Today I would like to draw our readers’ attention to an outstanding op-ed in the March 19th edition of the New York Times by Bill Keller, entitled “Falling In And Out of War.” It addresses a lot of issues that our blog, “Rethinking National Security,” is all about. Keller notes the need to rethink our strategic options and choices and ask very hard questions. He sets forth, specifically, five questions that need to be asked, including: “How is this our fight?”; “At what costs?”; “Or what?” (Looking at alternatives to war); “And who else?”; And finally, “Then what?”
Having been around the decision making bureaucracies when wars were considered, wars were undertaken, and wars were averted, I find Keller’s arguments and perspective compelling and worth our full attention and reflection.
I especially like his last comment, “before you deploy the troops, deploy the fact checkers.” I remember asking who was around when the decisions were made about the Vietnam War that was in the know and close to the top, and being told that rarely, if ever, was there in the room itself anyone who really knew Vietnam. We know that those who were skeptical and really knowledgeable about Iraq were kept from the table and those who knew little and made the decisions had only blind ideology as a guide.
As cries go out to make war on Iran now, this is an excellent antidote to these ignorant and unthinking voices who themselves you can bet won’t go to war.
By Harry C. Blaney III.