Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time to reevaluate our approach to the "War on Terror"?

I have suggested in my previous post that a window of opportunity has opened --- due to the resignation of DHS Director Napolitano, the NSA/Snowden issues, and the issue of drone strikes on US citizens --- for a reassessment of national policy and strategy with regard to counter terrorism, especially domestic strategy and tactics.

In my new book, "Counter Terrorism Issues," I conclude with these thoughts:

New Challenges Loom
According to Professor Martin Henn of the University of Wisconsin, “It has become increasingly clear … that Bush II administration officials working in the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department of Justice, and the Defense Department knowingly conspired to extend the President’s executive power beyond expressly stated constitutional limits, unwarrantedly absorbing both plenary judicial and legislative power to define and punish offenses against the law of nation’s in America’s new global War on Terror, while deliberately watering down the legal definition of torture, so as to bypass strict humanitarian limitations explicitly prohibiting U.S. forces from using torture and other coercive interrogation techniques on captured persons of uncertain legal status.”

Henn noted that the successor Obama administration considered a special prosecutor to investigate these abuses.15 In the wake of the resounding Democratic defeat in the November 2010 congressional elections, and the subsequent loss of control of the House of Representatives, the attorney general lost his appetite for such a step, or was restrained by his boss. Still, a muffled but persistent drumbeat for some such inquiry and possible prosecution persisted.16 As with the needless death of Jimmy Pizzinato, and the smell of entrapment surrounding November 2010’s Christmas tree bomber incident in Portland, over-zealous policing and prosecution in the name of homeland security demand our unceasing vigilance.

And so, while our courts must continue to dole out justice to those properly accused and ultimately convicted of terrorism, our judges must be alert for those cases in which—as with the Molly Maguires a century and a half ago—military-industrial interests combine with the bloodlust of a panicked public to trample our precious civil liberties.

The killing of Bin Laden in 2011 and the winding down of the Iraqi and Afghan wars arguably marked the end of the so-called War on Terrorism. Regardless of who is president of the United States in 2013, absent some new terrorist attack on American soil, we may anticipate a relaxation or outright abandonment of the most reprehensible police and military tactics of the first decade of the new century.

Unfortunately, we have had a new terrorist attack on American soil, i.e., the Boston Marathon bombing. Despite all the intrusiveness of the NSA and the arguably "entrapment" tactics of the FBI, these perps were not identified in advance. However, the perpetrators were rapidly identified, tracked down and killed/arrested as the result of good, solid police work.

I will argue that the case, therefore, argues in favor of "a relaxation or outright abandonment of the most reprehensible police and military tactics of the first decade of the new century," as I suggested in my book.

The time to have this national dialog is now, before the window now open slams shut.

Here are some related articles which seem to support my view:

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