Thursday, August 05, 2004
National Defense and Homeland Security
"When you connect all these streams of intelligence, it paints an alarming picture." - White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, quoted today aboard Air Force One.Indeed it does. Earlier this week the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror alert level to orange in key cities around the nation, in light of specific and detailed threat intelligence they had received.
Many people from the left and in the media are crying that the Bush Administration did this purely for politics. They have tried explaining away the intelligence as "years" old. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge knows better:
"'Old information isn't irrelevant information — particularly with this kind of enemy,' Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Wednesday in Nashville ... I categorically state that the none of the terror threats are politically motivated.'"President Bush has taken quite a bit of heat for not "acting upon intelligence" leading up to 9/11. I'm not really sure what these critics expected him to do--Ground all air traffic on August 1, 2001, due to some vague, seemingly disparate, and extremely unclear intelligence?
Now, fast forward to today. There is specific information suggesting a potential attack on various financial centers of our nation. DHS has taken steps to mobilize and increase security around these facilities. Yet, local authorities are complaining about the traffic, radio stations are interviewing displaced cab drivers, and those in the media and on the left are suggesting the intelligence was outdated and the increased security is all about politics.
Is this not a double standard? Either he acted too late in 2001, or the increased security of today is premature. Which is it?
THE TRUTH ABOUT INTELLIGENCE
First of all, members of the media do not, have not, and will not have access to all of the intelligence data that our nation's leaders see on a day-to-day basis. Our leaders will not, and CANNOT, disclose this intelligence. If you hear about an elevated terror alert on the news, you can assure yourself there is a just cause for
Porter Goss, of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recently spoke at a public event where some members of my family were in attendance. To paraphrase, he said that there have been countless success stories in our battle against the terrorists. He added that you won't see it on TV, you won't read about it in the newspaper, but know that we have thwarted attacks and are disrupting the enemy and the enemy's efforts.
Some people ask, "Why won't we hear about this?"
The answer is simple. If you disclose the intelligence you receive, you compromise your methods for receiving it. If the enemy discovers what you know, and how you came to know that information, the enemy will adapt.
THE LIMITS OF HOMELAND SECURITY
In today's environment, the Department of Homeland Security is an effective tool in aiding the defense of our great nation. We cannot, however, win the War on Terror by playing defense. If we strengthen our airport security, the terrorists will adapt and find another target.
If we strengthen the security surrounding our financial institutions, the terrorists will find another target. Schools. Convention centers. Grocery stores. Shopping malls. Bridges. Tunnels. Communication networks. They'll use trucks. Airplanes. Cars. Pedestrians. Chemical and biological weapons. Dirty bombs. Nuclear weapons.
We are fighting a faceless but meticulous enemy that is determined to strike us. Ours is a free and open society, something the terrorists despise, and something they use against us. If we put our guard up on one front, they'll find another weakpoint. We cannot have armed guards in every hallway, in every alley, in every building, on every train, in every city. Americans need to be alert, and need to know that, in the eyes of a terrorist, there is a target painted on every one of us: man or woman, black or white, adult or child.
THE BUSH DOCTRINE OF PREEMPTIVE DEFENSE
Homeland Security is an effective tool for coordinating the prevention of terrorist attacks. But as I claim above, we won't win the war by hunkering down and waiting for the terrorists to identify a new target and hit us first.
We will only win when we go on the offense, when we hunt down this human waste in their places of origin. We will win when we topple the governments that harbor terrorists, and eliminate their safe havens. We will win when we disrupt their networks and kill or capture their leaders.
We will win this war when they realize that we will strike them first, we will strike them fast, and we will strike them hard. If we prevent their likes from plotting against our nation, or even entering our great country, then ours will be a far safer nation.
ON ROADBLOCKS AND WAR
I don't know how effective the roadblocks are in preventing an attack. It may secure the facility behind the roadblock, but a terrorist determined to strike will strike something else instead.
However, if our leaders say that intelligence indicates terrorist scumbags are targeting specific sites, then those sites should be secured. Without question. Without explanation (which undermines our intelligence efforts). Without political finger pointing. Without whining from those who are inconvenienced. Human lives--OUR lives--are at stake.
Freedom has its price. For some, the price is risking (or losing) their life fighting for this country. For others, the price is enduring security precautions so that our nation and freedoms may be preserved. Regardless, we are at war. On 9/11, they brought the fight to us, and we must fight back--not only here, but on their turf as well.