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October 18, 2006

Winning the War on Terror

Six steps to victory.

Start a dramatic program to reduce US dependence on foreign oil (and establish US leadership in alternatives). 

Way too much oil money ends up directly supporting terrorists or running schools for future terrorists or supporting absurd monarchies in countries which spawn terrorists.  There are so many good reasons to take this step no matter what your political persuasion that it is amazing that neither political party has done anything but posture. 

However, since the immediate goal is to reduce funding for terrorists, the means do include drilling where we can in Alaska and off all our own coasts as well as developing alternatives which do include nuclear energy as well as wind, biomass, solar, conservation (see tomorrow’s post), etc.

End the war on drugs. 

We aren’t going to “win” this one.  Attempts to keep drugs illegal just drive up drug prices and profits for the drug trade.  Terrorists and drug cartels are natural allies.  In Afghanistan, support for the poppy trade is a crucial part of the Taliban resurgence.  Make opium legal and the price goes down and the growers don’t need to pay protection money to the Taliban and will hopefully cooperate in hunting them down.

Moreover, the war on drugs squanders border control people and money, military assets, and huge amounts of domestic police power much better used in the war on terror.

Partition and leave Iraq.

Time’s up.  I’m still not at all sorry Saddam was toppled.  I still remember that he did not allow the UN inspections required to assure that he did not have WMD.  That was his mistake and not ours.  But creating a democracy in Iraq is a job for Iraqis.  Like the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, the only chance for peace is separation of people who can’t live together. The dislocation will be terrible but not as bad as the continuing carnage.  Moreover, growing opposition in the US to our presence there emboldens other rogue nations who think we won’t get involved anywhere else ever again no matter what the provocation.

Take effective action to topple the regime in North Korea.

The most dangerous illusion in the world is that joining the nuclear club puts a country beyond restraint.  Now look what madman has that illusion.  And we know the Iranians and others are watching.  There are some signs that even China may be concerned enough to be cooperative. But, at the extreme and if necessary, the US should act alone but without putting soldiers on the ground or thinking that we can make North Korea into a democracy.  That country is already a wreck.  When it is put back together, it will be by the North Koreans themselves with the help, perhaps, of the Chinese, South Koreans and maybe even Japan.

Depolarize our domestic debate on civil liberties.

This debate is much too important for the name-calling it’s degenerated into.  It is certainly true that, during other wars, civil liberties were abridged and then restored.  Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War.   Roosevelt interred Japanese-Americans.  But it is also true that these wars were declared and had a clear beginning and end.  The war on terror is amorphous; how do we know when it’s over? For how long do we accept the loss of how much civil liberty?  What are the rules for interrogating someone who may know where the next terror attack is going to happen?  What is a prisoner of war?  I don’t begin to know the answers other than we need a much more honest debate from both sides.  The world has changed and we have to recognize that and adapt to it.

Rename the war on terror.

North Korea aside (if it were the world’s only problem, it would be easily solved) we are at war, much of the world is at war, with Islamic fascists. In fact, no one suffers from radical Islam more than Moslems.  There is no point in being politically correct and not recognizing our enemy. 

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Winning the War on Terror:

» Winning the War on Terror from Myke's Weblog
Tom Evslin at Fractals of Change offers six steps to victory for Winning the War on Terror. These ideas are probably too reasonable to be supported in Washington, where strategy is too often based on cliches and under-the-table profiteering. Link: [Read More]

» China and Japan should act on North Korea from Staunton News
China and Japan need to act on North Korea sanctions. Being two major powers in the area, Japan and China need to take some sort of action. North Korea threatens war if sanctions are brought upon them. It seems their nuclear strategy is working. No one... [Read More]

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