Phi Beta Iota Editorial:
“Losing the Long War” is a common refains among the chattering pundits, but they are making one fundamental mistake: those of us with brains and eyes and ears all knew this in 1988 and gave voice to our views in 1998. The problem is the chasm between those in power, who live in a “closed circle,” and those with knowledge, who actually follow the multicultural nuances of cause and effect and inputs and outcomes. Below is a quote from Daniel Elsberg speaking to Henry Kissinger–the same could be said today to the National Security Advisor now serving:
The danger is, you’ll become like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours” [because of your blind faith in the value of your narrow and often incorrect secret information].
Daniel Ellsberg, SECRETS: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (Viking, 2002). This is his recollection of his words to Henry Kissinger, then National Security Advisor to President Richard Nixon. The three pages on the pathological effects of falling prey to the cult of secrecy, on pages 237-239, should be forced rote memorization for all who receive clearances. Click on the book cover to read our complete summative review of SECRETS: A Memoir.
The Administration does not lack for solutions. It lacks for openness and outreach to those who do know, and it lacks for independence from Goldman Sachs specifically and Wall Street generally.
The US taxpayer is starting to figure this out, and over half those eligible to vote are now contemplating an end to the two-party bi-nopoly of the White House and Congress through massive Independent turn-out.
It also bears mention that the good Mr. May appears to have no clue as to the actual cause of the global economic collapse, namely Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, and the Russian Roulette that Wall Street has been playing with the US and the Global economies–at our expense. See my review of Webster Griffin Tarpley’s revied and updated edition of Surviving the Cataclysm: Your Guide Through the Greatest Financial Crisis in Human History. The American taxpayer does not just need a new government–we need to flush all the “think tanks” down the toilet, for they have clearly lost any semblance of the ability to actually THINK.
Below is an excerpt from a Washington Times story, and a link to the book being discussed.
Losing the Long War by Clifford D. May, Saturday, July 25, 2009
In 1993, R. James Woolsey, about to become President Clinton’s first director of Central Intelligence, remarked to a Senate committee on the defeat of international communism: “We have slain a large dragon.”
He then added: “But we live now in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes. And in many ways, the dragon was easier to keep track of.”
Years later, we still seem bewildered. America’s military has demonstrated astonishing ingenuity and adaptability. But have other instruments of government power risen to the challenges posed by international jihadism?
In his new book, “Winning the Long War,” Ilan Berman, vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council, makes a persuasive case that they have not, that the United States instead has lost “the initiative on the dominant battlefields of today’s conflict: ideology, strategic communications, economics, law and development.” Regaining the initiative, he urges, should be among the highest priorities of the new administration.
Click on the book cover to reach its Amazon page.
It turns out the Washington Times is just pulling the whole thing from Scripps News, so below is a second excerpt, click on the Scripps News logo to read their entire original version.
Berman gives higher marks to the U.S. Treasury Department, which has waged economic warfare by seizing or freezing hundred of millions of dollars that otherwise would have gone to al-Qaeda and similar organizations.
But there has been no serious effort to “make the international economy as a whole inhospitable to exploitation by terrorist groups and radical regimes,” to prevent multinational companies from carrying out “business as usual with terror-sponsoring regimes,” or even to stop American taxpayer dollars from ending up assisting regimes such as that in Iran. The Bush administration never aimed at Iran’s Achilles’ heel: its dependence on foreign supplies of gasoline. Congress and the Obama administration are now, finally and rather hesitantly, considering this last, best option to peacefully pressure Iran’s rulers.
“If we are to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism, then we must do more than simply continue down the path we are currently on,” notes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the foreword to Berman’s book. First and foremost, winning the long war will require re-thinking the conflict being waged against the West, and learning how to utilize non-military instruments of national power much more effectively than we have done to date.
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Long War Journal and Counterterrorism Blog
Worth a look. Includes contributions from Zachary Abuza and many others outside the US Government war college and think tank circuit.