Monday, May 31, 2010

A Strategy to Honor the Dead

In Memorial Day weekend news, the U.S. military brass is weighing plans for an attack on Pakistan in case a Pakistani smarter than the Times Square would-be bomber has a deadly success. Wouldn't it better honor the dead to mount an effective response, rather than add one more unwinnable war to our already overladen plate?

I have, you might have guessed, a modest proposal:
  1. Get rid of the expensive toys that go boom, leaving only a nominal nuclear rocket arsenal for deterrence and the new, very destructive sub-nuclear bomb, along with a skeleton air, water and land deployment vehicle lot.
  2. Demobilize 90 percent of the active duty 1.4 million military personnel from the top down.
  3. Use the remaining 140,000 in uniform develop a top-notch planning staff and elite commando units, along with a small unit for the conventional deployment lot.
Let's face it. Since the Berlin Wall fell and for the foreseeable future, the credible threats to the United States are in various rogue organizations. These are folks to whom peace and prosperity mean little or nothing, admittedly for reasons we ought to address through means other than the military (a whole other post).

Take 9/11.

If we had had a military capable of deploying, lickety split, elite commando units in Tora Bora and vicinity, they could have quietly gone in, torched Osama bin Laden and everyone with him, leaving everything to be found by some clueless non-English-speaking shepherd.

"Torching? Osama? I know nothing about it," the White House press secretary would have said.

Quietly, Al Qaeda's numbers 2s, 3, 45s, would began to drop like cockroaches caught in an insecticide commercial. Sooner or later, the bad guys would get the message: don't mess with us.

No invasions, no thousands wounded and killed, no collateral damage, no prisoners, no Guantanamo, not even a war deficit.

A smart president -- oops, we had Bush -- would have tried it.
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