Monday, August 23, 2004

Sneaky right-wingers are at it again....

If allowed to remain in power, members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" are determined to drag our nation into an ever-growing number of military confrontations that will, inevitably, lead to more resentment and hatred that in turn will lead to growing terrorism.

In time, a war of civilizations will be sure to follow: -

The Washington Dispatch - August 20, 2004

George Bush's Real Plans for the Military

Commentary by Randall Risener

At first glance President Bush's widely publicized military redeployment
plan could easily be dismissed as election year malarkey. After all, the
whole notion that putting troops farther away from future crises hot spots
will somehow enable us to respond quicker when crises erupts simply can't be
viewed as serious policy.

To be sure, there is an election angle here - bringing troops home is
usually a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, though, there is a rather detailed
and thought out plan underlying the rather vague snippets.

As one might expect what little the president disclosed has generated
opposition not only from Sen. John Kerry and his senior foreign policy
advisors but some Republicans such as Sen. John McCain.

Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO forces and a senior
Kerry advisor, attacked the plan for jeopardizing, further, already strained
relations with European allies, increasing the distance between troops and
where they might be needed and in the case of South Korea weakening our
position with the North Koreans.

Valid as these concerns are, there are even other, and highly questionable,
issues that go to the heart of what the administration actually intends.

In his announcement, Bush made hazy references to some forces being deployed other than here or in Europe. Presumably the lack of detail was to avoid detracting too much from the crowd-pleasing theme of bringing troops home.

Fortunately, the administration's lips have not always been zipped so
tightly. In fact, last year when they were still basking in the glow of
"mission accomplished" photo ops they were talking quite a bit about their

Reduced to the essentials, the scheme is to replace the large bases in
Europe with a string of smaller bases manned by quick reaction forces in
Africa, Asia and other places.

In June of last year the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb described the plan as
the "most extensive global realignment of U.S. military forces since the end
of the Cold War" with the aim being to create "a network of far-flung
military bases designed for the rapid projection of American military power
against terrorists, hostile states and other potential adversaries."

This new configuration of bases would be along what defense officials call
an "arc of instability" which runs "from the Andean region in the Southern
Hemisphere through North Africa to the Middle East and into Southeast Asia,"
Loeb wrote.

The "arc of instability" refers to regions and countries and that could
become havens and breeding grounds for terrorists. Placement of these bases
is predicated on positioning light, mobile forces that can respond quickly
to crises and protect oil resources including those of Nigeria and the Caucasus.

The Naval War College's Thomas Barnett laid down the rationale for targeting
in a speech last year before the Heritage Foundation where he rightly
contended these areas are "plagued by politically repressive regimes,
widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and - most important -
the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of terrorists"

But this general strategy was not conjured up just by some military folks
looking for a better way to attack terrorists. It comes from the civilian
political group who call themselves Neoconservatives whose basic doctrine
was detailed in a document called "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy,
Forces and Resources for a New Century," published by a think tank known as
the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) back in the 1990's.

That's right, the folks who brought us Iraq.

Their doctrine spells out that this repositioning of forces to "perform the
'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in
critical regions" among a variety of other measures that have more than a
passing whiff of hegemony.

So, what's wrong with all this?

For one thing it won't work. A plan to establish worldwide capabilities to
be involved in dozens of Afghanistans and Iraqs simultaneously is simply a
plan to multiply the tactical mistakes and debacles of Iraq where we
effectively whacked the legal government but have had nothing but a disaster
in managing the occupation.

Simply put, we do not have nor will we ever have the force size necessary to
effectively handle the hostile occupations that would inevitably result as
Afghanistan and Iraq have so vividly proven.

Another problem is that the scheme is attempting to solve a problem that can
never be solved by military force alone - eliminating terrorism. The
military can chase down those who have become terrorists but until we get
serious about attacking the conditions that breed terrorism we will get

And the final difficulty is the administration's lack of candor insofar as
what it intends to do.

If this is where they want to take our country they ought to say so publicly
and specifically and be prepared to defend their plan instead of merely
tossing out a few vague crowd pleasing phrases.

© Copyright 2004 The Washington Dispatch


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