Media Boil Down Thompson's Speech to Military Recruiting, Ignore Larger Points

November 14th, 2007 10:49 AM

The media had some rather interesting takes on Fred Thompson's November 12 speech at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, or at least takes different than my own.

Jim Davenport of AP keyed in on the size of the military that a President Thompson would champion. Jeremy Pelofsky of Reuters parroted the same sentiments.

I saw the first half of the speech, and then Roger L. Simon and I were fortunate enough to have Senator Thompson alone for an interview that will run on Pajamas Media Thursday.

I was impressed with the military numbers that Thompson favors, but found his call to engage the will of the American people in winning the "long war" to be a far more compelling story.

Twice in Thompson's speech, he referred to the synergy needed between civilian will and military might needed to win wars.:

I spent some time recently with a book called A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, by the historian Andrew Roberts. He describes the strengths that have seen America and England through danger and adversity. But there's one quality in particular that no nation can do without in such a time. As Roberts observes, "The will of a people is at least as important as their military might in overcoming an enemy."

And later:

This radical threat we face today is committed to a hundred year war, and has been waging one against us for decades ... in Beirut, Somalia, embassies in Africa, Saudi Arabia, on the USS Cole. Each time Americans were killed. Yet each time our response sent the wrong signals. This is an enemy that understands only the language of power. Today, the focus of this war is Afghanistan and Iraq, but it is clear that this struggle and our enemies extend far beyond those borders. To defend ourselves, we in the democratic world must assert our intentions in the clearest possible terms.

Diplomacy, economic influence, and other means of persuasion are always to be preferred in our dealings with dangerous regimes and rival states. But the words of our leaders command much closer attention from adversaries when it is understood that we are prepared to use force when force is necessary. And for that deterrent to exist, the will of our people and the strength of our military must be unquestionable.

We had a chance to establish that synergy as lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field still smoldered. Our leadership failed to unite us then, and has since.

Senator Thompson seems to have some ideas about what it takes to unite our country to win "the long war."

It's too bad that such ideas are so easily overlooked by the Fourth Estate.

Cross-posted to Confederate Yankee.