Pre-911 Presidential Decision Directive 39 framed the terrorism problem as crisis management led by the FBI and Consequence Management led by Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, the problem of terrorism when fully examined includes a third and essential component useful in counter-terrorism intelligence exercises. This element introduced here as source violence (SV) is perhaps the most effective preventative aspect of the terrorism problem. Reputedly cited as a root cause for terrorism, McEntire quoting Lash wrote “the compound of poverty, powerlessness, lack of opportunity, and injustice is volatile” (McEntire, 2009 pg. 142). While definitions for terms like terrorism, poverty, opportunity, justice, and power are grossly lacking and consensus is also lacking the competing interest influencing the commitment of resources to various arms extending from the roots of conflict includes cultural wars spawn from one group arguing that free trade, profits, spread of democratic ideals- even religion should not be restricted from spreading. Globalization realities on the other hand have had both very positive and very negative consequences at times. Both diplomacy and force have been used to justify positions by contending parties on opposite ends of the conflicts. However, the losses from war when clearly put into perspective support terrorism and clearly demonstrates the violence does not offer real solutions to the terrorism problem because violence it is a contagious disease itself (Slutkin, 2013). Still there are some instances violence may not be avoidable when encountering opponents, but the results are highly predictable both for the victim and perpetrator regardless if the culture calls it illegal or a legally permissible killing, such as an officer or soldier following commands.
Limitations of Legislation
McEntire (2009 pg. 145) alleges the U.S. government grew less concerned with State enemies in the Mid 90’s and more concerned with terrorist organizations and individuals. If this is supported by analysis, this presents a great vulnerability to the U.S. from a strategic military point of view. Essentially it suggests the hysteria of over-reacting to smaller threats distracted resources away from larger potential threats for nearly a decade.
The USA Patriot Act 2001 and Comprehensive Homeland Security Act 2003 together dramatically began a decade long process reforming federal legal and intelligence approaches aimed to improve national security. One positive element of the Patriot Act is the law allows the prosecution without statute of limitations. This aspect of the law opens up the prospect of going after terrorists long after their crimes have been committed and increases the likelihood intelligence may track more criminals and hold them accountable. The law also relaxed and clarified earlier misunderstandings regarding the information sharing allowed, although insiders have suggested the culture still has serious problems with regard to how intelligence activities are conducted, much less shared. Thus the net result was no real improvement in sharing information.
USA Patriot Act consolidated 22 federal agencies into a giant agency. Coordination between them is one area of great concern. On its face the notion of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing comes to mind.
In 2010, Faddis, a former CIA operative suggested, “the U.S. created a dangerous illusion of homeland security...we have turned our national defense into an excuse to feed the public trough” (McEntire, 2009 pg. 322). With billions spent since 911, the level of protection remains immeasurable and we lack universal standards for counter-terrorism in all three components Crisis Management, Consequence Management, and Source Violence Analysis. Note, a recent study revealed violence acts as a contagious disease and consequently can be tracked as such by regions (Slutkin, 2013).
While the prevention of funding terrorism was another positive attribute of the USA Patriot Act there were several limitation to the act including; a miscalculated anti-justice element in the harboring section. The negotiation with IRA leading to truce is an example when aiding terrorist to settle disputes is important and legal professionals need protection from prosecution as the law is currently written. The increased wiretapping should also have contained other safeguards for the general public to limit potential abuses of expansions of intelligence gathering. While this newly increased domestic and international spying could be viewed as a necessary sacrifice of privacy and broader international risks of policy scrutiny, some generally assumed privacy protections U.S. citizens tend to think are protected by the constitution of the U.S. and some previous rights such as the right to representation and a trial by jury which is suspended under the Patriot Act for persons labeled as a terrorist in vague non-evidence based processes. Thus, the Patriot Act is problematic and linked to human rights abuses in detention centers and black sites globally. In some instances innocent people have been casualties of this war on terror. Overall there seems to be a growing consensus the policy which grew out of 911 was often incomplete and hastily put together. The Patriot act attempted to address the information sharing problem, but it failed to institute exact systems and processes to demonstrate improvement in intelligence activities. However, the law provided an opportunity to examine and address the issues, which over time in a patchwork of human efforts has in my analysis led to some breakthroughs on the reality of improving security and limiting risks.
The Comprehensive Homeland Security Act (CHSA) contains regulations for critical infrastructure, security, railroad security, border control, and weapons of mass destruction. This led to items which improved a systemic approach at inspection and new technology to detect radioactive materials, although it may underestimate human ingenuity at developing technology to avoid detection. These tools in reality are not widely distributed due to costs and training on use and sophistication of the gadgets versus the operators represents false positives and false negative concerns in testing. The U.S. tends to publicize what it is the country is focused on in terms of how the U.S. is spending money to fight enemies and who the partners are in this fight. While public disclosure and transparency is some regard is useful, on the other hand are risks presented by broadcasting a specific company build radiation detection technology? Once the enemy obtains such devises it may be possible to design around it or penetrate through cyber warfare to obtain blueprints which happens more often than commonly discussed. Presently no known material to mask radiation exists, but with trips to planets and human ingenuity, is it really unrealistic to assume one day masking such materials will be fully possible. Afterall, scientists are researching ways to contain the nuclear waste since that is a real threat presently due to the science and timeline around how long the nuclear waste is predicted to remain harmful to human health. Detection and physical safeguards to critical infrastructure were ironically less prioritized prior to 911. CHSA while far from perfect, at least has begun a serious set of steps to improve national security in terms of where we locate things, and how we secure them. Still the hacking attacks recently reveal, despite our attempts to get more secure, human errors account for a large part of risks and vulnerabilities.
One of the largest undeniable criticism is that the U.S. manufactures or uses many of the most harmful agents to human health, including weapons and drugs on this planet at rates that far outpace other nations. If our commitment is to protect life and be a beckon for liberty and justice the laughable nonproliferation steps, failing drug wars, ridiculous incarceration rates, and hypocritical distribution of aid to countries in need combined with the evidence of corruption and disintegration of the U.S. constitution reflect a lack of congruence between stated intentions and actions.
From a strict behavioral analysis point of view, the violence in the U.S. and coming out of the U.S. reflects a disease on a mass scale. How the rest of the world responds to the U.S. and our diseased populations depends how well we clean up our act. Pope Francis recently “called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil”, and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labor for developed countries. Likewise the world bank head as cited by Francis stated (2002), “terrorism will not end until poverty is eliminated” (McEntire, 2009 pg. 142). Based on the evidences available it is not possible to conclude safety is the real goal. The actions being taken, including piece meal military interventions, do not support the aim to reduce violence and improve harmony in the world. In fact most of the individuals involved in fighting the never ending war against so called terrorists, are not specialists in peace and know very little about the science of harmony in human relations and environmental sustainability needed for both peace and a sustainable war if such a war was ever needed. Humans build nuclear power plants in earthquake and tsunami regions. That is not intelligence, that is ignorance which is an offspring of poverty. To design a safer world requires a level of competence and expertise not best left to individuals that have a bias towards destructive and contaminated motivations. Power is not the solution to conflict and often it is the abuse of power which reinforces conflict. The age of dominance by force is over. No one wins from contamination, nuclear destruction, or the contagious disease of violence. Disputes can be managed more safely and where defense is necessary it can be carried out much more responsibly. Lacking accountability and hiding behind corrupt laws and inadequate misinformed and unintelligent ideas can’t be allowed to justify death and destruction for any reason least not the faulty alleged good intentions of patriots. According to natural science, the U.S. has been a leader in waste production. It is time we transform this reputation and apply our greatest strengths to the science and art of sustainability and draw upon the wisdom from earlier demonized populations we invaded and did not share well with since the natives are a great national intelligence asset and cherished friends.
Mahan, S., & Griset, P. L. (2013). Terrorism in perspective (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.
McEntire, D. A. (2009). Introduction to homeland security. Understanding terrorism with an emergency management perspective. New York: Wiley
Slutkin, G. 2013. Violence as a Contagious Disease. Retrieved 07/19/2015 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207245/