In Face of Threats, America is Neither Shaken Nor Stirred
It sounds like -- and could be -- a plot from a James Bond
The dictator of a hermetic kingdom amasses a weapons stockpile that
makes his otherwise desperately poor country the scourge of its
region. The dictator finances his extravagant lifestyle and
relentless weapons research and development by selling previous
generations of weapons to many of the world's most unstable
countries. The freedom-loving peoples -- the United States and
Great Britain -- must stop him to save the world.
Unfortunately, this plot is all too real, and it's one battle not
even the resourceful Mr. Bond can win. North Korea, the hermetic
kingdom, secretly has shipped ballistic missiles and material to
make nuclear bombs to rogue states, such as Syria, Yemen, Iran and
Iraq. There, the weapons become part of the arsenal of terrorists
who threaten western interests around the globe. It's blackmail in
front of the entire world.
Of course, if this were a Bond adventure, we'd know from the
familiar music that it's only a matter of time before the sleek,
suave, secret agent who foils all international criminals without
wrinkling his suit or spilling his martini (shaken -- not stirred,
mind you), prevailed. Success is carefully scripted and takes long
enough only for Bond to employ all his new gadgets, cars and powers
In the real world, though, things rarely go so smoothly. The
villains, such as North Korea's Kim Il-Jong and Iraq's Saddam
Hussein, may be just as detestable as the Soviet-era foils in many
Bond movies. But they are less predictable, more volatile and far
more threatening. They command states. They can marshal -- in the
case of North Korea -- more than a million active soldiers to their
cause. They control weapons of mass destruction that threaten their
neighbors for hundreds of miles in each direction.
That's the bad news. The good news is, though we have no super
agents to match the exploits of 007, America is blessed with a
leadership team that won't take the decisions on war and peace --
with their life-and-death consequences -- lightly.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has witnessed combat first-hand and
felt the loss of men and women under his command. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld has ordered soldiers onto the field of
battle before. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, now a
veteran hand on security matters, functions as the eyes and ears of
President Bush. Vice-president Richard Cheney, who has served as
secretary of defense and White House chief of staff, is a voracious
reader of intelligence reports and valued adviser to the
What these individuals lack in Bond charm and flash, they more than
make up for in skill, experience and intellect. They understand the
gravity of their decisions, particularly those decisions that could
mean the lives of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who
would be placed in harm's way.
Those of us who have donned a military uniform appreciate the care
and expertise these people bring to their jobs. They understand the
importance of doing what needs to be done today instead of paying a
larger price for freedom and security tomorrow.
Sometimes it's tough to do the right thing. It's even tougher when
people on the sidelines, whose concept of war is limited to what
they've seen on television, call you a hawk or charge that you want
to make war to appease special interests.
At the end of the day, what draws us to Bond are not his gadgets,
his martinis or his beautiful women; it's that we realize the
sacrifice he makes when he has to drop all this to put his life on
the line in defense of the free world. We should remember that Bond
is the fantasy character, that few soldiers enjoy a life anything
like his and that those in charge -- President Bush and his
extremely qualified advisors -- realize the gravity of the
situation and the decisions they are called upon to make.
We must trust these leaders have pursued all options before opting
for war. Most importantly, once this decision is made, we
support the men and women in uniform who make our
freedom possible. Bond is a fictional character, but the fathers,
mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters on the front lines
are all too real. They give their time, their honor, their
intellect, their skill and, sometimes, their lives in the name of
They're the real James Bonds. They're the heroes. Politics aside,
whatever happens, they deserve our support.
Dexter Ingram, a former Naval Flight Officer, is a
threat assessment specialist & database editor in the Heritage
Foundation's Center for Media and Public Policy.
Originally appeared in Townhall.com and The Boston