When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Homeland Security: A Talking Paper

Background

1. The U.S. Constitution defines the role of the government in the preamble to the document, which gives insight into the founder’s intent in establishing our system of government. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

2. The United States has long been oblivious to the terrorist activity that has targeted Europe and the middle east, largely due to the Palestine problem. A resurgence of radical Islam beginning in 1979 has become the main source of threats against the U.S.

3. Recent events that culminated in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States resulted in the creation of a new cabinet level department, The Department of Homeland Security. The department is tasked with “common defence” issues that are not military in nature.

Discussion

1. At the time of the Constitutional Convention, the founders could have envisioned neither the threat of terrorism as it exists today, nor the technologies that we rely upon on a daily basis. As the nation works diligently to protect her citizens against the ever more devious plots to destroy her, care must be taken to assure that the rights guaranteed under the Constitution are protected.

2. There were three events that transpired to spark the resurgence of radical Islamic intentions for a modern caliphate:

  • A. The increase in radical Islamic thought, primarily in Iran, that resulted in the American hostage crisis which ended in 1980.


  • B. Following the 1979 invasion and 10 year war, the 1988 defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan cultivated a sense of empowerment among Islamic militants. The United States erred by leaving the country and not maintaining a strong influence.


  • C. The fall of the Berlin Wall. This left a vacuum of power in the region that was filled with Islamic fundamentalist ideologies, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

3. We should realize that new technologies and the rapidly expanding access to weaponry such as nuclear and biological weapons demand new approaches to our security, yet we must be alert to measures that encroach upon those liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

4. The nation should view the fight against terrorism as a multi-faceted strategy; law enforcement, military actions, and other government agencies such as the Department of State all play a role in defeating a terrorist ideology.

The need for a department to engage in the collection of intelligence, evaluate intelligence, and work to mitigate threats that are not military in nature has shown to be essential. There is an area of concern between a law enforcement action and a military action that was the weak link in the common defense.

5. Considering the non-conventional methodologies of our opponents, pre-emptive actions should be taken to eliminate threats. The situation is such that we can ill afford to again wait for an attack to take action.

My Opinion

1. The primary function of government is to protect the rights of the citizenry within the responsibilities delineated by the authors of the Constitution. Those rights include insuring domestic tranquility, which as we have seen is not the condition following a terrorist attack.

2. The government should be allowed all measures in the mission to protect our liberties and our democracy, provided that these measures do not violate basic principles of civil rights. We must not repeat the mistakes made following the 1988 defeat of the Soviet Union. The Patriot Act and other provisions of law, such as the FISA courts, should be solidified, with any sunset provision removed.

3. The Department of Homeland Security should continue to be empowered to engage in intelligence dissemination and emergency response coordination. It should be continuously involved in task forces with local agencies, chaired and directed by the federal authorities.

4. We should pursue the interests of America, regardless of the support and approval of other nations and organizations such as the United Nations. America’s sovereignty should be asserted in all affairs, particularly those that place the nation at odds with state sponsored terrorism and non-conventional forces.

The United States should actively engage in intelligence gathering and covert activities overseas, maintaining an influence and infiltration; human intelligence (HUMINT) is essential in the fight against non-conventional forces.

Recommendations

1. The United States should continue to assert the “Bush Doctrine”, which places the U.S. in an aggressive posture against forces with the intent to attack the homeland or our interests overseas.

2. All possible action by the various government agencies should be pursued. The Department of Justice, DHS, and Department of State should be regularly coordinated so that the method used can quickly move from law enforcement to military action with little delay.

The C.I.A. must undergo a thorough assessment and organizational review. Following such review, resources should be provided to enable the agency to maintain both quantitative and qualitative HUMINT.

3. The U.S. should constantly evaluate infrastructure and make improvements in security postures to secure critical facilities and operations. While overall security responsibilities fall on the federal government, the individual states should be given the responsibility to provide assessments and arrange security provisions for the infrastructure items within their borders. For transportation related operations, the federal government should maintain the responsibility.

4. The Congress should act immediately to resolve the problem of dealing with terrorist detainees. The release of detainees into the general public, and the creation of rights for detainees is adding to the threat faced by the nation. The government must establish a solid precedent for processing these individuals.

18 comments:

Christopher Hamilton said...

Speaking of National Security, Conservative Conviction readers should visit my blog to see who the President-Elect may be appointing as the head of this department.

Still no change.

Mustang said...

With respect to recommendation 1 and 2, I would prefer a greater partnership with states (ala your earlier article on federalism). Given the fact our border is a sieve, that we have today enclaves of potential terrorist actors, I think the federal government should heavily fund states who have proactive “homeland security” operations. And not only funding; we must have an active federal partnership, to include intelligence sharing.

Americans easily internalize football clich├ęs such as “a good defense is a good offense.” It is true, of course . . . more so when it comes to protecting the lives of American citizens. We cannot defend the homeland, whether internally or from foreign sources, if we are apologetic about this most sacred mission. We cannot be aggressive in intelligence gathering if we lack the courage to disregard what other nations may think of us for doing the right thing. We must stop the masochistic tendency of ours to care more about the rights of scumbags than we do about the rights of our citizens to be alive, and free.

The new administration and congress will determine whether we maintain our security at home, or return to the Clinton era when US property and persons were open season. We’ll find out soon enough, I’m afraid. The spineless will blame Mr. Bush, of course . . . but that won’t bring anyone killed by terrorist acts back to their loved ones. And if the new administration intends on releasing detainees at Gitmo, I say we just set them loose along the coast of Africa—under no circumstances do we released them inside the United States. Surely, we cannot be that stupid.

Clay said...

I would like to ask--Who determines when these measures taken to maintain domestic tranquility overstep the boundaries of civil rights for American Citizens. It all sounds great in theory but when the ground work has been done to allow the detention of American citizens without presenting a case because the issue is deemed to be "a matter national security" I immediately begin to worry. I want to be just as safe as the next guy, but I do not want to sacrifice any more liberty than absolutely neccessary. The Patriot Act seems at first glance to extend the long arm of a government whose arm may already be a little to long.

RightKlik said...

"We should pursue the interests of America, regardless of the support and approval of other nations..."

I wholeheartedly agree. Good luck getting Obama to see it this way.

Greywolfe said...

As is usually the case, I'm afraid that I have to take a harder line than most on the topic of fighting radical islam. The way we've been fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan is rediculous. So, here's my four offers on our security and the war on terror.

1. Close the border with fences, drones and automatic weapons turrets. The tech is there so just do it. You put computer controlled bushmaster cannons up and I can promise you that the illegal immigration problem will dry up. For the bleeding hearts out there that think I'm being thoughtlessly cruel or racist; grow up! You go to the border and watch Mexican regular army escorting drug runners across the border, or listen to the daily complaints of U.S. citizens that are kidnapped and taken south of the border, many never to be seen alive again, then tell me that it is not a state of war on our southern border. Just because the Mainstream media has decided to turn a blind eye to what is happening in order to promote their agenda, does not mean that it isn't happening.

2. Find and shoot the idiot that says it's ok to embed the press in a combat unit. The general public does not have the stomach to watch what is necessary to win a war. In WWII, we fought to win EVERY engagement by fighting just as hard and just as ruthlessly as the enemy did. The press were strictly controlled and news items were redacted for content. The people need only know that our men and women are fighting and dying for our country. War is not and never can be a civilized persuit. Trying to make it so causes us more loss of American life and material than any rocket or missile the enemy can fire. We need to stop tying the hands of our military and let them do what they do best, kill people and blow crap up. The sad part of that is that innocents die in war. It can't be helped. Especially when the enemy has a propensity for using women and children as human shields.
3. The Bush Doctrine is indeed the way to go. But I wouldn't necessarily let the country know I was playing in their back yard. They have had, since 9/11, ample opportunities to police their own back yard.

4. We must stop buying oil from any country that is opposed to us. A large amount of our wealth has gone to countries that sponser terrorism. We have our own natural resources and if we access ALL of it we will have close to 200 years to find alternative energy sources. Hell most of the good tech is ready to come online within the next 5 to 10 years.

I could go on but I'll just have to put it aside for now.

Patrick M said...

I have just one point I have to disagree with. The Patriot Act, and any other war measures that have the potential to be abused by a corrupt administration like any war measure, should always be made with sunset provisions. In this way, they may be be forced into the light for reexamination to determine if they are still relevant. As any administration that wanted to kill them could do so anyway, a sunset provision is the only check to make sure the law with the possibility for clearly unconstitutional misuse can come off the books without the need for congressional action.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Well thought out post Robert. One thing to remember in this discussion is that we are in a state of war. As such there are certain things that are and may become necessary in a war situation that do not apply during peace.

For instance historically Lincoln felt it necessay in preserving the Union during the Civil War to stop Habeus Corpus. Very controversial at the time but historically was proven to be justified in light of what was taking place at the time.

I agree that certain ,"sunset," provisions are necessay just as Lincoln with Habeus Corpus. It returned after the war. Without,"sunset," provisions certain activities necessary for war could be abused and continued during peace violating Constituional protections for citizens.

As far as the detainees are concerned. At no time in our history has there ever been an argument concerning providing Constitutional and court rights to non-citizen enemy combatants as is taking place with the GITMO argument.

First the Constitution states that the rights being argued for for GITMO detainees are for CITIZENS which disqualifies those being held from a Constitutional stand point.

In any war situation in the past enemy combatants known before as POW's were always handled outside of Constitutional jurisdiction and under military rule, including tibunals for war crimes.

The Politically Correct generation is pushing a presendence that could spell massive problems during war situations now and in the future when it comes to enemy combatants.

As far as survellience, there is one clause in FISA that is constantly nelgected when anyone refers to what is incorrectly being termed as ,"domestic wire tapping." FISA states that any, "United States person," cannot be under electronic survellience without a court order.

BUT if that,"United States person," is in contact with a foreign agent or terrorist then they are no longer considered a, "United States person," but a foreign agent and as such can be under survellience for up to one year WITHOUT a court order as long as the AG is informed.

The intell gathering techniques including questioning of GITMO detainess has kept this country from attack for seven years. Also the provisions in the Patriot Act when applied as they are designed for terrorist intell gathering and the protection of this country are not dangerous. It is the PC minded left that takes the provisions to extremes creating scenerios that are not reality and that are not being practiced and using those extremes scenerios as an avenue into scaring the American people into thinking that our civil rights are being violated.

Clay said...

On a personal note I am disgusted by this attempt to reference of the so called "Civil War" and the removal of Habeus Corpus. Mainly, because "The War Between the States" has been the biggest perversion of American History throughout its entirety.

The Removal of Habeas Corpus seems like a good idea when your talking about terrorist, but the unintended consequences of this gives the authority to the government to hold a US citizen without giving reason in a matter of national security. This is a power that I do not believe should be given to any governing authority.

I want these terrorist and US haters just as much as the next guy, probably more in many circumstances, but I want it done right. If the accussed have done something wrong then prove it, if its a matter of national security, withold the information about the trial from the public until it is safe to release it. At some point we need to be held to account for what we are doing, and habeas corpus ensures that both our means and motives are clear. With the removal of habeas corpus we place our trust in the goverment without accountability. Seems rather foolish in my eyes.

Robert said...

I understand the concerns regarding the sunset provisions of the Patriot Act and other measures. As we saw a year or so ago when the Patriot Act was to be renewed, there is too much potential for making this a political issue. Removing sunset provisions keep the issue away from a poll oriented Congress. There are three ways in which it can be repealed or unenforced: 1) Congress repeals the Act 2) The President stops utilizing it, and 3) The U.S. Supreme Court declares it unconsitutional and nullifies the Act.

Mustang, I understand your points regarding the borders and immigration, but I ws saving that component for the Immigrations piece...lol. Thanks for coming by and participating! Your opinions are always well thought out and composed.

Please continue the debate, everyone!

Biased Girl said...

It defies logic the way Liberals interpret the Constitution.

Z said...

Until we start to put US first again, none of this will stick.
We need to be allowed to err on OUR side and we won't..especially now with obama.
Scary times.

GOod piece and excellent comments.....thanks!

TAO said...

You can give up on Homeland Security....the government just announced that they are creating a program to bail out the consumer credit (credit cards, car loans, and other forms of personal debt) and this program is getting initial funding higher than the Wall Street Bail out was. With this announcement the taxpayer is now on the hook for more than 8.2 trillion since this crap started in October.

No matter who is to blame the reality is our world will now change in ways none of us can imagine and the least of our worries are Barack Obama and socialism....

Bin Laden commented in a video in 2004 that he would bankrupt the US...it appears he has achieved his goal....

I believe that economics is the fundamentals of everything so I will be discussing this most current announcement tomorrow with a post to my blog....

$8.2 trillion in obiligations in less than two months....we can open the borders and forget about homeland security....this country is a toxic mess and who would want it now....

Joe said...

It is interesting that many reports indicate a decrease in illegals coming into this country due to the economic down-turn.

Be that true or false, the fact is that people who butt in line should be sent to the back of the line and forced to wait just as "legal" aliens must.

Anonymous said...

Tao, you give Bin-Laden more credit than he deserves. I don’t doubt he said that, but the fact is that our economic problems were caused by none other than idiots in both political parties, corrupt and inept business managers, and American consumers who are too stupid to read the fine print in ARM agreements, and incapable of controlling their spending. Not only that, but this snake has been waiting to strike for the past fifty years. Bush was right about one thing . . . it didn’t happen overnight, it won’t be fixed overnight, and certainly not without a lot of human suffering along the way.

Sam

TAO said...

Sam,

Here is the link to the article on Bin Laden:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/11/01/binladen.tape/index.html

TAO said...

Sam,

Oops....didn't get it all...


http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/11/01/binladen.tape/index.html

Tapline said...

Outstanding Post....Much I would say has already been said by a couple of your commentors.....Keep up the good reporting and hope more articles concerning our Conservative ways are forthcoming.....stay well....

Robert said...

Tap, articles of these type are one of the pillars of our site. We want to discuss serious issues in a serious way....and they will be accompanied by some fantastic works by Jenn and T-P. We have weekly "staff" meetings to discuss things around here. If we could get Sam and T-P to show up sober, we might even make some progress...

We also think more things are coming that will make it even more interactive here..Next Wednesday we will be having an open forum chat, kind of a "get to know you " cocktail hour if you will. I think it will be interesting. I will be writing an announcement soon...

Thanks for dropping in regularly.