My American history is admittedly pretty weak, but what I do remember from high school is that a defensive war is always easier to win that an offensive war. This is why thirteen rag-tag colonies were able to win a war against the British Empire: there’s no way they could have taken down the empire, but they could hold their ground which is a lot easier. A body at rest tends to stay at rest; meaning that it’s easier to keep what you have than to force property to change hands. The Brits had a better military, but they had to mobilize and invade. The Americans could spend all of their time and resources preparing.
So…have we prepared? No. We’ve been busy attacking to prepare a defense. True, there hasn’t been a terrorist attack since 9/11. Bush claims that this is because we’ve actively thwarted several attempts. We could assume that no news is good news, except for the fact that we have had clear evidence that we are not prepared in case of a crisis. Remember hurricane Katrina? It wasn’t a terrorist act, but our government proved that it was completely unprepared to deal with a disaster. Perhaps if we spent more time at home preparing for unknown crises instead of throwing ourselves into the gunfire, we could have been ready to help people here at home.
This is something that has been said before, but upcoming poker night made me realize what the new paradigm must be that our government needs to adopt.
One of the prime strategies in poker is “Don’t try to beat the other players; let them try to beat you.”
A lot of Americans are starting to doubt that Al-Qaeda is actively pursuing terrorist attacks, that they are sitting on their asses in a cave and all the fighting is for naught. Let me tell you, if the big A-Q isn’t sitting around on their asses, they should be. We’ve killed almost twice as many Americans in our war on terror as they killed New Yorkers in their WTC attacks. Letting us fight them (er, Iraq) is twice as effective than flying planes into sky scrapers. A-Q’s most effective strategy right now is to sit back and let us decimate our own army fighting in Iraq.
Now, imagine if we employed the poker strategy, as it seems they have. What would happen we didn’t try to beat them and just let them try to beat us? Scary thought? Maybe not.
If terrorist attacks would have happened if we didn’t attack Iraq is a moot point, but there are some situations worth speculating on in regards to what our American soldiers could have accomplished if they had been on the defense instead of the offence. I had trouble finding current numbers on Iraq, but in 2006 there were 126,900 U.S. soldiers currently in Iraq. Add the 5,000 dead to that, round down because many of the soldiers that were there in 2006 are now dead, and you get about 130,000 U.S. soldiers that could be actively defending America rather than actively offending the world.
Our national guard is spread thin right now. Bridges alone keep them busy, as prime targets for terrorists there are nearly 500,000 of them in America identified as terrorist targets. Perhaps if those 130,000 U.S. soldiers had been here they could help take some of the stress of the National Guard. What about skyscrapers? There are almost 500 skyscrapers in this country. That means instead of killing Iraqis to keep us safe, the army could station 260 soldiers at each skyscraper in America…or they could be guarding our natural-gas pipelines. 200,000 miles is a lot for the National Guard to guard, but if the army was here instead of over there they could station 65 men for every 100 miles of pipe…or they could guard power plants. I’d feel a lot safer to have 46 soldiers in each power plant in this country than 130,000 soldiers killing people who may or may not be terrorists.
…so the lesson of the day is that if you’re ever playing poker with George Bush and he goes “all in”, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s got nothing.