Here are a couple of interesting things to pass along about our current national security situation.
First, Vice President Dick Cheney once again poked the mental eyes of the anti-war crowd:
The Bush-bashers are outraged that the US lost 4,226 heroes liberating Iraq.
Of course, they weren’t too upset about these numbers when the Clinton’s were in charge.
Numbers from Iraq Coalition Casualties and CRS report to Congress (pdf)
Vice President Cheney held his final interview with Jim Lehrer today and talked about achieving success in Iraq:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: We now find ourselves in the situation where we’re five years later; we’ve achieved most of the objectives that you would have set out in the spring of ’03 when we launched into Iraq. We’ve got the violence level down to its lowest level since ’03. We’ve had three national elections, a constitution written, a new government stood up, new army recruited and trained, the Iraqis increasingly able to take on responsibility for themselves. And we’ve now entered into a strategic framework agreement with the new Iraqi government that will provide for the ultimate withdrawal of U.S. forces.
You could not have asked for much more than that in terms of the policies that we started on in ’03.
Q But Mr. Vice President, getting from there to here, 4,500 Americans have died, at least 100,000 Iraqis have died. Has it been worth that?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think so.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Because I believed at the time what Saddam Hussein represented was, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, was a terror-sponsoring state so designated by the State Department. He was making payments to the families of suicide bombers. He provided a safe haven and sanctuary for Abu Nidal and other terrorist operations. He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological agents. He’d had a nuclear program in the past. He killed hundreds of thousands of his own people. And he did have a relationship with al Qaeda.
We’ve had this debate that keeps people trying to conflate those arguments. That’s not to say that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. It is to say as George Tenet, the CIA Director, testified in open session in the Senate, that there was a relationship there that went back 10 years. This was a terror-sponsoring state with access to weapons of mass destruction. And that’s the greatest threat we faced in the aftermath of 9/11, that the next time we found terrorists in the middle of one of our cities, it wouldn’t be 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters, it would be terrorists armed with a biological agent, or maybe even a nuclear device.
And so I think given the track record of Saddam Hussein, I think we did exactly the right thing. I think the country is better off for it today.
Wow, how about that? Setting a goal, working hard to achieve that goal (even when it’s not popular), and persevering until the goal is met…well done!
In contrast, we have our next President, the consummate waffler:
Remember at the debate when he vowed, “We will kill Bin Laden, we will crush al-Qaeda”? He’s stressed the importance of taking out Osama on other occasions, but never quite as forcefully as that. Why, enter the quote in Google and you’ll find it immortalized in the very first hit with an especially fulsome tribute at the Daily Dish.
Anyway, change of plans:
COURIC: How important do you think it is, Mr. President-elect, to apprehend Osama bin Laden?
OBAMA: I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function. My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives then we will meet our goal of protecting America.
This is the counterterror equivalent of The One promising that he’ll save three million jobs: He “succeeds” merely by maintaining the status quo. If pinning down Osama so that he can’t function is the goal, the goal was met literally years ago. Cofer Black described Bin Laden as far back as 2004 as having been reduced to a figurehead whose operational role had been taken over by Zawahiri; NBC’s investigative team talked to intel officials this past summer and found that judgment still held.
Well…I guess that’s change. Or more of the same. No, wait…more of the same is change! *sigh*
It is truly amazing how Obama is lining up almost completely with Bush’s policies on the war and terrorism, and yet somehow those same policies that were eeeeeevil just a few months ago have now become obviously the way to go. Hmmm…
In semi-related news, it appears that a new national security threat may be opening up on our southern border:
Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.
The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.
“The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”
Gosh, you know what? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some permanent physical structure that would do a heckuva lot to protect Americans and American assets? Maybe a wall or something? Hm, that would have been a great idea to build, don’t you think?
There’s my two cents.