Monday, January 28, 2008

Romney's War Plans

Captain Ed asked Mitt Romney how he would fight the global Jihad. Romney's answer:

Well, we face a wide array of nations that are under the threat of global Jihadist, and some like the Philippines or Indonesia the threat is of a very different nature of that, which is being experienced in a place like Iraq and so our involvement and the nature of our involvement is going to be different. So let me describe the kind of options we have. First, I would bring together other nations along with ourselves to make sure collectively that we are fighting global Jihad and that we are fighting it with our military as well as our non-military resources. In terms of our military force, in some cases it will require the kind of actions that you see in a place like Afghanistan, a full military attack. In others, a different kind of military effort would be called for. As an example, in the Philippines, an Army Special Forces team was able to help those people reject an offshoot of Al Qaeda. This was not, you know, men with rifles and tanks but instead a Special Forces unit that helped build bridges, build water projects, move the civilian population to support the Filipino government and democracy and ultimately that has virtually eliminated the threat of global Jihad there. And I have called for what I have described as a special partnership force; meaning the creation of small units of intelligence plus army special forces personnel which are able to drawn into a nation which ask for help, to support that nation in its effort to reject the violent and the extreme. In many cases, the Muslim nation itself will be able to do the best job in eliminating the threat of radical Jihad and we can support that effort through a special partnership force of the type I have described.

This answer is weak. First, he talks about working with other nations. Building coalitions has only sapped our strength for the last 20 years and convinced the enemy we're more worried about world opinion than self-defense. In order to show the enemy we are serious about war, we need to forget building a pretense of international cooperation and set about defeating the enemy alone. The most devastating message the enemy could get at this moment is that America does not give a damn what France thinks, we are going to destroy our enemy.

Second, Romney is talking about more altruistic nation-building instead of waging war. Notice what he envisions Special Forces doing:

This was not, you know, men with rifles and tanks but instead a Special Forces unit that helped build bridges, build water projects, move the civilian population to support the Filipino government and democracy...

Romney has no vision of waging serious war. There is no mention here of eradicating states that sponsor terrorism and no mention of going after Iran. His presidency will be an extension of Bush's neoconservative "Long War." We'll be pouring American tax dollars into every jungle on the globe, but the enemy will live on.

UPDATE: Romney stinks of pragmatism. It's common among Republicans. Toward the end of his life, Richard Nixon, the ultimate pragmatist, was asked how he would advise Bush 41 to defend himself against charges of flip-flopping. Nixon's reply, as I remember it, was, "Easy! Just say 'That was then, this is now.'"

It makes sense to a pragmatist. I mean, yesterday was a whole different day, with different circumstances to deal with. How can anyone keep principles when responding to the crisis of the hour?

Romney, with his long history of flip-flops, his emphasis on managerial expertise (don't they teach pragmatism at Harvard Business School?) and his seeming lack of any principled center other than religion, strikes me as very much a pragmatist. This is another thing to watch as we get to know him better. If he ever gets into the White House, he could make Bush look like Goldwater.


Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

I have absolutely no dispute with your assessment and I agree that Romney is weak when it comes to defense and overly willing to be pragmatic when it comes to appeasing Europe. My personal feeling is "screw Europe and the U.N.!"

However, I think you'd better brace yourself because my view of the situation is that the Dems will face either Romney or McCain. I've compared picking a republican to diving into a full sanitary tank to clear a clog which prevents outboard discharge on a submarine. It's a nasty job, but one that ultimately has to be done.

Given that Giuliani has strategized himself out of the race, I've come to the conclusion that he would not be a very good "decider", as GWB puts it, when it comes to military decision strategy.

McCain and Suckabee are anti-free speech, anti-property rights and anti-liberty crack pot, collectivist democrats disguised as republican "conservatives". If I'm going to vote this way, I'll go to the real deal and vote for a person who at least has the courage to call him/herself what he or she is - a Democrat.

That leaves Romney. He's a flip-flopper and a pragmatist of the highest order, but I think he's the least altruistic leaning person left on the republican side. He'll cut deals that will stink and he'll remind everyone why we didn't vote for Bush 1 a second time. But, I think he'll be much more benign in office than the others.

Romney is not a choice I'd make if I could just pull a candidate out of a hat. I guess the only thing I can point to is that what I've observed of his flip flop reputation is that it is earned by position shifting in order to get elected. Once elected, he seems to try to keep the promises that got him there.

So, you now know my choice. But know this as well ... it's not born of qualities I admire, but rather; it comes from eliminating the others based on qualities I abhore. Selecting Romney is like diving into a turd tank full of sea pickles struggling to be set free. It's horrible, but the only other choice is to vote Democrat and I'd rather be killed in battle than live with Satan as President.

I could live with Barak as President, but I'd rather not. Do you think my thought process is too pragmatic? I have such a headache just thinking about this topic.

Myrhaf said...

I read your post on Romney. It is a terrible decision that I think many Republicans are struggling with throughout the land. Trying to figure out who to vote for any year is difficult and complicated, but this year it is even more so. Burgess Laughlin often posts comments on other blogs and at the Forum For Ayn Rand Fans looking for principles to guide voting, but I don't think he has found them yet. As complicated as it all is, I would not call your thought process pragmatic. These are decisions, as they used to say, on which "honest men can disagree."

What makes it all difficult and dispiriting is that those of us who want more freedom and less government intrusion in our lives really are choosing "the lesser of two evils" in every presidential election. It's depressing.

I'm voting for Giuliani on Super Tuesday. He is another imperfect candidate. I don't care if he only gets 5% of the vote in Florida, I'll still vote for him. He is the only candidate whose election would be a setback for the religious right.

It is too early to make an endorsement about November.

Myrhaf said...

It is a terrible decision that I think many Republicans are struggling with throughout the land.

By "terrible decision," I meant a difficult choice.

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

LOL ... actually my pragmatic comment was tongue in cheek. I have a bizzare sense of humor at times. On Super Tuesday, I'm voting for Giuliani as well. So, we are in agreement there. I just don't see him having a chance at the nomination in the end.

For me, the vote really won't matter much, but the principle of voting always matters a lot. I'm in MA; so, I suspect the winners here will be Hillary and McCain. McCain has the endorsements of all the main stream liberal press (Boston Globe, NYT, etc.); so, how conservative can he really be. :-)

Take care, my friend. I hope you get your wish, but if you don't, you're welcome to dive San Tank #1 with me. I'll provide the rubber suits and fresh air masks. :-)

Dismuke said...

Well, it doesn't look like Giuliani will even still be in the race come Super Tuesday. That means I'm rooting for Romney to win the nomination - though it doesn't follow that I will support him come November. But McCain frightens the living crap out of me - even more than the Stalinist witch Evita Clinton.

Here's just one example: if either Evita or McCain become president, we will see an immediate push for some sort of return of the "Fairness Doctrine" i.e., for censorship. With Evita, there is a chance that the Republicans might squawk and prevent it. With McCain - well, there will be nobody in a position to stop him.

Ultimately, I think the blame for much of the sorry state of today's Republican Party rests with the lack of leadership and spinelessness of George W. Bush who has consistently undermined and weakened the better element of the party. John McCain and Mike Huckabee are nothing more that the reductio ad absurdum of Bush's "compassionate conservativism." I am beginning to seriously wonder if Dr. Peikoff may well have been right in his support for Kerry in 2004 as utterly repugnant a creature that traitorous hippie is. God knows what sort of disasters we would have had as a result of such anti-American nihilist in the White House. But what we can know is that his presidency would have been a dismal failure and that this year the Republican Party would be offering up something better as its answer instead of McCain.

Speaking of which, McCain - whose imprisonment and torture in Vietnam was lengthened and made worse by Kerry's treasonous actions - actually considers Kerry to be his friend and was offered the Vice Presidential slot on Kerry's ticket. I'm sorry - but there's something sicko about that whole thing. McCain may have been a war hero decades ago - but to forgive Kerry for his behavior, which he has yet to apologize for, and to regard him as a friend is simply not acceptable and speaks volumes about McCain's character in the present. McCain also supposedly holds Hillary Clinton in high regard - which, if true, also speaks volumes about his character, or rather lack of it.

One advantage of Evita being president - there are an awful lot of people out there who absolutely hate her guts. That fact alone will make things difficult for her. I think people will be much more inclined to give McCain a benefit of doubt that he does not deserve. And if Romney ends up being another George W. Bush - god knows what sort of future monster he will be paving the road for.

Rush Limbaugh recently indicated that he might not support the Republican candidate this year - presumably meaning if it were Huckabee or McCain. If McCain gets the nomination, I sure hope Limbaugh sticks by that. If McCain is the nominee, the refusal by those who see him for what he is to support him will be the only thing that will keep the better elements of the Party from being completely obliterated.

I have a feeling we might be in for some pretty rough years ahead.

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Rudy is gone, but it seems he is going to endorse Sen John McCain. I wrongly presumed that he would endorse Romney and that Suckabee may drop and endorse McCain.

So, I am down to Romney or nobody. I'll go with Romney in the primary and if he makes it, most likely vote for him in the general election. If he doesn't make it, there is no one else that interests me; so, I think at that point I'll decide to end up sitting this one out, but pulling in sad silence for Barak Obama, just because I abhore Billery. I have nothing in common with either on the issues.

I'd love to chat some more, but I have to prepare myself for a Jimmy Carter like recession. Where did I put my bank book?

The Gregor said...

Romney wears special under pants for Mormons...