Last night, President Obama's war speech was especially relevant for independent-minded voters, both in California and across the nation. For the second time in less than a year, our Nobel Peace Prize winning President ordered a massive troop surge into a raging, eight-year war zone. In a year's time, Obama will have boosted troop levels in Afghanistan by a staggering 100%.
From an independent's perspective, Obama's speech represented more of the same. In fact, it sounded awfully similar to many of George W. Bush's speeches, most of which were also given at prestigious military installations. Except for Obama's intent to begin some sort of withdrawal in 19 months, the speech was virtually a carbon copy of the previous administration's major war speeches: more troops, more money, cloudy objectives, and no end game. White House officials have informed the media that America will retain some sort of military footprint in Afghanistan for years to come, much like in Iraq, Japan, South Korea, etc.
So, how is this relevant to independent-minded voters? It's relevant for two reasons. First, it is yet another clear cut demonstration that a two-headed, one party monster rules Washington DC. Second, it fuels a quietly developing thirst for a real alternative. Gerald Celente, one of the world's most highly respected trends forecasters, has predicted the rise of a viable third party by 2012, much like he predicted Ross Perot's independent bid in 1992. Obama's speech may have accelerated this scenario.
Independents now comprise about 39% of the American electorate, compared to 33% Democrat and 23% Republican. In California, independents make up 20% of the state's registered voters. And just as many Independents grew disenchanted with President Bush's domestic and foreign policies, they are already growing more and more disenchanted with many of President Obama's policies as well. They envision more war, more debt, more deficits, and a weak economy.
It is in this spirit that I would like to submit a hypothetical speech that an Independent President could have given to the American people last night. To set the stage, instead of speaking at West Point, our hypothetical, Independent President speaks in a more civilian setting in front of a backdrop that features the US Constitution.
"My fellow Americans, I have come to a decision regarding the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I have consulted civilian, military, and economic leaders from a variety of perspectives, and I have carefully weighed all potential options, from immediate, full-scale withdrawal to 80,000 more troops and an open-ended commitment. Here is my decision.
We will withdraw a significant amount of troops over the next 12-18 months. We will adopt a "Quality vs. Quantity" approach that will focus on disrupting, degrading, and containing Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a nation that is $12 trillion in debt, running $1.4 trillion budget deficits, and devaluing our Dollar to near-record lows, fiscally speaking, we simply do not have the money to fund another troop surge, let alone the current, open-ended strategy. To do so, we would have to borrow billions more from China, print billions more out of thin air, or institute higher taxes. None of these options are desirable or feasible in our current economic predicament. The only other alternative would be to cut spending in other areas of the budget, but neither party, for the last 9 years, has been willing to enact this fiscally responsible strategy, so I am forced to deal with reality.
Not only will a more focused, cost-effective approach to fighting Al-Qaeda save money, it will help to significantly halt the record suicide rate and PTSD epidemic that plague our brave men and women in the military. Continuing the current strategy or further escalating the war will increase the number of deployments and exacerbate the psychological trauma our troops have been suffering for the last eight years. The mental health of our troops and the psychological & social stability of our families depend on adopting an entirely new strategy.
Moving forward, I will propose the following solutions for Congress to take up and deliberate upon.
First, because neither the President nor Congress followed the Constitution back in 2001, I will correct this grave error and demand that under Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, Congress vote to formally declare war on Al-Qaeda. The other option, as stipulated under Article I, Section 8 is to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal to hunt Al-Qaeda, but I strongly prefer a war declaration so that we avoid any gray areas when it comes to trying enemy combatants or prisoners of war. As President, I will no longer conduct war under a vague, quasi authorization.
Second, with a small, but robust special ops, intelligence, and naval operation, we will target Al-Qaeda safe havens and hotspots in and around Afghanistan. We will maintain a vigilant eye for years to come, save money, and save lives, both military and civilian.
Third, we will immediately apply a substantial portion of the savings from our new strategy to lowering our budget deficit and paying down our gargantuan debt. This will allow us to slowly regain our financial independence from China and other foreign creditors, and it will also serve to lower our staggering $400 billion annual interest payment on the national debt. It will also strengthen the value of our Dollar, increasing the purchasing power of all Americans. A smaller portion of the savings will go toward monitoring and targeting other Al-Qaeda hotspots around the world and revamping our national missile defense system.
Fourth, we will end all economic aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan. If we were running budget surpluses, I would reconsider, but we don't have the money. Instead, we will nurture productive security relationships to enhance our more focused mission to root out Al-Qaeda. In addition, I would encourage Americans to donate to private charities and nonprofit organizations that support democracy, women's rights, economic recovery, literacy, and other humanitarian endeavors in these troubled nations. We are the most generous nation in the world, but as a government mired in $12 trillion of debt, the American people, not the Federal Government, will have to fill the void.
Fifth, I will devote more time and effort to solving America's deep financial problems. Out of control borrowing and spending, unlimited money printing, a brutal job market, excessive taxes, a decrepit infrastructure, a broken health care system, and absence of a manufacturing base are just some of the economic crises we face. America borrows and spends too much, taxes too much, consumes too much, and doesn't care for the mental and physical well-being of its citizens enough. It's time to turn things around before America is replaced by China on the world stage.
Sixth, I will focus on instituting better security here at home. As we learned in 9/11 and Fort Hood, one can possess all the intelligence necessary to deter an attack, but unless the will, efficiency, and coordination are present in our intelligence and military agencies, life-saving action will not ensue. Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a series of tests in which its covert investigators smuggled bomb making material into ten, different federal buildings. This is completely unacceptable and goes to show that trillions spent abroad, two wars, a monolithic Homeland Security department, and the Patriot Act have not made us that much safer. Again, it's about quality, not quantity, and it's time we adopt this new approach for the sake of our own national and economic security.
Thank you for listening and God Bless America."
No matter what one thinks about the details of such a hypothetical speech, its overall flavor represents a bona fide alternative to Republican and Democratic strategies for the last nine years. Do a little research, visit the blogosphere, or get on the social networks. Something is brewing in America. Sure, there are the usual partisan loyalists, but independent-minded voters are clamoring for fresh ideas, novel solutions, and a new vision for America. There's a growing sense that there's a better way, one that can keep America safe without breaking the bank and instituting troop surges every few months or years. There's a sense that America can turn things around economically, without bailing out Wall St. and spending itself into oblivion.
Something big is brewing. Perhaps a more independent-minded third party is in the making. You can feel it in California and across the nation. Change is coming, and it may be about to give Republicans and Democrats the shock of their lives over the next few years.