American National Security

[This is a preliminary and incomplete outline of my thoughts. ]

The four I’s:

This document was created on 2007-07-20.
As of that date,
no active national politician,
and certainly none of the 2008 presidential candidates,
has advocated the mix of policies which I believe are necessary
for American to attain
a reasonable combination of security, affordability, and civil liberties.
Not only that, none of America’s opinion leaders,
whether in the media or in academia,
seems to advocate this combination either.

Of the policies I recommend,
one (Iraq) is favored by the generic Democrat,
two (Intelligence, Immigration) by the generic Republican, and
one (Israel) by neither.
But I believe that all will prove, in the long run,
to be necessary to achieve the desiderata listed above.

So here goes.
Here are the policies that no one can seem to agree on.

Out of Iraq

As the peace-wing of the Democratic Party,
and its currently smaller analogue in the GOP recommends,
we need to get our military out of Iraq.
Whatever help we provide should be humanitarian and supportive.
Let the Iraqis themselves sort out who should be in charge of their nation,
or even if there should be such a nation,
or some other political configuration for that chunk of geography and demography.
I lack both the skills and the knowledge to spell out the details,
but I am sure that others who do have relevant skills and knowledge
have proposed such a course,
avoiding the use of the American military in Iraq.
Let their plans be stated and advanced in the national dialog,
then weighed and debated in the national media/political debate.
Then let the politicians and policymakers choose what makes the most sense.

But here are some approaches that sound good to me:

A Time for Leaving
by William R. Polk
The American Conservative, 2005-01-17

American security and Iraqi stability depend on a prompt handover.

Liberating Ourselves
Failure to achieve the easy victory the hawks promised in Iraq
doesn’t mean that we must continue to lose.
by Paul W. Schroeder
The American Conservative, 2006-10-09

By frankly acknowledging failure in Iraq
and acting quickly, decisively, and prudently on that recognition,
the U.S. not only could avoid further disasters there
but might also achieve a kind of success.
Call it
The Bright Promise of Accepting Failure in Iraq.

[This is a long, ~10 page, article,
mainly trying to persuade its readers that leaving Iraq
might not be as bad as some suggest.
But at the end Schroeder briefly talks about how to leave.]

What If We Leave?
by John Mueller
The American Conservative, 2007-02-26

When nightmare scenarios are used to justify endless war,
it’s time to wake up.

How to Get Out of Iraq
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-07-25

Rapprochement with Iran,
hands off Iraqi politics, and
let the chips fall where they may

How to Win in Iraq
by William S. Lind
The American Conservative, 2007-07-30

A stable Iraqi state would constitute a strategic victory—
and the only one still possible.

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Washington Post Outlook, 2008-03-30

Stop supporting Israel’s settlements

From 1967 until 2002,
America’s leaders always said that
they opposed Israel’s placement of “settlements”
in the territories that Israel conquered in 1967,
but they (almost) never put any teeth into their statements of opposition.

The rest of the world, if not America, certainly sees these settlements,
and the policies that Israel follows to support and protect them,
as being the grave injustice to the Palestinian people that they are.
America is quite literally in denial
of these as being a primary cause of Muslim terrorism.

To rectify this situation,
we must pursue something like the policies advocated by
Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.

Here is an article which links the Israel/Palestine conflict
to U.S. national security:

Vital Interest
By Stephen Van Evera
The American Conservative, 2005-03-14

Why the road to victory in the War on Terror
runs through Jerusalem.


We must support the surveillance policies that Bush has been pursuing.
Unpopular with many as they are,
given the threat of terrorism that will remain for a while
even if the above policies are followed,
without effective surveillance
retaliatory incidents of anti-American terrorism can be guaranteed.


We must take seriously the need to guard America’s borders
and tighten up the requirements
on those who are allowed to immigrate into America.
Returning to the 1924–1965 law would be a great idea.
Loud howls would come from some very predictable quarters,
but their motives are equally transparent (cf.).

Miscellaneous References and Articles


The Clinton Years Revisited
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2008-02-26

As bad as the past eight years have been,
it may be fruitful to remember
what U.S. national security policy was like under Bill Clinton,
as it is very possible that Washington will soon be returning to
that gold standard for underachievement.


Switch On Your B-S Detector
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-05-28

[A generally hostile review of President Obama’s 2010 National Security Strategy.]