war on terror

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Ending One War for Another?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The most important thing we could do to protect the American people and win the War on Terror would be to end the War on Drugs.

That’s the logical conclusion from what Admiral James Stavridis, the former head of U.S. Southern Command and then NATO supreme allied commander, wrote for The Washington Post on Sunday, in a column titled, “The dark side of globalization.”

The admiral didn’t actually call for an end to drug criminalization in the U.S., or even for a less militaristic approach to it. But he did importantly warn us that, after 40 years as a Navy officer, what “keeps him awake at night” is the “convergence” of narco-terrorism.

“Drug cartels use sophisticated trafficking routes to move huge amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. Terrorists can in effect ‘rent’ these routes by co-opting the drug cartels through money, coercion or ideological persuasion,” wrote the admiral. “These organizations can then move personnel, cash or arms — possibly even a weapon of mass destruction — clandestinely to the United States.”

Preventing the delivery of mayhem to our shores, “a weapon of mass destruction” being top of the list, ought to be Job 1 — right up there with scrutinizing the non-profit status of tea party groups and paying Lois Lerner while she’s on leave.

Seriously, if we can remove the most likely nasty network for that dark delivery in one fell swoop, why wouldn’t we?

Plus, according to one estimate, we’d save more than the $17 billion we’ve already spent this year on a losing police-and-courts approach to a health issue.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Drone Strikes at Home?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The main controversy over the current administration’s drone strikes program has not been about committing acts of war without a declaration of war.

It has not been about committing acts of war within the boundaries of allied countries.

It has not been about killing innocents.

And it has certainly not been about the reliability of information that gets to the president’s desk that might cause him to order a drone strike.

No, the controversy has centered on the killing American citizens abroad with drone strikes. Some people favor it, since the main American targets are “traitors” and “terrorists.” But many others balk: Without a trial, how do we determine their guilt?

The usual response to that? “This is war!”

But no war has been declared. And, ahem, our side often blows up people far away from any battlefield and in allied territory . . . including a 16-year old American citizen killed in Yemen for being related to his father, Anwar al-Awlaki.

This, however, is just the tip of the enormity. The language from the folks in the administration suggests that borderlines mean nothing to them. Which raises a big question: “What about within our borders?”

The administration has been evasive.

This disturbs Sen. Rand Paul. “What I’m asking is about drone strikes on Americans, on American soil. The president will not answer that he cannot do this. In fact, he seems to be asserting that he can do this; all he’ll say is he doesn’t intend to do this.”

Sending drones to kill foreigners, innocents as well as enemies, on allied soil, in secret, without any method of accountability, is the behavior of a rogue nation. To claim the same power  on our own soil? That’s tyrannical.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.