Ensuring Domestic Tranquility and Providing for the Common Defense

I am sure this WaPo piece will create quite the stir:

The U.S. military has devised its first-ever war plans for guarding against and responding to terrorist attacks in the United States, envisioning 15 potential crisis scenarios and anticipating several simultaneous strikes around the country, according to officers who drafted the plans.

The classified plans, developed here at Northern Command headquarters, outline a variety of possible roles for quick-reaction forces estimated at as many as 3,000 ground troops per attack, a number that could easily grow depending on the extent of the damage and the abilities of civilian response teams.

Other than any friction there might be regarding Posse Comitatus, this is really not that big of a deal. This is precisely the sort of thing the military should be doing, and, if anything, this should have been done years ago.






28 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    Forces of 3,000? Have we ever seen a terror attack that has consisted of more than twelve people? Do cells even operate big enough to justify a three-thousand man force? What “War on Terror” are we fighting here exactly. I’m confused.

    Man, if only we had, like… you know… an army or something. A bunch of trained soldiers in the employee of the US Government who could be stationed around the nation to protect us. You know, like, in our completely non-existant Mexican boarder – or better yet our even more non-existant Canadian boarder.

  2. 2
    SherAn says:

    No, excuse me, but this is NOT what our military should be doing. Our National Guard and Reserves are brought in by our states’ governors in cases where a military presence may be required. There is no reason whatsoever to involve the “real” military in the event of terrorist events. Oh, my bad. I forgot that the majority of our Guard and Reserves are currently occupied by other obligations, ahem, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Well, perhaps a better strategy might be to PREVENT attacks in the first place by, oh, possibly changing those foreign policies of ours that cause the outrage in the first place, i.e., 1) invading foreign countries and stealing their natural resources, 2) propping up dictatorships, etc.

  3. 3
    neil says:

    First reaction: They JUST NOW devised their FIRST EVER plans for what to do in the event of a terrorist attack?

    Second reaction: Will the 3,000 soldiers per attack be mopping up the damage, or looking for people to shoot? In the event of an attack that’s anything like, well, any al-Qaida attack in memory, who will be left alive to shoot?

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    SherAn- This is precisely what the Pentagon should be doing.

    And I am sure if you try, you can do a little better than blaming terrorist attacks on US foreign policy. Nice iteration of the ‘war for oil’ nonsense, though.

  5. 5
    Defense Guy says:

    W

    ell, perhaps a better strategy might be to PREVENT attacks in the first place by, oh, possibly changing those foreign policies of ours that cause the outrage in the first place, i.e., 1) invading foreign countries and stealing their natural resources, 2) propping up dictatorships, etc.

    They wish you dead because you are, in their opinion, not worthy of the life that their God granted you. It is that simple. Foreign policy is a ruse.

  6. 6
    Emma Zahn says:

    I read the article this morning and my first thought was that this is what the National Guard and Civil Defense Administration were designed to do.

    I can understand planning for worst case scenarios but don’t like all these new laws being developed to permit extraordinary actions. It reminds me too much of the actions of a middle European country in the middle 20th century that liked to make sure some really heinous things it planned to do were perfectly legal.

    ~Emma

  7. 7
    ppGaz says:

    can do a little better than blaming terrorist attacks on US foreign policy

    Yeah, the world wouldn’t end, John, if this subject were explored openly and honestly. There’s more to it than meets the eye, and constantly shutting down the line of dialogue is dogmatic and unhelpful. Not that you are the worst offender in this regard; hardly.

    American foreign policy in regard to the Middle East is part of the puzzle, part of the equation. Policy toward Iraq in the last 20 years will keep historians shaking their heads and writing about it for decades.

    As for the gratuitous oil snarks on both sides of this issue …. it would be helpful to take an honest and dispassionate look at that subject too. Does anyone really think that anyone in the US would give a tinker’s darn (yes, it’s the new me) … tinker’s darn, I say … about Arabia if there were no oil there? So let’s not pretend that it’s not there.

    As for the press release … this military move strikes me as being in the same class as the Terror Alert Color Codes. If you like the color codes, you’ll like this announcement.

    Too little, too late, all for show, publicity stunt, etc.

  8. 8
    Defense Guy says:

    Turn it around ppGaz and tell us exactly how foreign policy of the US is responsible for this new age of terrorism. Please be specific, as we need an actual solution. Thanks in advance.

  9. 9
    Cassidy says:

    “American foreign policy in regard to the Middle East is part of the puzzle, part of the equation.”

    While this may be true, as Rafiki says, it’s in the past. The here and now is that we are thier and we must figure a way to get out and leave iraq better than it was. Personally, being that I’m over here, I could leave and watch these people whack each other on CNN every night. Doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

    And folks, there are several places in the US, that the military has planned on securing in the event of some national disaster or attack. This is not new.

  10. 10
    ppGaz says:

    Turn it around ppGaz and tell us exactly how foreign policy of the US is responsible for this new age of terrorism.

    Turn it around and shove it up your … oh wait, that’s the old me.

    Nice strawman. I never said any such thing, nor did I suggest it in this thread.

    I said what I meant in my previous post, and it stands as written. Your asinine straw-bait notwithstanding.

    —/

    American foreign policy suffers from way too little exposure, debate, and discussion. It looks for all the world — and I mean that literally — like we are either nuts, or entirely self-serving, or both.

    Explain to me how a smirking president talks out of one side of his mouth about “freedom” and “deomocracy” while he and his government and his family and his father’s government have long kissed up to — literally, kissed up to — an oligarchy which despises those values and appears interested only in lining its own pockets with its country’s oil wealth. An oligarchy which flies its private Boeing 747 to the United States so that its friends can go shopping at Nieman Marcus. Am I making that up? Hardly, I’ve watched them park the airplane right here in my town and watched the limousines line up to ferry the passengers to the Neiman Marcus store. Freedom on the march, my eye.

    Can you even describe this country’s foreign policy toward the Arab world in the last 25 years? Go right ahead, be my guest.

    But more to the point, can you discuss it without resorting to dishonest “questions” such as the one mentioned above?

    I don’t think you can, but you are welcome to prove me wrong.

  11. 11
    Defense Guy says:

    American foreign policy in regard to the Middle East is part of the puzzle, part of the equation. Policy toward Iraq in the last 20 years will keep historians shaking their heads and writing about it for decades.

    Someone else wrote this then eh? You are the one stating that it is part of the picture, so tell us how.

  12. 12
    ppGaz says:

    You are the one stating that it is part of the picture, so tell us how.

    You’re right, for you, it is not part of the picture.

  13. 13
    Defense Guy says:

    I also notice that while you are comfortable demanding others answer questions you pose, you are less comfortable answering the questions of others. Instead you resort to attack tactics.

    Your penis can’t be that small can it?

  14. 14
    SeesThroughIt says:

    U.S. foreign policy has been a part of the picture for a long time, and it hasn’t always been a good part of the picture. Nor has it always been a bad part of the picture, in case anybody’s knee-jerk reaction is, “Why do you blame America for everything?”

    For Middle-Eastern Muslims in general, WWII was a big part of it. We made and subsequently broke a lot of promises about our presence and involvement in the region, and then one thing nobody seems to want to acknowledge, lest you be “giving aid and comfort to the enemy” by, ya know, understanding a different point of view…in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust, the Western world–primarily the U.S.–gave Muslim land (and some fairly religiously important Muslim land) to the Jews. The Muslim reaction was really quite predictable and was something like, “The Holocaust was inexcusable, but why punish Muslims for it?” Imagine if instead of Israel, the Vatican was made the Jewish homeland. You think Catholics would be loving that?

    Then, of course, there’s the oil plundering. No, this is not a “no war for oil” argument at all, but if you deny that Western nations (again, primarily the U.S.) didn’t bum-rush the region and get over on these countries, you’re just fooling yourself. And with that Western rush came a very sharp cultural Westernization, which was very much at odds with the societies at the time. Whether you feel Westernization is good or bad (personally, I think it’s a very mixed bag), to have it come in so swiftly and powerfully is bound to cause a lot of growing pains and a LOT of friction. Western consumerism is very much at odds with devout religious states, regardless of the religion in question.

    And there is the issue of outside forces–military forces–in the region of some of the holiest lands of Islam. Again, imagine if Muslim forces were camping out near the Vatican–wouldn’t that put Catholics on edge?

    This is all merely scratching the surface/painting with a broad brush/fill in methaphor here, but it is all a part of the current Middle Eastern attitude toward the U.S. And given this generations-long tension, is it really that surprising that the hardcore extremist religious zealots (and let’s not pretend they are a problem unique to Islam, please) have amplified that uneasiness into outright hatred?

  15. 15
    ppGaz says:

    Your penis can’t be that small can it?

    Jesus.

    It’s not my job to educate you. Are you going to sit there and pretend that it has never occurred to you that US policy toward the Shah of Iran -> Ayatollah -> Saddam Hussein the Ally -> Saddam Hussein the Reincarnation of Hitler -> Annoyer of the Saudi Royal Family (which is a cleaned up version of the Shah of Iran) …… that none of this matters? That none of it should be discussed? That no one should question how we got to where we are, whether our policies have produced the desired result, and why or why not?

    I DIDN’T SAY THAT POLICY CREATED TERRORISM. I SAID THAT JOHN SLAMMED SOMEBODY’S MENTION OF POLICY AS IF THE SUBJECT WERE A HOT POTATO.

    Do you want to talk about THAT, or do you want to continue trying to gin up one of your endless pissing contests?

    How do you think the Middle East that exists now, came to existence? Do you like what you have there? What could have been done differently?

    Those are legitimate questions. I assert that opening, rather than closing, that door, is beneficial.

    I have nothing further to say to you on this subject, unless you address that subject. The fact that I don’t have all the answers is not a justification for you to insist that I’m not allowed to ask the damned questions.

    Should, or should not, the subject of foreign policy be swatted like a fly whenever it comes up?

    Why should I take the word of people who have followed policy that has apparently been part of creating a big, ugly mess, that those same people now know the policy that will create something better? Which time were they right about Hussein? When they cozied up to him? When they declared him to be Hitler? When they left him in power? When they decided he should not be left in power? When they completely misinterpreted the true nature of the threat?

    How about Iran? When did we decide we knew what to do there? When we had the Shah over for state dinners every six months? When we stood by and let an insane theocracy take over the country? When we later judged that regime so dangerous that we’d ally ourselves with a murdering dictator to shore up our position in regard to them?

    Do you think any of these things have consequences?

  16. 16
    Defense Guy says:

    Do you think any of these things have consequences?

    I think you should read the decleration of war on the US by al quada. When you are done with that, I think you should read the charters of Hamas and Hezbullah. I think you should read up on why the students rose up and took Iran and turned it into a theocratic state. Not that it is mu job to educate you or anything.

  17. 17
    ppGaz says:

    I think you should read the decleration of war on the US by al quada. When you are done with that, I think you should read the charters of Hamas and Hezbullah. I think you should read up on why the students rose up and took Iran and turned it into a theocratic state.

    Been there and done that. But the question is, has our policy (in the aggregate) produced the desired result?

    If not, why not, and what could have been done differently?

    If so …. well, your answer will required more finesse ;-)

    I am not expecting you to have those answers. I am saying that the questions should be on the table.

  18. 18
    Stormy70 says:

    For Middle-Eastern Muslims in general, WWII was a big part of it. We made and subsequently broke a lot of promises about our presence and involvement in the region, and then one thing nobody seems to want to acknowledge, lest you be “giving aid and comfort to the enemy” by, ya know, understanding a different point of view…in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust, the Western world—primarily the U.S.—gave Muslim land (and some fairly religiously important Muslim land) to the Jews. The Muslim reaction was really quite predictable and was something like, “The Holocaust was inexcusable, but why punish Muslims for it?”

    The countries in the Middle East bellied up to the Nazis, and they backed the loser. If you win the war, you make the rules. Basic laws of warfare, right or wrong.

  19. 19
    SeesThroughIt says:

    The countries in the Middle East bellied up to the Nazis, and they backed the loser.

    How so? According to the Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook, that’s not quite how it went down:

    Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Saudi Arabia was on good terms with the Axis powers, concluding an arms agreement with Nazi Germany on the eve of the war. Abd al Aziz maintained formal neutrality during most of the war, gradually leaning toward the Allied side. In early 1945, he abandoned his neutral posture and made a nominal declaration of war against Germany. The outbreak of the war and attendant shipping dangers had brought Saudi Arabian oil sales to a halt. As Allied needs for oil rose, the safeguarding of the Saudi oil reserves began to be regarded as of great strategic importance. In 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the defense of Saudi Arabia was of vital interest to the United States, thus making the kingdom eligible for Lend-Lease assistance. By the end of World War II, British power and influence in Arab affairs had begun to wane, and during the late 1940s and early 1950s the United States emerged as the dominant Western power on the Arabian Peninsula.

    Seems to me that there were prewar agreements with Nazi Germany and some serious Allied bandwagon-jumping/financial future-brokering at the end of the war with the actual meat of the war being spent in neutrality. Iraq’s story is more or less the same, as is Iran’s, which has the added twist of being invaded by both the Allied and Axis forces. Mostly, the Middle Eastern nations were staying out of WWII as much as they could to cover their own asses. I don’t think that constitutes “bellying up to the Nazis.”

  20. 20
    Defense Guy says:

    ppGaz

    It has been said of us (the US), that we will always do the right thing once we have done every wrong thing. I agree, and am of the opinion that we are now doing the right thing.

    A cynical man will look at the US and say ‘yeah, well you use to allow slavery’ and an optimistic man will look at the US and say ‘yeah, well we use to allow slavery’. Our history is a weapon against us only if you do not allow that change in the desired direction is the one consistent thing about us. So it is now.

  21. 21
    Stormy70 says:

    Some of those nations were under the Vichy French government. Syria and Lebanon were invaded by the allies, Australia, I think. I don’t have time to look it up.

  22. 22
    ppGaz says:

    Our history is a weapon against us

    History is a weapon mainly when ignored.

    The calm examination of history is not a weapon. It’s sensible and necessary. Does the phrase “doomed to repeat” ring a bell?

    By now I know enough to assume that you and I probably agree, you just don’t like to come right out and say it.

  23. 23
    jg says:

    Then, of course, there’s the oil plundering. No, this is not a “no war for oil” argument at all, but if you deny that Western nations (again, primarily the U.S.) didn’t bum-rush the region and get over on these countries, you’re just fooling yourself.

    It shouldn’t be too hard to see from the muslim perspective that we wouldn’t give two shits about the vast acreage of nothing that is the middle east if there wasn’t any oil there. Thats why I love the neo con cries of bringing democracy and liberating oppressed people (all stuff I hated liberals for) in Iraq. If there was no oil it would be just a big dry Rwanda. If there was oil in Sudan we’d care about that too.

    Any doubts that the average middle easterner thinks this way?

  24. 24
    ppGaz says:

    change in the desired direction is the one consistent thing about us. So it is now.

    Couldn’t agree less, actually.

    Name something consistent about our policy toward Arabia the last 25 years, other than the fact that it was uniformly short-sighted and self-serving. What broad goals, what standard measures are evident? Freedom “on the march”? Hardly. Opportunism on the march, mostly. What’s our policy toward Iran? Long term goal? What was it ten years ago? Fifteen? Twenty? Thirty?

    Compare and contrast our policy toward Iraq, 1987, 1991, 2000, 2002, 2005. What’s the constant?

    What is constant in a policy toward the corrupt Saudi oligarchy? Freedom on the march? Liberty as God’s gift to mankind? Democracy? Review our Saudi policy 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005. What do you see?

    We “liberated” Kuwait. From the guy who tried to “liberate” it from the British-architected redraw of the region, absolutely not an Arab solution.

    This brief and truncated history from the Internet:

    Present-day Kuwait – the name is a diminutive of an Arabic word meaning “fortress built near water” – is a relatively recent arrival to the region where civilization began.

    Its story begins in the 18th century, when a nomadic tribal group wandering north from the area of Qatar established a settlement on the broad bay at the head of the Gulf.

    The Kuwaitis came under the rule of the Al Sabah family in 1751, and about 1775 came into contact with the British, to whom they looked for support in maintaining a degree of autonomy within the Ottoman Empire.

    The relationship was formalized by treaty in 1899 establishing a protectorate that lasted until 1961. Traditionally, Kuwaitis eked out a living from their inhospitable environment as traders and fishermen.

    What wealth they had was in pearls taken from the Gulf. That changed with the discovery of oil in 1937.
    Exploitation had to await the conclusion of World War II, but Kuwait´s economy took off, becoming the first of the super-rich Arab states.

    In 1976, the government nationalized oil operations originally granted jointly to British Petroleum and Gulf Oil, and since then has expanded steadily its producing, processing, and marketing roles.

    The protectorate ended in 1961. But with the withdrawal of the British, Kuwait came under immediate threat from neighboring Iraq, which claimed that before the arrival of the British the territory had been part of the Ottoman Empire administered from Baghdad. The swift return of British forces ended the immediate threat of a takeover, but not Iraqi claims.

    Kuwait was admitted to the Arab League despite opposition from Iraq, which claimed that Kuwait was historically part of Iraqi territory.

    Kuwait had been a generous contributor to the Palestinian cause and to the more radical Arab states. But with first the Iranian revolution and then the outbreak of war between Iraq and Iran, Kuwait became a target.

    Since the threat came primarily from Iran and its sympathizers, Kuwait sided with Iraq (which previously had been hostile to Kuwait) and, although it remained non-belligerent, contributed billions of dollars and the use of Kuwaiti ports to the Iraqi war effort.

    More recently:

    The relationship between the ruling family and Kuwaiti society also changed in more subtle ways. Members of the family other than the ruler, once first among equals in a society where merchants and other elites played an important role in decision making, became in the years after oil was discovered far wealthier because their wealth was guaranteed by a civil list–a list of sums appropriated to pay the expenses of a ruler and his household. Ruling family members also became socially more prominent and politically more important as they took over many of the state’s highest posts. In part, this transformation occurred as a result of the emergence of a large state bureaucracy and the need Kuwaiti rulers felt to fill the state’s highest posts with loyal supporters, notably kin.

    A “constitutional monarchy”, which is really an oil-grabbing oligarchy. This is what we “liberated”. Was this about freedom and democracy?

    If we took the oil out of the Kuwait equation, what would be the reason why the Bush I administration would wage a huge war to “liberate” a monarchy from a country that has an arguable claim to the territory that precedes the British Protectorate? Could twelve people in this country have found Kuwait on a map, or give a fig about it, in 1989? What made it worth a fig in 1990-1991?

    What constant or standard “consistent move in the right direction” served as the imperative for the Gulf War? What American values were at stake, again?

  25. 25
    Rome Again says:

    From ppGaz:

    Couldn’t agree less, actually. (…)

    ppGaz, I just wanted to congratulate you on a most excellent post. That was simply awesome!

  26. 26
    Brian says:

    I am shocked that our military is preparing for war. I thought they were a social organization dedicated to responding to victims of natural disasters and to provide jobs for those who can’t get them in the Bush economy, which we all know is the worst since the Great Depression.

    Seriously, our military has war plans in case something must be done here. Also, which will stun the peaceniks, if you happen to access some drawers at the Pentagon you’ll find war plans in case we go to war with Canada, Mexico, and maybe even Trindad/Tobago. If our military was making plans to nuke San Francisco to kill 3 potential terrorists, then I’d be concerned. Until then, anything like this should be a non-story.

  27. 27

    […] Don’t get me wrong, I think they should be training for this sort of thing. Just not sure if they need to be stationed permanently and whether or not it is legal. […]

  28. 28
    Some Other Brian Guy says:

    Brian’s Back!!!!!!!

    It’s been so boring without having someone around here to mock.

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