Thursday, May 24, 2007

Response to Edwards

Here's the response to an Edwards position--from Peter Wehner, member of White House staff.

Wehner begins:
The global war on terror is not a "political doctrine" advanced by the Bush Administration or a bumper sticker slogan. Rather, it refers to an epic struggle we are engaged in against Islamic jihadists. These jihadists -- years before George W. Bush became president and years before Operation Iraqi Freedom -- publicly announced, through their fatwas, that they were at war against us.
Wehner then goes into a list of attacks--Khobar Towers, African embassies, Cole, etc.

Wehner is right in that the War on Terror did not begin with Bush until after 9/11. True there are and has been an al-Qaeda threat throughout the 90s predating Bush.

Wehner also writes:
For the Edwards thesis to have merit, he would have to rewrite most of the history of the past five-and-a-half years. He would have to erase virtually all of the day-to-day activity of the war on terror, which as a practical matter consists of unprecedented levels of cooperation and integrated planning across scores of countries, both long-time allies and new partners. But Senator Edwards seems quite willing to engage in that kind of revisionism.
Actually no he wouldn't---re-write the history that is. Of course co-operation could be occurring and the GWOT could be used as a political weapon.

In other words Wehner is right the war was started by others, the way Bush has fought it Edwards is in large part correct.

What Wehner can not understand is that yes there is in fact a trans-national appartus of jihadism. Prior to the Iraq Invasion it was actually close to dying out. It is Iraq that has re-ignited it and given its raison d'etre.

The flypaper theory where Iraq would tempt a finite number of jihadis into the place and kill them has proved sadly, unbelievably mistaken. It has becoming a breeding ground. This is Edwards' key point.

I prefer (as opposed to Edwards and Wehner) for this reason the phrase Long War. It doesn't equate the Long War with Iraq (Wehner), nor does it underestimate that some percentage (2% at most, but 2% of 650 million is enough to be worrieed) is always going to be in existence and can not be dealt with other than through police/military action. Moreover the Long War could be connected with the notion that the US has been pulled into the Islamic Civil War/Reformation and must understand when and how it to intervene, knowing it is always a cost/benefit analysis (none of that in Wehner) and will always have some negative blowback but some actions the good may outweigh the bad. And that this thing is not a 100% victory (like Cold War, still problems in Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.).

But like the Cold War, Long War you get the sense of the primacy on a whole other range of issues: leading, forming alliances, markets, moral authority, Soft Power, security building/resiliency at home, Dept. of Reconstruction, and when necessary Hard Power.

For Wehner, as a Bushie, it's all military power.

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