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Tom Rancich: Don't Stand Too Close: Strategic Imperative

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Don't Stand Too Close

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Strategic Imperative

From Lisa A: "It's a good thing we are reading this slowly. I got as far as page two and stopped at strategic imperative.. anyone else? I certainly can define the words individually, strategy ~ a plan, and imperative~ absolutely necessay.

I've read For The Courage before and still I stopped and thought before I continue, I need to grasp what I think are some strategic imperatives in the Umited States, so I can put Tom's assertion..

There is one crucial fact that the United States must accept if it is to hope to be sucessful in its fight against terror: there is no strategic imperative to conduct a war onterror, global (GWOT) or otherwise.

in concrete terms.

Did anyone else pause here? What US strategic imperatives are universally accepted ? What are your thoughts on this?"

22 Comments:

Blogger janet w said...

My immediate answer would be to say that our strategic imperatives SHOULD arise from the Constitution: that we lose our way when we stray from that path.

Here's another perspective, from the Wikipedia article on the words most important and meaningful to Canadians (found in the equivalent of our constitutional document, the Articles of Confederation) "Peace, order and good government". This tripartite motto is sometimes said to define Canadian values in a way comparable to “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity) in France or “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the United States. Indeed, peace, order and good government has been used by some scholars to make broad characterizations of Canada's political culture. US sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset, for example, contrasted POGG with the American tripartite motto to conclude Canadians generally believe in a higher degree of deference to the law.

And this is where I perhaps see the US shifting and I don't think this shift is in accordance with core American values as expressed in the Constitution ... and this is a VERY broad sketch over a very large topic!

1:26 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

My take on what Tom is saying, and please correct me if I'm wrong Tom. Is that the US currently does not have SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures) for handling terrorist situations,ie: such as an outline for an attack by us before they can hit. Basically: Set a goal (what do we want to achieve), give it a priority (the imperative)and an objective. A strategic imperative is basically that, SOP for dealing with terrorists on a day to day basis whether it is here at home or overseas. It is a system that is in place to deal with a situation before it happens, not just responding to the threat after the fact. We need to take the initiative, not just sit and wait.

What we need in place is a governing body that can put into place a cooperative system where all major members have at least an imput into developing a strategic imperative. This would then be used at all levels, including Federal, State, Muncipal and Military actions. The introduction of Homeland Security was a step in the right direction but we need to do more than that. We need to think forward and not just worry about covering our butts after an incident has occured.

7:39 PM  
Blogger JC said...

At this point, I have read through page 23. I started reading and next thing I knew it was almost 2:00 a.m. (I can’t figure out how that happened!) I almost want to read the entire thing and then go back to the beginning and re-read it because the more I read the more I feel the need to check back to early pages as reference…..anyway to comment on your post…I did pause at the term “strategic imperative” to take a moment (or two or three or four) to contemplate what it meant. I concluded that strategic imperatives would be those actions, policies or laws that would be absolutely necessary to the survival of our nation and its principles (values?) as established in the Constitution. Based on this understanding of “strategic imperative” I had lots of thoughts. Now, if I completely misunderstood the concept then I did a whole lot of thinking without really hitting the issue.

While contemplating the issue, I tried to think of its application in other more positive contexts, i.e. rather than fighting terrorism, maybe the nations involvement in aiding the fight against global poverty or disease? Do we have to be involved in fighting global poverty and disease for the long-term survival of our nation or is it possible for our nation to survive if we don’t involve ourselves? I struggled with the answer to this question, because I found myself consistently arguing that it is imperative to be involved in solving global poverty and disease. However, when I removed all of the moral or social justice arguments from the debate with myself it seemed possible that it wouldn’t necessarily be a strategic imperative; although I don’t know if this is the right answer or not.

I also contemplated our economic policies and our political actions and alliances relative to NAFTA, APEC, EU, etc. Is it a strategic imperative to be a member of those economic alliances or to be involved in the G-8 or G-5? Is it imperative to be a member of the WTO or even the WHO? I don’t really know. Some of these things I would say are necessary for the survival of our economy (and as a result, our nation), but I don’t know if I have an objective viewpoint on this.

I also contemplated domestic contexts for strategic imperatives. Do they apply to domestic concerns, i.e. human rights, privacy, speech, healthcare, justice system? But, again, I have more questions than answers.

In the end, I think that the scope of strategic imperatives is likely very narrow (more narrow then many might think) and whether or not they are universally accepted is rooted in what people think is necessary for the survival of our nation and what the core principles (values?)are in the U.S. Constitution.

Does any of that make sense? Or am I completely off on a tangent?

08-01-11 12:27 a.m.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

“ What are our nation’s strategic imperatives?” I would love to hear that question asked in the presidential debates! Thanks everybody, you've given me more to think about.:) It’s been a couple of days. and I'm still attempting to define what I believe are our nation’s strategic imperatives and I wondered why? Why is it I don't know what I believe is absolutely imperative for our nation in an election year?

I'd agree that following the constitution is a strategic imperative. So, we all agree on the first one :)

However, I don't think our national strategic imperatives can be that narrow in scope, otherwise we are assuming everything we have in place will stay in place on it’s own, and advance itself into the future. And of course we are thinking of the future right? Our children, would appreciate that ! I believe we also need to ascertain if we are talking merely survival of our nation, or maintaining a robust nation. I'm assuming maintaining,and advancing, a robust nation. So, with that in mind I have more strategic imperatives.

Janet, I agree I wish we had more deference to the law. I believe the illegal immigration issue undermines the integrity of our entire legal system. That’s number 2 for me adherence, compliance, and enforcement, of our laws, But, wait do you all think that falls under the strategic imperative of following the constitution?

Here’s my short list, may not be a complete list...

1. Following the constitution

2. Adhering, Complying with, and enforcing the laws of our nation.

3. Maintaining ,and advancing an adequate supply of clean safe drinking water.

4. Maintaining, and advancing an adequate food supply

5. Maintaining, and advancing a strong military

6. Maintaining, and advancing a multi faceted transportation system

7. Maintaining, and advancing a multifaceted communication system

8. Maintaining, and advancing a free public education system

9. Maintaining and advancing a health care system

10 .Maintaining, and advancing our energy resources

11. Maintaining an advancing robust economy (JC you were thinking economy, right? I haven't thought about which trade agreements will maintain this)

I probably left something critical out. These may be general in nature but you get the gist of my thoughts. In my mind these are all strategic imperatives for the survival of our nation..

I actually had an "ah ha" moment I wanted to say since 43,000 plus citizens die in motor vehicle accidents in our country a year, that it’s imperative we have a strategy to make highways, and vehicles safer. However, even with all those deaths, (and my sympathy to anyone who has lost someone in a car accident), and all the expenses as a result of those fatal accidents, they don't affect our nations survival or the robustness of our nation.. So, although it’s an emotional issue, and, an urgent issue way beyond it’s time in being addressed, it’s doesn't qualify as a national strategic imperative… at least not the way I have interpreted national strategic imperative.

Kat , you wrote “ What we need in place is a governing body that can put into place a cooperative system where all major members have at least an imput into developing a strategic imperative.” Are you talking national strategic imperative? If so what are you thinking of? Not congress right? Or are you thinking globally? Thanks

10:24 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Wow, you guys are really throwing it out there ... Lisa A, I was refering to what I believe Tom was talking about the US needing to deal with terrorist situations at home and aboard. We need to set in place a Strategic Imperative to respond to percieved threats not how to clean up after the fact.

You ladies amaze me with your though process, that's a good thing :-). I was strictly thinking terrorism and you all have broaden the scope to bring in numerous issues plaguing this nation, good for you. This is definetly the time to be bring up these issues and I would love to see these thrown at the 'canidates' to see how they would respond.

I think we are going to have a lot of fun in the coming weeks.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

Kat, I appreciate you clarifying that. I’d tell you I haven’t read that far in FTC yet, that I’m still on pg 2 but this is a reread, so I’ll just have to get busy rereading and refresh my memory.

Hmmm now that you mention it, I guess my posts have been known to wander off topic as I wonder out loud… the good news is I have a much better grasp on strategic imperative now :) Thanks!

1/12/08

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Kristy said...

Definition of terminology in my mind: Strategic=/Strategy a long term plan to achieve a goal. Versus a tactic=a short term plan a stepping stone if you will to help advance the long term strategy needed to achieve a stated goal.>> So my thinking is that the United States has no long term extremely important goal to achieve by conducting a GWOT. >>EXCEPT to develope a mind set in the citizenry that userping the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in general is for their own protection.>> The GWOT seems an excuse for an Imperial Presidency. Have you all noticed how many of the laws being enforced presently come from a Presidential Directive or Finding? >> Those in Congress that challenge the legitimacy of Presidential Directives and or Findings are labeled..pigeon-holed as being "soft of defense" in order to undermine their credibility with the general population. A population that connects 'defense' as being supportive of veterans and those presently serving in the military.

6:09 AM  
Blogger JC said...

Great list of strategic imperatives. I find that I am in agreement with most of them, some with a few questions to ponder. Here are my thoughts (or questions to think about) with respect to the list of imperatives….

1. Following the Constitution. I agree that this is a strategic imperative, but what about issues that may require amendment. Keep in mind there are now 27 different amendments some of which are pretty fundamental for today’s society. So at what point do we modify the constitution? For example, there has been much discussion on Suz’s BB about the use of the Electoral College. It is a constitutionally created institution but there is a lot of debate as to its effectives in modern day society? My question then becomes at what point is modifying the constitution a strategic imperative?

2. Adhering, Complying with, and enforcing the laws of our nation. I also agree that this is fundamental; however, there is a cost component that accompanies this. Take for example where Mr. Rancich says in his book on page 17, “If there were a way to prevent all the ways that there are to kill people all the time, hopefully, no one would voluntarily put up with the invasive measures required to protect them.” Are the citizen’s willing to pay (either fiscally or through the restriction of personal liberty) for this level of enforcement? This doesn’t mean I don’t think we should have the law, it just means that there are limits to how much enforcement can be paid for or will be tolerated.

3. Maintaining, and advancing an adequate supply of clean safe drinking water. For whom (only US citizens?) and by what methods? Do we use desalinization plants at the risk of affecting the oceans, which don’t belong to us? Do we melt glaciers within our boundaries knowing that they affect the global environment? Do we rely on “recycling” technology alone? Do we advance conservation efforts? Some of the ways to go about achieving this strategic imperative could be at the cost of other non-US nationals, so we would have to identify to what extent (strategically) we are willing to go to advance the imperative.

4. Maintaining, and advancing an adequate food supply. Maintaining a food supply is critical to the survival of the people, so I would also agree that this is a strategic imperative. I might not use the term “adequate” though. I’m not sure why (I’ll keep thinking about it) but it bothers me somehow. I think this is a complicated issue when you also consider imperative number 11. To do both requires balancing. The nation is large enough geographically to support a food supply independent of imports; however, the economic cost of doing so may not make sense if we want to maintain a robust economy.

5. Maintaining, and advancing a strong military. If we go back to the US Constitution we must also include a purpose in this imperative. I think lack of a clear imperative with regard to our military is what has led to our current use of military to fight terrorism. Does this make any sense? In Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution there are a couple of clauses that address the military….. “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to….provide for the common Defence…of the United States….” and “to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.” Therefore, I think that the U.S. Constitution narrows the purposes for which our military may be used. I know that this is a more complicated issue and we must also look to the Constitutional provisions for Presidential authority over the military as commander-in-chief, but this precisely why clearly defining strategic imperatives is so difficult in my mind.

6. Maintaining, and advancing a multi-faceted transportation system. I have to think more about this one, but at first glance this wouldn’t be a strategic imperative for me. I think it would fall as a tactical issue under other imperatives.

7. Maintaining, and advancing a multifaceted communication system. I also can’t get my mind around whether this is a strategic initiative on its own. Although, I can see that a national form of communication would be critical.

8. Maintaining, and advancing a free public education system. I would modify this one to read, “Maintaining and advancing a uniform, quality public education system that serves all citizens.” Nothing is ever free. I used the term “citizens” here, because I can’t find a better term. But children have different needs and the education system should be able to serve them all effectively. (Note: this comment is rooted in my opinion that “magnet schools” are not a uniform method of education. They are isolating certain students at the costs of others. Typically, in my own community at least, the three magnet schools are well-funded and receive more than there fair share of school system resources because they are producing students who perform better on state standardized achievement tests. Well, when you “select” the type of student that enters the program, you can certainly affect the general outcome of school performance. This is a little off topic so I’ll stop here.)

9. Maintaining and advancing a health care system. I would change this to read, “Maintaining a healthy population.”

10. Maintaining, and advancing our energy resources. I agree with this one, too. Although, I think I might like to see it read as follows: “Maintaining, and advancing efficient and sustainable use of our energy resources.” Although one could argue that by effectively maintaining our resources we are advocating efficient and sustainable use; but a counterargument could be to look at where maintaining our resources has got us today !

11. Maintaining and advancing a robust economy. This is imperative for our national survival in my opinion.

1:37 PM  
Blogger JC said...

Mr. Rancich wrote (starting on pg 2), "Through abject dearth of courage, we as a nation have focused on our safety instead of our freedom and our present comfort instead of our future success."

How did we end up with an "abject dearth of courage?" Was there a root cause? Ambivalence? Arrogance? Complacency? Apathy?

Mr. Rancich also states (on pg 3) that, "September 11, 2001 begot the US Patriot Act, which clearly circumvents constitutional guarantees."

I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Rancich’s commentary on the US Patriot Act (at least as much is discussed through page 23) While reading this, I found myself feeling affirmed in my thinking. I have rarely heard a government or military representative state these things in this fashion. I distinctly remember being completely dumbfounded at the notion that US Patriot Act (which is a complete misnomer by the way, in my opinion) passed without public outrage.

How is it that the citizen’s allowed this to happen? Do we not know enough about our Constitution? Do we not care? I once asked a group of single women of various ages what they knew about the US Patriot Act, some were college educated and some not, the only person who could actually tell me why it passed and what it did was the Political Science professor from the a local university. What does this say about the general interest in our civil liberties and constitutional rights?

Mr. Rancich goes on to say, "We, the citizens, ignore our historic duty and allow and encourage our representatives to behave in this manner."

Why and what can we do differently to change this?

08-01-13

2:10 PM  
Blogger JC said...

Here's another collection of questions I had as I read through the first 20 pages...

Pg 5 - Mr. Rancich writes about the terrorist belief that he can influence us to destroy ourselves and states, "The US must understand this and demand that the government consciously, and as a matter of public record, acknowledge the terrorists' lack of ability to destroy the U.S."

The use of the term government is a generic reflection on where the responsibility lies. However, our current government, President, Congress and Military, are not putting forth this message. So who is ultimately responsible for the message we are now sending and who is ultimately responsible for changing the message? Who takes ownership, offers leaderships and bears the responsibility of sending this message? In my limited understanding, anyone who was sending a contrary message to the one of fear and safety was ousted from the government either through subtle or not so subtle means. Have we lost our tolerance for dialogue and dissent?

Mr. Rancich discusses the cost implications of Sept. 11 and outlines what the total cost was and he argues for the exclusions of transfer of payments (which I think he is right to do so); however, what then was the actual cost that was incurred? He states that it was less than $83B, but do we know the "actual" real cost? Is there a published number?

On page 7 Mr. Rancich discusses the absence of critical nodes and refers mainly to geographic locations, but are there critical nodes that are institutional in nature? Financial Institutions, Transportation Systems, etc. Do the same arguments apply? Are there too many institutions for terrorists to impact them with any significance?

On pg 8, Mr. Rancich writes, “In the current stable world environment, an environment that the terrorists seek to manipulate to their use, terrorists cannot inflict casualties of any real significance.”

Is a stable world environment a fundamental premise to this conclusion? Aren’t terrorists essentially trying to manipulate the world into a less stable world environment?

On pg 12, Mr. Rancich writes referring to terrorists, “they most certainly are not highly trained, not by the standards of the United States.” He also mentions the repeated showing of training videos.

Is there another standard? How do they compare with other guerrillas and factions in other parts of the world? What role does the media play in enhancing our misperceptions of terrorist capabilities? What motivation does the media have or what outcome do they home to achieve by perpetually airing the videos?

2:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

Kristy, Thanks for weighing in on this, you made wonder can there be a short term strategic imperative? You also motivated me to look up some of the Presidential Directives, thanks :) Is there one or two particular Directives or Findings that stood out for you when you wrote..."Have you all noticed how many of the laws being enforced presently come from a Presidential Directive or Finding? I’m curious :)

The President has a lot of responsibilities...Commander in Chief, Head of State, Chief Law Enforcement Officer, Head of the Executive Branch those can't be accomplished without power. It’s not the first time a presidency has been called Imperial either. Isn’t the question then usually…is it an Imperial Presidency or Hamiltonian style of government? Kristy, You won't get any argument from me that our executive branch has become very powerful over the years.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

JC EXCELLENT question !! "At what point is modifying the Constitution a strategic imperative?" Lots to think about in your posts :)

How can we have a robust economy without national transportation and communication strategic imperatives?

12:05 AM  
Blogger janet w said...

I'm wondering perhaps if we're not traveling so far afield, into such huge topics, that we may not be focusing on some of the questions that are "lower hanging fruit" ... for instance, I'm fascinated in the dearth of courage being shown in some of the decisions we have accepted, rather abjectly, I would say, as a citizenry. Especially in contrast to our founders.

To quickly react to a couple things ... and Lisa ... you do such an excellent job of extracting questions and teasers: thank you! JC's discussion of modifying the Constitution, using the example of the Electoral College: I would say that altho this archaic institution may be flawed on a number of levels, it's hard for me at least to see how getting rid of it rises to the "imperative" level.

And Lisa, this question, How can we have a robust economy without national transportation and communication strategic imperatives? ... I'm not sure that having a robust economy is a strategic imperative: I'm no economist but I'm not sure our politicians truly have a mandate from us to deliver a robust economy ~ and here I'm treading on very dangerous ground, a) terrorism on US soil didn't actually cripple the economy: our cities did and will pick up the slack, as Tom said, even if a city is "taken out" and b) look back at our economy during World War II, for example: didn't ginning up the war machine have a salutory effect on the economy?

8:29 AM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

JC asks, "What role does the media play in enhancing our misperceptions of terrorist capabilities? " I believe the media has a huge impact, on our misperceptions of terrorism, and terrorists. It is why I'm rereading FTC. Tom wrote There is no terror mastermind"( pg 13) When I read that statement it hit me for some unknown reason I had willingly accepted the media's use of "mastermind " linked with any and every terrorist name, and they use it all the time. I never questioned the use of "mastermind" before reading FTC, but I do now!

JC asks So who is ultimately responsible for the message we are now sending and who is ultimately responsible for changing the message? Changing the message, is our responsibility as citizens. It's "our government" it's ultimately "our responsibility" IMO.

JC wrote "In my limited understanding, anyone who was sending a contrary message to the one of fear and safety was ousted from the government either through subtle or not so subtle means."Can you give me an example here, were you thinking of someone specific?


Janet, is it far afield , more in depth, or fixated on the details? Details such as, “ How do we all define strategic imperative?” Say we all agree, as Tom asserts that the GWOT is not a strategic imperative, but, we are working with different definitions of “strategic imperative”, then we might not really agree… did you follow me? Speaking of following me, you all don't have to follow everywhere the discussion veers, I figure this discussion will take many deviations along the way as terrorism doesn't happen in a vacuum it happens in a country with an economy, with elections, with Presidential Directives etc. However, my intention was not to confuse the first time readers, or take them to a place they aren't ready to be. Apologies if anyone read my posts and said “huh?”. Please don't feel compelled to follow me on a tangent, unless you want to. :) I've been known to have great discussions all by myself. LOL I hope everyone posts whatever resonated with them , whatever questions they have from reading Tom's book, wherever it takes us, I'll be happy to comment, question and discuss it, as I'm sure will others in the group :)

And Janet I'm still thinking a robust economy is a strategic imperative for meJ


1/14/08

1:49 PM  
Blogger JC said...

First, let me say that Kat was absolutely right; this is fun!

Janet W wrote: “I'm fascinated in the dearth of courage being shown in some of the decisions we have accepted, rather abjectly, I would say, as a citizenry. Especially in contrast to our founders.”

I agree. The general population’s acquiescence is a major concern. We are buying the rhetoric without critically analyzing the true message and understanding the long term consequences. Aside from the constitutional issues regarding our approach to terrorism one of my other major concerns is our (the citizens’) general acceptance of the cost of terrorism and how we are paying for it (i.e. by financing more debt.) Some argue for sustaining our efforts as they are; others argue for cuts in funding; but regardless of where you stand on the issue, there needs to be a revenues and payments discussion. Do we truly understand the long term effect of the billions we are spending on the “war” on terror?

Since 09-11-01 there has been a 60% increase in our national debt to where it stands today at 9.198 trillion; compare this with the 27% increase in the same time frame prior to 09-11. Since trillions are sometimes difficult to comprehend, another way to look at it is by household. In 2000, the national debt was approximately $55,000/household and, as of December 2007, it was $83,000/household. Although the government may have deeper pockets than you or I, anyone who has managed a budget will know that accruing debt at that rate is not sustainable – there are significant consequences. How are we - the citizens - going to pay for it? Eventually it will have to be paid. Care to pay your share today?

Yet just as Kristy stated that, “Those in Congress that challenge the legitimacy of Presidential Directives and or Findings are labeled pigeon-holed as being "soft on defense" in order to undermine their credibility with the general population. A population that connects 'defense' as being supportive of veterans and those presently serving in the military.” The same can be said for those that talk about reining in the spending or increasing taxes to pay for it; if one advocates for a reduction in spending then you are accused of not supporting the soldiers and of taking away their Kevlar. If one advocates for higher taxes they are against the middle-class or are willing to “rob” you of your hard earned money.

Janet W wrote “…using the example of the Electoral College: I would say that although this archaic institution may be flawed on a number of levels, it's hard for me at least to see how getting rid of it rises to the "imperative" level.”

Although I used the Electoral College as an example, the constitutional revision issues that stood out for me revolved around civil rights matters, e.g., 13th Amendment, 14th Amendment Section 1, 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment, and 26th Amendment.

Janet W wrote, “I'm not sure that having a robust economy is a strategic imperative….but I'm not sure our politicians…have a mandate…to deliver a robust economy…”

I guess I wouldn’t say they have a mandate for a robust economy, but I do think an economic imperative exists. As a comparison, this may not be the best example but, consider the “collapse” of the U.S.S.R and the economic instability that occurred. The nation (USSR) did not survive and a significant factor was its isolated economy.

Lisa A wrote, “How can we have a robust economy without national transportation and communication strategic imperatives?”

I think that was exactly my point. You can’t, so you in order to achieve the economic imperative you would have to maintain transportation and communication systems, but they wouldn’t be strategic imperatives standing alone. For example, maintaining an effective highway transportation system would be necessary to achieve a particular purpose – mobility of people, shipping/distribution of food, moving goods. The purpose for maintaining the infrastructure would be in supportive of achieving the strategic imperative – whether it be economic, food, health, etc. I think I just confused myself, so I’ll understand if that doesn’t make any sense.

01-14-08

7:56 PM  
Blogger janet w said...

Hope I'm not kicking a dead economic/strategic imperative but didn't the gov't say the economy would tank if they didn't pass all these draconian anti-terror methods after 9/11? And didn't Tom say that was a hill of beans-slash-manure because war equals economy amping up? Lastly, how can a politician "promise" a robust economy? And if a promise can't be delivered on, how can it be a strategic imperative?

1-14-08

8:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

JC you confused me too, because you make a great argument …” For example, maintaining an effective highway transportation system would be necessary to achieve a particular purpose – mobility of people, shipping/distribution of food, moving goods. The purpose for maintaining the infrastructure would be in supportive of achieving the strategic imperative” You almost had me agreeing… until I thought but then using that argument we could narrow the scope down to simply “surviving” because water and food support surviving. And if surviving and following the constitution are our only strategic imperatives we wouldn’t be the country we are today. I’m keeping the transportation and communication systems as strategic imperatives, at least in the country I want to live in.

Janet, that’s a great question ”Lastly, how can a politician "promise" a robust economy? And if a promise can't be delivered on, how can it be a strategic imperative?” Without getting further mired in strategic imperatives I define “robust” as a strong economy, and I don’t believe we will have a strong economy without a plan, and a robust economy is absolutely necessary in my book. Could the plan simply be “capitalism”?

I know we survived the great depression as a country but I think in this day and age with so much high tech stuff, and evil leaders, and the global economy, a depression in our country could cause a global depression. So, I’m still keeping robust economy as a strategic imperative. Here’s the confusing part for me here, if the economy tanks I don’t always hold the government responsible, so I need to give this more thought.

Tom, Would love to get your list of our national strategic imperatives, what plays a supporting role, and must you be able to mandate a strategic imperative.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

JC you confused me too, because you make a great argument …” For example, maintaining an effective highway transportation system would be necessary to achieve a particular purpose – mobility of people, shipping/distribution of food, moving goods. The purpose for maintaining the infrastructure would be in supportive of achieving the strategic imperative” You almost had me agreeing… until I thought but then using that argument we could narrow the scope down to simply “surviving” because water and food support surviving. And if surviving and following the constitution are our only strategic imperatives we wouldn’t be the country we are today. I’m keeping the transportation and communication systems strategic imperatives, at least in the country I want to live in.

Janet, that’s a great question ”Lastly, how can a politician "promise" a robust economy? And if a promise can't be delivered on, how can it be a strategic imperative?” Without getting further mired in strategic imperatives I define “robust” as a strong economy, and I don’t believe we will have a strong economy without a plan, and a robust economy is absolutely necessary in my book. Could the plan simply be “capitalism”?

I know we survived the great depression as a country but I think in this day and age with so much high tech stuff, and evil leaders, and the global economy, a depression in our country could cause a global depression. So, I’m still keeping robust economy as a strategic imperative. Here’s the confusing part for me here, if the economy tanks I don’t always hold the government responsible, so I need to give this more thought.

Tom, Would love to get your list of our national strategic imperatives, what plays a supporting role, and must you be able to mandate a strategic imperative.
1-15-08

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great topics Lisa! To cull a definition of "strategic imperative" from Tom's work I also had to factor in his military background. As defined by Mirriam-Webster a strategy is "the science and art of military command aimed at meeting the enemy under conditions advantageous to one's own force" To understand "imperative" I went back to my Latin roots. The Roman society was very much militarily based. Latin actually has an imperative verb case specifically for giving orders. Simply put, the verbs were formed not just in present, future or past tense but with specific endings denoting an order or command (usually military). Thus a strategic imperative must be a military term. I agree with Lisa and Tom (see pg 3) that one of the imperatives is to "uphold and defend the Constitution." Does that mean the Constitution as it currently stands or one that may someday be amended? I believe it means the current form of the Constitution. Keeping in mind that it is that very document that gives us the freedom to amend it. To uphold and defend the Constitution, the military must conduct it's business so that we may be free to enjoy all that the Constitution has to offer. I view this in terms of the life of the country vs. the lives of the citizens. The sacrifices of so many were made not just for their families but for the existence of the country as an entity.
How does terrorism affect our Strategic Imperative? As I read it, not at all. Tom talks about the GWOT saying "there is no imperative to conduct it." He says "Terrorists cannot destroy the United States of America" and that should be the "foundation of all strategic thought." I can cite other examples but this sums it up "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."
Here come my tangent :-) Tom says we have let the number of casualties "change our national philosophy knowing that is one of the stated goals of our foe." He exhorts us to "demand that the government consciously, and as a matter of public record, acknowledge the terrorists' lack of ability to destroy the United States." I propose that the American people have done that by their actions. He says "The terrorist is seeking to destroy the power, projection, and influence capability of the nation or to create a socio-political environment that favors the terrorist cause." Has this been achieved? Emphatically no. The money lost during the 9/11 attacks was funneled back into our economy he tells us. Let's look at the response of the American people to this attack. Did we as citizens run into our houses, lock the doors and cringe? No. Heroes rushed into burning buildings, crashed hijacked planes, gave blood, gave money, gave time all in response to the terrorists. Granted we did react by searching for perceived weaknesses and by trying to keep our people safe. But, this nation united with an outpouring of patriotism, pride and aid. The actions of our citizens were not those of a people who supported the "cause" of the terrorists but they were "American". We are a nation united. We stood together to sing the national anthem, to mourn the dead and help the living in anyway possible. We showed the terrorists the strength of the American people. We are free to disagree with the terrorists and with each other but we work together to support the nation as a whole. Agree or disagree with the actions of the President and Congress, there has been a surge in interest and involvement in politics. I believe that although some may say we have lost faith in our government, we believe the institution and b/c of our constitution we can and do fight for what we believe in. I would assert that even in our arguements we show the power of our country. We are free to disagree, to think, to read, to learn to express ourselves and to vote. We support each other when the going gets tough. After the OKC bombing someone asked me if I was afraid to go to OK. I pointed to the screen where battered and bleeding people made their way to the street. A man took off his shirt and put it around the woman next to him. In Tulsa there was a 7 hour wait to give blood. That is the America where I live. The terrorists indeed can NOT destroy the United States. I agree with Tom that the terrorists truly are "deluded fanatics, marginally in touch with reality and of no real consequence to the survivability or core values of the United States."
So anyone ready to talk about psy-ops?
Laura
1-15-08

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Lora :) said...

This may not be Strategic....but it's definitely IMPERATIVE.....

that we move on. :) We have 18 more pages to go and only 5 days to get there. lol

I must admit that I struggled in the beginning and Webster and Google have become my constant companions...but I'm learning lots of new things and that's why I'm here.

So on to page 3 and the U.S. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. :)

Lora :) January 15, 2008

10:30 PM  
Blogger janet w said...

Passing laws on a tide of emotion and fear: can we turn back the clock?

Laura said: Here comes my tangent :-) Tom says we have let the number of casualties "change our national philosophy knowing that is one of the stated goals of our foe." He exhorts us to "demand that the government consciously, and as a matter of public record, acknowledge the terrorists' lack of ability to destroy the United States." I propose that the American people have done that by their actions.

But Laura, the government, by their actions, are NOT acknowledging the terrorists' lack of ability to destroy the United States or, in my opinion, the U.S. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act would be recalled or repealed or put up on a high shelf or whatever is done with laws passed hastily on a tide of public emotion. Instead, homeland security has become a growth industry. Which is not to say that Americans aren't brilliant at making lemons out of lemonade but using the most obvious kicking boy :) ... think of what you went through the last time you took a flight. And remember back to pre 9/11.

Couldn't agree more with you Lora ...
5 days, 17 more pages ... be interested in favourite quotes, how you feel now about the laws passed in the wake of 9/11. And lest I be misunderstood, I agree with Laura that the American people, for the most part, show by their day to day actions that they perceive terrorism as a hollow threat: but has that percolated up to the lawmaker level?

1-16-08

8:13 AM  
Blogger Lisa A said...

Laura, Wonderful comments, I too, think we have many courageous individuals in our country! I'm truly amazed that with a war going on we have been able to maintain a volunteer army. I don't think we can ask our military to go to war, to fight for something we aren't willing to die for ourselves. I have said , and mean it, I rather die then let the terrorist win. We in America value life and sometimes the lives of others before our own life. The military, our first responders, our everyday heroes, are fine examples of that value, and that courage. I'll be the first to admit our founders possessed an abundance of courage however, I've wondered if, it's not so much a lack of courage on our part, but a different point of view, after reading FTC I'd say a misguided view.

Tom wrote "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)." Forgive me everyone but this is page 29..seems I leapfrogged from pg 2 but it fits so perfectly here in my mind :) I have decided that I was thinking protection from terrorism was defeating terrorism. I was thinking that any attack would be a win for the terrorist and I didn't want that to happen, so bring on U.S. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act ... bring on all new security measures ,not because I was afraid for myself, not because I'm not courageous, not because I'm not willing to die for my country, because I am both courageous and willing to die for my country, but because I didn't want the terrorist to have a successful attack, and a win.

Now after reading Tom's book , FTC, I look at things differently, you're correct Laura when you say we have to factor in Tom's military background. It's one of the reasons I appreciate his point of view, he looks at things through the lens of a warrior, a strategist. Although we may not always agree his views give me a perspective I didn't have. For instance some of the things , I learned form reading FTC... "There is no terror mastermind" :)...regardless of what the press may repeatedly say! "Terrorist may have a global reach but "terrorism is not a global organization." "Terrorists cannot destroy the United States of America" "There is no 'surprise attack'" "Terrorist are inept"...

Janet, My favorite point in this section (pg's 1-20) takes into account Tom's military POV it's on pg 13... I seem to have a thing for pg 13 :) The general public looked at 9/11 and saw that we were attacked by terrorists on our soil. We saw fellow citizens killed, and hurting. We thought it was horrific, we were outraged on behalf of Americans, and on behalf of our country. Tom saw more .. he saw it as "terrible mission execution" ( pg 13) and I find both truth, and comfort in that assessment.

Laura, PSYOPS a fabulous topic who would like to start the dialogue on that ? Questions? Comments?

And Lora LOL... did you see I've moved on? not one mention of SI...lol I think we can have multiple topics running, at least we can try it and see how that goes, so anything, you , or anyone wants to discuss, works for me:). The U.S. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act ...doesn't make me want to scream, now it may because I accepted the thinking that protection from a terror attack was the way to defeat terrorism. I need to revisit the U.S. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act , and my reasons for accepting it. I know some of you think it's an outrage, unconstitutional etc. Tom, JC, Kristy, Janet, Alba (?) included, so maybe I'm just not well versed enough on the U.S. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act . So, to everyone who holds that opinion, educate me, please tell me what, why, and how it's a travesty!

11:29 AM  

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