Obama Doctrine gives foundation

Published 9:59 am Friday, October 21, 2011

With the death yesterday of Moammar Gadhafi there is a clarity emerging to the foreign policy of the Obama administration that bodes well for America.

The Obama Doctrine is based upon counterterrorism through the use of intelligence gathering, information sharing with allies, collaborative military actions, and the expanded participation of law enforcement.

The existence and increasing sophistication of our military drones have played a central role in the revision of policy. Drones, led by intel sources, have helped this administration reduce Al Qaeda to a handful of cave dwellers constantly looking up.

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Drones have found the enemy wherever they may be on the planet and acted decisively without the commitment of a single U.S. troop in the field.

But the administration has discovered that targeting those drones is best accomplished with intel that pinpoints the location of the enemy.

This means that the strength of counterterrorism efforts is focused upon cooperation with allies and independents that provide the base knowledge to make successful drone “hunts” possible.

Supplementing the drone attacks are Special Forces units as used to kill Bin Laden. With these forces strategically positioned where enemies are located, they can react quickly and effectively on very short notice.

Collaborating with other countries in military engagements has also foreshadowed a key element of the Obama Doctrine. In Libya, the U.S. provided some air cover, but mostly coordinated the attack strategy and utilized the forces of other nations. As the end to the reign of Gadhafi indicates today, such cooperation has suggested a successful model going forward. The U.S. should no longer be the worlds’ sole policeman on the beat, nor should we shoulder all of the costs.

Finally, the administration has significantly enhanced its intelligence information sharing with the police forces of allied nations and American states, combatting terrorism at its ground level.

Perhaps the best example of such support and cooperation is the NYPD Counterterrorism Group, probably the best civilian counterterrorism program of its kind.

When each of these components work in coordination as tools against terrorism, the results have been impressive. From assassination of Al Qaeda leadership to capture of the Underwear Bomber, the new methods have shown to protect America and kill or capture the terrorists.

Obama inherited two wars. One, in Iraq, was a war that never should have taken place. The President has promised to end that engagement and is on a path to have all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq at the end of this year.

The other war, in Afghanistan, was originally a war of retaliation against those who attacked us on 9-11. That war has somehow evolved into nation building and may never accomplish that oversized goal.

But both wars symbolize what does not work in combatting terrorism. Putting an army in the field against a native population that can hide in plain sight is never going to be a successful strategy and these two wars demonstrate that truth.

These are policies of the past though, and the Obama administration has clearly pointed our future military efforts against terrorism in a far different direction.

As Commander-in-Chief President Obama has taken decisive action and has succeeded in adapting U.S. policy in ways that both protect America and reduce the risks to our young men and women in uniform.

The Obama Doctrine is a sound foundation.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.