President Obama’s speech on terror was welcome, but many more things need to be said and done:
1) A recognition that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and occasionally Pakistan have been pointless. Terrorism is best handled as a law enforcement/intelligence issue.
2) The drones we use are an admission that our military is not equipped to wage prolonged wars with insufficient troops. Global terrorism involves perhaps 10-20,000 active fighters, and we cannot defeat them when our resources are devoted to being an occupying force in failed states.
3) Guantanamo should be closed, its inmates released and/or tried in US civilian courts. The cowardice of the Know Nothing Party on this issue defines their equally stupid and fatal attraction to fighting endless wars that contribute nothing to national security.
4) The Patriot Act should be repealed. That the Justice Department feels it can spy on the press in a vain effort to punish whisteblowers says our country has lost freedom during the 12 years we’ve lost our mind about terrorism.
5) We need a complete revamp of national security and defense policy. The focus must be on vital national security interests, not chasing down fifth-rate criminals and fretting over the likes of North Korea and Iran. We need to worry a lot more about cyber attacks and more sophisticated forms of espionage currently being undertaken by the Chinese. We need to reduce defense spending on programs that refight World War II (do we really need an Air Force or a Navy to meet today’s national security challenges? must we spend 10 times what the rest of the world spends to be secure? etc.).
The President’s made a good start on these issues, but we also need to stop seeing the Pentagon as a middle class jobs program and national security as a theatrical exercise in restraining our own human rights.
Gorilla says: “Let’s be secure, but let’s also be wary about those in our country who would restrict our freedom!”