Meanwhile, we continue to rightly complain that Syria and Iran are not stopping terrorists from crossing over into Iraq. But neither are we stopping them from our Iraqi side. It is hard to believe that more American troops on those semi-hostile borders could not be put to good use by our commanders in the field. Likewise, the new, heightened tempo of American anti-terrorist/guerrilla operations in the Sunni Triangle are requiring greater numbers of troops. Would not even more of the right kind of troops help even more? Our so far ineffective diplomatic efforts to gain Syrian and Iranian cooperation might be more successful if the leaders of those countries saw three or four extra Heavy Armored Divisions assembling impatiently a few kilometers from their borders.
Even the current levels in Iraq are only possible because the Pentagon has "doubled up" short tours of active duty and rotated in the Guard and Reserve. By quickening the deployment tempo we risk too many of the vital trained sergeants and company-level officers just quitting the services. And with about 73 percent of active duty troops currently unavailable for new overseas assignments, how would we deal with possible new demands for anti-terrorist military action in such places as Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran or North Korea? Until recently, our government held out some hope that the addition of "allied" troops, new Iraqi troops and the reduction of Baathist and terrorist activity would solve these troop problems. Those hopes are no longer realistic.
Finally, then -- as it always does -- it comes down to moral, not mathematical decisions. Unless the terrorists voluntarily go back into their hole (which seems unlikely), the president will soon have to ask the American people to accept our obligation to effectively fight the terrorist scourge by substantially increasing the size of our military. Whether by draft, or by voluntary means, it will cost huge sums. Many of those new troops will fight -- and some will die -- so that millions of American civilians will not be killed by terrorists.
Several decades from now, when our children's generation is all dust, save 44 old men, will their grandchildren think as kindly on us, as we do on those surviving 44 Doughboys -- and their millions of comrades who left us a richer clay from which to be born?
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.