Friday, March 17, 2006

Our National Security Strategy

In case you were watching the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, the president unveiled a new national security strategy.  The strategy came out on the same day that the 102nd airborne launched a mass assault on insurgent strongholds north of Baghdad.(Operation Swarmer resulted in no-gun fire and the capture of 41 insurgents 17 of whom were released shortly thereafter)  The air operation is the largest since the first month of the war and here you thought it was Major Military Operations are Over and Mission Accomplished almost three years ago.  Well, Americans have to understand that maintaining security it hard work.  In the operation, a mixture of 1500 Iraqi and Coalition forces are on the ground.  On Monday, the president told us that the Iraqi army is becoming increasingly capable but for some perplexing reason no one seems willing to specify how many of each are in those 1500 who are taking the lead in this operation.  In the same week, the new Iraqi parliament had time to have its first session. It was 30 minutes deep in the green zone and the session ended with an indefinite postponement.

I took some time to look over the main points of the administration’s strategy myself.  Most of the headlines have focused on the documents renewed endorsement of the doctrine of preemptive war, a comforting thought in a week when we’ve been issuing serious warnings both to Iran and China.  Other than the fact that it calls Iraq a significant success story in America’s security strategy over the last three years. (I wonder how the Sunnis feel about that right now), I did think the document offered a pretty good blue print for what I’d want at home.

It calls for an expansion of freedom, democracy, and human dignity.  Who can quarrel with that?  I imagine the women of South Dakota and Indiana might like some of that right now.   So would hundreds of prisoners in Guantanamo and countries unknown.  Should I begin to talk about Americans currently living in poverty?  The strategy criticizes governments that seek economic freedom at the expense of political liberty.  I have to agree with that too.  Americans shouldn’t have to be concerned that their phones and computers are subject to surveillance nor should they have to worry that government lawyers would resort to strategies like coaching witnesses.  This is one of my favorite lines from the strategy, Some governments have not delivered the benefits of effective democracy and prosperity to their citizens, leaving them susceptible to or taken over by demagogues peddling an anti-free market authoritarianism.”

That’s a nice distinction and I feel safer already because I live in a country taken over by demagogues peddling a pro-free market authoritarianism.  Call me what you want, but if I had to prioritize civil liberties, the free market actually isn’t at the top of my list nor does it show up anywhere in my copy of the bill of rights.  I still have hazy memories of all those photos of poverty during the so-called “Gilded Age” when America was still legally duking it out over the issue of whether any form of regulations was permissible at all.  Back then the anti- free market measures were things like safety and health inspections of businesses, fire codes,  child labor, maximum hours, minimum wages, the right to form a union.  I’d even dare say that those anti-market notions made most Americans more not less secure.  

Here’s some more great ideas for the United States,
  Honor and uphold basic human rights, including freedom of religion, conscience, speech, assembly, association, and press;
  Are responsive to their citizens, submitting to the will of the people, especially when people vote to change their government;
  Exercise effective sovereignty and maintain order within their own borders, protect independent and impartial systems of justice, punish crime, embrace the rule of law, and resist corruption; and
  Limit the reach of government, protecting the institutions of civil society, including the family, religious communities, voluntary associations, private property, independent business, and a market economy.

It sounds like a perfectly sensible recipe to me, but I wonder how well we set an example for this both abroad and at home.  

Another excerpt:

Tailoring assistance and training of military forces to support civilian control of the military and military respect for human rights in a democratic society.

I don’t think they meant to have civilian contractors controlling military prisons and yes I’m all for military respect for human rights.  How are we doing with that? The same section goes on to mention fighting corruption and for democratic accountability.  I consider those great ideas as well and would welcome an Administration who supports those things at home and abroad.

I’d be happy to go on and I would point out that I don’t agree with all of the administration’s strategy, but let me say this about those parts that I’ve excerpted above.  “No strategy works if you don’t actually implement it.”

Gold Star Mom Speaks Out: Evil Eyes This is a link to a Gold Star mother's encounter with Richard Perle, one of the architect's of the war.


At 3/17/2006 11:28:00 AM, Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Notice they don't seem particularly interested in planning for this year's hurricane season right here at home? War has become their primary business venture and everything else can go to hell here at home.

At 3/17/2006 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

For a security strategy, they were amazingly light on specifics of any kind. The basic argument that democracy is the single most important single source of security.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I've never thought democracy worked by invading another country, deposing its leader, then telling them that they're a democracy now, don't worry about our having all these military bases in your country in the meantime.

At 3/18/2006 03:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cl, For some bizarre reason when one clicks Read More in your main column, then all the side stuff & categories show up!!! (I'm using Internet Explorer tho God Herself only knows why.)

I've decided to Learn to Love George Bush & see how it feels to be a Real American.

At 3/18/2006 03:04:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Mr. Pogblog, thanks for letting me know. I'm thinking it might be the code on my links page.

At 3/19/2006 10:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What shows when one clicks Read More (in IE)are your short Who Am I blurb, & that nice colorful category list, & a list of ten recent articles. No calendar where one can root through your archive -- tho now I can't remember if there was one?!


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