Charles Dodgson takes a look at the threats the U.S. currently faces and the Bush Administration's stance toward each.
- Afghanistan: an early victory in the War on Terrorism, except that al-Qaeda is moving back in, and our troops are getting killed.
- Pakistan: A valuable ally in the pacification of Afghanistan, except that the al-Qaeda forces that are drifting back into Afghanistan are based in their territory. Their nuclear weapons are not currently considered a threat, even though their intelligence service has a history of cooperation with Muslim extremists, their current ruler is a military strongman who was responsible, in the past, for sending regular army troops into Kashmir, and they have traded nuclear technology to North Korea.
- Yemen: An ally in good standing, who are perfectly entitled to their shipment of North Korean scuds, in light of their valuable cooperation with the war on terrorism. Which must come in some form other than letting the United States use their airspace, cooperating with us in apprehending terrorists, or doing much to capture them on their own, since they aren't doing any of that.
- North Korea: Having obtained plans for a working bomb from our ally in Pakistan, they have now reactivated their reactor, and broken the U.N. seals on their equipment for extracting weapons-grade plutonium, in violation of several agreements. A cause for concern perhaps, but Donald Rumsfeld opines that diplomacy "seems to me a perfectly rational way of proceeding".
- Iraq: Has no nuclear weapons, and no immediate prospects of getting the requisite fissile material. Their military is a hollow force which presents no immediate threat to any of its neighbors; their trade is heavily restricted. An immense threat which must be dealt with immediately, by military action.
Yeah, actually...exactly why are the Republicans considered "strong on defense"? Surely their claims can't arise solely from their willingness to spend ever-increasing sums on projects of dubious military value?
Update: The Bush administration plans to roll back a promised pay increase for US soliders, from 3.7 percent to 2 percent (via Kos).