[P]roliferation problems are so complex that we would be
foolhardy to think that they can be resolved by becoming
Fortress America or going on a rampage of thinly veiled
-- Amy Smithson, Center for Strategic and International Studies
There are only a few things you can get me to do by
hitting me over the head. At some point, I have to believe
that what you want me to do is in my interest too.
Military power and influence are not the same thing
--Bruce Jentleson, Dir. Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke
Attack cities only when there is no alternative.
Is terrorism a threat that could destroy the American way of life and with it, our existence as a nation state?
Contrary to the alarmist pap forced down our throats by this administration, terrorism is not a major threat to the average American taxpayer. (The nontaxpayers among you are a different story.) The chance of contracting AIDS is a greater threat to your well-being than terrorism.
What is a danger to America is state-sponsored terrorism, which is a category that is not commonly used in present dialog on the topic.
Clearly, Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism is an irritating and obvious manifestation. This was deadly, but insignificant far as being a nation-level threat. Indicators exist that the East German Stasi supported the Red Army Faction of the 60's through 90's. Again, not a national threat. They were petty criminals (terrorists) acting out a nihilist agenda.
Today's terrorists are groups like Hezbollah, thousands of members strong, backed by Iran and possibly even elements within the U.S.-supported Iraqi regime.
Indicators exist that link Syria, Iran and North Korea in an alliance of rogue states cooperating to create nuclear and chemical weapons that can be operationally employed by terrorists. (The rogue state of the U.S.A. is out of this loop.) This is a definition of state-sponsored terrorism, which is a great threat not only to the U.S. but the entire civilized world. That would be the Coalition of the Willing -- you know, Britain and America.
The indicators are that Russia and China are also cooperating in this endeavor. Certainly, the question of Pakistan's complicity should be explored.
In a little-covered story stateside, a 12-yr. U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations counterterrorism expert David Gaubatz was sent on a mission to track down suspect WMD sites in Iraq. He said he found heavily fortified bunkers, but when two congressmen -- Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Curt Weldon -- requested his reports, all 60 of them had disappeared.
The NYT dismissed him, and few other outlets have touched it, perhaps because of the lethal incompetence implied. From London's The Spectator:
"Mr Gaubatz verbally told the Iraq Study Group (ISG) of his findings, and asked them to come with heavy equipment to breach the concrete of the bunkers and uncover their sealed contents. But to his consternation, the ISG told him they didn’t have the manpower or equipment to do it and that it would be ‘unsafe’ to try.
‘The problem was that the ISG were concentrating their efforts in looking for WMD in northern Iraq and this was in the south,’ says Mr Gaubatz. ‘They were just swept up by reports of WMD in so many different locations. But we told them that if they didn’t excavate these sites, others would.’
"That, he says, is precisely what happened. He subsequently learnt from Iraqi, CIA and British intelligence that the WMD buried in the four sites were excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with help from the Russians, and moved to Syria. The location in Syria of this material, he says, is also known to these intelligence agencies. The worst-case scenario has now come about. Saddam’s nuclear, biological and chemical material is in the hands of a rogue terrorist state — and one with close links to Iran ("I Found Saddam's WMD Bunkers.")
And I know Glenn Greenwald and the left half of the blog world would dismiss this agent's findings as balderdash, using some fine ad hominum needlework, but what if there is some validity to his allegations?
Where does that leave U.S. policymakers vis-a-vis terrorism? Will terrorism ever destroy America? If we presume an Iranian/Syrian/North Korean nexus, the solution cannot be unilateral U.S. action. The U.S. policy has been to portray this problem as a them-vs.us, Hatfield and McCoys-type feud. But this is not the reality.
The entire U.N. should be invited to counter this global threat. All of NATO, to include France, Spain and all of Europe, have a horse in this race. America is not alone, although a cowboy has done his best to isolate U.S. interests in the world arena, plundering 200+ years of goodwill in the process.
The U.S is currently fighting wars that focus on minutiae, while the bigger picture is summarily ignored. We are so blindsighted by the bijou pictures: Rudy on the heap of 9-11 rubbish, smoke swirling about him. That, my Republican associates assure me, will get him elected.
What is the solution to the actual threat? Clearly the answer is above Ranger's pay grade, but somebody needs to develop a comprehensive statement of policy that accurately reflects the realities of the threat. At this point, it is still containable, and from this side can only be addressed with a national, non-partisan approach.
The U.S. is riven by party differences while the external threat will only continue to fester and grow, until it is systemic. Fiddling while Rome burns. Not just fiddling, but actively fanning the fires, and creating a larger enemy than before.
Osama bin Laden is not a major threat unless a nation-state arms him and points him in our direction. Preventing this occurrence should be the focus of U.S. policies.
Forget Afghanistan and Iraq. These are dead-end streets.