Strategic Imperative Redux
So lets table the word strategic for a moment and focus on "imperative". A caveat first though, and that is that we are talking about the nation as defined by the Constitution. That is important because as the only formal document that says "What America is" it provides a useful limit to the conversation.
So what is an imperative? An imperative is defined as something impossible to deter or evade; pressing. As we look at the imperative let us use this simple example to frame our discussion. For an average US citizen, is it imperative to eat or to breath? Hopefully everyone picked breath. ..And hopefully everyone is ready to post but you will die if you don't eat eventually--which is true--thus introducing the impact of time and change on what is imperative. So how does that change how we view imperatives? I believe that it essentially shifts imperatives away from action and into idealogical systems to support action---which circles us back to the Constitution. So the initial Constitution--minus the bill of rights--is simply a plan for an way to govern seated in the rule of law. The bill of rights then places some marker in the ground that sort of says, "But within this system of governing, we will never ever do this this and this (x3.33)" Further amendments generally addressed specific changes in the world that had to be accounted for within the United States defining document--or at least were thought to.
So, it is a bit of a circular argument, but if the document defines the system that becomes the United States, that document and that system become imperative to the survival of the country they define. It is the only pure imperative--it is the air for our aforementioned person.
Now we get to the strategic part---and this is really nothing more than how do we ensure that person will always be able to breath---how do we ensure that we will be able to allow our defining system to work. What is the plan. Okay, so we go back to our person who is currently breathing and happy for it. But, being as how our person is in Massachusetts that person is only going to last about 3 hours without shelter, so in order for the person to be able to breath in three hours she is going to need shelter in two. And though she can survive on urine for a little while, she will need water within two or three days so she may be able to breath---foul water will work but eventually it needs to be clean BUT it will never have to be gatorade--ever. Likewise our person will need to eat within a week or so, but will be able to continue to breath for a long time at 800 calories a day---and will never ever have to eat apple cobbler ala mode to be able to breath-----everything directly necessary to support breathing becomes a necessary part of the plan--but only as it is tied to breathing---thus those things that are strategical imperatives are those that are directly tied to the survival of our system.
Keep in mind that there was a specific reason that I chose to say "There is no strategic imperative to fight GWOT", and that is because the act of deciding exactly where the lines are between imperative, "really need to do", "really ought to do" etc was beyond the scope of this effort. Preventing the casualties and impact that terrorists can reasonably inflict, I believe, is well below anything that could be considered an imperative--now, as I state, if we choose to conducted it--that is another topic entirely--but it is a choice---and as we fund that choice we need to make sure we are not putting "ought to's" in front of imperatives.
Now, just as a single strand digression--and this is how these types of priorities need to be segmented--in order to have and maintain our system as defined by the Constitution, clearly we need lawyers. In order to have lawyers, we need an education system, a court system, etc etc. Keeping in mind the various people that have to be functioning to support all of that, does the education system that we create need to be free and equal to all citizens?
Apple Cobbler ala mode anyone?