The Electorate and the Case for War
An honorable American once said, “We are in a fight for our principles.” He spoke those words in reference to a particularly virulent enemy of the United States. He is a solid man, without pretension, as his wife describes folks with the West Texas heritage that she and her husband share. This kind of man would not have presumed that a very occupant of the Oval Office itself could represent that same kind of threat. To understand the importance of an informed electorate to avoid such a devastating risk to our nation’s future, one must look to the past.
The West Texan of whom I speak authored the Bush Doctrine on foreign policy as the forty-third president of the United States following the attacks of September 11, 2001. He had come to office as a uniter after an especially vicious election cycle that lead to his opponent contesting its results. The election was upheld by the Supreme Court and affirmed by three independent recounts conducted by left-leaning organizations. Those facts, however, were not widely reported, and President Bush tried to focus on domestic policy in the face of a contentious and partisan press and Congress. Still he moved forward, demonstrating his intention to reach across the aisle by working with Sen. Ted Kennedy on the No Child Left Behind Bill. The bill drew the disapproval of his own base due to its price tag and federal intrusion into education, an area conservatives hold to be the purview of state and local government. It was in this charged political environment that one of America’s enemies struck.
The 9/11 attacks changed the entire framework of the presidency of George W. Bush. In that Florida classroom in the instant that Andrew Card whispered, “America is under attack,” George Bush became a wartime president. It still remains one of the most riveting moments in a day so full of them. He rose to the moment with quiet strength of purpose. He was focused and careful, calming and positive as he developed his strategy for meeting the challenge of his primary role as president, that of Commander in Chief protecting the security and sovereignty of the nation.
Though the argument could be made that the president was ill served by some of his advisors, particularly Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, the particulars of the strategies for war are not the focus of this discussion. The effort here is more oriented around what kind of individual should be elected to be handed the red phone and evaluate information and circumstances that make the case for war. Bush remains reluctant to ever pass the buck on decisions arrived at under his administration of the office, understanding that, indeed, the buck stopped with him.
Despite what eventually devolved into a less than well-defined military goal, the President and his team were able to achieve a coalition of allies to take the fight to the enemy. War in Afghanistan began and progressed. Meanwhile, intelligence reports suggested Iraqi aid for Al Qaeda leadership. Suspicions of Saddam Hussein’s intentions in the region compounded after the discovery of his purchase, in 2002, of 1000's of aluminum tubes suitable as centrifuges for enriched uranium, as reported by Judith Miller in the New York Times. In 2003, the British government informed the US that Hussein was making large purchases of uranium in Africa. Hussein had used WMD against his own people and broken his obligations under the conditions agreed to at his defeat in the first Iraq War. The three top intelligence services in the world were in agreement on the existence of dangerous chemical and biological weapons caches in Iraq.
Bush believed that he should resolve threats before they fully emerged. Another tenet of his foreign policy doctrine involved treating countries that harbored and aided terrorists as equal enemies. Clearly, Iraq was actively pushing the limits on both accounts. Even so, Bush was slow to move militarily, understanding the magnitude of ground war. After repeated attempts, many would complain too many attempts, at diplomatic avenues (such as United Nations resolutions and coalition sanctions that Saddam Hussein ignored implicitly), the US, with bipartisan Congressional support, finally invaded Iraq in March 2003 — hardly a rush to judgement. The reluctant warrior now had two Middle Eastern fronts. War was waged; and, with his decision to finally implement the surge strategy of Gen. Petraeus, President Bush saw in Iraq, what was well along in Afghanistan, not only the reduction and repression of Islamic terror groups, but the establishment of fledgling democracies and new allies for the United States in the pivotal Middle East. The pictures of women in burkas with blue ink on their fingers proving their vote were burnished into the collective memory of patriots.
These gains would be squandered by the new president, Barrack Obama, with the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. With them went their stabilizing benefits in the region and any hindrance to the reorganization and implementation of terror armies. Mr. Obama had campaigned on the idea and would not be dissuaded from the move despite the risks asserted by his own Department of Defense and in private notes from the outgoing Bush Administration.
Obama seemed to fail to understand the lessons of political and military history or the value of transitionary forces after conflicts. ISIS filled the vacuum, gathering a force of 3000 in the open desert. Despite the urging of the former President to complete the new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq to replace the wartime one and insure continued stability there, the goal that Bush and his team were laying out when they left office, Obama refused. He again refused to act expeditiously when another critical opportunity presented itself. Referring to ISIS as “the JV,” he held to his policy of “leading from behind” and did not strike them when they were an open target. He proved to be quite “behind” as ISIS has quickly swelled to a very well funded, raging army of an estimated 50,000 of Islamic Extremists moving across Iraq and the Levant. The Levant, the area ISIS(ISIL) is sworn to conquer to establish its Islamic State, is made up not only of traditional US friends in the region, but our closest historical and idealogical ally there, the State of Israel. The difficulties Israel had undergone from the Gaza deal Bush had pushed, paled when measured against the threat of a nuclear Iran, well on its way in cooperation with N Korea as a result of Obama’s slackness.
President Obama’s questionable and secretive relationship with Iran, a sworn enemy of Israel, as well as his unwillingness to align himself with the more westernized nations of the Middle East, has undermined the sacrifice of American lives and treasure during the Bush years and given rise to new threats more virulent than the Al Qaeda that Bush had referenced in 2001. When the teacher asks the student to lead the Fire Drill, the child does not go to the back of the line…nor can the United States. Due largely to the policy, some might say agenda, of the Obama administration, we now face multiplied threats to our principles: Putin’s Russia that had been contained under President Bush, a nuclear cooperative of North Korea and Iran expedited by the blind eye of the Obama White House, and ISIS that provides an ambitious even hegemonic Iran more cover to gain territory from which to initiate its nuclear goals and military strategies against Israel and the United States.
Mr. Bush’s own Vice President has recently directly questioned the purpose behind Mr. Obama’s policies to the point of calling them an effort “to take America down.” Still, President Bush maintains his non interventionist posture concerning the Obama administration — to a fault. As current affairs erupt into global fires, will we still suffer uninformed or naive Americans that will vote based on who can fill their chicken pots? Clearly, what happens to the World when maniacs have control over huge portions of its populations and resources that will absolutely effect what goes on in their own neighborhoods. Are we so removed from World War II that we need the voices of patriots to teach again the lessons of the past, to remind us of the uncertainty in which the world’s balance was held and the trials that it brought to our daily lives? It seems that we are, which provides President Bush with the perfectly unpretentious roll of “America in International Affairs” instructor in chief.
George Bush understands the exceptionalism of the United States. He understands that tyrannical leaders rise in history without logical or realist mindsets, much less with an understanding of Western thinking, that based heavily on the Judeo Christian ethic. He knows that the Iraq war was not “about oil” — we still have never controlled Iraqi oil or raped its lands. Oil was a consideration only in relation to keeping its profits out of the hands of madmen who want to proliferate nuclear weapons for nefarious purposes that will destroy the global balance of power, and, thereby, our very America. He understands that no enemy that perpetrates an act of war on our soil can remain unanswered. He also knows that the United States has not annexed countries that it has defeated in war, but has helped stabilize and rebuild them to expedite their amenable and autonomous reentry to the body of nations. Germany, Japan, and England remain among our closest allies despite our contentious past. He knows that the United States is not the root of all global evil; rather, its marginalization, well underway under President Obama’s regime, can only result in the free reign of those very evils. President Bush is a knowledgeable, experienced patriot who has an opportunity to use, not the bully pulpit, but the statesman’s platform. It is time for us that remember the facts of history recent and past to remind our citizenry of its implications for the present. If we do not, we will fail as a nation.
Men like President Bush are in position to teach on the sidewalks, not just as guest lecturers in the ivy covered towers. Americans must be instructed, for example, that oil, contrary to the mantra repeatedly harped from the Left, is not about greedy energy companies making profits. It is about national security. Wars are fought over oil by countries that do not have it or will not access it if they do. Oil, like food and water, is critical economic and military supply. Further, by way of example, the electorate must be informed in economics basics: punitive taxes and oppressive regulation can grind business, entrepreneurialism, and development to a halt, reducing jobs, tax base and government revenue. As revenues strain, infrastructure suffers, posing another threat to the national defense. For the first time in thirty-five years, our economy has seen more business closures than startups with over 470,000 businesses closing their doors per year many citing inability to meet the economic demands of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Additionally, it must be communicated that welfare creates a kind of national and individual bondage. Welfare spending as anything other than a short-lived safety net, along with the fraud and waste often associated with it, cannot be sustained in a growing population with declining revenue. The only result possible then is continual increase in the national debt, and, with it, the country’s military vulnerability to those nations that hold it. We are groaning now under the weight of such political correctness, socialist economic policies, and the sanctioned invasion from the southern border that threatens our territorial integrity. These factors compromise our nationalism, solvency, foundational law, and, ultimately, our national security.
International and domestic affairs are then inextricably woven together. We do live in a global world in that the strengths and weaknesses of our allies and enemies alike have direct implications on our economic circumstances and geopolitical security — our kitchens, if you will. As we approach elections, we must learn to consider more than who can promise the most, but what is the real national cost of those promises to the country’s viability? The questions for evaluating our vote must focus around who can secure our nation against nuclear assault, grid attack, economic meltdown, global market crashes, terrorism, invasion from within or without; and, perhaps most importantly, who will govern according to the letter and spirit of our foundational documents. That thought alone then, even if considered strictly academically, should disqualify both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. Global calm and stability are bolstered by America’s strength, leadership, and heritage of charactered representative government.
Though Mr. Bush waged war, his leadership helped to provide a safer more orderly, yes, solid, geopolitical world only to see it systematically destroyed by the ideologue, Barrack Obama. We must be an informed electorate to be a discerning and wise electorate. We are in a new fight “for our very principles…” made more critical by the current president’s policy of marginalizing the United States. As the delinquents in the world and at home are exercised by America’s new weakness, Obama continues giving way to our enemies, facilitating the harboring and advancement of terrorism by state sponsors, delaying response to threat warning signs, and fostering tyranny — exactly the opposite of the four tenets of the Bush Doctrine giving us the exact opposite results and a world aflame. What kind of individual does America need considering the case for war? What kind of electorate should be deciding who is best prepared to do so?