Sunday, September 8, 2013


My Zimbio  Should the nation eliminate chem-capable weapons in Syria, forge forth with Obama-care or cut budgets to sequestration targets?  Shall we repeal Obama-care, and if so, how? 

The first part of these questions:  Shall we?  Key policy questions that drive to the kind of people we are and how we feel the world should approach problems and opportunities. 

But the second:  if so, how?  I can help you with that efficiency challenge.  Yes, "Shall we" questions are very important to me.  My opinions are well considered (when enacted, result in good things!)...

But "if so, how," is where I earn my living.  Not writing reports.  But making it so.  Clinger-Cohen.  IC ITE.  And more practical, more immediate also. 

But the time has come to examine personal "shall we's" for tomorrow.  Then consider the "if so, how's."  Onward.  Upward.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Syrian Strike

My Zimbio  In response to an alleged chemical weapons attack from Syria's Assad Regime,  President Obama announced yesterday he plans a "limited, narrow" attack against Syria.  Apparently he will not seek UN Security Council validation or a resolution from the US Congress.

My intent here is to influence as well as inform.  This attack targeted non-combatants in rebel controlled regions of Syria, evidently killing well over a thousand men, women and children.  The attack demonstrates Syria has the capability and will to use whatever weapons (however atrocious) it can produce.  Our questions for the next few days:  Should the US attack Syria and if so, why?  How should we attack Syria and the accompanying question: what should US goals be for such at attack?

Taking a considered view on our democracy, what should the procedural requirements be for a US President to employ the formidable firepower of the US government on another country?  Should we seek international consensus for such attack also, and if so, how? What are the moral imperatives for such an attack (and for abstaining from the attack)?  There are, of course, Constitutional and legal perspectives on the process, but the most vital question to consider is this:  given the world and the US government today, what should the US President decide and how should he implement the decision?

The first response answer is this:  the US must eliminate Syrian ability to launch successful attacks on its citizenry, US allies in the region and the US itself.  We must do so because we can do so.  Larger questions such as whether we seek to overthrow the Assad regime at this point and to what extent attacks target existing military equipment and associated production facilities, avoiding innocent loss of life, are considerations for selecting US targeting approach, weapon selection and strike delivery.

The most important question:  where are Syrian weapon systems implicated in and capable of these attacks?  Important related questions are where and how were these systems built and how did all the components for the systems and ammunition arrive in Syria?  But are we truly ready for such follow-on questions?  Although nearly 50% of US citizens favor an attack on Syria, we are weary of war:  more than one presidential term ago, we elected Barack Obama to extricate US Forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, not find us a new war (or wars) to conduct.

Eighty (80!)% of US citizens say President Obama should seek Congressional support for such an attack (according to a poll NBC News commissioned, quoted also above).  Intriguing and important fact.  Get back to Washington, Congressman (and woman, Senators included)!  Your country needs you and it doesn't appear the President plans to ask for your opinion...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Writing Sample

My Zimbio  Two months ago I wrote the below paragraphs for a prospect...

There is an active debate about the Presidential election… gnashing of teeth about new demographics, gloating that this election is a validation of left-leaning policies and, from the right, messages suggesting America deserves our impending doom.

Mitt Romney may be the most qualified man in America to fix our economy, given the consulting, investing and public sector projects he has run.  Romney did manage to make a fatal comment or two (with supporting, high profile, gaffs from other members of his party).  Thus, level-headed analysis might suggest all is not lost, gained, or permanently altered.

We can expect more of the same economic and social policies.  But is our foreign policy on track?  In a recent CNN interview, former CIA chief Michael Hayden listed four foreign policy concerns:  Iran with its nuclear ambitions; China with its growing military presence and ongoing leadership transition; global terrorism; and cyber-security attacks.

Let’s set aside three of these four concerns for the moment (since the most visible security lapse in the past 60 days were successful terrorist attacks on US embassies).  Investigation of the Benghazi attack, specifically, is ongoing:  the FBI; the State Department; the US House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform; and the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs are conducting independent investigations.  There is much we do not know about the attack and activities that led to it, although we trust these four investigations will insure facts and evidence are not overlooked.

For the past decade, public discourse would suggest the Al Qaida Muslim extremist group had become the most severe existent threat to the security of the United States.  Although Ansar Sharia in Benghazi claimed credit for the attack that claimed Chris Stevens’ life (and the lives of three of his colleagues), according to reports about Stevens’ personal journal, the Ambassador himself suspected he was an Al Qaida target.

Public discourse suggests Al Qaida is the problem.  Unfortunately, the perception that the most dangerous threat the US faces is Al Qaida is simplistic, and the illusion that policy makers present to the public that Al Qaida is an effective monolith is both inaccurate and dangerous.

Hayden perhaps represents US leadership consensus when he suggests that “Al Qaida prime” is undermined.  Hayden implies here (and others apparently believe) that Al Qaida once had a core, highly effective, organization, that US military and intelligence operations have been able to pick apart and render ineffective. 

Although US operations have killed or captured many Al Qaida henchmen, including Osama bin Laden, and key leadership across a number of hostile Islamic groups have also been neutralized, the threat the United States and its interests faces from terrorist organizations is as great as it has ever been.

If Al Qaida were responsible in any way for the Benghazi attacks, the fact that we are targeting that organization higher than any other threat on the Globe… and the fact that the intelligence community found there was no evidence suggesting the Benghazi attack was "planned or imminent," would suggest one of two possibilities:  1) Al Qaida is so good that we just can’t catch them, no matter how hard we try; or 2) there are many independently operating Islamic organizations operating without meaningful direction from anywhere and they are frequently well enough equipped and trained to successfully strike our interests.
Either possibility is disturbing.  The second is more likely.

For the billions$ spent, we have much work to do to address the terrorist threat to the US and its interests.  Although the public shouldn’t expect all the details our intelligence operatives uncover about the threat or operating details of our response, we do have a right to an accurate characterization of one of the most dangerous developments to face our democracy in a hundred years: spontaneous evolution of independent

organizations that vilify the very existence of our freedom and values we hold most dear.  
organizations that vilify the very existence of our freedom and values we hold most dear.