PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts


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  1. And the administration has direct control over who procecutes a case?

    Comment by Bithead — Thursday, March 16, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

  2. Well, we are talking about federal prosecutions by the federal Department of Justice in the context of the President himself asking for (or asserting) various powers to deal with this problem.

    As such, who do you think should be held responsible?

    Do I think that the President is personally responsible for every error? No, that is obviously ridiculous, but it the overall approach is being directed by appointees of the President. As such, the buck does have to stop, ultimately, with him.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 16, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

  3. Further, the administration has directly told us that we need to be wary of further terrorist activity in the US. Now, as I note in the post, either we aren’t doing a very good job of catching these people, or there aren’t as many to catch as the President thinks there are.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 16, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  4. You raise something here that is one of the really critical questions in the effort to prevent Islamist (or other foreign-originating) terrorist attacks. I do not know what the answer is, but I am extremely skeptical that they key to prevention is “the disruption of terror networks abroad” unless by abroad, you mean in London, Hamburg, Canada, etc. I just think there is not a lot we can do about training and recruitment in countries where the population is generally hostile to US presence; in fact, I suspect our presence there is counterproductive in most cases.

    On the other hand, intelligence work, including surveilance-with proper checks, of course-can disrupt potential attackers as they enter the USA or after they have arrived. The 9/11 plot could have been unravelled with better information sharing (and probably with more vigilance from the NSC and White House, when “the system was blinking red,” as the 9/11 Commission puts it), and the LAX plot was stopped by an alert border guard at the Washington-BC border. Neither could have been disrupted by “disrupting” the camps and the recruitment centers in Afghanistan, Pakistian, and other countries, because you do not know who the actual attackers are at the stage that they are being recruited and trained.

    Naturally, if there are camps in the open somewhere, they can be raided from the air or ground, but as the 9/11 Commisison also notes, it was not practical before 9/11 to do much more than the missile attacks Clinton ordered (because you could not get cooperation regionally for anything more) and after 9/11 it was far, far too late (as Michael Scheurer has noted). In fact, even a year or more before 9/11 it was probably too late for any attacks by US forces in Afghanistan to have stopped the attacks.

    Sorry for rambling. I do not know the answer here, but I strongly suspect that it is disruption of those in the “West” (including on our own soil) and at the borders that is most effective, not in foreign countries (if that means outside of Western countries).

    Comment by Matthew Shugart/Fruits & Votes — Thursday, March 16, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

  5. I would take a rather broad view of such “disruption” to include far better human intelligence abroad than we had/currently have. Also law enforcement cooperation aborad.

    I also think that military actions, such as the action in Afghanistan, are sometimes necessary.

    I need to get back to work, so I will leave it at for at least the moment.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, March 16, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

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