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Tom Rancich: Don't Stand Too Close: some questions I promise to get to

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Don't Stand Too Close

Thursday, February 21, 2008

some questions I promise to get to

Beginning on pg 21 I have serious questions. Tom says "to question the government could be construed to be aiding and abetting the enemy." I heartily disagree. Most glaringly obvious is that Tom has published this book and yet remains free to move about the country and work with dangerous materials. All of us are discussing this book and I know I have yet to have a knock at the door or anyone questioning my loyalty to the US. Turn on the tv, open a newspaper, check out a bookstore. The media seemingly does nothing but bash our nation's leaders past, present and future. If we truly were targeted as aiding and abetting the enemy every time we questioned the government, then all of us and those in the media would be in a dank cell somewhere.

On pg 23, Tom addresses security saying that the US "was adequately physically secure." Who defines "adequately secure"? What is acceptable in criminal activity? How do you quantify this? a certain number of crimes...percentage of violent crimes?
This leads me to ask who determines the "real truths (risks, threats, strengths, weaknesses, etc.)" that Tom says are necessary to create a strategic plan? I'm not trying to be argumentative; rather trying to understand how it will be possible to create a viable strategic plan.
On pg 25, Tom says we have "allowed 19 zealots to change the course of America." What role does the opinion of other nations play in our response? Does world opinion or should world opinion influence our response? I don't think that 19 zealots were the only thing that influenced our response. Certainly if those had been acting alone, I could agree. But these men were part of a greater network. That network was then aided and abetted by other countries. To me this exposed those who would help anyone who wanted to hurt the US and its citizens.

On fear, pg 26 "We want fear inculcated throughout our society so that we can justify aggression, single mindedness, an inability to take advice from long time friends, a willingness to give up the liberties that others died for." Who is we? Do you mean the American people? Why on earth would this be our wish? I can certainly understand the need you explained to elevate our foe to a worthy opponent, but this does not resonate with me. I do not want to live in fear, justify aggression, cause political enmity with our allies or give up my liberties. I am exercising them right now to disagree with Tom and to even discuss this. What American do you know who would agree with this?

As we speak about the terrorists I am finding that the views seem contradictory. If the terrorists are short-sighted and their goal was not just to kill but to instill fear causing us to restructure our society, then isn't that a long term goal? They have played beautifully into Tom's definition of asymmetry. OTOH if we refuse to react and spit in their faces, are we taunting them to attack us harder? I don't know if it is so, but I see us as kids on a playground saying "Is that all you've got? You don't hurt me." What reaction can we give that doesn't further antagonize them? Also since Tom has said that someone has thought of the risks beforehand of scenarios, hasn't the government already (albeit tacitly) said this was an acceptable risk? Going back to the terrorists as short-term thinkers, if the threat is short term then shouldn't our response be also? Tom says our response is a short term one.

One last question, how do you fund courage? Tom speaks repeatedly of education and funding and rights. Tom, how would you or how would anyone reading this suggest a plan to promote and fund courage?
2-18-08

1 Comments:

Blogger Lisa A said...

Good questions Laura :) I‘m looking forward to Tom’s answers.

Tom wrote on page 21 “ …to question the government could be construed to be aiding and abetting the enemy."

I think that questioning our government has been construed as aiding the enemy. I also think that in some cases questioning our government has actually helped the enemy. Was it the intention of those questioning our government to help the enemy? No, I think not ! But that doesn't mean in a war of ideas that certain words don't help the enemy regardless of intent.

Take Presidential candidates that say they will withdraw troops from Iraq if elected… It’s what they think is best. Yet of course it makes it more difficult for al-Maliki Prime Minister of Iraq to make deals with people who wonder if come January al-Maliki will have any power. Who wonder come January if al-Maliki will have the support of the American military. It makes sense that anything that's inhibiting the strengthening of Iraq may aid the enemy .

Is it necessary for U.S. Presidential candidates to state their positions and what they think is best for our country ? ABSOLUTELY …but that doesn't mean their words don't sway people’s actions the world over. I think it’s imperative for our leaders to say what they think, that we question our government, and discuss the actions we are taking , the laws we are passing, it's the way our government works best. What I take issue with is the critical comments that may aid the enemy, whose sole purpose is partisan politics!

5-4-08

1:12 PM  

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