“On September 11th, 2001, terrorists left their mark of murder on my country … With the passing of months and years, it is the natural human desire to resume a quiet life and to put that day behind us, as if waking from a dark dream. The hope that danger has passed is comforting, is understanding, and it is false … These terrorists target the innocent and they kill by the thousands. And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished. … The evil is in plain sight … We will face these threats with open eyes, and we will defeat them.” - President Bush in London, Nov 19, 2003
We are not in the middle of a 'crisis'. This is not a 'contingency op'. We are a nation at war. Many don't understand this premise.
We have now rotated 9 of our 10 active Army divisions to Iraq and Afghanistan. The only division that won't be rotated will be the 2nd Infantry Division which has responsibility for Korea. More than 128,000 reservists have been activated since 9/11. More than 300,000 soldiers have been deployed. We are at war.
We are facing an enemy that is committed to preserving the ulitmate authority of religion, intolerant of any other faith, opposed to modernizing ideas from the West, and willing to murder thousands of innocent people. If we faced less than one percent of the Islamic population of the world, our enemy combatants could still number in the millions.
Then, there is North Korea and China. Two of the most repressive and irresponsbile regimes that the world has ever known.
We, as a nation, seem to continually evolve and depend upon technology and advances in weaponry to wage our fights for us. But, our indulgences in this arena have proved that it is the Soldiers and Marines that are needed now more than ever. We simply need more troops to protect our freedom. The Pentagon just cancelled the Comanche helicopter program. This comes on the heels of the cancellation of the Crusader missle system. This is the right train of thought - cancel the expensive tech programs and focus on what works. I believe we'll need more than 30.000 more troops in the active force. We'll need to spend more than 87 billion on the Iraq reconstruction. At least the focus has shifted, and this is a monumental (or unheard of) effort for the Pentagon. Secretary Rumsfeld is, for a lack of better words, kicking ass and taking names.
What worries me now is that America just might elect another "feel good" president.
What I am afraid of is a president who won't expand and improve the military force because he lacks the moral clarity to do what is needed. To fight and win.
Call it a "dark dream" or just never forgetting 9/11. We can't aford to get past those feelings until the day dawns where Al Qaeda is destroyed and the mechanisms that allowed Al Qaeda to fester are no more. Then, we can wake to a new day.
Until that day, President Bush is the only one who can lead us to the right path to wake from the "dark dream".