Updated and Bumped to the top June 11, 2007
On Thursday, John Edwards rolled out his strategy for dealing with terrorism, which he refuses to call a “war on terror,” a phrase he has called a “bumper sticker” without meaning. He plans to implement “new training for military leadership” and create a senior stabilization position within the Joint Staff of the DOD. His web site says he will also establish a “Marshall Corps” of 10,000 professionals, modeled after the military reserves, who will be sent to “weak and failing states” which he says are “hotbeds for terrorism.” These Peace Corps-like folks will work on stabilization and humanitarian missions aimed at winning the hearts and minds of young Muslims who are sitting on the fence in the jihad against America.
The New York Sun reports:
The president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Clifford May, said he was “skeptical” of Mr. Edwards’s proposal. “Humanitarian aid is a good thing. I approve of that. But it doesn’t really have much to do with the causes of terrorism,” Mr. May said. “Mohamed Atta, the lead terrorist on 9/11, was based in Germany, was well-educated. The causes of terrorism are several, but poverty is not one of them.”
Mr. Edwards has called for withdrawing troops from Iraq and has called on Congress to cut off funding for the war. Unlike Senator Clinton, who disputed his comments that America is less safe today than it was before the so-called war on terror began, Mr. Edwards is tacking to the left. While Mrs. Clinton is seeking to create the impression that the Democrats generally hold the same position on the war, Mr. Edwards is attempting to do the opposite.
“It doesn’t help that the Republican presidential candidates seem intent on trying to one-up each other, each of them trying to be a bigger, badder George Bush,” he added. “I think they want to be George Bush on steroids.”
First, I wonder which weak and failing states Mr. Edwards is talking about. Is it Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from and where the vast majority of foreign-born jihadis captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan come from? Is it oil-rich Kuwait, where 9/11 “mastermind” and American educated and college-graduate Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was born? 65% of Kuwait’s wealthy citizens are under 25 and al Qaeda has a strong presence there.
Is it Afghanistan, where American and coalition troops and civilian contractors have spent the last six years constructing infrastructure, schools, and hospitals and where Afghan villagers, fed up with insurgents and suicide bombers killing members of their community are now disarming them, kicking them out, and working with Coalition and Afghan troops? What could the Marshall Corps do that isn’t already being done? Does Mr. Edwards think the Joint Staff at the Pentagon has managed Operation Enduring Freedom and accomplished these things on an ad hoc basis?
What about Iraq? Mr. Edwards wants to pull our troops out of there, leaving a power vacuum which al Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri and his boss, Osama Bin Laden are eager to fill. Can you imagine Edwards’ Marshall Corps of idealistic grad students and professors-on-sabbatical showing up in the abandoned Green Zone with construction blueprints and copies of Khalil Gibran hoping to win over terrified fence-sitters hiding from death squads?
How about Somalia, where the U.S. delivered 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies to the starving population in a massive multi-national humanitarian mission called “Operation Restore Hope,” only to see 17 servicemen slaughtered by al Qaeda-backed warlords known as the “Blackhawk Down” battle? After the military was pulled out of Somalia by President Clinton, Al Qaeda was free to establish a firm presence. I guess that’s just a bumper sticker there, too. Mr. Edwards, would you seriously ask your Marshall Corps to enter that hostile territory armed with nothing more than good wishes and a handful of “micro-dollars?”
How about Pakistan? Definitely has some extremely poor regions. Let’s parachute in the Marshall Corps to beguile the tribal warriors from killing each other and al Qaeda from destabilizing the fragile government of Pervez Musharaff. Who knew that it was poverty and hopelessness, and not Saudi-funded Wahhabi brainwashing, that infects Pakistan’s Muslim population with anti-American hatred?
But let is not forget that the Islamists are embedding right here, in America — the Lackawana Six in New York, the Lodi, CA conspirators, the Brooklyn Bridge/Landmark conspirators, the Fort Dix massacre plotters, the JFK bombing conspirators. Does Senator Edwards think that it is poverty and hopelessness here in America that moved these folks to plot the murder of innocent people?
[Editor -- The picture above and those that follow provide examples of our troops already building bonds of peace in war-torn Afghanistan and President George W. Bush is the meany who sent them there. John Edwards' first stabilization director would likely be Congressman Dennis Kucinich who, in the 2004 Presidential campaign, suggested a similar position to head his Department of Peace.
The New York Sun also reported John Edwards "would double the budget for military recruiting in order to reduce waivers for recruits with felonies. According to the Edwards campaign, those waivers have skyrocketed under Mr. Bush." Yes, it was reported that ten percent of the Army's enlistees last year were granted 'moral character' waivers yet the New York Times made light of the fact that 90% of those were for misdemeanors and they could not site an enlistee with a serious felony (murder, rape, drug smuggling, etc). While a good number of Democrats push to restore voting rights to serious felons, John Edwards would deny young people who committed comparatively minor crimes a chance at redemption via honorable military service. Debra Burlingame adds the Times and Edwards smear our troops while glossing over crime like vehicular homicide and child rape committed by illegal aliens living "in the shadows"]