9/11: Five Years Later, a New Course

As we commemorated the anniversary of one of America's darkest days, I was reminded of the thin line between discussing our national security and playing politics with those who would harm Americans. This past week, and indeed, these past five years have shown us the harsh reality that the President and his Administration are simply playing politics.

Instead of finding out what happened on that day five years ago, the Administration worked to thwart the efforts of the 9/11 Commission. Instead of pursuing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, they allowed him to escape. Instead of implementing the homeland security recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, they passed laws restricting civil liberties. They've failed to secure the borders, failed to inspect cargo that passes through our ports, and failed to reach out to allies who could help us track down and corner those who wish us harm. Instead of focusing our resources on preventing the spread of terrorism, the Administration lied, fabricated, and mislead us into a war with a country that had nothing to do with the terrorists who attacked us. Moreover, they sent our troops into harm's way without sufficient numbers, adequate body armor, or even a plan to establish peace after the invasion.

Most of all, they have failed to understand that our national security depends upon far more than just the bombs on the wings of an airplane. It is the combined effect of all of our national strengths—military, economic, cultural, and diplomatic. If our experience in the Cold War taught us anything, it is that the combined effect of these forces is far more powerful than any one alone. We did not defeat the Soviet Union with military power alone, nor will we be able to bomb our way through the great threats of the modern world. We must employ the same, combined, coordinated approach that so effectively tore down the Iron Curtain and bring to bear the full might of the United States if we are to continue to be a leading force in the world.

Yet, despite this essential truth, this Administration insists upon staying a broken and badly misguided course. We are fighting the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong enemy—and for the wrong reasons. We need a new course and that must begin by accepting the facts on the ground. Iraq is in a state of civil war, the broader Middle-East is badly destabilized, Osama bin Laden is operating freely, and we have no viable plan to fix any of these problems. We must immediately begin to redeploy our troops to resume the hunt for al-Qa'ida. We must work for a political solution in Iraq, drawing upon the lessons of Bosnia to establish three separate, semi-autonomous regions. Lastly, we must repair the broken alliances around the world—alliances that will give us the broad reach to hunt down and capture terrorists no matter where they hide—and restore the United States to our place as the leader, and the hope, of all nations.

More in International

Terrorists threaten to kill US hostage in Yemen

Read more »