National Security: Deeds Not Words
We can do nothing if nothing is being done.
By Michael Tanji | August 1, 2007
- They listen to as wide an array of opinions as possible and only then make objective decisions
- They deal with security issues head-on
- They focus on real security, not security theater
- Congresswoman Boyda of Kansas flat-out walked out of a hearing by Gen Keane about the progress that is being made in Iraq. She returned and did not outright call him a liar, but the verbiage she used was covered in the thinnest of veils.
- The recent bill Congress sent to the President that purports to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission does so – to a point – but it is also laden with a variety of bad ideas and pork.
- Congress re-invigorated its flail over well-worn arguments about intelligence community activities, and whether or not they were lied to when briefed about various surveillance programs, but instead of actually exercising oversight they hold hearings of no consequence and rubber stamp the budgets of the agencies they purport to hold in such ill-regard.
Absent drastic reforms, politicians will always view bringing home pork as a part of their jobs, but pork is only good if you live long enough to enjoy it. Gaming the threat assessment process to feather the nests of cronies back home (who can then turn around and do the same for you) is essentially turning anything that might be good about anti-terrorism and intelligence reform legislation into a “terrorism enabling act.”
Our intelligence system is trying to evolve from the industrial into the information age. It is simultaneously trying to combat terrorists who have already mastered information technology. Preventing honest debate about the need for legal reforms necessary to combat modern terrorist tactics hinders our ability to defeat the enemy. Protecting the privacy of innocent citizens is a red herring. Listen to what the intelligence community is asking for: updated, clear guidance to go after known bad actors, not grandmothers.
Arguing about the war and related issues is both desirable and necessary, but absent a certain level of rigor and honesty such arguments serve no meaningful purpose from a security perspective. An ignorant electorate views the stubbornness of their representatives as courageous without understanding that inaction is just what our enemies are hoping for. Regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum, we should all be clamoring for legislative action in one way or another.
With the passage of time we can detect where we might have gone wrong and right our course; we can do nothing if nothing is being done.