Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bush Dropping the Ball - Again

You might remember Richard Clarke, former White House anti-terrorism czar who couldn't get the time of day from the Bush administration before 9/11.

In an article in today's Washington Post, Clarke portrays a White House so totally obsessed with Iraq that other pressing issues are being ignored:

"National Security Council veteran Rand Beers has called this the "7-year-old's soccer syndrome" -- just like little kids playing soccer, everyone forgets their particular positions and responsibilities and runs like a herd after the ball.

"Without the distraction of the Iraq war, the administration would have spent this past year -- indeed, every year since Sept. 11, 2001 -- focused on al-Qaeda. But beyond al-Qaeda and the broader struggle for peaceful coexistence with (and within) Islam, seven key "fires in the in-box" national security issues remain unattended, deteriorating and threatening, all while Washington's grown-up 7-year-olds play herd ball with Iraq."

Clarke identifies 7 key security issues that Bush advisors are failing to address:

1. Global Warming
2. Russian Revanchism
3. Latin America's Shift Left
4. Africa's Wars
5. Arms Control Freeze
6. Transnational Crime
7. the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Issue.

"As the president contemplates sending even more U.S. forces into the Iraqi sinkhole, he should consider not only the thousands of fatalities, the tens of thousands of casualties and the hundreds of billions of dollars already lost. He must also weigh the opportunity cost of taking his national security barons off all the other critical problems they should be addressing -- problems whose windows of opportunity are slamming shut, unheard over the wail of Baghdad sirens."

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