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For the Courage of the Founders

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

For The Courage

I have decided to post a manuscript which I completed in 2003. It is titled "For The Courage of The Founders" and intends to be a discussion on the strategic shortfalls of the then (2003) current Global War On Terror (GWOT). I was unable to get it published, with the reasons running from "too controversial" to "too confrontational". However, in the past four years, it seems that two things have begun to occur--people are beginning to see the true cost of poor strategy and items in the manuscript are actually happening. So, I thought I might as well at least get it out into the media in some fashion.

A bit about the inspiration. I had just returned from commanding combat troops in Afghanistan and had thought I was pretty slick. I then visited the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The opening 16 minute multi-media presentation left me in tears. Those were people with Courage and Vision. I left the NCC with a much better understanding, I felt, of what it really took to create the United States.

Since I began working in Combating Terrorism at the Policy Level, I had felt that we were 1) Missing the point and 2) Failing to develop a strategy that put terrorism in proper context. My visit to the NCC allowed those misgivings and seven years of work in the field to coalesce into what would become "For The Courage of The Founders". It is not about personal safety, wealth or glory. It is not about persuading everyone you are right. It is about creating strategic parameters that will ensure not "what" will happen, but rather "how" things will happen--so that a country of law will have an opportunity to prosper.

Read For The Courage of The Founders online.


Blogger janet w said...

We can learn so much from the courage of our forefathers -- looking forward to the parallels and differences between their experiences and ours.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

Wow, lots of material to contemplate and digest. I read part one, and I can't wait to purchase part two :) As I read part one my thoughts ran the gamut, vacillating between this is an excellent point, this is brilliant, and yikes. Yikes because things I read, I hadn't thought of, or did not want to acknowledge. Statements like... "The unconventional warrior, however, saw the opportunity inherent in having automatic weapons available in the airports… " And " Less obvious is that many security efforts provide opportunity to the terrorists” Not comfortable statements for me to read.

So many thought provoking assertions... "The defeat of terrorism, not the protection from but the defeat of, is going to require assets to be applied to a multi-faceted approach over time that includes risk acceptance (courage). " This made me question if I have been thinking in terms of defeating terrorism, or instead thinking that protection from terrorism was paramount to defeating terrorism. Still contemplating this one!

I found this statement to be profound " Instead of elevating terrorists to vaunted levels of excellence and operational and strategic acumen, the United States should consider them for what they really are: deluded fanatics, marginally in touch with reality and of no real consequence to the survivability or core values of the United States." I agree with this yet it made me wonder if I could emotionally accept “terrorism is insignificant in any real terms” Just because I don't think terrorism is capable of destroying the US can I also say terrorism is insignificant ? Lots to think about here.. It made me ask myself am I more afraid, fearful of terror attacks than Tom? I'm positive the answer is yes by the way !! So then the question is why? Is it simply a matter of courage ? Or knowledge and perspective? Or all three?

No doubt Tom is more courageous than I ...as I'd never volunteer to be an EOD tech. But, I can also tell you I'd rather die in a terrorist attack then let them win! And Tom definitely has more insight with respect to terrorists and terror attacks. My logical mind says it makes such rational sense, it's a compelling, well thought out argument Yet, my emotional mind is still digesting the concept of "Terrorism is insignificant in any real terms" I wonder about the "big " terrorist attack. And then I wonder why? Is it simply than I don't posses enough prospective ? Or is it also a matter of courage for me personally?

I agree with both of the following quotes…” Without a greater long-term strategy, physical security does not make you appreciably safer within an already safe society.” And “One needs only look at the Soviet Union to see the hazard of short-term decision-making" They made me consider the scariest thought I had while reading this…...”What would the world be like if the US was no longer a Super power?”

I have a couple of questions...
"The United States is simply too big, too robust and too good at making money during tragic circumstances to be vulnerable to a threat like terrorism" I want to ask Tom, if you see that statement as valid in terms of Al Qaeda and other terror groups only? Or if that includes terror attacks by a nation-state also? For some reason Iran comes to mind. Or does that change the whole ball game and we call that war not terror attacks ?

Another question how does this “The terrorist is, at a very basic level, an unconventional warrior. For the unconventional warrior, security is simply a planning consideration.” mesh with your statement ." That terrorists are inept? “

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Mary aka XO H&K from Suzanne Brockmann's Bullettin Board said...

Thanks for making available your thoughts and insight, based on your experience and practical knowledge, to this critical topic. It is more than time that an intelligent discussion is made on the realities of the situation we "The United States Of America" find ourselves in. A discussion that raises the bar of intelligent debate by facing reality - though heartbreaking emotionally - forcing us to put the GWOT and our roll in fighting it, morally, personally, nationally, internationally, economically now and into the future in a proper perspective. The best way to move towards a workable and achievable solution or strategy is to acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place.

Hey it isn't easy to directly look at the examples and concepts you put forward and remove emotion from the equation. No one ever said anything worth fighting for - truly fighting for - was easy, did they? Although not as eloquently as you put forth, nothing you have stated so far is outside the realm or so shockingly new to many real discussions I have participated in over the last six years. I respect and rely on the potential I live under and the freedoms and guarantees I am entitled to and am provided for since the inception of our great nation. Our future is not guaranteed under any circumstances - but our responsibility to fight for and secure the potential of our future is my/our responsibility. "We, The People, ...." does not mean leave it to others to manage or screw up for us.

I think allot of what you point out as our current paranoia and dwelling on the fear of a lack of all encompassing security, we seem to currently demand, is being reinforced by our media and our governmmnt. We have allowed our own thought bar to be lowered. We are letting an irrational fear over power us. "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." I think the best way to fight fear, ignorance, intolerance etc. is through the search for information and knowledge and then application of the same with experience, wisdom and common sense.

As our Forefathers did in their time, the decision to insure we stand united is based on the very concept of sharing of ideas that may not be comfortable or easily pursued or guaranteed. Included in that is the fact that a life or many lives are worth giving to insure it is not taken for granted and to the best of our abilities guaranteed to our children and our children's children. I know I would rather travel as I did, overseas within days of flights starting again after 9/11, then to buckle under and change my way of living as a result of the terrorists actions. You are a highly intelligent, trained, skilled and proven warrior because of you and your brothers in arms I am free to blog here. I think one of your greatest gifts of the continued guarantee to my freedom is this attempt to fight and elucidate with a pen. I thank you and look forward to reading the rest of "For The Courage."

My hope from the widespread reading of your book, the discussions and debates it will surely initiate would be that the fabled lines attributed to W.W.II Japanese Commander Yamamoto will come true "I fear we have awoken a sleeping giant." We have the ability, the historical precedent and the responsibility to actively and intelligently move ourselves and our nation towards its ultimate potential. Charlie Mike!

4:43 AM  
Blogger PSA said...

Thanks for making this manuscript available to us. Just a couple of thoughts/comments/queries.

First of all, this manuscript was completed during 2003, has your opinion on anything you have presented here changed in the years since then or have events simply reinforced you views?

Secondly, you say we are allowing the actions of nineteen people to change the course of American democracy. I am assuming it is not the actual number of people involved that is the issue but who these people are. Would the US Constitution be a less significant document if only 19 people had signed it? (I don't claim to be an expert in American history so it is possible the answer is yes).

Also, you say that Al Qaeda is defunct and that it committed suicide. As someone who was in London the day before the July 7th attacks and has recently watched the coverage of the attempted attack in Glasgow, it feels like there is some life in them yet.

Finally, do you feel that the issues discussed in your manuscript are applicable to other countries or do they relate only to the US as a superpower?


2:05 PM  

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