PDA

View Full Version : America less safe now?



catch22
January 16th, 2007, 06:56 PM
This is from Michael Isikoff in the January 22nd issue of Newsweek:

Intel director john Negroponte gave Congress a sobering assessment last week of the continued threats from groups like Al Qaeda and Hizbullah. But even gloomier comments came from Henry Crumpton, the outgoing State Department terror coordinator. An ex-CIA operative, Crumpton told NEWSWEEK that a worldwide surge in Islamic radicalism has worsened recently, increasing the number of potential terrorists and setting back U.S. efforts in the terror war. "Certainly, we haven't made any progress," said Crumpton. "In fact, we've lost ground." He cites Iraq as a factor; the war has fueled resentment against the United States.

Crumpton noted some successes, such as improved joint efforts with foreign governments and a weakening of Al Qaeda's leadership structure. But he warned of future attacks. "We don't want to acknowledge we're going to get hit again in the homeland, but we are," he said. "That's a hard, ugly fact. But it's going to happen." Crumpton cited no specific intel, but said the most worrisome scenarios involve lone operatives who slip into the country and take directions through cyberspace. "How do you penetrate that?" he asked. Citing family financial pressures, Crumpton leaves office in two weeks. A State official, anonymous when discussing personnel matters, said no one has been nominated to replace him, so it could be a while before the post—a top counterterror job—is filled.


I believe that the Bush administration's policies have indeed made the country less safe, but I would like to see what you guys think.

FruitandNut
January 18th, 2007, 05:05 AM
Well one thing is for sure, over here in the UK top politicians (including Tony Blair) and senior security people have spoken of at least 1-3 generations of 'terrorism'. PC and votes and the like prevent them from qualifying the general brand of 'terrorism'. Personally I can't see the west, or indeed other non-Islamic countries putting up with it for anything like as long as 3 generations before getting REALLY NASTY in return. While God was prepared to to forgive even unto 7x7 times, I can't see the west going along with forgiving 7x7 '9-11s' before going vengeful - even with oil issues as a potential moderator.

Apokalupsis
January 18th, 2007, 07:38 AM
I never understood that position (that taking action against the enemy weakens us).


We take the fight to Al Qaeda, preventing them from attacking us at home.
We disrupt their financial backings and holdings.
We destroy much of their infrastructure (buildings, training facilities, weapon caches, etc...).
We capture or kill the majority of their leadership.
We capture or kill many of their rank and file.
We prevent them from attacking the nation.
America's homeland has not been attacked by Al-Qaeda since 911, but it was prior to 911.


Yet, we are less safe.

What sense does that make?

Let's ask it this way: Al Qaeda attacks. Instead of the US reacting militarily, what should the response have been to make the United States more safe (instead of less)? Then it would have to be demonstrated that such an act would result in being more safe than the US already is.

And if you meant to imply that it isn't the attacking of Al-Qaeda that has weakened us, but instead Iraq, well, how has that weakened? Things not going as well as hoped for in Iraq =/= America less safe. It merely = things not going well.

manise
January 18th, 2007, 11:02 AM
I never understood that position (that taking action against the enemy weakens us).


We take the fight to Al Qaeda, preventing them from attacking us at home.
We disrupt their financial backings and holdings.
We destroy much of their infrastructure (buildings, training facilities, weapon caches, etc...).
We capture or kill the majority of their leadership.
We capture or kill many of their rank and file.
We prevent them from attacking the nation.
America's homeland has not been attacked by Al-Qaeda since 911, but it was prior to 911.


Yet, we are less safe.

What sense does that make?

Let's ask it this way: Al Qaeda attacks. Instead of the US reacting militarily, what should the response have been to make the United States more safe (instead of less)? Then it would have to be demonstrated that such an act would result in being more safe than the US already is.

And if you meant to imply that it isn't the attacking of Al-Qaeda that has weakened us, but instead Iraq, well, how has that weakened? Things not going as well as hoped for in Iraq =/= America less safe. It merely = things not going well.The State Department/CIA operative interviewed for the story did not say, as far as I can tell, that taking military action against Al Qaeda weakened America. He did not, for example, criticize the war in Afghanistan, nor the worldwide campaign to capture AQ operatives. In fact, he lauded the cooperation with foreign governments and the successes against AQ's leadership structure.

The difference is Iraq. The war is not just "going badly," it's in critical condition by almost every assessment outside of the White House. That war, in his expert opinion, has increased the anger towards our nation, not decreased it. Pouring gasoline on a raging fire didn't make America safer, with "safer" defined as facing fewer terrorists than before the Iraq War. A recent National Intelligence Estimate (the combined opinion of America's intelligence community) confirmed this conclusion.

Online NewsHour: Analysis | Report on Iraq War Leaked | September 25, 2006 | PBS (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec06/intelligence_09-25.html)

catch22
January 18th, 2007, 11:20 AM
I never understood that position (that taking action against the enemy weakens us).


We take the fight to Al Qaeda, preventing them from attacking us at home.
We disrupt their financial backings and holdings.
We destroy much of their infrastructure (buildings, training facilities, weapon caches, etc...).
We capture or kill the majority of their leadership.
We capture or kill many of their rank and file.
We prevent them from attacking the nation.
America's homeland has not been attacked by Al-Qaeda since 911, but it was prior to 911.


Yet, we are less safe.

What sense does that make?

Let's ask it this way: Al Qaeda attacks. Instead of the US reacting militarily, what should the response have been to make the United States more safe (instead of less)? Then it would have to be demonstrated that such an act would result in being more safe than the US already is.

And if you meant to imply that it isn't the attacking of Al-Qaeda that has weakened us, but instead Iraq, well, how has that weakened? Things not going as well as hoped for in Iraq =/= America less safe. It merely = things not going well.


It does make sense.

Yes, we haven't been hit in a major attack since 9-11, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially Iraq ( i support the Afghanistan war, btw), have caused a surge in enemy activity and terrorist membership. The point is that an attack is probably going to happen soon. IMO, the Bush administration's aggressive policies have not done enough to lessen anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, in fact they have done quite the opposite.

snackboy
January 18th, 2007, 11:28 AM
We take the fight to Al Qaeda, preventing them from attacking us at home.Home, abroad? What does it really matter? The US military death toll has exceeded that of 9/11 not to mention the over 20,000 wounded. You kill a soldier, you undoubtly kill a father or mother, son or daughter, husband or wife - so while the damage is not to buildings here on the home front (which can be replaced) America continues to be attacked every single day.


We disrupt their financial backings and holdings.Hopefully we were doing this without the war.


We destroy much of their infrastructure (buildings, training facilities, weapon caches, etc...).Really, so they soon should be running out of IEDs, RPGs, and bullets right?


We capture or kill the majority of their leadership.
We capture or kill many of their rank and file.But yet after 3 years they continue to fight; to kill more Americans (and the fine citizens of other nations as well).


We prevent them from attacking the nation.
America's homeland has not been attacked by Al-Qaeda since 911, but it was prior to 911.

While true statements, they are not necessarily fair ones to make. The last al-qaeda attack on US soil was the 1993 WTC bombing an 8 year difference. Now unless I missed an attack somewhere, we have another 5 years before the statements are somewhat fair (although neither can be absolute).



Let's ask it this way: Al Qaeda attacks. Instead of the US reacting militarily, what should the response have been to make the United States more safe (instead of less)? Then it would have to be demonstrated that such an act would result in being more safe than the US already is.After 9/11 we had the world in the palm of hands. We probably could have asked the world to do anything. And we [NATO] began doing the right thing by toppling those governments which supported al-Qaeda. But somehow we lost our way - we attacked a country which had very little to do with aQ. We didn't finish the first job before starting the second job. Now, in order to complete the jobs, we are going to commit more troops/resources to both Iraq and Afghanistan to hopefully clean up this mess. How can committing more resources and more death be making America stronger? Hardened, yes. Stronger, no way.

Ibelsd
January 18th, 2007, 12:23 PM
First, we should note the Isikoff has been writing anti-govt pieces for Newsweek since the Clinton days. He also writes for the Huffington post. It is important to understand the reporter's bias when discussing world events. As expected, he has cherry picked statements made by Crumpton.

For instance, while Isikoff claims that Crumpton derided our efforts in Iraq, Crumpton made the following observation:

In addition, as our collective efforts in Iraq and that region constrain the mobility of foreign fighters into Iraq, enemy recruits may seek other areas in which to gather and operate. Europe is a potential target.

The point being that Iraq, while not going well, is also not a complete boondoggle. Not yet. It may turn out to be one, but I don't think anyone can make that claim right now. In addition, whether we are safer or not is also a bit nefarious.

Crumpton made the observation about the war on terrorism:

It will last decades, if
not longer. And this ideological conflict—halting the spread of al-Qa’ida’s
perverted world view—will be at the heart of this challenge.
So, our safety will most certainly be in flux. I don't think anyone would expect some constant downward trend. We may be safer over the next year, followed by a couple years of increased danger. That is the nature of any war. I don't think attempting to micro-analyze it is very effective nor accurate.

I think Iraq fits into part of an overall strategy which Crumpton describes as,

Disrupting enemy networks in the war on terrorism is an essential activity, but it can only take us part way to success.

He goes on to talk about other means to disrupt enemy networks. Obviously, Iraq and Afghanistan are parts of fighting one aspect of the overall war.

I think an interesting inference he made was in the following passage,

Some Europeans continue to argue
that terrorism is merely – or mainly – a criminal problem.
He never indicicated the U.S. should behave more like the Europeans. Rather, he suggested that the U.S. should do a better job of explaining itself. Interesting, since it is much more in line with the current Republican admin's thinking rather than the mainstream pov of the Democrats.

I could go on, but here is the link:
Testimony by Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton Coordinator for Counterterrorism Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (http://216.109.125.130/search/cache?p=Henry+Crumpton&fr=yfp-t-501&toggle=1&ei=UTF-8&u=foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2006/CrumptonTestimony060405.pdf&w=henry+crumpton&d=W38GQkVuN0Di&icp=1&.intl=us)

It is alwasy better to go right to the source rather than some "investigative" reporter's view of the source.

Ibelsd
January 23rd, 2007, 01:52 PM
I can't believe I killed this thread. I thought someone would step up!

catch22
January 23rd, 2007, 02:10 PM
well I started the thread, I might as well step up.

So, our safety will most certainly be in flux. I don't think anyone would expect some constant downward trend. We may be safer over the next year, followed by a couple years of increased danger. That is the nature of any war. I don't think attempting to micro-analyze it is very effective nor accurate.

Our safety will certainly be in flux, and always will be, but my question is if the war in Iraq has caused an unnatural spike in anti-American terrorist operations. IMO, yes it has.


I think Iraq fits into part of an overall strategy which Crumpton describes as,
Quote:
Disrupting enemy networks in the war on terrorism is an essential activity, but it can only take us part way to success.
He goes on to talk about other means to disrupt enemy networks. Obviously, Iraq and Afghanistan are parts of fighting one aspect of the overall war.

I disagree that Iraq was an important part of the strategy. No connection has been found between Iraq and Al-Queda, and the insurgency and apparent American occupation has only built up more anti-American sentiment in the world, especially the middle east. The Bush Administration has yet to present a logical reason, in relation to the wider war on terrorism, for the Iraq war.

Ibelsd
January 23rd, 2007, 03:03 PM
In addition, as our collective efforts in Iraq and that region constrain the mobility of foreign fighters into Iraq

Crumpton obviously disagrees and goes on to note,

At the global level, Al Qa’ida (AQ) still seeks to attack the United States, and despite suffering enormous damage since 2001, still retains a capability to do
so. But, increasingly, the threat comes from smaller, more diffuse, locally-based
groups that are not under AQ command, but rather share its vision of a global war
against the civilized world, especially against those Muslims who embrace a vision
of tolerance and interconfessional harmony. In Europe, this threat manifests itself
in a variety of ways: direct attacks like those in Madrid and London; recruitment
of terrorists and foreign fighters for Iraq; and ideological safe havens in immigrant
communities isolated from mainstream society. In addition, as our collective
efforts in Iraq and that region constrain the mobility of foreign fighters into Iraq,
enemy recruits may seek other areas in which to gather and operate. Europe is a
potential target.

Crumpton has certainly not indicated that Iraq has led to an "unnatural" spike in anti-American ops. In fact, he noted that our efforts have probably redirected such ops towards Europe more than the U.S.

I am not arguing that Iraq was tied to Al Queda prior to our invasion. I think it is also noteworthy that Crumpton addresses this when he observes that Al Queda's ops are highly limited anyhow. The current battle is aimed at defeating the smaller Al Queda like groups who have the same goals Al Queda has. These groups are clearly operating in Iraq right now. Whether they were operating freely in Iraq four years ago is not relevant. Indeed, just as U.S. resources are being used in Iraq, so are Al Queda resources and Al Queda-like group resources.

I completely concede one point. Bush has done a piss poor job of communicating how Iraq ties into the war on Islamic fascism. He has mismanaged the war of information concerning the Middle East and our involvement. This point was also made by Crumpton when he noted we need to do a better job of explaining to the Euros that this war is not one that can be won by treating it like a series of criminal investigations.

catch22
January 23rd, 2007, 03:11 PM
You state that there are Al-Queda like groups operating in Iraq right now. I can agree to that, but do you think our occupation of the country is helping or hurting their recruiting? The effect on the Iraqi youth from the horrors of "Operation Enduring Freedom" has been great. 9 of 10 Iraqi children see the U.S. as an occupying force. My argument is that the possible benefit of slightly disrupting small terror groups in Iraq is far outweighed by the obvious negative, breeding an entire new generation of anti-American fundamentalists, which appears to be the case in Iraq.

Ibelsd
January 24th, 2007, 08:48 AM
You state that there are Al-Queda like groups operating in Iraq right now. I can agree to that, but do you think our occupation of the country is helping or hurting their recruiting? The effect on the Iraqi youth from the horrors of "Operation Enduring Freedom" has been great. 9 of 10 Iraqi children see the U.S. as an occupying force. My argument is that the possible benefit of slightly disrupting small terror groups in Iraq is far outweighed by the obvious negative, breeding an entire new generation of anti-American fundamentalists, which appears to be the case in Iraq.

My opinion on this doesn't matter. The op presented an article which relied on expert testimony (Crumpler's) as evidence. The pov of Crumpler was cherry picked in the article and therefore the contention in the op falls flat. If you want my opinion anyhow, I find the argument regarding, "breeding a new generation of terorists," to be completely devoid of reason. Anti-Western sentiment would persist with or without Iraq. The "breeding" of new recruits would be occuring somewhere if not there. Crumpler disagrees with you and notes that terrorist training and such is looking outward from Iraq, not in Iraq itself, because of the success of the U.S. thus far.

catch22
January 24th, 2007, 01:45 PM
maybe you missed the 9/10 stat...last time I checked "occupying force" wasn't a good thing

Ibelsd
January 24th, 2007, 02:03 PM
maybe you missed the 9/10 stat...last time I checked "occupying force" wasn't a good thing

I am unsure what reference the 9/10 stat is referring. Whether being an occupying force is a good thing or not is not really the issue here. Is America more or less safe is the issue. Your contention is that we are less safe and that we are less safe as a result of our efforts in Iraq. My rebuttal is that your source was horribly misquoted and misinterpreted by both you and the "investigative" reporter. In fact, the source said nothing of the thing you are claiming. Rather, he is claiming our war against Islamo-fascism is an up and down struggle that will be around for many, many years. It is ludicrous to try to encapsulate the entire war into a meaningless question such as the one presented in this thread. We are in the middle of a war. We are not safe. We have made progress in defeating the enemy. A hell of a lot more work still needs to be done. One of the key items on the list is convincing Euros (and Democrats) that this war will not be won by treating it as a matter for police. Certainly, police like efforts have a role. There is a military component that needs to play out and much of Europe is still hesitant to engage via this means.

catch22
January 24th, 2007, 02:19 PM
ok, screw the article

My point is that the war in Iraq has had the opposite of the intended effect on our safety. The 9/10 referred to the 9/10 Iraqi children that see the U.S. as an occupying force.

And just because recruiters are looking outside Iraq does not mean that Iraq was not a factor. Our invasion did not exactly go over too well in much if the Middle East. The invasion and occupation are a source of anti-American feelings in surrounding nations as well as Iraq. The effect of the Iraq war does not stop at the Iraqi borders.

KevinBrowning
January 24th, 2007, 08:12 PM
As Bush explained in the State of the Union, there is proof that several terrorist plots have been foiled in the past few years, including one recently involving UK-USA flights. Al Zarqawi and numerous other al Qa'ida leaders have been killed. Saddam and several top Ba'ath officials have been killed. Many others have been captured. The biggest reorganization of the federal government in decades has been enacted, enabling better communication between national security agencies, through the Homeland Security Department. The Taliban has been removed from power. Talks are expected to resume soon regarding North Korea's nuclear program. Iran has been given UN sanctions. These are all positive measures, not negative.

FruitandNut
January 24th, 2007, 10:49 PM
Well Ibby, if you reckon that things are getting safer it seems to fly in the face of a growing consenus to the contrary.

Over here in the UK the Home Secretary and the Chiefs of security and Intelligence have stated the situation is a long-haul problem, perhaps lasting 1-3 generations. Over your side of the Pond similar heavyweight opinion has expressed much the same assessment. All Iraq and Afghanistan ops appear to have done is poke a stick into the hive of the killer bees.

You of course will have superior powers of knowledge and reasoning.

CC
January 25th, 2007, 06:15 AM
KB:
As Bush explained in the State of the Union, there is proof that several terrorist plots have been foiled in the past few years, including one recently involving UK-USA flights.
"As Bush explained" would make me doubt what he is "explaining". He does not explain much, he just does, even when it flies in the face of many on the ground generals and public opinion. He said there is proof, but then gave no source for said proof. I'm not saying some were not thwarted, I just don't believe Bush didn't have much help that he failed to point out.


The biggest reorganization of the federal government in decades has been enacted, enabling better communication between national security agencies, through the Homeland Security Department.
Of course the jury is still out on just how well that will work should we again be attacked.

The Taliban has been removed from power.
Yet they are still around and causing many deaths and problems to be dealt with.

Talks are expected to resume soon regarding North Korea's nuclear program.
Talks resume. That means talk had stopped. It is a ploy that NK has used more than once.

Iran has been given UN sanctions.
So had iraq, that went well eh?

These are all positive measures, not negative.
They could be positive, or they could be negative, the proof is in the pudding as they say, and the pudding won't be served up for some time.

Ibelsd
January 25th, 2007, 07:45 AM
Well Ibby, if you reckon that things are getting safer it seems to fly in the face of a growing consenus to the contrary.

Over here in the UK the Home Secretary and the Chiefs of security and Intelligence have stated the situation is a long-haul problem, perhaps lasting 1-3 generations. Over your side of the Pond similar heavyweight opinion has expressed much the same assessment. All Iraq and Afghanistan ops appear to have done is poke a stick into the hive of the killer bees.

You of course will have superior powers of knowledge and reasoning.

Did you actually read what I wrote???? Let me highlight a few of the key points.


My rebuttal is that your source was horribly misquoted and misinterpreted by both you and the "investigative" reporter

Rather, he is claiming our war against Islamo-fascism is an up and down struggle that will be around for many, many years.

It is ludicrous to try to encapsulate the entire war into a meaningless question such as the one presented in this thread.

So, where did I say we are safer? Rather, I have noted such a metric is impossible to guage.

On the other hand, your assessment of our stick poking is not widely agreed upon. Indeed, the author of the article presented in this thread does not share this opinion. That has been more of an assessment made by politicians rather than serious political and military scientists.
<br><i><font color="red">The below text has been automerged with this post.</i></font><br>

ok, screw the article

My point is that the war in Iraq has had the opposite of the intended effect on our safety. The 9/10 referred to the 9/10 Iraqi children that see the U.S. as an occupying force.

And just because recruiters are looking outside Iraq does not mean that Iraq was not a factor. Our invasion did not exactly go over too well in much if the Middle East. The invasion and occupation are a source of anti-American feelings in surrounding nations as well as Iraq. The effect of the Iraq war does not stop at the Iraqi borders.

I would suggest you read the article. You may actually gain some differing insight.

yogurt252
March 13th, 2007, 08:24 PM
I never understood that position (that taking action against the enemy weakens us).

We take the fight to Al Qaeda, preventing them from attacking us at home.
We disrupt their financial backings and holdings.
We destroy much of their infrastructure (buildings, training facilities, weapon caches, etc...).
We capture or kill the majority of their leadership.
We capture or kill many of their rank and file.
We prevent them from attacking the nation.
America's homeland has not been attacked by Al-Qaeda since 911, but it was prior to 911.

Yet, we are less safe.


I don't mean to backtrack, but I think this needs another look

I agree with everything that was said about Al-Qaeda in this post, but a CLEAR distinction must be made between the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war. The Afghan war was 100% necessary and accomplished all of what you listed above Apok, we are in agreement. But the Iraq war was a different story all along. Saddam Hussein, as horrible as he was, was not a global terrorist, and had no part in the 9/11 attacks. He ruled his country with an awful iron fist and in doing so, kept terrorism to the minimum. Now, if the US was truly in a campaign against global terrorism that was the threat to the homeland security of the United States then Iraq was a completely unnecessary tangent to begin with. In getting into this mess in Iraq, we have opened up a country with no strong govt. that has become a terrorist haven and a convenient place to kill Americans, they just happen to be soldiers. Now, we are completely bogged down in Iraq, fighting a war that had no purpose to begin with, and killing off countless soldiers constantly. And lets not forget how many civilian Iraquis are killed every day in terrorist bombings over there. In this respect taking over in Iraq was a move that increased global terrorism greatly and had no intent of fighting global terrorism to begin with.

What say you?

Just Me
March 13th, 2007, 08:52 PM
Let me ask this... Is it just me or would it make more sense if we were under a threat from terrorists that they would attack while the war is going on over there? All or most of America's attention is on this war. There are terrorists in other countrys. So why wait till the troops get back over here? why not attack while the majority of Americas attention is on Iraq? Do they actually think that ALL of the terrorist is in Iraq??

FruitandNut
March 14th, 2007, 12:59 AM
Ibby - Islamic terrorism has always been there, but was usually localised and not bothering Uncle Sam too much. Now it has population numbers and western oil money and western technology with which to further its ambitions.

What we have done by inserting western values (often in a clumsy way) into a diaspora that 'sees' things differently, is to, as I pointed out, kinda stir things up. Saddam and bin-Laden were of 'our' short sighted creation; as were/are many others in that region that we have sought to use and manipulate to what we thought was our advantage.