Friday, May 22, 2009

Dueling Speeches on National Security

Although not impressive by historical standards, Obama's speech clearly captured the reasoned approach that this nation needs. Obama's speech highlighted both past successes and failures, while outlining an approach for the near term. Unfortunately, that approach still appears vague and undefined, allowing wiggle room for executive power to supersede constitutional authority.....again.

Cheney was noted from the beginning for waiting for Obama's speech to end, then cracking a poor joke about the length of the speech. Cheney used the Giuliani crutch.....all 9/11 all the time. The dichotomy of repeatedly stating that the Bush Administration kept this nation safe, while ignoring that 9/11 happened on their watch, was apparently lost on Cheney. This nation suffers from the pendulum effect of the two party system......and an insufferably short attention span. Cheney played to those two symptoms with aplomb. His speech was fervently laced with apocalyptic hypothesis of another 9/11, without remotely identifying whether or not that is even part of Al Qaeda's strategy. Cheney speaks of a truthful telling of history, all the while the myrmidons and pundits are in spin mode to legitimize the un-Constitutional and un-American excesses of the previous eight years.

We are of course, hearing about these speeches from the five minute news cycle media....but only couched in terms of the two party's and their competing ideologies. Anyone who doesn't toe Line A or Line B, as represented by the two party's is ostracized and shut out of the national debate. There are, however, several policy experts who take a logical and scholarly approach to the issue of national defense. Men such as Sageman, Bacevich, Barnett and others lay out the problems and the pitfalls without regard to party. As such, you are not likely to hear of them outside of wonkish defense blogs and academic seminars. That's our loss as a nation. The general population gets stuck listening to Liz Cheney on her 'Legacy Restoration' tour.

Unbiased information is not hard to find. You simply must look outside of the cable news media. Military sites such as the Strategic Studies Institute and academic sites like the World Affairs Council of Northern California always offer analysis from policy, regional and professional experts. People that you won't find on Fox or MSNBC; for a reason. They promote understanding and education, not party politics.

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