Should we declare war?
It sounds like a simple question but since the US has not declared war on fundamentalist Islam or international terror organizations, the question remains should we declare war now?
It has many advantages-- first, as Harry Summers noted- it clarifies the mind. Declaring war focuses you and the nation on the task at hand.
Second it would be easier to mobilize the nation, the economy and the populace to the task of defeating our enemy. If we have made a more serious mistake than not declaring war on the enemy during this time of great crisis, I don't know what it is. It was possible to do in the days after 9/11. We didn't do it.
Third, every enlistment contract in the US military reads (though few actually read it) that during time of war or national emergency the enlistment is extended to the duration PLUS six months. That would stop the silly discussion about stop-loss as a backdoor draft. That would not make a draft more likely for the forces required still need to be trained to the same level they are at currently.
Fourth, we could take legal measures permissable during wartime to silence actions aiding the enemy or hindering a nation at war. Sean Penn doing a real movie from jail might not be such a bad thing. Treason is a harsh word and it should remain so. War has visited us all and the nation should be able to punish those who think their rights of free expression infringe upon the sanctity of the nation.
The question remains should we declare war now? After all that has happened in both OEF and OIF and in the world...can the US effectively mobilize the will power to declare war against the enemy? This is my major criticism of the Bush Administration-- that when we declared the war on terror we did not actually declare war.
Now I can't see Kerry doing any better, but I think we should correct the mistake and start doing it right from here on out.
My perspective and my perspective only though I welcome debate on it. I realize that in this polarized nation we live in this will probably not happen in the near future-- short of another large scale domestice terror attack (which is sure to come, sooner or later).