The issues and policies that we debate every day are actually solutions to problems facing America. We should spend more time defining those problems. To show why that’s important, let’s look at the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
I believe it goes back to how you define the problem of 9-11. If you accept the popular definition of: “We were attacked by terrorist,” then the solution is apparent. You go get the people who attacked you.
On the other hand, if you define 9-11 as the failure of the government to protect its citizens, then your outlook changes. At the time there was a list of things the government had failed to do. On the list were: lack of support for our diplomatic corps; decimation of our military; walls between law enforcement and information gatherers; walls within the law enforcement agencies and within information agencies; and peace negotiations for the sake of peace negotiations only. It was summed up as; “We didn’t know we were at war.”
If you believe the problem of 9-11 was; “We were attacked by terrorist,” then you were probably confused when Bush attacked Iraq because Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. You might think the concern over weapons of mass destruction was just an excuse for the attack.
If you accept the definition of 9-11 as a failure of the government, you probably had no problem with taking action against Iraq. The inability of our government to hold Hussein accountable for his invasion of Kuwait was probably the most obvious example of the failure of our diplomatic policies. The existence of weapons of mass destruction was an irrelevant factor. The reluctance to invade Iraq was due to concerns that America could not handle two wars at the same time.
With the popular view of 9-11 as just an attack, the killing of Bin Laden is viewed as end game; a final solution to 9-11. The Arab Spring, Benghazi, the closure of our embassies and the use of chemicals in Syria are viewed as more problems that have cropped up.
If we didn’t’t know we were at war before 9-11, are we sure killing Bin Laden ended the war? Is the Arab Spring, Benghazi, the closure of our embassies and the use of chemicals in Syria acts of a defeated enemy, the emergence of a new force, or a counterattack in an ongoing campaign? Does the present administration believe we are at war or have we returned to the old way of doing things that resulted in 9-11? Is the use of chemicals in Syria just another day in the jungle or is it the natural results of Obama’s hands off policy in the Middle East?
I’ll talk specifically about the use of chemicals in Syria in a moment, but first I want to go back to my central theme of defining problems.
My goal here is not to wow people with how well I explain the issues. My goal is to present a simple process people can use to separate democrat thought from conservative thinking.
You see, I believe there is a real disconnect between the way liberals see America and the way conservatives see America. The problem is that the democrats have managed to successfully define most of the problems facing America. It’s really difficult to come up with solutions to problems that have all been defined by the democrats.
This is what I want you to do. Pick an issue: immigration; medical care; climate change; or whatever. Then define the problem that the issue is trying to solve, first as the democrats have defined it and then as you would define it. By comparing and contrasting the definitions I trust you will see a clear distention between conservative and liberals, not in an abstract philosophical way but in a real meat and potato way as in “What is the problem we are trying to fix anyway?” The goal is not to show liberals and conservatives are different, we know that.
The goal is to construct a simple way of showing the difference on each issue. I am hoping someone will see the merits in this and explain it better than I have, because I feel it is important.
In the 9-11 example I tried to show how solutions to problems are colored by how the problem is defined. Here’s another example using the use of chemicals in Syria.
The democrats seem to define the use of chemicals in Syria as an immoral, inhuman act that the perpetrators had been warned not to do. In that case we should punish the perpetrators in order to reestablish a moral superiority and force the violators to act in a more humane way. Recently democrats have suggested that if we do not react, sometime in the future, chemical weapons may become a threat to the USA.
Before I give you my definition to the problem, here are some things you need to know about chemical and biological weapons.
ONE: Chemical and bio weapons are really deadly. One drop the size of a pin head will kill a person in less than three minutes. That’s not, “They got me sarge. Go on without me, it’s just a flesh wound.” It’s a real horrible and scary death in just a few minutes.
TWO: For all its death dealing capacity, it is really a poor combat weapon. Most modern militaries have protective suits and procedures for decontamination. So use of chemicals would mostly just slow down an advancing army.
THREE: The best use of chemicals is against an unprotected civilian population. This causes mass confusion, breaks the will of the people to fight or other physiological reasons.
FOUR: Instead of using chemical weapons, it is better to threaten or imply the use of chemicals. This is what Iraq did in first gulf war when they launched missiles into Israel that could carry chemicals but did not. It got almost as big a reaction as the actual use of chemicals would. The reason for the reluctance to use chemicals it this theory: if a group uses chemicals brazenly and recklessly then the world would rise up against the violators. Up until now it seems the use of chemicals against a country’s own people does not rise to a level that would cause the world to respond.
So I would say the problem with the uses of chemicals in Syria is the potential loss of the deterrent against the reckless and brazen use of chemical weapons and the illusion the world will rise up against the use of chemical weapons. In this case an overreaction would be as bad as a token reaction.
Here are some questions that need to be asked. Should we have picked this use of chemical weapons to take a stand? Should we just let it disappear in the red tape of government bureaucracy? Because the use of chemical is often for a psychological purpose, are we being played for a larger purpose?
This brings me back to your homework assignment. Take an issue; define the problem it is trying to solve, first as the democrats defines it and second as you would define the problem. Then compare and contrast. If you can do that you will notice 5 things.
ONE: There are two definitions to the problem, yours and the democrats.
TWO: The most wildly accepted definition to the problem is the democrat definition. Many times the republicans have failed to give any definition at all.
THREE: The democrat solutions best resolve the problem as it is defined by the democrats.
FOUR: The republican solutions do not solve the problem as the democrats have defined it.
FIVE: The reverse is true as well. The solutions the democrats purpose do nothing to resolve the problems as we have defined them. In fact, most time their solutions actually aggravate the problem as we have defined it.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
If you act now, and define several problems you will start to see a secret thread that runs through all of the democrat’s definition.
I think promoting our definitions to problems will help promote our solutions to the problems. Even if I am dead wrong, you will end up with a better understanding of the issues that face America today. So do your homework. I dare you.
Ps. If you Google techniques of problem solving and find a good site that explains how to define problems, you could apply the techniques in other areas such as helping you children to stand up against bullying.