Who's in charge around here, anyway?

By David H. Hackworth
web posted October 1998

Remember when Ronald Reagan was gunned down? Vice President Bush was out of town and the press, rightly worried about all those Soviet ICBMs pointing at us, were asking, "Who's in command?"

Then Secretary of State Al Haig couldn't get up to bat fast enough -- and became forever known as "I'm in Charge, Haig." But wrong as he was about where he fit into the constitutional pecking order, at least he had the sense to rush into the breach!

Today, with another president bleeding from wounds -- however self-inflected by his own recklessness and bad judgment -- is anyone in charge of our national defense? Looks to me that after the Pentagon's wrongheaded, futile and ill-timed "Wag The Dog" missile attack on Sudan and Afghanistan, no one is.

Our nation's top leadership is clearly not focused on national security, but rather on how to control the damage from Starr's War. All the commander in chief's energy and his key advisors' attention seems devoted to making Starr, Monica and our national humiliation go away.

This won't do. We live in a dangerous world and like it or not, America's the big guy on the global block. We're the sole surviving superpower and with that position comes awesome responsibilities.

Yet no one's focused on Clinton's "global village" creation and the 144 countries in which he has so carelessly stuck our soldiers -- out there under the gun doing police work. Surely the opposition in many of these strife-torn lands will seize the opportunity to strike back at the Clinton cops while Zipper One's distracted by the fight for his political life.

Let's look at just some of the threats:

  • Russia with its thousands of ICBMs is falling apart faster than a cheap pair of shoes. With a crazy in charge it'll only take the flip of a switch and they'll come thundering down -- On us.
  • Iraq is about to again escape from it's asylum and shift the eight year mother-of-all running conflicts from words back to weapons.
  • Iran and Afghanistan are squared off. A fight between these two religious fanatics probably won't be confined to their sandbox but more likely will spread to that whole region.
  • Unstable North Korea has recently launched a long range missile capable of striking South Korea and Japan -- and our intelligence suspects they're back to building the bomb.
  • Ex-Yugoslavia remains on fire with Kosovo at the four alarm level and Bosnia smoldering as the wind picks up.
  • Colombia, not far from Main Street U.S.A., is only a few months from going Communist. Will Red China adopt them as the Soviet's did Cuba?

Last month Clinton announced his War on Terrorists and they replied in kind. While we're not technically at war, make no mistake -- we're engaged in the most complex long-term conflict we've ever fought

And in case you haven't heard, war is all about money. Always has been and always will be. So it doesn't portend well for peace with the world-wide financial meltdown that appears to be coming down. After all, there's nothing like a war to juice up a troubled economy.

To solve these sticky international problems we urgently need these two things:

1. A captain at the helm who's got the trust of the people, the armed forces and the world's leaders.

2. An armed forces that's ready to go and wisely employed.

Polls say the American people don't trust Clinton nor do the thousands of our serving warriors with whom I've talked. Most foreign leaders think he's turned into a bad American joke who could never stitch a coalition together as Bush did for Desert Storm.

America is at sea in very stormy and dangerous waters with an incompetent captain at the helm. A captain who doesn't have the moral authority to command our ruptured and worn out armed forces.

Clinton should excuse himself from commander in chief duties and immediately turn over all matters of national security to Al Gore. He should put Gore in charge of every aspect of defending America while Congress and the people decide his fate.

The security of our country and the welfare of our uniformed men and women demands nothing less.




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