ITEM 5: Matthew Continetti: “Anonymous”
ITEM 6: NYT: Tom Friedman: Iraq at the Tipping Point
ITEM 7: Nick Eberstadt: Tear Down This Tyranny (North Korea)
ITEM 8: Tom Donnelly, Vance Serchuk: A Bigger, Badder, Better Army
ITEM 5: Matthew Continetti: “Anonymous” Names Names
The Weekly Standard
"Anonymous" Names Names
Former CIA counterterrorism expert Michael Scheuer reveals who it was at the
agency who gave him "carte blanche" to criticize President Bush.
by Matthew Continetti
11/19/2004 2:20:00 PM
ON NOVEMBER 9, ex-CIA counterterrorism officer Michael
Scheuer gave an
interview to the Washington Post's Dana Priest. Scheuer, who ran the CIA's
bin Laden unit from 1996-99, and whose latest book, Imperial Hubris
(published under the pseudonym "Anonymous"), criticizes the Bush
administration's counterterrorism policies in general and the Iraq war in
particular, wanted to talk about his former employer. Scheuer told Priest
that his bosses at the CIA (he gave the interview prior to leaving the
agency) had "diluted the pool that supports our people overseas," which
meant that "in the long term, we're less safe than we should be." What's
more, Scheuer added, CIA management can't take criticism. Just look at what
happened with his latest book. "As long as the book was being used to bash
the president, they gave me carte blanche to talk to the media," Scheuer
said. When Scheuer started attacking the CIA in interviews along with the
president, agency brass fo! rbade him from talking to the media.
Scheuer's stunning admission--that CIA officials actively
promoted a book
criticizing the administration they work for--has garnered some attention,
mostly from conservative columnists like Robert Novak and David Brooks. But
one question remained unanswered throughout the coverage--who, exactly, were
"they"? Who gave Scheuer carte blanche to attack Bush? At a breakfast with
reporters on Friday, Scheuer gave his answer: former CIA spokesman Bill
Scheuer told reporters on Friday that, traditionally,
he would have to
arrange interviews through the CIA public affairs office. Each interview
would have to be cleared before Scheuer was allowed to talk. With Imperial
Hubris, however, that wasn't the case. The book's advance publicity had
hyped the fact that a CIA officer was anonymously breaking with the
administration's anti-terror strategy. Interview requests flooded in. But
Scheuer said that Harlow told him, "We're giving you carte blanche."
Harlow's condition? Scheuer was supposed to let the public affairs office
know who he talked to--after the interview(s) had taken place.
"The book was misunderstood," Scheuer said on Friday.
"It's a book about the
failure of senior intelligence officers," not an ad hominem attack on the
president. During his first round of publicity interviews, he tried to set
the record straight. "Once I turned it around," however, "and talked about
leadership in the intelligence community," Scheuer said, "well, that was the
end of the day." Since Bush was no longer his target, Scheuer had been
Of course, one reporter asked, Harlow couldn't have made
the decision to
promote Scheuer's book alone. Scheuer nodded. He said that Harlow would've
needed authorization from his superiors for such a move. Harlow's superior
at the time? Former CIA director George Tenet.
Matthew Continetti is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.
ITEM 6: NYT: Tom Friedman: Iraq at the Tipping Point
Iraq at the Tipping Point
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
AMP FALLUJA, Iraq
Every time I visit Iraq, I leave asking myself the same question: If you total up all the positives and negatives, where does the balance come out? I'd say the score is still 4 to 4. We can still emerge with a decent outcome. And the whole thing could still end very badly. There's only one thing one can say for sure today: you won't need to wait much longer for the tipping point. Either the elections for a new governing body happen by the end of January, as scheduled, and the rout of Saddam loyalists in Falluja is consolidated and extended throughout the Sunni triangle, or not. If it's the former, there are still myriad challenges ahead, but you can be somewhat hopeful. If it's the latter, we've got a total fiasco on our hands.
I came out to the Falluja front in a small press pool accompanying the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, who flew in to inspect the toughest problems in Iraq firsthand. Most of the fighting in Falluja was over by the time we arrived at this headquarters compound, although the tom-tom beat of 155-millimeter howitzers, still pumping rounds into the city, was constant. Here are the questions I came with and the answers I took away:
How important is taking Falluja? Huge. Falluja was to the Iraqi insurgency what Afghanistan was to Osama bin Laden. It was the safe haven where militants could, with total impunity, plan operations, stockpile weapons and connect the suicide bombers from abroad with their Iraqi handlers. That's gone. One arms cache alone found here had 49,000 pieces of ordnance, ranging from mortars to ammo rounds. Another arms cache blown up last week kept exploding for 45 minutes after it was hit, a senior U.S. officer said.
What happens next in Falluja? The plan is for Iraqi Army, police and National Guard units to move in, restore order and hold the place so the insurgents can't retake it and voting can be conducted in January. Whether the Iraqi Army can do that is unclear. Don't believe any of the big numbers that people in Washington throw around about how many Iraqi security people we have trained. Those numbers are meaningless.
The reality is this: Where you have individual Iraqi police, National Guard and Army commanders who have bravely stepped forward to serve the new Iraq and are willing to lead - despite intimidation efforts by insurgents - you have effective units. Where you don't have committed Iraqi leaders, all you have are Iraqi men collecting paychecks who will flee at the first sign of danger. The good news: there are pockets of Iraqi leaders emerging throughout the Army and police. The bad news: there are still way too few of them.
Then do we have enough U.S. troops? No way. U.S. commanders are constantly having to make hard choices between deploying troops to quell a firefight in one place or using them to prevent one from breaking out in another. With two months before elections and the campaign about to start, Iraq remains highly insecure. And with most aid workers having pulled out, U.S. forces have to do everything. Units of the First Cavalry in Baghdad might be fighting militants in Sadr City in the morning, dealing with sewage problems in the afternoon and teaching democracy in the evening. Some of these young soldiers already have three Purple Hearts from having survived that many grenade attacks in Baghdad.
What have we learned from the many insurgents captured in Falluja? A vast majority are Iraqi Sunnis, with only a few foreign fighters. This is an Iraqi Sunni rebellion, but a senior Iraqi official told me that they had discovered Saddam loyalists who were using Aleppo, Syria, to regroup and plan operations.
Bottom line? Iraq is a country still on life support, and U.S. troops are the artificial lungs and heart. At the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Babil Province, which I visited, 211 marines have been injured in fighting in the past few months. But 180 of them insisted on returning to duty after being injured. U.S. forces still have a strong will to win.
But another thing remains impressively strong: The insurgents will go to any lengths to intimidate Iraqis away from joining the new government. Too many people, from cleaning women to deputy ministers, are being shot. The insurgents' strategy is intimidation. The U.S. strategy is Iraqification. This is the struggle - and the intimidators are doing way too well. Without a secure environment in which its new leadership can be elected and comfortably operate, Iraq will never be able to breathe on its own, and U.S. troops will have to be here forever.
ITEM 7: Nick Eberstadt: Tear Down This Tyranny (North Korea)
Tear Down This Tyranny
By Nicholas Eberstadt
The Weekly Standard
Publication Date: November 29, 2004
The Bush administration is not famous for patience with its critics. But for the sake of national security, the new Bush team should listen to constructive criticism of its policies--in particular, its policy for the North Korean nuclear crisis. The current U.S. approach to the North Korea problem is demonstrably flawed; arguably, even dangerously flawed.
Just what is wrong? After nearly four years in office, the curious fact remains that the Bush administration plainly lacks a strategy for dealing with the North Korean regime. Instead, it merely confronts Pyongyang with an attitude.
President Bush and his inner circle regard Kim Jong Il and his system with an admixture of loathing, contempt, and distrust--as well they might. Unfortunately, a mechanism for translating that point of view into effective action was manifestly absent from the statecraft of Bush's first-term administration. Long on attitude ("axis of evil") but short on strategy, the administration on North Korea was at times akin to a rudderless boat on an open sea.
Without rehearsing every detail, we might say that we have seen the Bush North Korea policy in "shocked by events" mode; we have seen it in "reactive" mode; we have seen it in "passive-aggressive" mode; and we have seen it in "paralyzed by infighting" mode. But we have yet to see it in "making bigger problems into smaller ones" mode.
A better approach for the second term might start with two strategic precepts:
Precept One: We are exceedingly unlikely to talk--or to bribe--the current North Korean government out of its nuclear quest. Talk and bribery have been tried for nearly 15 years--with miserable results. If Kim Jong Il ever could have been talked or bribed out of his nuclear program, the world's best opportunity was probably during the mid-1990s, when the nation was starving, and the regime's survival looked very much in doubt. We all know how the Clinton team's "denuclearization" deals in that era turned out: Pyongyang took the money, and plowed it into new covert nuclear programs.
Precept Two: The North Korean nuclear crisis is the North Korean government--and the North Korean government is the North Korean nuclear crisis. Unless and until we have a better class of dictator running North Korea, we will be faced with an ongoing and indeed growing North Korean nuclear crisis. Pretending otherwise is a sure recipe for an even more dangerous situation.
Embracing those precepts would have immediate implications
for American North Korea policy. Here are a few of the things a successful
policy will require:
1. Instituting regime change--at the State Department. If any doubt remained whether the first-term diplomatic team was up to the challenge of North Korea policy, it was removed by Secretary Colin Powell's hapless trip through East Asia last month, when he was publicly blindsided in both Beijing and Seoul by our putative partners in the Six Party Talks. North Korea is one of the most serious problems America faces today; our diplomatic crew needs to understand the threat.
2. Defining "success" and "failure" for North Korea negotiations. To date, the Six Party Talks on North Korean denuclearization have produced--well, talk; meanwhile, North Korea has been racing to build up its nuclear arsenal. This perverse dynamic should be utterly unacceptable. For upcoming parlays, Washington needs to spell out clearly and in advance the outcomes that will constitute success, and those that amount to failure. And the administration must not be shy about declaring the process a failure if in fact it is.
3. Increasing China's "ownership" of the North Korean problem. Thus far, Beijing has very successfully hedged the North Korean crisis--sometimes affecting to be part of the solution, other times directly contributing to the problem. Washington has been far too complacent about China's unprincipled ambiguity. After all: China will bear high costs if the current denuclearization diplomacy fails--and even greater dangers lie in store for Beijing if Pyongyang becomes a full-fledged nuclear power. Our cooperation with China will be more productive once we understand this. And once Beijing is obliged to think clearly about its own interests in North Korea threat reduction, we can expect a more forceful and consistent Chinese focus on the Kim Jong Il regime.
4. Working around the pro-appeasement crowd in the South Korean government. U.S. policy on the North Korean crisis suffered a setback, and a serious one, with the December 2002 South Korean presidential election, thanks to which a coterie of New Left-style academics and activists assumed great influence over their government's security policies. Despite placid assurances from "old Korea hands" in the State Department and elsewhere that this crew would "mellow" in office, the core of this new government (a cadre dubbed "the Taliban" by the South Korean press) has remained implacably anti-American and reflexively pro-appeasement toward Pyongyang. (Last week, for example, South Korea's president publicly averred that both military and economic pressure were off the table as instruments for resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis; a few days later the South Korean Defense Ministry made the breathtaking announcement that North Korea would no longer be designated as the "primary enemy" facing its military forces.)
For all intents and purposes, South Korea is now a runaway ally: a country bordering a state committed to its destruction, and yet governed increasingly in accordance with graduate-school "peace studies" desiderata--while at the same time relying on forward-positioned American troops and a security treaty with Washington to guarantee its safety. It is not too much to describe this utterly unnatural and unviable situation as our "second crisis" on the Korean peninsula.
The simultaneous task of salvaging the Washington-Seoul alliance while avoiding "Taliban" sabotage of a North Korea threat-reduction policy presents exceptional--indeed, extraordinary--challenges to U.S. statecraft. But not insurmountable ones. Over the past decade, some giant South Korean conglomerates that once boasted they were "too big to fail" have completely disappeared from the corporate scene. Everyone in South Korea today remembers this--so they can also intuit the hollowness of their current president's strange claim just last week that the U.S.-South Korean relationship is likewise too big to fail. Public opinion in South Korea is deeply--and quite evenly--divided on the North Korea question, and the current government earns consistently low approval ratings. Instead of appeasing South Korea's appeasers (as our policy to date has attempted to do, albeit clumsily) America should be speaking over their heads directly to the Korean people, building and nurturing the coalitions in South Korean domestic politics that will ultimately bring a prodigal ally back into the fold.
5. Readying the nondiplomatic instruments for North Korea threat reduction. Diplomacy on the North Korean nuclear front may well fail--in which case a variety of nondiplomatic alternatives must be at the ready. Paradoxically, however, preparing for the deliberate use of nonconsensual, non-diplomatic options with North Korea will actually increase the probability of a diplomatic success.
6. Planning for a post-Communist Korean peninsula. For far too long, policymakers in the United States and elsewhere have acted as if contemplating the practical implications of the Kim Jong Il regime's demise were somehow "thinking the unthinkable." Instead, American policy should be actively engaged in planning for a successful transition to a post-Kim Jong Il Korea--and in coordinating with allies and other interested parties to maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks in that delicate and potentially dangerous process. Many uncertainties lie in store on the road to a free, democratic, non-nuclear, and united Korean peninsula, but there can be absolutely no doubt that such a destination is the very best objective--not only for the Korean people but for all their neighbors as well.
As President Bush contemplates North Korea policy for a second term, he could do worse than to dwell on his legacy. During the presidential campaign, John Kerry asserted that the North Korea problem was worse now than four years ago--and he was right. (Kerry's own clueless prescription--to seek and cut a bilateral deal with Kim Jong Il--does not invalidate the diagnosis.)
Most people in the present administration judge the Clinton administration harshly for bequeathing to posterity a more serious international terrorist threat than it inherited--and rightly so. If North Korea's threat to America is greater four years from now than today, that will be a Bush administration legacy. And history is unlikely to judge such a legacy kindly.
Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.
ITEM 8: Tom Donnelly, Vance Serchuk: A Bigger, Badder, Better Army
A Bigger, Badder, Better Army
By Thomas Donnelly, Vance Serchuk
The Weekly Standard
Publication Date: November 29, 2004
At the heart of this fall's presidential campaign was a policy debate about the meaning of the "global war on terror." Is it, as George W. Bush came to understand, a struggle for the political future of the greater Middle East--a contest between liberalism and radical Islam to supplant the crumbling autocracies that have dominated the region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire? Or is it, as John Kerry claimed, a narrower mission--to roll back al Qaeda, a fringe movement whose members can be tracked down, captured, or killed, and thus restore the pre-9/11 status quo?
The president's electoral victory on November 2 did not settle this argument, but it gave him a new opportunity to prove his case. Ultimately, a second Bush administration must convince Americans and the world that a tolerant, democratic Middle East is not a desert mirage, but a winnable prospect. And real success must be achieved both in and beyond Afghanistan and Iraq.
The next steps toward the transformation of the Islamic world must be taken here at home, with the transformation of our national security establishment. This is the central challenge for the second Bush administration. If the United States is to succeed in spurring the emergence of a different kind of Middle East, it must also create a different kind of military. And for that, it must redefine defense transformation to meet the geopolitical challenges we face, not simply to harness the technological opportunities before us.
This gap between our strategic ends and our military means must be addressed in four major areas.
More ground troops. As of mid-November, approximately 180,000 reservists and national guardsmen are mobilized, of whom 154,000 are U.S. Army. They supplement an active Army force set by law at 480,000, but "temporarily" expanded to a little over 500,000. In total, then, there are about 650,000 soldiers actively in service.
For reasons that are hard to fathom, there is still a debate in the Pentagon about whether this requirement for ground forces is an Iraq-driven anomaly or a reflection of the "long, hard slog" that is the global war on terror. The answer ought to be obvious. Even if, in the next year, it proves possible to reduce the number of troops in Iraq, the need for larger land forces won't end. It's the nature of this war.
That's hard for Americans to accept. We have always put great faith in the notion that technology and firepower can substitute for human capital; that "it's better to send a bullet than a man." And while there's no question that extraordinary efficiencies and effects have been wrung from the Pentagon's emphasis on speed, precision, and coordination, it's also true that the open-ended, low-level counterinsurgencies that increasingly are the operational reality of the global war on terror are manpower-intensive. Technology can help--and greater efforts should be made to develop devices that can counter the "improvised explosive devices," suicide bombs, and car bombs favored by Islamic insurgents--but it cannot solve the problem.
That's because progress in these conflicts is predicated on more than lobbing precision-guided weapons at terrorists. Rather, making the greater Middle East part of the global liberal order depends on the U.S. military's ability to provide a measure of security for local populations, rally their support, and mobilize them to fight alongside us.
But as always in history, patrolling the frontier is a job for regulars. It has been a revelation to military personnel wonks that reservists have been willing to sign up for repeat duty on the merciless missions they've been given in Iraq, but this can't go on forever. This year the Army failed to achieve its reserve recruiting goals, a worrisome sign. Relying on citizen soldiers as an "operational" reserve all but obliterates the distinction between reservists and regulars. It also deprives the military of a true strategic reserve to mobilize in times of unanticipated crisis, such as could develop in North Korea, Iran, or other trouble spots.
Further, regulars are the most effective tool for training and organizing local forces that will ultimately safeguard and legitimize the new governments in Kabul and Baghdad. It's not simply that the new Afghan and Iraqi armies and police must learn their trade. They need an institutional model of how a military serves a free society. And they need a reliable, long-term partner. It is said that al Qaeda has "franchised" jihad; we need to franchise its opposite in counterterrorism.
Finally, excessive reliance on reservists is the most expensive way to man the force; reservists are only cheap until they're called to active duty, trained, and paid at full-time rates. The arithmetic and logic of force projection are unforgiving. For every unit rotated abroad, some percentage will be unable to deploy, for a host of reasons. This is true for active units, but more so for reserve units--and the latter are more likely to be "under strength" to begin with.
Reservists also require extra training. While many are more professionally qualified in the kinds of skills needed for stability or reconstruction operations, they are often rusty in basic soldier and combat training. And in Iraq and Afghanistan, these are essential for survival.
The additional costs associated with reliance on reservists have been masked thus far by the budgetary games used to pay for the war through "emergency" supplemental appropriations. But the costs are nonetheless real and great. Steven Kosiak of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has calculated that strictly military spending on Iraq will total about $166 billion by the end of the 2005 fiscal year. The bulk is eaten by personnel bills.
This systemic problem is going to require a systemic solution and an alteration in the Defense Department's long-range program. Even if the Pentagon were to attempt to grow the active-duty Army by 100,000 soldiers, it would have a force far below the 780,000-man standard of the late Cold War, though possibly one large enough for the challenges ahead.
New bases overseas. Much to its credit, the Bush administration has tackled the problem of the anachronistic U.S. global force posture inherited from the Cold War. Rather than a ring of static defenses in Western Europe and Northeast Asia to guard against Soviet aggression, the global war on terror requires the realignment of America's overseas bases into a network of expeditionary "frontier forts," geared toward projecting power into terrorist redoubts across the greater Middle East.
President Bush announced the broad contours of his rebasing plan in August, promising to redeploy 60,000 to 70,000 troops over the next decade. John Kerry's attempt to make political hay over the issue fell flat--in part because the Democratic nominee had supported the plan before he opposed it, but mainly because the president's plan makes irrefutable sense.
However, the good work done is at risk, for two reasons. First, it may fall victim to domestic politics. The details of the rebasing plan are still under review and likely won't be released until 2005--coincident with the next round of the notorious "base realignment and closure" process, or "BRAC" in Pentagonese. This will be a remorseless political knife fight, with members of Congress defending home-state facilities to the death. Spending money on airfields in Romania and training centers in Australia is strategically smart, but won't be well received on Capitol Hill when American bases are on the Pentagon's hit list.
Second, the Pentagon's rebasing proposals themselves may not go far enough, as America's security perimeter is expanding faster in several key regions than the new plan acknowledges. For example, a considerable focus of the U.S. European Command is now the northwestern quadrant of Africa. This reflects concerns about the region's potential as a terrorist safe haven--with its nexus of weak governments, porous borders, and large Muslim populations--but also the increasing importance of oil from the Gulf of Guinea. While experts debate how large a share of U.S. imports will ultimately come from Africa, the figure is already about one-sixth and rising. Although the Pentagon may accept a marginal increase in the U.S. military presence in this region, its overall footprint is likely to remain insufficient to the challenges ahead.
Even more worrisome, American force posture remains dangerously thin in the arc--many thousands of miles long--between Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and Okinawa and Guam in the Pacific. Although there is hope of securing a basing arrangement with Canberra for a site or sites in northern Australia, the multiple national security threats in the Asia-Pacific region--from the potential destabilization of Pakistan or Indonesia by radical Islam to Chinese military aggression against Taiwan--argue for a more robust deployment of American land forces in the region.
New alliances. Overhauling the structure of our international relations is almost as important as overhauling the structure of our overseas base network; indeed, the two are intrinsically linked. More than a temporary coalition of the willing, the Bush administration now needs to develop enduring alliances and organizations for the global war on terror that it can pass on to its successors, be they Democratic or Republican. In short, it needs a coalition of the committed.
This argument should not be confused with John Kerry's nostalgia for an international system that never existed--one in which power is somehow parceled out on an equal basis between Washington and select capitals of yesterday's great powers. There's no walking away from the fact of American hegemony. The question, rather, is how best to institutionalize, legitimize, and thus deepen it. What Harry Truman did for the Cold War, George W. Bush needs to do for the war on terror.
In imagining a framework for the future, it is important to distinguish between the cosmetic and the real. For all intents and purposes, the United States will continue to contribute the lion's share of blood and treasure in the effort to transform the greater Middle East, just as it did toward the effort to contain Soviet communism. However, even the appearance of burden-sharing is valuable--if only because it will make the American people more willing to bear the considerable costs of the struggle ahead, and other democracies more invested in our collective effort. The international institutions and alliances of the Cold War were worthwhile precisely because they codified American hegemony across the non-Communist world, though under a multilateral veneer. What a less powerful America was capable of accomplishing in 1949, a more powerful America should be capable of doing in 2005.
In the case of Europe, there is some hope that, faced with four more years of the Bush administration, a measure of transatlantic cooperation can be reclaimed. The recent comments of NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer are encouraging, especially his recognition that if the transatlantic capabilities gap "is to be bridged, it has to be done from the European side and not from the United States."
Ultimately, however, an amicable transatlantic relationship will require a hardheaded appraisal of where we have mutual interests and complementary capabilities and where we don't. Americans might focus this dialogue on the stabilization and democratization of regions of strategic importance in Europe's backyard--the Balkans, the Black Sea littoral, and North Africa.
But the U.S. effort to expand our alliances must cast a global net. Even as the Bush administration tries to work with European partners, it should attach equal if not superior strategic value to the great democracies of the Asia-Pacific region--Japan, Australia, and, arguably most important, India.
The continued domestic transformation of India and its decisive entry into an American-led counterterrorism coalition could represent one of the most significant strategic goals for the next four years. Already India offers a model of a prosperous, multicultural state in which democracy and Islam coexist--indeed, India, with its nearly 130 million Muslims, is the third largest "Muslim country" on Earth. New Delhi also has a large, professional military force at a time when most Western countries are tapped out of troops.
More money. There's no getting around this one: It's impossible to have a Bush Doctrine world with Clinton-era defense budgets. The problem for the United States is not imperial overstretch, it's trying to run the planet on the cheap.
Measuring military spending over time is a very tricky art; the U.S. economy is extraordinarily dynamic, and the relative values of capital and manpower are forever in flux. Depending on your yardstick, it's possible to argue that defense budgets are larger or smaller than they were during the Cold War. The 2005 baseline defense-budget request was $400 billion. But as a proportion of gross domestic product, and even factoring in all the emergency supplemental spending, we are still giving less than a nickel of every dollar of our gross domestic product to defend ourselves.
Moreover, the larger, yet still professional, military force we so plainly need is inevitably expensive. The cost of labor, including of course the cost of health care, remains high. In war as in business, machines are cheaper than men.
Nor can enough money be harvested from efficiencies; "turning the Pentagon into a triangle" is a slick slogan but a sticky policy prescription. Nor will gutting unnecessary weapons programs alone do the trick. John Kerry's campaign promise to pay for a larger Army by cutting missile defense made neither strategic nor budgetary sense.
The Bush administration's defense spending plan provided increases of 9 percent and 6 percent in the first two years of the first term, but then no further growth; baseline military spending is to remain flat. The same Pentagon that relies on reserves to meet its personnel needs still appears to believe that the costs of Middle East operations are a temporary burden to be dealt with through supplemental appropriations.
Creating the force we need for the many missions we've given our military in the Middle East and around the globe will require between 5 percent and 6 percent of GDP. That's $500 billion to $600 billion a year, and it needs to be sustained for the foreseeable future. It's a lot of money--and it will take a lot of political courage to ask for it. But that is the price of preserving Pax Americana.
These four needs will be met only if President Bush decides to spend some of the political capital he earned in the election. And whether he will choose to do so is not self-evident. In his first months in office, before 9/11, he preferred tax cuts to military spending.
Even now many Republicans would rather emphasize a domestic agenda, reforming the tax code or entitlements, than this burdensome war. But Americans elected George W. Bush to continue as commander in chief. The next few months will determine whether he intends to secure the wherewithal to finish the job.
Thomas Donnelly and Vance Serchuk are, respectively, resident fellow and research associate in defense policy at AEI.