Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Mission Statement for America?

In his interview with Bob Woodward, the following quote appears from former President Gerald Ford: "Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people," Ford said, referring to Bush's assertion that the United States has a "duty to free people." But the former president said he was skeptical "whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what's in our national interest." He added: "And I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."

That statement made us wonder if what is needed for America is a mission statement. What is the mission of the United States Government and is this administration fulfilling that mission? The quote from President Ford suggests one such mission statement. That statement might be as follows: It shall be the mission of the United States Government to provide for the security of the American people.

Assuming that would be the mission, how is this administration doing fulfilling that mission? Well, based on what is happening in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and what happened with Hurricane Katrina, not very well. In Iraq it has American troops bogged down in a sectarian civil war; in Afghanistan we are seeing resurgence of the Taliban, the same government that harbored bin Laden while he planned his attacks on America. In New Orleans we saw the complete failure of this administration to protect the security of Americans, before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.

The advantage of having a mission statement is that when you are asked to do something, like say invade Iraq, you would contrast the thing you are being asked to do with the goal of your organization, as set forth in the mission statement. This is just a hunch, but we don't think that if comparing America's mission statement with the Iraq War had been done that reasonable people would have came out in favor of the war.

Because a comparison wouldn't have just meant that looking at this Administration's Iraqi claims, but also whether alternative actions would have worked just as well to protect the security of the American people. At least such an comparison would have forced members of the United States Constitution to defend their support of this war in terms that the American people could understand.

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