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Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Brief News Snippet That Should Be Analyzed

I saw a news story at FoxNews.com this morning that has already been moved from the top three stories, but it is an important one, I think.

It is a story about a Saddam Hussein interrogator that said Hussein never expected an American invasion of Iraq. Hussein said that while he had all manner of scientists on the payroll, he did not have a WMD program and only allowed the world to believe it to prevent an Iranian invasion.

The part that needs to be know and analyzed is that Hussein didn't not expect a real invasion. This should send a message about our foreign policy and the manner in which we conduct same. Military force is but an extension of foreign policy, and is used when diplomacy fails. When tyrants around the world do not take us seriously, we have a problem in the image department.

Saber rattling is important. It is a tool that is used by Presidents and policy makers to send a message about the importance of an issue. Take Iran for example. President Bush and others made may statements about the seriousness of the nuclear issue, and implied that the U.S. might use military options if Iran wouldn't cooperate. That was saber rattling. What happened next? The media and the left began the campaign against this, claiming that President Bush was preparing for war in Iran and we must stop it! Obama stated that we needed to "talk" to tyrants so that we can get along.

It is this type of behavior that leads to further problems on these issues. It is this type of behavior that makes tyrants not believe our claims, and continue to play their games and make us look like paper tigers.

No one yearns for war. No one, particularly those who have been there, desire more of it. As we have said hundreds of time, though, sometimes it is necessary. Sun Tzu said that the most effective weapon is the one that is never used. He was referring to strength and to your enemy fearing your capabilities.

It holds true today; rather, it would hold true if the left would get on board and help deter the use of force instead of taking poll driven measures that only assure military action in the future.

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rockync said...

While I understand the thread of your thoughts here, I must say I can't completely agree.Saber rattling and being ready and willing to it back up has its purpose. We, of course, need to respond quickly and decisively to any direct threat, but invasion and war should be a last resort, not a first one. I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that these are sovereign nations who have the right to govern themselves how they see fit. I believe the Cuban Missile Crisis is a good example of how this should work. Kennedy tried diplomatic avenues and when that didn't work, he aimed missiles at Russia, called Kruschev and said, "Now, let's talk." While during that same era, the hard line muscling in fiasco that was called The Bay of Pigs invasion was a complete disaster. "Talk softly and carry a big stick." The biggest mistake made by this country was the steady reduction of our military forces and bases. While we had a superior military infrastructure, no one dared to provoke us. The military used to be our "big stick" but is no longer seen as such in the world. Use all that war chest money to rebuild the military and you won't need to spend it on bringing American bodies back home. Whether war time or peace time, we must maintain a strong military presence, period.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Kennedy made the Bay of pigs a complete disaster because he didn't follow through on his threats.

I don't think invasion should be the first option in most instances, either, and have never said such. I do agree that we need to rebuild, because there are emerging threats and we can't afford to be unable to counter them. The middle east will occupy our attention for several generations to come, and Russia is working hard to become the dominant European power. If called upon now to counter a large threat, there is some doubt as to whether we can do waht we have been able to do for several decades, and that is deal with two regional conflicts at once.

That being said, the issue of civilians and polls driving the opinions that foreign governments have is not a good situation. if a foreign dictator can look at U.S. polling and know that we won;t take action unless 755 of the people agree, then they will simply scoff at our saber noises.

Obob said...

The concept of running foriegn policy by polls is asking for disaster. Polls are designed to serve a purpose. They are worded to get the desired result.
To rattle the proverbial sabre and let your opponent know you will use it was proven effective with Libya and the removal of their WMDs.
JFK had a spy in the Kremiln with allowed him to call the Soviets bluff. He didn't have it in Cuba.

rockync said...

I can see your points and I don't entirely disagree. I'd like to see a more proactive policy rather than a reactive one. I would hope that our country realizes its mistake in allowing the degeneration of our military. Quite frankly, a strong military presence does wonders for deterring the kind of aggression we've had to contend with these last years. With a strong military, our leaders then have the ability to explore diplomatic avenues before taking more extreme measures. I also think we must proceed cautiously when dealing with countries from which no direct threat has been made against us. It's a thin line between peacekeeping and bullying.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

I remember when I was a kid, the thought of my dads belt made me reconsider some of what I may have done had that possiblity not been there.

Similar to the strength of our military. A serious threat can many times have as much in solving a situation as the actual use of that threat. Remeber Reagan and , " Star Wars." Gorby believed we were much farther along than we were and he was scared to death of the possibilities.

Libs and much of the media hate our strength and will do whatever they will do condemn our power and belittle the threat it posses as a deterant to war.

I another Kennedy example - the Missles Crises caused Kruschev to back down because he knew Kennedy would not and that threat caused the crises to end.

Obob said...

I do prefer the proactive approach. And you must let it known you will punch them between the eyes. But you must connect on a swing. A boxer will not fear the southpaw if it isn't used right.

ECOPHOTOS said...

No matter how much we ratchet up the rhetoric, there will always be tin pot dictators for whom threats matter in the least. Consider the first Gulf War: When all diplomatic options, and even a massive military buildup, failed to dislodge Saddam, war became the only option. Consider the experience of Kosovo: Again diplomacy and threats failed to dislodge Milosovich; it took 30 days of NATO bombing to secure a Serb withdrawal. Point: Arrogant tin pot dictators have a thinking disorder.

Meanwhile, why should we compromise a fundamental, time-honored tenet of American democracy and suppress all public discussion of a pending decision? This makes no sense. (Pls. note: Public opinion polling is an instrument of public discussion that even our leaders rely on in the course of formulating policy.) One reason why the current Iraq War went tortuously awry was the lack of such a discussion. Even the MSM admits dereliction in their traditional fact-checking role.

What happens when you have an arrogant U.S. President and Secretary of Defense with thinking disorders to match those of any tin pot dictator? You get a policy disaster like the current one in Iraq. Why? Because there was no proper public debate, and hence no checks and balances as required by our system of government.

Iran is an especially unique case. During the 1950s, Iran held its first duly democratic election and installed Mohammed Mosedegh as President. Mosedegh ran on a platform of nationalizing Iranian oil interests, hardly an outlandish concept for a sovereign government by today’s standards. However, then Secretary of State John Foster Douglas regarded Mosedegh as a threat to American oil interests, and recruited the CIA to overthrow him and install the Shah. Iran’s first democratically elected president was murdered in the American-inspired coup.

Generations of Iranians were brutally tortured by the Shah’s secret police, Savak, and there was no family in Iran left untouched. It was this intervention by our government during the 1950s that are the roots of American/Iranian enmity today. Furthermore, the American intervention was executed in secret away from public knowledge and scrutiny. Most importantly, this was an American foreign policy disaster that we are staying paying for today.

In my opinion, we need more dialogue, not less, and a better informed public. The world has become too dangerous to make these decisions in secret and in ignorance.

rockync said...

This has become an interesting, thought provoking thread. Eco photos makes a striking analysis of the workings of our foreign policy and I think he points out, quite correctly, that there will always be situations where war is inevitable, but to muzzle the American public is a dangerous precedent and a huge slap in the face to our democratic process. It still seems key that in order to back our demands to other countries, our military must be restored to standards of the Cold War era. And we, the American people must be willing to fund the military machine. We do our sons and daughters who serve a grave disservice sending them to war without the full complement of troops and nothing but the best equipment.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Perhaps this posts did not capture my direction. I have no desire to muzzle the American public.

My point is that Saddam did not take the U.S. seriously regarding an invasion. He thought that the Clinton doctrine of cruise missiles would be the only thing that he would have to endure. He was wrong.

So what does that say about our government? I think the U.S. has been more than adequately reserved considering the options we have militarily. I cannot say that I would have taken such measured appraoches after 9-11 that President Bush enacted.

I can tie in many things, such as our education system which robs our generations of real history and analysis. We teach to a standardized test instead of teaching to teach. American's are much more concerned about American Idol than American forces.

It is the impact of public opinion, instead of support for our President and government. The legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant once castigated (read cursed) a reported for some powerful and negative comments about his football team. He then went in the locker room and used the same language to his team. His reasoning? That is was his team and he can talk about them any way he wants, bu no one else will.

I think we need a little more of this in American society. I don't mean blind obediance and lockstep. What I mean is support, such as that rendered by Stephen Decatur in 1826 "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong."

ECOPHOTOS said...

If Stephen Decatur witnessed the experience of Germany between 1933 and 1945, he might have refrained from saying what he said in 1826, or retracted it altogether.

In an age of nuclear weaponry, there is no wiggle room for "wrong."

rockync said...

OK,let me try to explain where I'm coming from. I don't think public opinion has had as much impact on foreign relations as the actions of the last few administrations. Bush Sr had the perfect opportunity to march into Iraq during the Gulf War and the support of the UN; and he chose not to. Clinton's handling of Yugoslavia sent another set of mixed signals. So, in hindsight, poor choices because the end result was this country appeared as having no stomache for "real" war. Perhaps both presidents were hedging their bets, realizing how much the military had been downsized.
I am a patriot and like the Bear, I can diss my country; it's mine, but don't anyone else dare to.
Our Constitution states, in its very opening lines, "We the people." Nothing more powerful or descriptive has ever been associated with this country than those words.
So, yes, we talk and argue and poll. Sometimes you want to shout, "Shut up and get on with it already!"
Sometimes I think the reps of my country are right and sometimes I think they are wrong. Voicing my dissention is not a lack of patriotism but a call for change. If enough "people" believe as I do, change will come. People around the world look to us with envy and awe at our ability to argue, shout and protest without fear of reprisals. That is why so many have wanted to come here. It's called FREEDOM.
So, after all that excess verbiage, I guess what I'm trying to say is that "actions speak louder than words."

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