I'm going through my second (or third, I tend to flip back and reread chapters) reading of Against All Enemies. I'm realizing that :
#1: Democrats really need to look at what they are going to do with foreign policy when they win in November (yeah, I'm a little bit confident. I have to be, or I'll end up a depressed drunk) and
#2: There needs to be a plan. A National Security Plan. Obviously, as Clarke writes, all that he could do in the current and preceeding administration did not prevent 9/11. All that has been done now won't prevent another 9/11. . . or worse.
Now I'm not the only one seeing these realizations. Sean-Paul did too.
It's one thing to criticize, and by God I do a ton of it. Anything and nearly everything that the Bush administration has done since the summer of 2002 has gotten under my skin, irked me, probably accelerated my baldness and increased my indigestion. It has not been a pleasent time under Bush.
But what's the alternative plan?
Maybe I'm just cynical (and here I go criticizing again) but the Kerry Campaign hasn't really offered one. Nor have they offered an alternative. Dubya promised (and in some ironic ways succeeded...against himself) to end the partisan bickering. As we read in Against all Enemies that very partisan bickering contributed to the horror of 9/11. Of course, the Bush years have polarized the country in a manner that will probably contribute to some pain in the future.
This polarization must end. Now.
As Richard Clarke so cogently writes, it's that very polarization in Washington that gave the terrorist their entry. People weren't watching. Politcal agendas did not include terrorism. And when Bush took office, the first 8 months were devoted to China. Not terrorism---which ranked as one of Clinton's foremost concerns. Political agendas were to wipe the place clean of the stink of Clinton's personal conduct. We never fully recovered, and the recent (and very expensive) war in Iraq has taken it close to the brink. If this continues, there will be another 9/11. This needs to be our message. "We want to work with you. If we don't, our civilization will end." Slightly dramatic, yes. But it needs to be said.
Let's start from there.
Again, in this world we have to be multilateral. Hardnosed, as indeed we are America, but multilateral. We cannot mislead people for whatever political gain we want. Let's start from there, too.
I'll have more as I think on this.