Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fixing President Clinton’s mistake:

The Iraq Study Group called for it, many already knew it needed to be done and yesterday President Bush requested it. President Bush has asked his new defense secretary, Robert Gates, to expand the size of the military.

Technically an increase in our military cannot be considered an expansion but instead a step back toward regaining what was lost. During the 1990’s, President Clinton went to great lengths to dismantle America’s fighting force. The reason America is stretched thin today is not because of fighting too many missions at once but because President Clinton left us ill prepared to do so. Under President Clinton America's active combat divisions declined from 18 to 10, over a 40% decrease. The Navy, the pride of our founding fathers, was also drastically cut as bases were closed and ships were taken out of commission.

The reality is that President Clinton’s much touted budget surplus came at the expense of our once admired military force. Though Clinton supporters claim that Bill could have never foreseen the present times I would disagree. Foresight is what makes a great leader and it’s something either President Clinton didn’t have or ignored. There were plenty of signs given to President Clinton throughout his Presidency that should have made him think twice about what he was about to do. The first World Trade Center bombing, his disastrous defeat in Mogadishu, two U.S. embassy bombings, the U.S. Cole and most important a deceleration of war against the U.S. by Bin Laden in a fatwa published around the world.

If President Clinton was half the leader of our early ones he would have been constantly looking at the world asking, what if, each time he cut a battalion. It’s President Clinton’s shortsightedness that makes you have to appreciate our early leaders. Leaders like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who could see America’s vulnerability to piracy and imperialist Europe that led to the building of our Navy at a time and cost to our government that would make today’s politicians have a heart attack. It was that Navy that not only defeated the Barbary pirates in the early 1800’s but also was available and a crucial part to securing America’s success in the war of 1812 against Britain.

Leaders like President McKinley and Admiral Mahan who had the foresight to see 40 years into the future and call for the annexation of Hawaii. Mahan and even the then young Teddy Roosevelt saw the expansion of the Japanese Empire as a future threat and new that if America didn’t take Hawaii, Japan would giving them a launching point for an invasion on America. The examples can continue and is what makes early American history fascinating.

As I look at Iraq and its liberation, my support is based more on my appreciation of history and the potential benefits not years but decades into the future. When it comes to such endeavors I don’t pretend that the world is pretty and see nothing wrong in putting America in the best position to survive in the future as Adams, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, Mahan, Polk and others did. President Clinton and his concern of only the present was a mistake and today we’re paying for it.

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