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Top Nine Reasons A Democratic President Can't Handle the War on Terrorism

John Hawkins lists nine top reasons a Democratic President can't handle the war on terrorism in his column at Townhall.

"1) The Democratic insistence on treating the war on terrorism as a law enforcement issue will make it extremely difficult to deal with terrorist groups. When you have heavily armed terrorists ensconced in foreign nations, sometimes with the approval of their government, it's simply not practical to capture them, read them their rights, and take them back to America for trial. That is something that should be obvious after that approach was tried by Bill Clinton in the nineties and it failed to produce results. Going back to it in the post 9/11 world, which is what the Democrats want to do, is nothing but an invitation to catastrophe.

2) Ronald Reagan once said that, "Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong." Conversely, a super power that seems weak invites attack. After spending the last six years railing against the Bush Administration and fighting tooth and nail against almost every measure that makes it tougher on the terrorists, a Democratic victory in 2008 would be viewed by the world as nothing less than an American capitulation in the war on terror. This would encourage the terrorists to launch more attacks and cause our allies in the fight to lose heart."


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Comments (19)

1) - Of course it's law enf... (Below threshold)
John:

1) - Of course it's law enforcement. The military blows stuff up and kills people. Law enforcement conducts surveilence, does research, hunts people down, unraveles crime syndicates, and prevents crimes. What, you think you can find Terroriststan on the map so you can just go bomb it, and it's over?

2) - If Reagan was right, then why are we (who spend as much money on our military as every other nation in the world combined), the number one target in the world for terrorists?

Entering WWII was unpopular... (Below threshold)

Entering WWII was unpopular before Pearl Harbor. You would think Americans could have supported military action for a war on terror with the same fervor. Just because the war on terror features a foe without geopolitical attachments makes it no less a war. 2300 killed at Pearl or 2996 at the WTC should have provided the same incentive. All levels of law enforcement and the military are involved in this. But civilian intervention, whether politicians or the public at large, has impeded the military mission as well as hindering law enforcement.

The problem with attempting... (Below threshold)

The problem with attempting to deal with international terrorism as a purely law enforcement problem is that our law enforcement agencies are poorly constituted to deal with foreign threats and hostile governments. By its nature, law enforcement concentrates on arrests and prosecutions, and lacks the tactical ability to conduct preemptive strikes around the world on short notice. Also, the terrorists consider it a war, so trying to address it as anything less gives them an advantage by default.

Yes, John, "The military blows stuff up and kills people." So do the terrorists. Fight fire with fire, not subpoenas.

This is some of Hawkins' best work. I congratulate him. I can only find fault with the whole goatee thing. What, is he going for the "Patrick Hynes look" or something?

2) - If Reagan was righ... (Below threshold)
marc:

2) - If Reagan was right, then why are we (who spend as much money on our military as every other nation in the world combined), the number one target in the world for terrorists?
Posted by: John at February 23, 2007 02:00 AM

Lets see, Somolia - turned tail and ran. (at murtha's insistence, Again)

Lebanon - turned tail and ran.

Osama calls the U.S. a "paper tiger."

Case closed.

So for a quick status updat... (Below threshold)
John:

So for a quick status update on your "war" on terror, we've sunk 500 billion, we still don't have Osama (remember Osama?), Afghanistan is a free islamic state (good, unless you are female, or live outside of the capital city), we're just around the corner from a thriving, stable democracy in Iraq, and we should be able to resolve the Iran problem quickly using our proven methods for success.

We've broken more things, and created more problems then we've solved in the last 5 years with this preemptive, military approach.

We have prevented a couple of events and unraveled a few conspiracies using good old fashoned "law enforcement".

Jesus, marc... What's it l... (Below threshold)
John:

Jesus, marc... What's it like inside your head?

You think Osama attacked on 9-11 because of Somalia? Or Lebanon?

You've got no clue, have you?

No he attacked because he t... (Below threshold)
marc:

No he attacked because he thought we would run just like previous large scale attacks.

But your free to believe I have zero idea of the many other reasons for 9/11 as outlined in his fatwas if that makes you feel better.

"And there is no reason... (Below threshold)
jo:

"And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, and women......
John Kerry

Well, according to the last democrat nominee for president, WE are the terrorists. And when you realize that, you see that the democrats are fighting the "war on terror."

John,In Osama's ow... (Below threshold)
robert:

John,

In Osama's own words our cut and run in Mogadishu caused AQ to become even bolder and to carry on more attacks. You will recall that the marine's request for armor before that operation was refused by the Clinton folks, as was their request to continue on after. Failing to commit to the operation beforehand, and allowing our men to be dragged through the streets without response was unconscionable, and a signal to Osama to go ahead, we will do nothing.

In Stalin's words: "Probe with bayonets. Where you encounter steel, withdraw. Where you encounter mush, proceed".

Whether they like us doesn't matter and will vary, whether they attack us is going to depend on the expected response.

Iran released the hostages on the reputation of Reagan alone.

The reason JFK had Vietnam, Berlin and Cuba was that the Soviets were testing his strength relative to general Eisenhower. (He passed).

The reason the soviets invaded Afghanistan and gained influence over many other countries in the '70's was that they knew Carter would do nothing. (He flunked).

After the allies won WWI Churchill said: "And so the great Democracies prevailed, and were able to resume the folly that nearly cost them their life". (Speaking of the need to rebuild the military in the nick of time) The same could have been said after WWII, and again after the 1990's when we gutted our military yet one more time.

"... which army is strong,
which officers and soldiers are trained,
which reward and punish clearly,
by means of these, I know victory and defeat.
...if they are strong, avoid them." - Sun Tzu

"To secure peace is to prepare for war." - Von Clausewitz.

For thousands of years, John, weakness has always invited attack.

Hawkins is yet another typi... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Hawkins is yet another typical neocon airhead. Sure, just march through the streets of Baghdad in full battle dress camo gear (you might as well paint a big red target on our back) and look for... hmm, is it that 40 year old woman with the bag of groceries, or the 17 year old kid on the bicycle , or that guy driving the taxi - who exactly IS the enemy.

You idiots are pathetic. It absolutely takes a law enforcement effort to root out terrorism - surveillance, money- tracking, infiltration, intelligence - not paratroopers and tanks.

Go play with your GI Joes, Hawkins, you have no business telling us what works and what doesn't work.

It absolutely tak... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:


It absolutely takes a law enforcement effort to root out terrorism - surveillance, money- tracking, infiltration, intelligence - not paratroopers and tanks.

OK Lee - lets say we agree with you and that all this needs is a little Law Enforcement lovin - how do we proceed once we have enough 'evidence'? What if the nation in which the terrorist reside doesn't want to cooperate? Say we capture some of these terrorist - in what court and under what laws should we punish them? Once sentenced, where would they be housed until a) they are executed or b) their term is up and should be set free? What about recidivism (we're seeing that now with some of those freed from Gitmo)? Do you propose a three strikes rule for those caught trying to kill your fellow Americans? What if these terrorist were threatening your wife, your son or daughter? What if they were threatening your POT!?!

(last bit added for levity - I'm not accusing Lee of smoking pot ... no really)

John, I wouldn't take bin ... (Below threshold)
Russ:

John, I wouldn't take bin Laden's own words as having any value. He's a murdering, lying, sob. Al qaeda actually was hoping we would bring our troops into the Middle East so that they could bleed us to death just like they did the soviets.

Bush's war has, as studies are showing, only creating much more terrorism. Its been a failure on every level.

John. Your perception of m... (Below threshold)
epador:

John. Your perception of military mission and methods is truly juvenile. The rest of your arguments that follow from that flawed perception therefore are meaningless trash. Killing people and blowing up things is but one area of expertese of the US military.

The Democratic insistenc... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

The Democratic insistence on treating the war on terrorism as a law enforcement issue will make it extremely difficult to deal with terrorist groups.
John Hawkins

This is sort of a straw man. True, Clinton did not decide to militarily engage Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or Saddam with boots on the ground during his presidency, but there were military operations carried out against them. Now of course we can argue about their effectiveness, but he did not solely pursue law enforcement. Also, Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of the mission in Afghanistan and many are disappointed we've lost focus on that front.

I think the confusion arises because Democrats argue that law enforcement is the best way to prevent 9/11-type attacks. The terrorists who attacked us were in the US on student visas and connecting the dots to their terrorist ties is primarily a law enforcement matter. Militarily engaging Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or Saddam does not remove this component and possibly increases the terrorist threat by providing a rationale for joining the terrorist cause. This is not to say the military should not be involved at all, but going into Iraq was largely opposed from before the war by a majority of the world community. That's not a good way to garner support.

You will recall that the marine's request for armor before that operation was refused by the Clinton folks, as was their request to continue on after. Failing to commit to the operation beforehand, and allowing our men to be dragged through the streets without response was unconscionable, and a signal to Osama to go ahead, we will do nothing.
robert

I would recommend you read this post (ctrl+F "somalia"). I know it's by Glenn Greenwald who has a fatwa against him, but it's actually quotes of Republicans during our involvement in Somalia saying we should withdraw. Now Clinton was the commander in chief, who, according to Repubs today, does not have to listen to jack Congress says. But back in the days of limited presidential power (not the unitary executive theory being thrown about currently), the president actually takes into consideration Congress's will and may act accordingly.

Iran released the hostages on the reputation of Reagan alone.
robert

You sure? It wasn't because Reagan would end up selling them arms?

For thousands of years, John, weakness has always invited attack.
robert

True. Do you believe Iraq is making us stronger?

how do we proceed once we have enough 'evidence'?
Dan Irving

This is a good question and has been around since the beginning of mankind and warfare - What do you do with a captured enemy? First, if there is enough evidence to prove they were willing and (almost) able to carry out the plot, you sentence them to life in prison or the death penalty. If it's not as clear how involved they were in potential criminal activity, such as many of the people swept up/handed over for bounty in Afghanistan, then you may have to release them. Of course, if you treat them humanely and provide them habeus corpus rights as is required by law in a civil society such as ours, they are less likely to be a recidivist than if you keep them in solitary with no access to a lawyer or tribunal, render them to a state that tortures, etc. It is a fine line to walk, but being American is more than just living within it's borders. It's also supporting liberty and human rights despite the danger that may pose to us.

(I know, what about Iraq in this context? I believe that while Iraq had noble rhetoric going in, the lack of international and domestic support, lack of WMDs to justify, hyping the Saddam-Al Qaeda-9/11 connection, the prosecution, the incompetence, the corruption, the cronyism, etc. have shown that the rhetoric was not enough. The Administration did not properly gauge and prepare the populace for the effort and sacrifice a mission like this would require, and now whatever good will we may have had has been largely squandered and we are likely undermining the goals of combatting terrorism in general.)

How many times do I have to... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

How many times do I have too tell you people that "johnie" use to be part of the "media" -lol- and went to some school.

Old "pucker puss" (lee lee) (RTP) (RM) used all his favorite words again. Thats why he has a "ditto" key. Wonder which countries he would put our "police" stations? It it just me, or does anyone else see old p'p' losing his mind? (he does have one to lose doesn't he?)

The Dim plan: announce def... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The Dim plan: announce defeat, then put head in sand and present ass to victor.

"I would recommend you read... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

"I would recommend you read this post (ctrl+F "somalia")."

Sean,

Your link of Republican comments about a Somalia withdrawal makes my point. The basic objections were that (1) there was no authorization for this action by congress of any kind. (2) this was part of a UN operation and rarely has that worked well in military matters.

Correctly, the Republicans understood the dangers of the politics in a UN operation. Everything would be left to us, as normal, but our guys would be left swinging in the wind during the politics. Never was this more apparent than when our troops requested armor, and were denied due to politics.

But god damnit Sean, if the officers in the field request tanks, give them the god damn tanks.

This was all Clinton and stop trying to blame this on Republicans, step up and admit that we ended up screwed and looking weak, and will everytime we do the UN thing.

"Do you believe Iraq is making us stronger?"

I think our total response to 911, including Iraq, has been strong yes. Look at it the other way, if we bail, we will look weak and Iran & AQ will look strong.

We approached terrorism as ... (Below threshold)

We approached terrorism as a law enforcement problem for several decades. Law enforcement failed to prevent Beirut, the Achille Lauro, Pan Am 103, the 1993 WTC bombing, Khobar Towers, two African embassies, the USS Cole, or 9/11. While we did eventually apprehend, kill, or force underground several of the perpetrators, this was neither swift nor sure enough to deter more attacks.


After 9/11 we adopted the military approach.

Now, some would abandon the approach which has at least had some success, and return to the failed policies of the past.

What are they smoking?

"Of the four wars in my ... (Below threshold)

"Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong." -- Ronald Reagan

I love this logical construction. Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because we had too much ice cream...none came about because legalized abortion...none came about because of your generouus donations to the Joe Yangtree Slush Fund. Damn, you can use this to justify support of almost anything.




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