strong on rhetoric and falls short of logic. They have to decide if they sincerely want to win this war for America, regardless of who occupies the White House and controls Congress, or if they are more concerned with acquiring power and following an isolationist policy. Unfortunately, it appears to be the latter.
John M. Kanaley is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, serving in Baghdad, Iraq. The views expressed are his own, not those of the Army or the Department of Defense.