Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Surge as a Global strategy is delusional

Mr. Bernard I. Finel makes some vital distinctions regarding “our victories…against easy targets” and the future difficulties we will encounter in defeating jihadist terrorists globally. In that light “Victory over Jihadists” (Washington Times, 9-25-08) should be read by anyone making decisions on future components of national security, U.S foreign policy and global counter-terrorism strategies.
As the report from the American Security Project suggests our nation did pick the “easy fruit” in its early victories against Al Qaeda in Iraq and Southeast Asia – And FInel is correct when he concludes it would be a “delusion” if we believe we have “discovered a strategic concept for victory in the concept of ‘the surge’ and a renewed focus on counter-insurgency warfare.”
Mr. Bernard also believes a victory over jihadists in other places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and East Africa (or other places where weak or failing governments fuel terror’s expansion) will take “a fundamentally different approach, including a larger role for the international community and non-military elements of state craft”. But this is where Mr. Finel misses a key element that will also be required to defeat jihadist terrorists. We also need a new and comprehensive approach to development assistance. We need new and sufficient funding as well as a solid commitment of technical and logistical resources to raise the health, education and employment opportunities of would be terrorists ranks wherever they may be. We are now paying former insurgents to police the streets of Iraq to prevent them from killing US soldiers occupying their country. The same tactic will be just as important in every sector (health, education, judicial…) globally.
As other terrorist experts have said, Al Qaeda harbors within itself the seeds of its own destruction. We can fertilize those seeds by following Finel’s initial suggestion along with the launch of a new global Marshall Plan as outlined in House Resolution 1078.
We helped stopped the spread of communism in Europe after World War II with a bold aid initiative. Europe is now beyond war as a strategic tool for solving its problems. Applying a similar strategy to the world in this era of global interdependence will also address a variety of other threats we face including pandemics which may be far more dangerous than a dying breed of jihadists.

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