Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stopping the Next 9/11

Reader linearthinker gave me a heads up on this opinion piece about the meaning of this election by Ronald Kessler. He says it is all about preventing the next 9/11.

WASHINGTON -- Contrary to what many pundits would have you believe, this election is not about side shows like the meaning of Macaca or Senator John Kerry's assessment of American soldiers' I.Q. Instead, voters face choices about the most fundamental issue: our national security and whether we can foil a devastating attack that could kill millions of Americans and wipe out our economy.

In talking about the war on terror, the Democrats have focused on how to beef up port security and why Osama bin Laden wasn't captured years ago at Tora Bora. But the key to stopping an attack is uncovering a plot before a nuclear device has been slipped on board a ship. Nor is bin Laden relevant to the war on terror. He has been neutralized, unable to communicate to his underlings because of fear of being killed.

The Republican administration understands that what is necessary to stop the next attack is a fragment of information that might lead to uncovering a plot. Obtaining that clue requires giving the FBI and CIA the necessary tools and funds to penetrate terrorist cells and make use of intercepted phone calls and emails.
Kerry's assesment of soldier's IQs is not in and of itself important. However, it is representative of a mind set that does not fully comprehend the threats we face. Otherwise a great piece that covers the Bush approact to countering the Islamic fascist threat.
Two days after 9/11, Andrew H. "Andy" Card, Jr. started to go over the day's schedule with President Bush. Bush stopped him. The previous evening, the president had developed plans for reshaping the government's response to terrorism.

Instead of passively waiting for the next attack, the U.S. would become the aggressor, taking on terrorists wherever they were. Instead of focusing on catching and prosecuting terrorists after they had killed innocent people, the government would switch its priorities to preventing attacks. Instead of relying on laws that created impediments to tracking down terrorists, the government would enact new laws so the FBI and other government agencies would not be handcuffed.

Bush told Card he wanted to rearrange the day's schedule so he could implement those plans. After the usual CIA briefing at 8 a.m., Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft began to brief Bush.

"They talked about how the terrorists got plane tickets, got on planes, moved from one airport to another, and then attacked our citizens," Card told me. "And the president, while he was very interested in that report, said, ‘Mr. Director, that's building a case for prosecution. I want to know what you have to say about the terrorist threats that haven't materialized yet and how we can prevent them.'"
Seems like a pretty good tactical plan for strengthening our shield to me. The other part of the President's plan is to use our sword to cut the sources of moral and material support for the fascists.

He is doing this with a combination of military offence and defence combined with economic warfare. So far there have been successes and failures in all of the efforts made. However, it is still way to early to tell about the ultimate success or failure of the policies. My feeling is that as long as the costs are tolerable (American deaths in Iraq represent about 5% of yearly traffic accident deaths in America. The extra cost of Iraq is around 1.5% of GDP.). This is not too high a price to pay to give the Iraqis time to get their house in order. I'd be willing to keep up the effort for at least five more years and maybe as long as twenty. Depending on how the situation evolves.
If the Democrats win control of Congress and their rhetoric and votes are to be believed, they would adopt the Clinton administration's spineless approach to fighting terrorism.

They would gut the USA Patriot Act.

They would stop interception of calls from al-Qaida to and from the U.S.

They would end tracking of terrorists' financial transfers.

They would bestow on al-Qaida terrorists who are being interrogated about planned plots legal rights similar to those enjoyed by American citizens.

Finally, they would cut off funds to support the war effort in Iraq, handing al-Qaida a win in what the terrorists themselves have described as a crucial battleground in their effort to defeat America and impose their vision of radical Islam on the world.
Now I'm not sure the picture is as dire as Mr. Kessler paints it. There are a lot of Democrats who have been voting with Republicans on these issues. What is critical are the committee chairmen who can bottle up legislation. Imagine House Member and impeached judge Alcee Hastings heading the House Intelligence Committee and more along the same line.

Not a pretty picture.

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