Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Productive National Security
(or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Powerball)

Hidden amongst all the drifts of hyperbole and spin is a very important fact: the current administration is one of the most productive national security organizations ever. With a minimal force, the United States has invaded and pacified two nations. This was done with minimal casualties amongst civilians and our military. This was done in nations where other invaders have broken their teeth and their hearts in recent history. Two years after the balloon went up; two of the most destabilizing governments in the world are reduced to the status of annoyance.

The endless reports of every mishap in the area could easily lead you to a different conclusion. This is an illusion. Soldiers and civilians are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan that is not illusory. The level of casualties relative to the level of reporting is much more important to consider. That bastion of marketing self-importance CNN is reporting every civilian death in those two countries caused by the actions of their former regimes, now. Two years ago that same CNN refused to air any reports of those same regimes slaughtering their people. The difference is that now the deaths are news, matters of isolated distinction instead of the daily grind of the totalitarian meat processor. Does CNN ever mention how much less deadly it is to be a civilian in these nations? Well, that would imply integrity. Orders of magnitude fewer people are being killed by the vicious bastards of the Taliban and Baath Party; that benefit is the direct result of productivity of our national security organization.

Although the victories of the last two years have been presented as effortless despite our own leadership failures, nothing could be further from the reality. Our troops fight diligently, intelligently, and with remarkable restraint. They face dangerous opponents who have no concern for the customs of war or the cost to their own people who have crushed and humiliated opponents in living memory. However, it must be noted that our enemies are disorganized and that is a result of decisions made by our leadership. Every one of our enemies' leadership we could reach that could be bought has been bought. (Powerball technology applied to military ends. Oh the humanity…)

This is a brilliant strategy with far reaching consequences. Once a leader has been bought and abandoned his troops, it becomes intensely difficult for him to raise troops against us again. We can discredit him at any time; although it is much more likely that he will spend the rest of his days in comfortable obscurity. If you put the value of a permanently wounded US troop at one million dollars, it quickly becomes much cheaper to purchase victories with dollars instead of casualties. (As a reference, my father was retired for injuries sustained in the Korean War. He died in June after drawing disability pension and benefits for more than fifty years.) The Powerball bomb is arguably the most cost effective weapon ever used by American troops.

This is certainly not the only arrow in our quiver and not the only one to hit the mark. There are interesting rumors coming out of Africa of US personnel out and about doing things and stuff. It is hard to find much about this in most media because, like CNN, they are engaged full time presenting a fantasia of humiliation and defeat where we are formally engaged. What is most important is that there was no major terrorist attack on US soil in the last two years. That could change before I post this, but it seems unlikely.

For all the sturm and drang about supposed lapses, failures, and leaks in the current administration, there seems little real substance to these charges when weighed against the results. No administration has ever done so much with so few in so little time. The accusations that they aren't doing more are as substantive as complaints that they are not doing all this while wearing ballet slippers. Accusations that they are somehow responsible for the attacks that caused this activity are simply despicable calls for attention from pathetic fools who've discovered that their life's work has been blindly backing the wrong horse. The George W. Bush administration has lapses, failures, and leaks, but their problems have interfered less with the task of protecting this nation and its interests less than any in living memory. There is still much to be desired from them, but there is little to actually complain about regarding security.
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