Impolitick By: Graham HarwoodSeptember 15, 2011 —
Does anyone else watch TV and think we should be scared? Every time I hear a political candidate speak about defense spending I feel like I should turn off my TV and run. At the very least I should call Rick Perry and ask to borrow a gun. I can’t help but feel that the enemy is at the gates when Newt Gingrich says “We are at the edge of an enormous crisis of national security” and we need to worry about a potential nuclear terrorist attack and how we have spent the last decade failing to deal with Iran and North Korea. He then goes on to petrify me even further when he mentions the fomenting civil war in Mexico and the potential for attack from the Middle East as well as the threat from China. I really can’t help but quake in my boots when I hear that the nation of Islam is going to attack me because I am free and prosperous.
Before we all go and hide under our beds perhaps we should think about those threats. Wait a second, are any of those actually threats? Let’s start with a nuclear terrorist attack. Frankly nuclear warheads are hardly a dime a dozen. Despite what Jack Bauer may tell you on 24 or whichever show and/or movie you prefer, obtaining a nuclear device remains nearly impossible and getting one to a populated area is no cake walk. There are simply no terrorist groups able to either obtain or smuggle a nuclear device.
But why would I worry about terrorist groups when there are entire religions out there trying to kill me just because I am prosperous. I mean, the entire nation of Islam is on a Jihad to try and kill me (at least that’s what Mr. Santorum tells me). Wait, that doesn’t make sense either; one of the tenets of Islam is that the followers of Muhammad should not kill Muslims or any people of the book including Christians, Jews, or Zoroastrians. So Jihad against any of the above is actually against the teachings of the Quran. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict aside, the entire nation of Islam is not against the United States. As Ron Paul pointed out in a recent Republican debate, Al Qaeda’s attack had nothing to do with our wealth and prosperity; Al Qaeda objected to our bases in Saudi Arabia and our position on Israel. Al Qaeda has made more attacks per month against the United States’ and its interests since the United States entered Afghanistan than the entire total number of attacks by Al Qaeda before the war.
Of course I am naturally more worried about actual foreign governments than wayward religions or terrorist groups. China, North Korea, Iran, and Mexico are naturally more dangerous. Perhaps in Mr. Gingrich’s world these seem viable. In this reality however, a full scale attack on the United States by any of these countries would be about as sensible as trying to roller blade up the Slope. You could do it, but it is pretty much assured that you will end up worse than you started. China? Good one, a full scale war between super powers is a thing of the past seeing as any true attack would end in mutually assured destruction, a foregone conclusion since the cold war days. North Korea and Iran? Even more so than China both countries realize that their neighbors would destroy them with even the sniff of a full scale attack. Mexico is worth mentioning only to malign Newt Gingrich for mentioning them.
So now what? First the actual enemies we have will not be beaten by a larger or better funded military. Let’s start fighting smarter with intelligence rather than throwing more men at the problem. We have 900 bases worldwide in over 130 countries. There is no way that can be necessary now. How about instead of all of those bases we work to improve international relations with those countries so force can finally take a back seat to diplomacy. While it’s true that no politician has ever lost an election by saying that we should be harder on national security, I for one would love to have my politicians arguing real issues instead of manufacturing fear.