Tonawanda News

Columns

May 26, 2013

DUVALL: Obama is right, wartime mentality must end

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — By the time Obama leaves office in three-and-a-half years, the hope is to deliver to the next administration a national security apparatus that is less costly and more nimble. 

Of course, to do this, Obama will need the help of the legislative branch to craft sensible national security policy that limits a president’s authority to order covert assassinations. The broad use-of-force legislation passed by Congress in the wake of 9/11 must also be refined and curtailed.

When Obama came into office he was handed a military stretched too thin fighting two wars. If he can leave office with the nation at peace and with al Qaida and its ilk marginalized it will be a remarkable accomplishment.

Of course Republicans will howl he’s giving fodder to the enemy and emboldening terrorists. They say that every time someone suggests that maybe it’s a good idea to stop waging endless war. If that’s the worst they can say it’s fine by me. 

And since when did al Qaida need to be emboldened anyway? We’re talking about guys who willingly blow themselves up. To suggest Obama’s speech somehow made someone already that extreme even more extreme is silly, really.

Liberals, too, will be outraged. Gitmo is still open and though Obama renewed his campaign promise to close it, no one has stepped forward with a viable idea for where to put these people if not there or in a place just like it somewhere else. There are and always will be some people too dangerous to let free once they’re captured. A serious investigation into the histories of Guantanamo inmates is warranted. Surely some can be sent packing — but for others it’s too much of a risk.

That they’re rotting in a jail cell somewhere because of this fact doesn’t bother me one bit.

The president spoke maturely about the state of security in the 21st century. He is right. The American empire, to the extent it still exists in an increasingly fragmented, individualized world, cannot survive endless war. 

To suggest otherwise is pure folly.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.

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