April 29, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XXI

Sandy Berger was commissioned by Foreign Affairs to produce a foreign policy essay for the next president from a Democrat perspective.

This is much too long to analyze in one shot, thus the numbered title, Part XXI is below:

Most Democrats agree with President Bush that terrorists, and even recalcitrant regimes on occasion, must be confronted with force. The question should be how, not whether, our military and intelligence assets are employed, and whether we are adapting them rapidly enough to the challenges the United States faces today.

Since the Cold War ended, we have witnessed two generations of military reform: from amassing huge armored units to an emphasis on deploying light forces anywhere in the world, and from analog-based technology to the digital information age. The war on terrorism will require a third military transformation. Although we still need the capacity to fight conventional wars, we now must seek out and destroy enemies that hide in the shadows, often among civilians, without tanks or fighter planes. At heart, this effort will be an intelligence challenge. A new administration should launch a major retooling of our intelligence agencies, including appointing a director of national intelligence with authority over our entire intelligence budget, rather than the 20 cents on the dollar that the current CIA director controls.

This is theoretically very reassuring but I worry about the contrast between Democract and Republican response to military recalcitrance to the use of force. In Kosovo, purposeful delay removed Apache helicopters from the arsenal of usable military platforms. The civilians wanted them used and the military didn't. The military won that argument, but not honestly. Before Iraq was invaded Gen. Shinseki said in Congressional testimony that we would need several hundreds of thousands of troops to occupy Iraq, a figure we simply didn't have over the time necessary to transition to a free Iraqi government. Even today, it's clear that Shinseki's estimates were completely out of line and designed, once again, to dictate to civilian authorities whether military force could be used. Rumsfeld fired him for it.

There is a new transformation that needs to occur but it's not simply an intelligence transformation. It's the creation of Tom Barnett's Sys Admin force. If it is simply an intelligence operation, how are we supposed to get hold of these terrorists hiding in the shadows? Are we supposed to ask nicely of the governments who have been well bribed to protect them? Or perhaps we should just violate their national sovereignty and take them out. More likely, we will end up exactly where the Clinton administration was, with UAVs taking pictures of terrorists but us unable, legally, to do anything about them.

To go into these countries requires a new intellectual framework to go beyond the Westphalian strictures of national sovereignty. A revitalized intelligence operation won't get the job done because if they do what's necessary without the concomitant reform of post-Westphalianism, they'll go to jail, whether via some US trial or an ICC process. Remember, Democrats would bargain away our reservations on the ICC in exchange for more cooperation on the Global War On Terror so even if we don't try these people, you can be sure that an indictment will come out of the ICC and, at the very least, the usefulness of these agents will come to an end in any ICC signatory nation.

Posted by TMLutas at April 29, 2004 08:13 AM