William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MORE UNMINCED WORDS – AT 7:58 A.M. ET:  While America sleeps.  Reader Joseph J. Gallick refers us to an article about the dangers still posed by Al Qaeda.  Obama has tried to give the impression that AQ has almost been defeated.  Apparently, his secretary of defense sees it otherwise, and made that clear in a recent speech: 

“Yes, we have decimated core al-Qaida and yes, we have made notable progress against its associated forces in Yemen and Somalia,” Panetta said. “But the al-Qaida cancer has also adapted to this pressure by becoming even more widely distributed, loosely knit and geographically dispersed.”

“We know that al-Qaida, its affiliates and adherents are looking to establish a foothold in other countries in the Middle East and North and West Africa -- including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Boko Haram group in Nigeria” as well as al-Qaida affiliates in northern Mali, Panetta said.

Panetta singled out Libya, “where violent extremists and affiliates of al-Qaida attacked and killed innocent Americans in Benghazi. With respect to that attack, let me be clear: We will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice those who perpetrated these attacks.”

I guess Panetta doesn't buy into the YouTube video interpretation.

The U.S. was prepared to go after al-Qaida elements with increased use of special forces and drones, Panetta said, but the U.S. must also address the root causes of terrorism. Panetta called on Congress and the White House “to develop an effective approach to address the factors that attract young men and women to extremist ideologies, and to ensure that governments and societies have the capacity and the will to counter and reject violent extremism.”

“To truly end the threat from al-Qaida, military force aimed at killing our enemy alone will never be enough,” Panetta said. “The United States must stay involved and invested through diplomacy, development, education, and trade in those regions of the world where violent extremism has flourished.”

COMMENT:  Fox Conner, an Army general officer who mentored Dwight D. Eisenhower, cautioned Ike that Americans do not like long wars.  We don't.  We're an impatient people.  And yet we fought the Cold War, with its hot moments, and we prevailed, because the lessons of World War II, and the prelude to that war, taught Americans the cost of unpreparedness and of a refusal to face reality.

The lessons of that time are fading away now, and a new generation of Americans may be easy prey for professors and pundits who have little interest in a long struggle against an evil force.  Just a cultural misunderstanding, you see.  Just move on.  Move on, now.

November 26, 2012