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National Security The War on Terrorism

Bush’s Counterterrorism Strategy: Winning Through Losing

[digg-reddit-me]Who knew the Bush administration actually had a strategy in fighting Al Qaeda?

Robert Grenier, who according to Joby Warrick of the Washington Post is “a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now managing director of Kroll, a risk consulting firm” explained that we were now winning the fight against Al Qaeda after losing so many battles because:

One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy. Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves.

And you didn’t think Bush had a strategy.1

It’s the old “invade-two-countries-and-use-heavy-handed- tactics-to-rile-up-the-extremists- so-that- they- initially- have- public- support- but-then- pretend -to-have -an-incompetent- strategy- to-combat- the-extremists- so-that-they- succeed- which-will- then-lead- to-the- public- turning -on- them- because- they-are- evil- doers -after-all.” One of Sun Tzu’s classic stratagems.

And apparently one which is having some success – as Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank suggest in their important piece in The New Republic, “The Unraveling.” Bergen and Cruickshank attribute the ideological rifts within the Muslim extremist community to Al Qaeda’s strategic blunders – but they do not give Bush enough credit for his secret plan to let Al Qaeda succeed so that their empty ideology could be exposed for what it is by fellow extremists.

Bush’s secret plan to win the War on Terrorism bears a strong resemblance to Ronald Reagan’s plan to defeat the Communist Soviet Union. By convincing the public and most of his administration that the USSR had taken a significant lead in all sorts of military areas, he increased America’s military spending exponentially. As the Soviet Union tried to keep up, it eventually collapsed exposing it’s system’s hidden flaws. Although the CIA was caught by surprise by this development during George H. W. Bush’s first term, conservatives quickly confirmed that this was all part of Reagan’s secret plan to end the destroy the Soviet Union by spending like a drunken sailor in America.

George W. Bush – whose wisdom, like Reagan’s is often compared to that of the mythical hedgehog of Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay – has been blessed with authentically evil enemies. Even if he allows them to win, within their winning are the seeds of their destruction.

It is a cunning strategy.

Now we just have to make sure we don’t choose a president who screws it all up by going after Al Qaeda in a competent fashion – a competence that might even distinguish between the Muslim extremist groups that are fighting with one another. It might look like Al Qaeda’s recent troubles happened despite, rather than because of, Bush’s ingenious strategy. But that’s only because we didn’t give enough credit to Bush and John McCain for having this secret strategy.

Now that we know, it’s important to support the right American candidate for this American presidency in this American election against all those anti-Americans out there. Vote for the Bush-McCain Super-Secret Counterterrorism Strategy: Winning the War on Terrorism by Losing Every Battle and Letting Al Qaeda Defeat Itself!

  1. To be clear – I do think the recent successes are real, and that Al Qaeda is losing support, etcetera.  But I think Bush’s strategy has been largely counter-productive – and in fact put off this recent intra-extremist fight because he refused to distinguish between these opposing groups – the most egregious example being the invasion of Iraq in response to 9/11. []
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Catholicism Domestic issues Election 2008 Environmental Issues Foreign Policy Iraq Law Morality New York City Obama Politics The War on Terrorism

Pope Endorses Barack Obama in UN Speech

Pope Benedict @ the United Nations

[digg-me]Not quite. But close.

Addressing the United Nations on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of reducing income inequality; of increasing international cooperation; of respecting the law; of having solidarity with the poor and weak; of opposing (unnecessary)1 war; of “giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation;” of creating “structures capable of harmonizing the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of people;” of the “protection of the environment…and the climate.” And like Barack Obama, though many conservative Catholics are loathe to admit, the previous pope, Pope John Paul II even specifically opposed the invasion of Iraq.

In the past eight years, the Republican party has come to stand for the right of the president to torture prisoners; for rising inequality and acceptance of corporate fraud; for elevating the executive above the Rule of Law and the other constitutionally co-equal branches of government; for ignoring the climate crisis; for refusing to give aid to the poor and weak because of potential “moral hazards” while bailing out big corporations; for preventive war; for refusing to engage in dialogue with our enemies. Pope Benedict’s speech was a direct challenge to the worldview and policies of the Bush administration and an articulation of basic moral principles and basic responsibilities of the state.

Within these principles articulated by the pope, we can easily find the mainstream Democratic agenda, a rejection of the radical policies of George W. Bush, and more specifically, an endorsement of the school of politics that Barack Obama stands for: talking with our enemies; avoiding unnecessary wars and violence; respecting the Rule of Law; reducing income inequality; promoting access to health care; and protecting the environment.

This is the Democratic agenda.

The Pope explained that it is the responsibility of “every generation [to] engag[e] anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs…motivated by hope.” I would call that a pretty good encapsulation of Obama’s appeal – that he represents a new generation striving to find the best way to manage the world and our nation “motivated by hope”.

Jonah Goldberg may call it fascism; Steve Marlsberg may call such efforts to reduce inequality and allow citizens access to basic needs Communism; Rush Limbaugh may call efforts to focus on the real threat of Al Qaeda in the Pakistani/Afghani border “cut-and-run.” But those who listened to Pope Benedict’s address to the United Nations can see that he stands with those the so-called “conservatives” have labeled fascists, communists, and cowards – and the pope understood that the basic moral values he stood for are the essence of what he called “freedom.”

  1. I inserted unnecessary here although Pope Benedict did not. Although the pope spoke in this speech of avoiding war, I presume he speaks of this in the context of the “just war” theory that has been accepted by him and the rest of the Catholic Church in the past. []