Complex and Fundamental Contradictions of the GWOT
When it was first disclosed, I did not believe that our government had given into the political correctness espoused by CAIR and other pro-Muslim groups to eliminate certain “offensive” words from the "policy vocabulary." The passage of a couple of days, however, confirmed it.
It was not until I returned from my border trip on Friday that I read my colleague, Marvin Hutchens’ post, To Name An Enemy which gave me insight that helped me to understand the situation a bit better.
The guidance is provided for speaking with Muslims and the media and not for official policy papers, with the theory being that the use of terms such as jihad, jihadists, and mujahideen unintentionally portrays “terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims”.
Investor’s Business Daily called it caving to Muslim pressure groups. Steve Emerson’s memo to terrorist groups whose names include the banned words easily serves as an example of the tragic irony of the decision. But it is something that Marvin wrote, that is the basis of my concerns - “When an enemy isn’t recognizable until he takes an action against us, the pressure remains entirely on us as that enemy plans and operates with the comfort of anonymity.”
Let us look at the practical matters relating to this War on Terrorism. As we examine the current state of our counterterrorism efforts, and look at the progress or lack thereof that we’ve reached since September 11th, this statement raises serious issues and underscores the problem. My concern begins, at least, with the disclosure that NYPD cops armed with submachine guns, body armor, and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling the subways. Against whom are we protecting New York City straphangers? NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly referred to them as Operation Torch teams.
"They want to hit the transit system, no question about it," Kelly said, ticking off transit attacks across the globe: Moscow and Madrid in 2004, London in 2005 and Mumbai in 2006. Locally, Shahawar Matin Siraj was convicted in May 2006 of conspiring to place an explosive device in the Herald Square subway station in 2004. His accomplice also pleaded guilty.
Well, we are in a war, are we not? But the enemy is not recognizable, and the enemy’s tactics are unpredictable. And yet, we have machine gun toting guards patrolling the subways in Manhattan. In the past, I’ve also seen armed military units surrounding the Russell Senate Office Building.
Earlier, my colleague Michael Tanji wrote about the troubles surrounding the implementation of the US-Visit Program. Aside from the issues raised by Michael of DHS wanting to divert responsibility for checking exiting passengers to the airlines, the program has had other problems. A test released in early 2007 revealed poor read rates. The US-Visit program is only one of the components of our battleplan that is problematic.
Clearly, we cannot reach consensus on the issue of border security (including the “wall”) and immigration reform. And yet, illegal immigrants flow across our border. When my friend and I returned from the Border Security Contracting Conference on Friday, I was surprised when, about 10 miles north, we approached a road block and diverted to a checkpoint. I simply didn't expect it. There were drug-sniffing dogs and armed military walking around each vehicle. One by one, drivers lowered their windows and were asked, “American citizen?” Without any hesitation or distraction we both said yes, and were passed through. I wonder though, are there “good actors” among our enemies who might just as easily acknowledge U.S. citizenship and pass through?
Our enemies are many. Their plans are pretty similar. What we call them changes little if anything, at least in my opinion. I’ll admit to being a bit confused. I do hope that the term, Global War on Terrorism” isn’t banned. I saw the smoke rising in the sky to my west, just 30 miles, that Tuesday morning. And we know who did it. Yes, we know their name.