Thursday, January 05, 2006

 

Homeland Security: Working or Not?

James K. Glassman, in this article at TCSDaily, argues that George Bush's administration's efforts at national security has been a success because the dog hasn't barked, i.e. no terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil and airline travel has been exceptionally safe. I won't argue with these assertations but am not convinced they are a result of Bush's policies.

In February, 1993, Islamic terrorists planted a truck full of explosives in the underground garage of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Fortunately only six people were killed plus about a thousand injured. Small numbers considering tens of thousands worked in the building.

For over eight years after the 1993 incident no foreign based individuals or groups staged a terrorist attack in the U.S. This is a period of time more than double that since 9/11 till now. No Homeland Security, no domestic spying (at least not along the lines of the illegal wiretaps now alleged), no super long security searches at airports, etc. Will the present efforts be able to beat this record? Obviously, we'll find out.

But I wonder about several things. How many resources and how much ability do the Islamic terrorists really have? It certainly took them a long time to go from the truck bomb to the airplane attack on the WTC. Maybe the only reason we've been spared more terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11 is a lack of resources and know-how by the terrorists.

Has U.S. soil been spared because terrorists are focusing on killing Americans (and others) in Afghanistan and Iraq? This is, in many ways, an easier battle than trying to sneak into the U.S. and arrange the materials and carry out plans for terrorist acts here. Plus, protecting their home turf probably has priority over attacking ours.

And, as I've iterated many times, I have a hard time believing that the Bush administration is really serious about homeland security when it continues to leave our southern borders wide open. It takes 2-3 hours to board an airplane but millions of unidentified illegal immigrants enter our country each year.

I am willing to admit that the Bush's policies and the Homeland Security program quite likely has provided some protection. But, I am not willing to give it a label of "successful" and am not willing to support the continued erosion of the privacy rights and other rights of U.S. citizens. The proof will take at least another five years. If we can't do better than before when none of the Bush policies and agencies were in action, it's all for naught.

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