Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Myopia and the New York Times

As I write this Thomas Friedman of the New York Times is being interviewed by Charlie Rose and showing a monumental ignorance of history. He is a reporter and trained to report a story. He probably is relatively good at reporting a story; while the Times has epic problems, they also are actually quite well staffed. He is accusing the Pentagon of tremendous failure to plan the success of their actions in Iraq. He asked what, other than Iraq, the Pentagon had to do than plan for the successful defeat of the Baathist regime. This is hilarious.

The mission of the Department of Defense is to protect the United States. We do not have a Department of Conquering as part of the government. We do not even have a Federal Bureau of Hegemony or an Office of Imperial Expansion. The United States is not actively engaged in the process of active world domination. I suppose that one of the most insulting choices of the people of this country is their ongoing decision that the rest of the world is not really worth the effort of taking over. We are much more profitable than overtly imperialistic states like France, and that must be all the more galling. (Pun intended)

The United States is at war with North Korea. Look it up if you do not believe me. North Korea shoots at our people all the time. We have an active and ongoing commitment to defend our allies in South Korea and Japan and we have met those obligations for the last half century.

The United States has a neighbor to our immediate south, well within Scud missile range of one of our major cities that incidentally is the financial capital of South America. This nation to our south is actively engaged in human rights violations and is committed to the destruction of our way of life and freedom. Within recent memory this nation has shot down our civilian aircraft engaged in lifesaving efforts at sea.

The United States is actively engaged in an ongoing counter-insurgency in Afghanistan. We have thousands of troops on the ground and are in combat operations on a weekly basis. Two empires have left their soldiers bones littering the ground in that nation; they have a millennia old tradition of dispatching invaders.

The United States is actively engaged in suppressing the drug trade in South America. The United States is actively engaged in suppressing piracy in the Straits of Malacca. The United States is actively engaged in tracking international arms shipments around the globe. The United States is actively engaged in watching the skies for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile attacks. The United States is actively engaged in training the next generation of personnel to be as competent in battle as the current one. The United States is actively researching methods, technologies, and doctrine to make the next generation more effective in battle. The United States is actively engaged in assessing the threats the next generation of personnel will face. The United States is actively engaged in supplying all of our forces and many of our allies. The United States is actively engaged in supporting our allies around the world with their security concerns.

The armed forces of this nation and the people who lead them are actually quite busy this season and on their behalf, allow me to apologize that their efforts to not meet with the highest expectations of the New York Times. Perhaps Mr. Friedman would in the future consider the scope of the task. His continuing failure to do so is quite petty.
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