CPAC 2013: Where does conservative military policy go from here?

Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster last week, in which he demanded the Obama administration clarify if it believes it has the authority to kill Americans on U.S. soil with drones, sparked blowback from some of his fellow Republicans, including Sen. John McCain. That has sparked debate about whether the GOP is moving in a new direction regarding foreign and military policy, or drifting apart into two, ahem, warring camps.

But foreign-policy and military experts speaking on a Thursday morning panel at the American Conservative Union’s CPAC conference sounded a relatively consistent line of thinking, albeit more about the use of force overseas while largely staying away from the topic of domestic drones.

“The proper natural end of war is your peace, the peace according to you, the peace you want,” said Angelo Codevilla, professor of international relations at Boston University. “Victory is that achievement. And defeat is in fact letting the enemy achieve his version of peace. That is what war is all about.

“Our bipartisan leaders for the past generation have forgotten that fundamental truth. So they have engaged us in a variety of enterprises around the world without knowing what they are fighting for and what they want to achieve. … They have deprived us of the proper product [of war]. This country has no peace right now. And the lack of peace is eating away at us.”

Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, sounded a similar note. “Wars are not movies. They do not end. They are won or they are lost,” he said. “We should fight anywhere, but we should not fight everywhere.”

Cotton also criticized the Obama administration’s decision to try the recently captured son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, in federal court rather than holding him at Guantanamo Bay — in the prison President Obama hasn’t closed despite his 2008 campaign rhetoric about the need to do so — so that the military could interrogate him at length and try him in a military tribunal.

“It’s possible, I suppose, that we had exploited him for all intelligence  value in just the few hours we had him” under military custody, Cotton said. But he noted it took far longer for the U.S. to learn from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed about the courier whose presence ultimately led Navy SEALs to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan.

Cotton’s comments echoed remarks Georgia’s Sen. Saxby Chambliss made to me Wednesday in his office, when he called a federal-court trial for Abu Ghaith “a huge mistake.”

“This is not an ordinary terrorist, it’s an enemy combatant,” Chambliss said. Yet, “he’ll be tried as an ordinary bank robber would be.”

In any case, the notion that America should engage in nation-building abroad came in for rough criticism from the CPAC panelists. Rep. Louie Goehmert of Texas recalled how it took little time and few soldiers to come to the brink of victory in Afghanistan, citing the help of the Northern Alliance.

“They fought the Taliban and defeated them for us,” Goehmert said. “We had less than 500 American soldiers … in Afghanistan when we defeated the Taliban because the Northern Alliance did our work. That was the beginning of the very end for the Taliban until — after we won — we sent in tens of thousands of troops in to occupy it.”

– By Kyle Wingfield

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251 comments Add your comment

getalife

March 14th, 2013
11:09 am

Yay, the clowns parading as cons circus is back.

They are hilarious!

getalife

March 14th, 2013
11:09 am

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 14th, 2013
11:19 am

We are all waiting to see who will win the ….

Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award this year.

After Newton this years winner ought to be especially proud.

For those who think im making that up. I’m not.

They really have an award called that.

Unbelievable.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 14th, 2013
11:26 am

The first thing Americans will need to do after they retake the White House is evaluate the threats we face. Hint–our most immediate or most dangerous military threat isn’t global warming, as Obozo’s politically-minded generals and admirals are fond of saying, attempting to curry favor and higher promotion.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 14th, 2013
11:31 am

The first thing Americans will need to do after they retake the White House

I got news for you. Americans already have the White House.

And Hillary is going to be the next President and for 8 years.

Next realistic shot for a Republican at the WH will be in 2024.

By then most Republicans will be dead.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 14th, 2013
11:35 am

American leaders try to fix problems and improve the general welfare.

Your messiah does the opposite–that’s what his Junior Community Organizer handbook tells him to do.

Jefferson

March 14th, 2013
11:41 am

Retake the white house, the GOP couldn’t take a one legged man last 2 times, one on equal footing would crush the Grumpy folks. Little boy blue, you make me smile daily at your childish whining. I’m laughing out loud. Its over kiddie.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 14th, 2013
11:42 am

Your messiah does the opposite–that’s what his Junior Community Organizer handbook tells him to do.

LOL

Numbers-R-US

March 14th, 2013
11:44 am

Cheesy,

I believe you are thinking of the Charlton Heston “Pry it from my cold dead hands” award.

curious

March 14th, 2013
11:46 am

Lil’ Barry Bailout – OBAMAPHONE!!!

What threat is our most immediate or dangerous military?

Numbers-R-US

March 14th, 2013
11:47 am

Then there is the Ayn Rand “I can’t get enough of those government entitlements” prize. I hear Rand Paul and Paul Ryan are running neck and neck for that one.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 14th, 2013
11:50 am

What threat is our most immediate or dangerous military?

Should be an interesting answer.

If we get one

curious

March 14th, 2013
11:51 am

Got to give credit to Obama.

He piggy backed on Reagan/ Bush’s free phone service.
He piggy backed on Romneycare.

Is Obama a closet Republican?

sailfish

March 14th, 2013
11:52 am

lil barry

Your president bush broke this country and totalled it after he was done with it; we are repairing the damage slowly but surely. You just can’t handle the truth about your unworthy hero.

Thomas Heyward Jr

March 14th, 2013
11:55 am

“CPAC 2013: Where does conservative military policy go from here?”
.
Conservative military policy has to GO nowhere.
They only have to ignore the NEO-conservatives(Progs) who have hijacked the movement.
.
AND conservatives need to remember………………if you let the Republicans and neo-conservatives nominate another NorthEast prog in 2016……………….the Ron Paul army will defeat you AGAIN————
.
.

Paul was the the only presidential candidate who openly opposes President Obama’s incredibly aggressive and interventionist foreign policy, targeted assassinations, “kill lists,” and secret drone warfare. America is supposed to be a commercial republic, Paul argues, a shining light and example of peace and economic prosperity to a world that desperately needs it. Lead by example, not by bombs and bribes.

Paul was laregly dismissed by NEO-conservatives for these views, even being booed in South Carolina during a Republican debate for espousing Christ’s Golden Rule.

But Paul will be proven right even though the American people didn’t want to hear it. Whether or not one is convinved by Paul’s arguments in favor of a strong defense and diplomacy, there is simply no possible way that the U.S. Navy can continue to police every ocean, that the Army can support 1,000 foreign military bases, or that we can continue to wage multiple hot wars forever. The U.S. is borrowing almost half of every dollar from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea to maintain this empire, and eventually the troops will have to come home.

A decade from now, many Americans will probably be wishing it was done in 2012 by President Paul out of choice and not out of financial collapse and necessity.
.

Aquagirl

March 14th, 2013
11:58 am

President Paul

HAHAHAHA! Good one, for a moment I thought you were being serious.

sailfish

March 14th, 2013
12:00 pm

Ron paul is kind of confusing figure because on some issues he can be quite brilliant and others? Bat shiite crazy!

curious

March 14th, 2013
12:01 pm

Conservative military policy should be:

Everybody serves!

indigo

March 14th, 2013
12:01 pm

Many cons seem to be very upset because we are targeting those who have sworn to kill as many of us as possible.

I wonder why that is?

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 14th, 2013
12:03 pm

Is Obama a closet Republican?

Yep

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 14th, 2013
12:03 pm

curious–I won’t pretend to know what our most immediate or dangerous military threat is. I know it isn’t global warming though, as that isn’t a military threat at all, even if the chicken littles are 100% correct.

Reminds me of Obozo’s NASA leader saying his most important mission was Muslim outreach.

Obozo administration: Incompetent.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 14th, 2013
12:07 pm

sailfish, just FYI, we’ll be twice as broke after Obozo is done than we were after Our President Bush bequeathed him an economy in recovery.

curious

March 14th, 2013
12:08 pm

Lil’ Barry Bailout – OBAMAPHONE!!!

You’re a sad case.

Road Scholar

March 14th, 2013
12:08 pm

LBB:”The first thing Americans will need to do after they retake the White House is evaluate the threats we face.” Well, Americans now are in the WH. If you are referring to Repubs/Conserves/ etc. why can’t they assess the threats now? The House/Senate have members on all military and security committees. Can’t think? Can’t do two things at one time? Multi-task? Or is fighting the imaginary President Obama all they can do? It’s hhhhaaaaaaaaarrrrrrdddd!

Oh and they aren’t doing that so well, are they?

“…improve the general welfare.”

Now you are for welfare? You 47%er!

Who received the Repub “Head up your a$$” award? Rowe? Cheney? Mitt? You?

Road Scholar

March 14th, 2013
12:09 pm

Aqua: Paul whom?

Road Scholar

March 14th, 2013
12:09 pm

Back to BBall!

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 14th, 2013
12:10 pm

than we were after Our President Bush bequeathed him an economy in recovery.

Was that the same economy losing 700,000 jobs a month when he left office.

That was some recovery.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 14th, 2013
12:12 pm

In fact, the Obama administration is not the first to waste tax-funded NASA resources and space program on Muslims. Ronald Reagan and his VP, George H. W. Bush, were. But they just wouldn’t say so publicly. At least Obama’s people are finally open about this outrageous behavior that isn’t new to his administration. Sad, though, that it took Al Jazeera to get it out of them.

sailfish

March 14th, 2013
12:14 pm

“Our President Bush bequeathed him an economy in recovery”

Hahahahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha….you are not serious?

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 14th, 2013
12:18 pm

Who will solve the widespread Con confusion on how government and family budgets differ?

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 14th, 2013
12:20 pm

Repubs/Conserves/ etc. why can’t they assess the threats now? The House/Senate have members on all military and security committees. Can’t think? Can’t do two things at one time?

They are too busy creating nonsensical budgets based on pie-in-the-sky math.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 14th, 2013
12:22 pm

Ronald Reagan and his VP, George H. W. Bush, were

Were they also the first to sell munitions to Iran to fund donations to the drug cartel-linked Contras in Nicaragua?

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 14th, 2013
12:27 pm

Notice how much more polte the Japanese are, fifty some years on? Compared to, oh, let’s say, the Libyan’s?

Smoke a couple of their cities and watch that attitude change for the better.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 14th, 2013
12:29 pm

hillary’s older than the new pope.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 14th, 2013
12:35 pm

I’m pretty sure even the Libertarians could come up with a better military strategy than turning over whole swaths of the Middle East to al qaeda, like the dummycrats have.

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2013
12:37 pm

I read a lot of dancing around here, so I’ll state it.

The biggest threat to America is the rabbid Left. That being the Obama administration and it’s overly dedicated supporters.

Now, the well meaning Obama suppoters here will tell us they are trying to make America better, point out our mistakes and how we have no heart for poor people, etc. However, the point being, if they get their way our Country will no longer be America. It will be a socialist welfare state in the European mold.

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2013
12:39 pm

Here’s why Hillary won’t be the next president – her looks.

America, deep into pop culture, etc. will not elect an aging ugly woman to have to look at and listen to.

Dems may win the White House again, but it won’t be with Hillary.

Jefferson

March 14th, 2013
12:42 pm

Roll with it reb, roll with the flow

HDB

March 14th, 2013
12:42 pm

“This is not an ordinary terrorist, it’s an enemy combatant,” Chambliss said. Yet, “he’ll be tried as an ordinary bank robber would be.”

Interesting….since the federal courts have CONVICTED every terrorist that has come before them and sentenced them to LIFE……

Are the military tribunals sentencing terrorists to face a firing squad??

HDB

March 14th, 2013
12:47 pm

The biggest threat to America is the rabid RIGHT….that being the neo-cons, Tea Party, and their overly dedicated supporters.

Now, the supporters of the right won’t ADMIT that they have made America worse by their policies, refuse to acknowledge their mistakes and SHOWN they have no heart for poor people, etc. However, the point being, if they get their way our Country will no longer be America. It will be a Darwinian theocracy in the Islamic mold….and he who has the biggest gun rules!!

Fixed your statement……….

JohnnyReb

March 14th, 2013
12:48 pm

The fact that other terrorists have been tried in federal courts is not the point. The handling of combatants is very different versus treating them like citizen criminals. There’s your clue – citizen.

They are not citizens, do not deserve the protection that entails, and should be pushed to within one breath of life to get as much info from them as possible.

They aren’t your third grade classmate grown up to be a bank robber. They are at war with us.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 14th, 2013
12:50 pm

“Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award this year.

For those who think im making that up. I’m not.

They really have an award called that.”

Why wouldn’t they, Cheesy? He took a lot of ridiculous and moronic flack from the liberal elites for his conservative stances during his career.

And he told you poofs to stuff it each and every time.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 14th, 2013
12:57 pm

cheesy’s in the running for the Dirty Floor Fluke Profiles in Courage Award, I suppose.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 14th, 2013
12:58 pm

Here’s why Hillary won’t be the next president – her looks

Then I guess it’s Michelle Obama…

Just Saying..

March 14th, 2013
12:59 pm

Maybe one of the last GOP flavors of the month, (Bachman/Gingrich/Trump) could grab some face time by demanding the Obama administration reveal which states are being readied as gulags for gun owners.

To immediate adoration from the base…

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 14th, 2013
12:59 pm

“Many cons seem to be very upset because we are targeting those who have sworn to kill as many of us as possible.”

Here’s my problem with the current policy of killing with drones, Indigo, and it’s not new.

Dead men tell no tales.

Yes, you kill off one person, then another, but at some point you miss out on the intelligence you can gather on DOZENS of terrorists by capturing one alive.

It takes time and effort and intelligence to do this right, and yes it doesn’t give you as much of a campaign talking point as a body count, but at the end of the day the rewards outweigh the expenditure of effort.

This killing-first policy is the lazy man’s way of fighting terrorism and not as effective as alternatives can be.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 14th, 2013
1:02 pm

Hyperbolic nonsense at 12:47.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 14th, 2013
1:03 pm

but at some point you miss out on the intelligence you can gather on DOZENS of terrorists by capturing one alive.

Softie! Bleedin’ Heart Independent!

Just Saying..

March 14th, 2013
1:04 pm

“The first thing Americans will need to do after they retake the White House is evaluate the threats we face. ”

By saying the same things you’ve been posting for the last four years, Barry?

How’s that working out for you?

jconservative

March 14th, 2013
1:12 pm

8/20/2010
“Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said Thursday that most terrorism cases should be tried in civilian courts.
Kennedy addressed participants in the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference on Maui, where a panel discussion earlier this week reached a consensus in favor of using civilian courts instead of military commissions in most terrorism cases.
“Article III courts are quite capable of trying these terrorist cases,” Kennedy said, agreeing with the conclusion.”