In 1991, I argued with a socialist who asked me why we still needed a military if the Cold War was now over. I told him “terrorism.” I’m not an oracle, but when 9/11 happened I remembered that conversation and realized that maybe the American government wasn’t taking terrorism seriously up until then.
On 9/11, I had a conversation with a co-worker and outlined what I would recommend as the best response to the attacks. We take out the Taliban in Afghanistan and go after al Qaeda there. Then we attack Iran, take out their government and turn the country over to the students and moderates. Then we should do exactly what we ended up doing in Iraq – regime change and rebuilding the infrastructure.
Here’s what didn’t happen. We didn’t take out Iran. Because we didn’t take out Iran, the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan became the Iranian proxy war against the United States. Just like al Qaeda had been at war with us long before we knew it, Iran is at war with us now. They are also at war with Israel.
Some would challenge me that Iran and Iraq were not responsible for 9/11; and with the exception of long degrees of separation that is true. However, this was a missed opportunity for the United States to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we understood the language of international power politics. This was our opportunity to respond with overwhelming force to the attacks of 9/11 and march from Afghanistan to the Syrian border, putting the world on notice that any attack on America would result in such a serious response.
At the Syrian border, we would be in a very believable position to use that opportunity to address the Hezbollah and Lebanon issue with one simple question to Syria: “how would you like to be next?”
I would expect the Syrians under that scenario to back off and do what we asked them to do with regards to Lebanon and Hezbollah.
Then the military campaign would come to an end. The intelligence war would continue whereby we would dismantle terrorist organizations by cutting off their funding and disrupting their infrastructures. We have a CIA and we have Special Forces. That’s what they’re there for.
This is not about being a war monger. This is not about taking the lives of American sons and daughters lightly. This is about taking a stand in a hostile world that will listen to nothing less than what I outlined above.
Because we are not taking that approach, thousands of civilians, many of them Muslims as well as thousands of American soldiers have been killed in some form of violence in the Middle East. How’s that for a lack of war mongering? Think about how many people could die from lack of military intervention as opposed to how many that could with it.
Instead of leading a world that respects our might and sees us an example of stability and an ally that can be called upon to help resist aggression, we follow a world that laughs at us. The Middle East is collapsing under our nose and we have done nothing to stop it.
This would not be happening if my plan was implemented. Even if the plan didn’t go as well as expected, we’d still be heading in the direction where al Qaeda was on the run, Iran was no longer a nuclear threat and Iraq would be, well, what Iraq is today. George W. Bush did the Afghanistan part and the Iraq part of my plan. He just didn’t complete the job with Iran.
Now we have Obama who golfs while the Middle East burns and dithers while the rest of the world puts together a coalition for a no fly zone that he shows up late for. Better late than never, though, because the no fly zone is necessary. Conservatives have been calling for it since as early as February 23, 2011. That’s over a month ago.
I’m not so much concerned about Obama not getting Congressional approval as I am concerned about why it took him so long to have to act in a hurry without it. Congress has the Constitutional authority to tell the President he needs their approval ultimately; and if Obama wants to avoid impeachment he probably wants to address this as soon as possible.
The problem is that Obama has muffed this thing so badly that when he does go to Congress they’re going to blast him.
The United States should have taken and retained the lead on this. We should have clearly defined our military objective to establish a no fly zone and assist the rebels in removing Qaddafi. The end result should have been defined as the establishment of a secular government of their own making as long as they renounce a caliphate and respect human rights. Some question the motives of the rebels; but they are much more easily controlled than the established regime of Qaddafi.
Aside from the would have, could have, should have stuff I outlined in the opening section of this post, let’s take the actual realities as they are now and come up with Patrick’s Doctrine.
Patrick’s Doctrine would clearly state that in the interests of not having Muslim extremists come to power in unstable countries, the United States military reserves the right to take action not for the purposes of nation building or meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign countries, but rather to specifically address threats from those who espouse a world caliphate and to defend ourselves from acts of terrorism in accordance with the Bush Doctrine.
It is in our national defense interests to consider those whose goals are to create worldwide Sharia law or to support international terrorism as threats to our national security. This is as serious as when the Soviet Union’s stated goal was to create worldwide communism. Let me repeat that. This is as serious as communism was during the Cold War.
Why we would not use our military to defend ourselves is beyond me. Setting up a no fly zone in Libya isn’t of itself a response to a direct military threat to the United States. But when taken in the context of the big picture, it represents an opportunity to address an instability in a part of a much wider region that is becoming more and more unstable. This is creating a ripe environment for Muslim extremists to come to power and creates a vacuum for Iran to fill. Those who want to build theocracies bent on a world caliphate are looking for these kinds of conditions.
If the U.S. can't handle something like a Libyan no fly zone, then it will only become harder for us to handle the big stuff when our enemies become more emboldened by our paper tiger-like approach.
Steve Forbes said five years ago that we should not put off the conflict with Iran. He predicted that our failure to address that conflict and suffer the short term economic effects would result in our paying high prices for oil over the long term.
Because we have put off the conflict with Iran, they now have ships in the Mediterranean. They are capable of ordering rocket attacks in Israel right now as we speak. A line from the Pink Floyd song “Time” says “one day older and one day closer to death.” Well, we are one day older and one day closer to a nuclear Iran.
Muslim extremists see this as their best chance. America is imploding. Just as the world capitalized on the implosion of the Soviet Union, mark my word, those intent on a caliphate see this as their chance to give Allah what they so misguidedly think He wants. A weakened America opens Israel up to destruction at the hands of the Muslim extremists who are working toward that end. Jewish Israel and Christian America out of the way, and it’s caliphate time!
The bad news is we didn’t do what we should have done right after 9/11. Our liberals yelled bloody murder every time we tried to take any kind of military action outside of Afghanistan. They hamstrung us. They are partially responsible for where we are today. A little more “war mongering” then would have put us in a much better position to have a lot less “war mongering” now.
But, because reality is reality and what’s done is done, we need to do what Americans do best: wait until the last moment and have a heroic effort to save it.
The good news is we can still fix this. The window of time grows smaller and smaller. But, action now combined with a complete removal of the Obama administration in 2012 will go a long way toward getting us back on the right path.