In the Arena

The Bush Doctrine

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There is a right-wing smokescreen emerging in an attempt to camouflage Sarah Palin’s utter unfamiliarity with the Bush Doctrine. The new line, assayed by Charles Krauthammer and Peter Feaver among others, is that there were many Bush Doctrines. That is untrue.

There was only one Bush Doctrine. It was enunciated in this speech, delivered by the President, at the West Point graduation in 2002. It was a conscious effort to step beyond the Cold War doctrine of containment and announce a new strategic posture appropriate for the War on Terrorism. Here’s the relevant section, the bold-face highlights are mine:

For much of the last century, America’s defense relied on the Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment. In some cases, those strategies still apply. But new threats also require new thinking. Deterrence — the promise of massive retaliation against nations — means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies.

We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systemically break them. If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. (Applause.)

Homeland defense and missile defense are part of stronger security, and they’re essential priorities for America. Yet the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. (Applause.) In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act. (Applause.)

Our security will require the best intelligence, to reveal threats hidden in caves and growing in laboratories. Our security will require modernizing domestic agencies such as the FBI, so they’re prepared to act, and act quickly, against danger. Our security will require transforming the military you will lead — a military that must be ready to strike at a moment’s notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives. (Applause.)

That is the Bush Doctrine. Sarah Palin had no idea that it even existed. Any attempts to divert attention from her ignorance should be rejected for what they are–disinformation.