President Obama today attempted to be serious about our War on Terror, Guantanamo Bay and what we should be doing with Home Grown Terrorists. His comments landed with a thud. Several hecklers….stepped up to the plate. Evidently, they don’t tweet and have a tough time getting into their Face Book Accounts.
The cute little girl from Code Pink raised her voice, almost to the point of screaming. We kept waiting for the Security Guards to Taser and remove her from the premises, but that didn’t seem to happen. The President finally stopped in the middle of his remarks…even though whatever she was saying could not be heard clearly. The President waited patiently……and finally…the Security people must have come…..off camera and took her away. It was agonizing for those of us watching, but the President remained calm….and carried on.
The issue of Drones and other National Security isses were broached by the President at the National Defense University, Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C. How do those Code Pink get into all these events? Doesn’t the Secret Service ever know what is happening? Don’t bother to answer that! They do seem to know down in South America…pretty good.
Back to the endemic Drone issue. OK, Drones are fast becoming ubiquitous for every Tom, Dick and Harry…..as well as every known country, Walmarts, Costcos and Target stores in America. Well, maybe not……but they are coming soon. The President then mentions that he is “cutting back” on his use of Drones to protect the General Welfare of the United States. Our question is: Why? Drones are efficient, cost effective and save the lives of Special Forces, Military detachments and in fact offers limited Logistical problems, training and planning. Drones work in every country…..Drones work and take out who we want to take out. Collateral Damage aside…….we reduce our Military footprint in the world, while directing specialized operations at targets we know are the enemy.
Who should be running the Drone Ops? The US Military – Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army and National Guard or the CIA? The answer is: All of the above! Who should be in charge of oversight? The Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor and the Director of Homeland Security, the Director of the CIA and the Director of the FBI. This five-panel board should report to the President and Vice President with their suggestions. The final approval should not be limited to the President…..but to the Secretary of Defense – even though any member of this “inner council” could add their vote.
Should we send the message that Drone Strikes are going to be limited, the unintended consequences will be that our enemies may feel embolden or worse yet; step up their time tables for terror. Mr. President, stand your ground on Drones. They work and they need to work to save expensive incursions by land forces or air or sea forces. Limit our shadow globally Mr. President. We already stand out in a crowd and have plenty of exposure. The recent events in London bring a cautionary tale…..that suggests that unrest in the Muslim communities around the world are on the rise…..not decline.
Our Drone responses should be based on the demand in the Global Community. Let us not unilaterally disarm or downgrade our strategy without knowing that the threats have diminished. We need all the tools in the shed and certainly want to save as many American lives as possible. Sadly however, your promise to attack American Citizens on American Soil…maybe a promise that is hard to keep. What about co-conspirators? What about Radicalized American Citizens that are being proselytized by neighbors, friend, family members or buddies on the web? What if their local Mosque or Church is being used as a central gathering place for Revolutionary Wrong Doing. This happens to be a element of the 1970’s. The Sibonese Liberation Army comes to mind along with 30 or 40 more ad hoc groups against the government. If any of these groups threatens a Mall, a Civic Center or Business Center……the use of Drones maybe the only option in many cases.
So, Mr. President – great speech today. You handled yourself with great elan. The big issue however is not Guantanamo, not the IRS, not the AP issue nor anything else – Think National Security…..and think why it may not be in the best interest of this country to restrict our use of viable weapon systems that limit destruction and loss of life – the best we can!
One more Drone – for the road. Mr. President!