Foreign and National Security
The following is taken from from
Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense
(Click here to access the full text of the book)
American foreign and national security policy has failed to create a vision current with global realities. With such a vision, the September 11 attacks could have been prevented. The United States has been weakened by a corrupted Central Intelligence Agency, asserted a unilateral and preemptive imperialism that history has shown cannot last, experienced a mismatch between the power of our rulers and the degree to which our population has accurate information about the world, and carried out a misguided and exorbitantly expensive Iraq adventure. It is hard to imagine actions that would generate more hatred and revenge against America for generations to come than the torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners. America's invasion of Iraq failed to heed the admonitions of President Eisenhower in his farewell military-industrial-complex speech and squandered resources that should be used for a more sophisticated policy against al Qaeda and a more timely plan for home security.
Lack of Vision. During the Cold War, America's foreign and national security policy was focused on the containment of communism. But there has been little coherent American policy vision since the Cold War ended.
In 2001, the bipartisan U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, co-chaired by former Senator Gary Hart and former Senator Warren B. Rudman, set out such a vision, predicting terrorist attacks on America and recommending a sweeping overhaul of national security structures and policies. Later, Senators Hart and Rudman cochaired a follow-up panel convened by the Council on Foreign Relations. Little action has been taken by the American government on these recommendations, and now there is another set of crucially important recommendations, from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States (the 9/11 Commission), to implement.
Prevention of the September 11 Attacks. Over recent decades, national security policy did not sufficiently focus on the threat of terrorism. Until recently, first priority has been given to Star Wars missile defenses.
The White House, the intelligence agencies of the United States, law enforcement, and the military did not give the terrorist threat top priority immediately prior to September 11. The 9/11 Commission has provided a book-length chronology of failures, as have Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and other investigative reporters who have examined dozens of declassified documents. Together, these failures demonstrate that the terrorist attacks were preventable.
Here are a few of the failures:
• Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden did not blindside the United States, but were a threat discussed regularly at the highest levels of government for almost five years before the attacks, in thousands of reports that often were accompanied by urgent warnings to the White House from mid-level experts.
• While the position of national coordinator for counterterrorism originally provided immediate access to the president, the position was downgraded to deputy status by the new national security advisor in 2001, blocking direct access and helping to ensure that the president only heard from his top antiterrorism chief until after September 11.
• In the first eight months of 2001, the administration received far more dire information than it admitted, until the 9/11 Commission forced public disclosures.
• The Associated Press has reported that White House national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to September 11, yet terrorism was on the agenda during only one of those sessions.
• In April and May of 2001, the president, vice president, and national security advisor received memos from the intelligence community titled "Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations," "Bin Laden's Network Plans Advancing," and "Bin Laden Threats Are Real."
• On August 6, 2001, the president received an intelligence memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike the U.S." Senator John McCain has concluded, "Should [the August 6 memo] have raised more of an alarm bell? I think in hindsight, that's probably true." For example, there is no evidence that the White House put airports on heightened alert as a result of the memo. The White House did not issue a press release and did not hold a press conference with names and descriptions of suspects. The White House did not force recalcitrant intelligence agencies to improve the ways they shared all available information about al Qaeda threats.
• Neither President Clinton nor President Bush sought to proactively correct the paralyzing dysfunction that undermined the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the two agencies most responsible for protecting the United States from terrorists.
• On September 11, 2001, the White House national security advisor was scheduled to give a speech at Johns Hopkins University addressing "the threats and problems of today and the day after...." According to United States officials who have seen the original text, the address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, or Islamic extremist groups. (The speech was postponed, and an edited version was given later.)
• The CIA had at least six chances to attack Osama bin Laden prior to September 11, but each time agency higher-ups blocked action.
• The director of the CIA had little contact with the president during much of the summer of 2001, when intelligence agencies, at least at lower- and mid-levels, were warning of a dire terrorist attack.
• The CIA waited until August 2001 to alert the FBI on two of the terrorists, who by then were living in the United States. The FBI was not, of course, able to locate them.
• The FBI failed to follow up on a July 2001 warning from a Phoenix agent that al Qaeda terrorists might be training in American flight schools,
• The FBI failed to understand the significance of Zacarias Moussaoui, the flight school student arrested in August 2001 and later linked to the September 11 hijackers.
• The director of the FBI and his senior deputies in Washington were not informed until after September 11 that the Phoenix and Minneapolis field offices had reported to Washington headquarters in summer 2001 that al Qaeda or other terrorists might be developing a plot involving commercial airlines.
• Prior to September 11, only about 6 percent of the FBI's work force was assigned to counterterrorism. The Bureau has struggled to refocus itself from an interstate crime fighting organization to one that can create a counterterrorism capacity to stop unconventional foreign-based threats to security inside the United States. The reasons have included outmoded bureaucracy, outmoded intelligence collection, an aging computer system that prevented effective communication between agents and headquarters, and a severe un-dersupply of analysts assessing data and terror threats.
• The FBI's counterterrorism budget was increased before September 11, and it had seventy active leads linked to Osama bin Laden ongoing in summer 2001; but it was unable to piece the leads together.
• A quicker military action by the North American Aerospace Command might have prevented American Airlines Flight 77 from crashing into the Pentagon on September 11. Commanders were in an outward, Cold War mode and not prepared to face the new generation of threats that includes hijacked planes as missiles.
The Corruption of the Central Intelligence Agency. Part of the reason why America has not created a clear and accurate post-Cold War national security policy vision is that, during the last twenty years, the CIA has become so politically corrupted and politicized that it has lost credibility. As director of the CIA in the 1980s, William Casey institutionalized politicalization, which reached its peak in 2002 when George Tenet succumbed to White House pressure to generate a report to justify a prior decision to invade Iraq. That report failed to acknowledge that little proof existed for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In 2004, David Kay, the CIA's chief weapons inspector, told Congress shortly before resigning, "I'm personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction. . . . We didn't find the people, the documents, or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on."
As former CIA analyst Ray McGovern points out in chapter 4, the deterioration of the agency in recent years also is illustrated by its loss of imagery-analysis capacity and by dispersal of its public media analysis capacity.
The collection and analysis of satellite and other images had been a CIA operation, but in recent years it was transferred to the Pentagon. Had the CIA possessed independent imagery analysis capacity in 2002, it might have helped show that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
In addition, contrary to popular misconceptions, most information about most countries, movements, and groups comes from "open" sources—what is said publicly— and not from intelligence acquired clandestinely. The CIA originally had a strong unit to analyze public information. For example, the unit correctly forecast the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. But this stellar, centralized media-analysis capacity was dispersed within the CIA in the 1990s. Had there been a unit of media-analysis practitioners plumbing the statements of Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenants over the past decade, those analysts might have been able to throw helpful light on his intentions, his tactics, his supporters—and on "why they hate us."
Force and Preemptive Multilateralism. While not a clear vision, a priority on the use of force in foreign policy has evolved among both Democrats and Republicans over the last quarter century, as America has become the world's sole superpower. The use of force has become more unilateral—and now preemptive. The preemptive force has included torture and sexual humiliation by the American military against Iraqi prisoners, just as prisons back in the United States abound in sexual humiliation.
A dangerous imbalance has developed between use offeree and use of the other tools of foreign policy—diplomacy, uncorrupted intelligence, economic development assistance, and support for democracy building in countries that genuinely are receptive at the grassroots level. Presently, there is a sixteen-to-one ratio between the budget of the Department of Defense and the budgets for all other foreign operations combined. The United States has the lowest ratio of foreign aid to gross domestic product of any of the twenty-one industrialized nations. Today, we spend $1 billion less per year on foreign aid than during the Cold War. This at a time when one in five of the world's six billion people is living in abject poverty on less than SI per day in local purchasing parity, with a life expectancy of little more than forty years.
Before September 11, there was a growing list of issues around which the world united, but where America was different. A convention was passed recognizing basic rights for children all over the world; the United States was unable to sign it, whereas virtually every other country has done so. At Kyoto, global warming was recognized as threatening the future of the world; the United States found it impossible to cooperate, even though a new Pentagon report now has issued warnings on global warning. An international criminal court has been created, with the hope that it will help all nations deal with extremism, war, the Milosevics of the world, the Mugabes of this world, and other dictators. Most people in Europe believe this is an advance in civilization, but the United States finds it difficult to support the court.
This unilateralism is part of the American government's attack on "Old Europe." As Lord Wallace reminds us in chapter 7, there has been a rise in anti-Europeanism led by conservatives and the extreme Christian right in America, a right allied with the government (not the people) of Israel against a peaceful Palestinian-Israeli solution. This alliance has set the tone of many American oped pages in recent years.
After September 11 and during the buildup to Iraq, America directed much of its anti-Europeanism and preemptive multilateralism at the United Nations. Across most of the world, in the words of Phyllis Bennis in chapter 9, people treasure the United Nations, even while recognizing its imperfections and need for improvement. Contrast this to Richard Perle, the American imperialist conservative who wrote, "Thank God for the death of the United Nations. Its abject failures gave us only anarchy."
In modern democracies, there seldom has been as much of a mismatch as in America today between the power of the rulers and the degree to which their populations have accurate information about the world. In a Pew Research Center poll conducted in twenty-four countries in November and December 2001, substantial majorities in many countries believed that the policies and actions of the United States were a major cause for the September 11 attacks. For example, in non-European countries, 58 percent of the respondents held this view. In the United States, only 18 percent thought American policies were a major cause of the attacks. Most Americans were unaware of the discontinuity. For a long time, polls actually showed a majority or near majority of the American public believed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that there was an absolute connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Most of the rest of the world believed something quite different.
Similarly, in 2004, a Pew poll showed that majorities in almost all countries except the United States thought the war in Iraq hurt the battle against terrorism.
The Spectacular, Costly, and Inappropriate Response. Created in part by misinformation by the American government, the inward looking, preemptive, unilateral American policy made it easier for the United States to respond with spectacular, costly action—the invasion of Iraq, which also helped take care of unfinished business from the first Gulf War, based on the unsubstantiated premise that the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad.
The balance of available evidence from the 9/11 Commission, congressional sources, executive branch officials, and investigative reporting tends to support the conclusion of former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke that, after September 11,2001, the American government neglected counterterrorism because of an obsession with waging war on Iraq. In his book, Against All Enemies, Clarke concludes:
The administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda. ... A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat.
As if anticipating Clarke, President Elsenhower, in his farewell military-industrial-complex speech during the Cold War, warned, "Crises there may continue to be, and meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties." President Eisenhower asked that we proceed soberly as adults, not go to extremes, not undermine our resilient economy, and not overreact.
But most of President Elsenhower's admonitions were ignored in the spectacular and costly action that is Iraq. In terms of the economic and fiscal balance Eisenhower said was crucial, America is spending about $2 billion a week in Iraq, more than $121 billion the first year, and may continue to do so for the foreseeable future—until, we are told, reconstruction is completed in 2008 or 2009, according to some estimates. But whether reconstruction ever will be completed, in Iraq or Afghanistan, remains an open question. Meanwhile, a projected ten-year American budget surplus of $5.6 trillion estimated at the beginning of the millennium has turned into a budget deficit of $521 billion—far more than triple the $158 billion imbalance of fiscal 2002 and billions higher than the record shortfall of $374 billion of 2003. At the same time, American disapproval of the war in Iraq rose in 2004, according to major public opinion polls.
With considerable justification, one can argue that the $2 billion spent per week in Iraq over recent periods of time could better be spent on a more sophisticated, multilateral policy against al Qaeda; reform of American intelligence agencies; rein-vigoration of lagging counterterrorism policies to protect America from more attacks; a new preventive foreign, economic, and democracy development policy; and, perhaps most important of all, a pullback of Israel from the West Bank and the creation of a Palestinian state.
By comparison with present policy, a few years after President Eisenhower's military-industrial-complex warning, President John Kennedy faced the Cuban missile crisis. President Kennedy carried on in a steady way, speaking truth to power and overruling hardliners who wanted to go to war over Cuba. If a similar crisis occurred today, say in a confrontation with a nuclear-armed North Korea or a showdown with China, which may well become the world's next superpower, would American right-wing ideologues similarly be overruled? This is what William Hartung asks in chapter 10.
To help reverse our present course, Congress needs to expand its oversight role in national security policy. As recommended by the Hart-Rudman Commission, a program of ongoing education should provide legislative branch decision makers with more knowledge on national security. Appropriation subcommittees should be merged with their respective authorizing committees. This will reduce the congressional bureaucracy that slows the budget process and will allow more time for oversight of national security policy and of the other priority policies set forth in this volume. Congress also should establish a special body to oversee homeland security, as has been done with intelligence oversight.
To paraphrase President Reagan, are we better off today than on September 11? Worldwide, terrorism increased in 2003, according to the State Department. In 2004, a national poll by the nonpartisan Council for Excellence in Government found fewer than half of all Americans thought the United States was safer than on September 11. Another survey found that two-thirds of Americans believe terror will strike the United States in the near future.
Building on the recommendations of the bipartisan Hart-Rudman Commission, a follow-up independent task force of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, new foreign and national security policy needs to evolve from the following principles:
• National security policy must understand the changing nature of conflict.
• America's military response must look dramatically different.
• A reformed military must legitimize preventive diplomacy backed by force and resist preemption.
• Preventive diplomacy requires multilateral action.
• Multilateral action must reassert the legitimacy of the United Nations.
• Preventive diplomacy and multilateralism require increased and more effective foreign aid.
• Counterterrorism policy in America must be implemented with more urgency.
• Counterterrorism policy must balance security and liberty.
National Security Policy Must Understand the Changing Nature of Conflict. With few exceptions, post—Cold War conflict has been characterized by nonarrayed enemies—those representing asymmetrical threats. Asymmetrical threats use ingenuity, not strength, to bypass American military superiority. September 11 was undertaken by nineteen suicidal men at a total cost of about $500,000. They used the Internet and elementary flight instructions. They converted commercial airlines into weapons of mass destruction. Our technology was used against us.
To successfully change the nature of national security policy, America first needs fundamental reform at the CIA. We need to block efforts to politicize the intelligence product and return the CIA to fierce honesty, professionalism, and independence in its analytic product. We need the CIA to be led by professionals like former directors Stansfield Turner or George H. W. Bush, with the character to stand up to White House and Pentagon pressure to usurp the agency's functions and preempt its analysis.
Beyond upgrading the standards by which the United States chooses a director of central intelligence, we need to generate more timely, comprehensive, professional, transparent, and apolitical national intelligence estimates; return imagery analysis, agenda-free, from the Pentagon to the CIA; and reconstitute an independent media analysis capability in the CIA,, as Ray McGovern recommends in chapter 4. With such reforms in place in recent years, America might have been better prepared for the September 11 attacks.
America's Military Response Must Look Dramatically Different. First and foremost, Americans need to be convinced that an alternative to present policy will protect them militarily. America must possess a strong and effective military. The source of that strength lies in the recognition that twenty-first-century military policy must look and perform differently from twentieth century military policy. In the new millennium, American military policy needs to build on technology but also be more human. This is one of Gary Hart's lessons in chapter 2.
Technologically, for example, we need lighter, swifter expeditionary forces to fight terrorism. But military technology swiftly becomes outmoded. Accordingly, instead of building entirely new ships, planes, and tanks, we need to build ships, planes, and tank platforms with long lives. Up-to-date weapons and sensors can be "plugged in" to the platforms and then replaced as technology moves on. The two best current examples of platform technology are the B-52 bomber and the aircraft carrier. The B-52 is over six decades old. Aircraft carriers can be kept in service for fifty years. They are the platforms. We constantly change the weapons and sensors they carry. In the future, more weapons systems need to be so configured.
In terms of the human factor, human resourcefulness is more crucial than ever. The military and our intelligence agencies must recruit and promote with a higher priority on ingenuity. Human intelligence failed us on September 11. All our technology was unable to stop the attacks. Exotic Pentagon communications networks are vulnerable to twenty-one-year-old hackers. On the other hand, American military incursions via precision-guided munitions onboard planes flying from Diego Garcia and aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean were made possible by very human skills. The incursions were guided by Delta Force personnel wearing civilian clothes and riding mules across the hills of Afghanistan.
A Reformed Military Must Legitimize Preventive Diplomacy Backed by Force and Resist Preemption. In chapter 10, William Hartung concludes that diplomacy backed by force means America in the role of Atticus Finch, as played by Gregory Peck in the film adaptation of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Peck played a Southern trial lawyer defending the rights of an African-American unjustly accused by whites. Ironically, an America that stood up for justice, defended the underdogs, and felt secure enough to put down the gun instead of automatically picking up the gun at the slightest provocation—an America that was more Gregory Peck and less John Wayne—would be far better suited to fighting a threat like al Qaeda.
Why? Because we are in a propaganda war. The American military policy of talking loudly and arrogantly, carrying many big sticks, torturing prisoners and sexually humiliating them has alienated the majority of the people on the planet. These are the people and governments we need to work with to curb a threat like al Qaeda, a network that functions in perhaps as many as sixty countries. "Regime change" is an irrelevant, costly extravagance in the face of a network like al Qaeda, which can operate with relatively small amounts of money, without government sponsorship, preying on the weaknesses and the complexities of our globalized economic system to sustain itself.
The costs of "regime change" through preemptive war misdirect our resources away from the battle against al Qaeda. In so doing, preemptive war may have increased the ability of terrorists to strike America, not decreased it.
The elimination of nuclear weapons globally also illustrates a policy of preventive diplomacy, rather than preemptive war. An important first step is to better fund and globalize legislation originally passed by Republican Senator Richard Lugar and Democratic Senator Sam Nunn. The Nunn-Lugar legislation created a set of programs designed to neutralize the nuclear capability of the former Soviet Union by helping to pay for destruction of nuclear missiles and warheads and by finding alternative employment for weapons scientists, so they don't sell their skills to the highest bidder on the global market. The United States is worried about Osama bin Laden, a global businessman, obtaining nuclear missiles. So we must ask, where are the nuclear missiles that Osama is most likely to buy? They are in the former Soviet Union.
Of course, the goal should be to get rid of nuclear weapons altogether, just as our domestic goal must be to get rid of handguns. The mere existence of nuclear weapons is dangerous, destabilizing, and demoralizing. Like a loaded gun under your pillow, nuclear weapons are just as dangerous to the folks who have them as they are to folks who don't. Brandishing them and threatening people with them, as the American government has done, is a sure-fire recipe for convincing countries that they need their own nuclear missiles, if for no other reason than to get themselves off the Department of Defense's "regime change" list.
Tyrants around the world surely have noticed the deferential treatment that North Korea, which appears to have some nuclear weapons, got compared with Saddam Hussein, who did not have such weapons. So what the American government seems to be saying by its actions is, in the words of William Hartung in chapter 10, "Get nuclear weapons, and we'll treat you nice, and negotiate. Fail to get nuclear weapons and we'll bomb you into the Stone Age and kill your family." What kind of incentive is that to dissuade dictators from trying to get nuclear weapons?
Preventive Diplomacy Requires Multilateral Action. We need to build and nurture our alliances with other countries. When the State Department recently released a Patterns of Global Terrorism report, the spokesperson made a point of saying that the two countries that have given America the most help in dealing with al Qaeda were in "Old Europe": France and Germany. The State Department made this point to emphasize that, if the American military doesn't stop insulting France and Germany, important ties will be further damaged.
A broad spectrum of people realize that having allies is common sense and that insulting them is a bad thing. If we are to have an effective policy against terrorism, America must follow the money, and that means, for example, leaning on the Saudis and the Pakistanis. We need to have a more responsible approach to the global economy that says, if certain aspects of the financial system must be regulated in order to make sure we don't have another Word Trade Center disaster, and if money therefore has to flow a little more slowly, then so be it.
An alternative foreign policy, then, must take multilateralism seriously. This cannot be just serious rhetorically, as was true under the Clinton administration, which claimed the mantle of multilateralism while it carried out policy after policy that was thoroughly unilateralist in its trajectory. The first steps should include embracing the Kyoto accords, the International Criminal Court, and the Treaty of Rome.
Multilateral Action Must Reassert the Legitimacy of the United Nations. The United Nations must take the lead in Iraq. The first obligation of a military occupying power is to end the occupation. That is true of Israel in Palestine, and it is true of the United States in Iraq. The United Nations has to be the alternative to military occupation.
No one can deny that the United Nations has failed to live up to its 1945 charter in many respects. But attacks on the United Nations by the radical right in the United States fail to realize that, far from being an independent actor, the United Nations was designed as a kind of "holding company"—an enterprise where many members hold a stake but where some shareholders have a proportionately more influential role. The disproportionate stakeholders are the Permanent Five members of the Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China. Of these, the United States is by far the most powerful stakeholder. As professor Paul Kennedy at Yale has reminded us, failures to act against conflict and improve prospects for world peace are not the fault of the holding company but of the major shareholders, when they cannot agree. The United Nations still has great potential, but only when its major players, beginning with the United States, learn how better to work together.
At the same time, it is crucial to advocate for reforms to make United Nations operations more effective. Perhaps the most important reform is to democratize the Security Council—no permanent members and no vetoes. Of course, such reform is not now politically feasible, but the issue must constantly be put on the table.
More feasible in the short run is advocacy to empower the General Assembly. This is the plan of Phyllis Bennis in chapter 9. Historically, in the first forty years or so of the United Nations, partly because of the Cold War paralysis, partly because of the legacy of colonialism, partly for a host of other reasons, the General Assembly was the engine of motion. It wasn't the Security Council. It was to the General Assembly that newly independent former colonies would send their representatives to claim independence in front of the world. It was the General Assembly that created the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and all of the agencies that were designed to help countries of the global South compete on something resembling a more level playing field with the wealthy countries of the North. None of this happened because of Security Council resolutions. It happened because of the General Assembly and its more-or-less democratic approach to things.
Today, in the thinking of Bennis, the best way to empower the General Assembly is for the United States to simply back off—to become a more cooperative major shareholder. Right now, in the General Assembly, fear of antagonizing the United States forms a huge block on the ability of countries to take advantage of the global reach of the United Nations.
We need, then, to transform the United Nations from an institution where only the Security Council matters to a venue for real multinational interaction.
Preventive Diplomacy and Multilateralism Require Increased and More Effective Foreign Aid. In recent years, the American government and the mainstream media have resisted answering the most obvious question: Why was the September 11 attack committed?
In a world where one-quarter of the population lives in abject poverty, there is deep, lasting resentment over how America combines its wealth and power with willful arrogance, self-interest, corporate greed, arbitrary consumption of resources, and hypocrisy. We use a "shock-and-awe" invasion of Iraq to impose "democracy." But what is America's definition of democracy? A corrupt one dollar—one vote system in which the winner lost the popular vote for president in 2000 by over 500,000 votes. People know this around the world. They know how American "democracy" has failed to solve the nation's internal decay—symbolized, for example, by racism, segregation, poverty, inequality, violence, substandard education, job insecurity, inadequate health care, stealth privatization of Social Security, failed campaign financing reform, and failed voter rights reform. Until we reverse our internal decay, America has little "soft power," to use the phrase of Harvard Kennedy School professor Joseph Nye, to change the minds and hearts of people throughout the world.
Corporate-powered globalization is increasing income and wealth inequality, poverty, and despair. The information revolution has created a growing digital divide between the computer literate with future opportunities and the computer illiterate without them. It follows that American foreign policy needs to reduce inequality and close the digital divide.
Terrorists require money, weapons, and people. A national security policy that rejects unilateral preemptive war and focuses more on terrorist organizations must disrupt the flow of money and weapons. But the most vital resource is people. We need to reverse the despair in the impoverished villages of the world by combining economic and diplomatic solutions with military ones. Though the first suicidal attacks did not come from refugee camps, future waves may.
As a first step, as recommended by the Hart-Rudman Commission, the U.S. Agency for International Development should be integrated into a reorganized State Department—so aid can be better coordinated with the goals of economic development, poverty and inequality reduction, democracy building, and protection of human rights.
We then need to significantly change the sixteen-to-one ratio between Pentagon spending and spending for all other foreign operations. In terms of foreign aid, the United States ranks twentieth among the major countries. In terms of fulfilling a commitment made several years ago to fund the basic education of all children in the world by 2015, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden have received top marks for coming through with their promises. The United States flunked, coming in third from last among the twenty-two richest countries.
In 2000, the richest countries agreed to increase their foreign aid to a long-term target of seven-tenths of one percent of their gross national products. For the richest countries combined, this amounts to about $175 billion at today's income levels. If used effectively, these resources could substantially reduce, if not eliminate, the worst afflictions of poverty around the world. The money could control the great pandemic diseases of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; increase food productivity of impoverished farmers in the tropics; ensure that children are in school rather than at work; and enable poor households to obtain at least minimally acceptable access to safe drinking water, energy, and markets.
Yet, since 2000, the amount of American foreign aid remains the lowest as a percent of income in the entire donor world—about one-tenth of 1 percent of gross national product. Accordingly, the goal of a newly reorganized American foreign aid program within the Department of State should be to raise the level to the promised seven tenths of 1 percent.
Such a greatly enhanced aid program must structure more professional levels of accountability than at present. The traditional "top-down" economic development process should be overturned. It is more a creator of inequality than an engine of progress. Instead, we need to facilitate economic development that is "bubble up," in part through a greatly expanded role for nongovernmental organizations indigenous to the nations being assisted. As Ralph Nader advocates in chapter 24, we need to facilitate the kind of great contributions of Pablo Freire, or of Hassan Fathy in showing illiterate Egyptian peasants how to build simple, elegant housing from the soil under their feet, or the microcredit successes of the Grameen Bank started by Mohammed Yunis in Bangladesh. A new era of energy renewability and solar energy should be created, as well.
Recent American policy naively has assumed that, over the last two decades, the priorities of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have led to prosperity and democracy. Yet, by any reasonable measures, they have not succeeded, argues Nader. They have promoted policies that cause poverty and inequality, harm the environment, and lead to the privatization of basic services, such as water provision. Global growth in the last twenty years has been half of what it was in the previous twenty years. Distribution of income among countries has worsened, and the evidence suggests that, by and large, the distribution of income and wealth within countries also has worsened. So, in terms of what any sensible evaluation would conclude, our present global development policy of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor has not worked.
Doling out outrageous salaries, benefits, tax breaks, country club privileges, and travel expenses to employees, the IMF and "World Bank are corrupt, ineffective, and wasteful—patent failures, condemned as such by more than a few internal critiques. For example, while he was chief economist at the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, who was soon to win a Nobel Prize and now is a professor at Columbia University, publicly criticized the IMF for worsening the situation of Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. With leadership from the White House and a State Department reorganized as proposed by the Hart-Rudman Commission, the IMF and World Bank should facilitate the same kind of bubble-up rather than top-down economic development process needed by a reformed American aid initiative.
Accompanying reformed economic development should be a program of capacity building in democracy—for countries that want democracy. That democracy should be free of the campaign finance corruption, inequality, and class warfare by the rich against the poor that is central to what the power elite in America call "democracy." Democracy cannot be imposed, a lesson our young country has not yet learned.
Counterterrorism Policy in America Must Be Implemented With More Urgency. The United States today is scarcely more safe than on September 11. The federal government must move more rapidly and effectively to secure America from terrorists and invest its policy at home with the same degree of urgency it used to begin the unnecessary, resource-diverting invasion of Iraq. Short-run, middle-term, and long-run counterterrorism policies can be identified.
Here are just a few examples of short-run policy:
• The federal government needs to immediately implement a system of training and equipping local police, fire department staff, and local public and private health workers to respond to biological, chemical, nuclear, and other terrorist attacks. Federal financing is needed to significantly expand the numbers and quality of such personnel.
• In support of this training, the federal government needs to make federal watch lists and data bases much more available to state and local law enforcement agents—as well as to fire and health officials around the nation. Local responders to terrorist attacks need to be given much more intelligence from federal agencies, so they can better respond.
• The multiple points of American vulnerability to biological, chemical, nuclear, and other attacks must be systematically identified and eliminated. For example, we need to drastically step up inspection of the 21,000 shipping containers that enter our 361 ports every day. The United States now is spending $200 million to $300 million more on airport security, but shipping containers are a greater threat for weapons of mass destruction. The United States needs to do a better job of protecting energy distribution facilities like power plants, pumping stations, and pipeline compressor stations. We need improved protection of our water and food supplies.
• The federal government needs to move more quickly to protect the critical public and private infrastructure of America—the basic industries and systems on which our economy and society are based—including financial structures, communication systems, transportation systems, and energy production and distribution. Minimal progress has been made in protecting these systems.
• The White House and Congress should forcefully require the private sector to create, share, and cofinance vastly improved security to protect critical infrastructure industries. Legal barriers to cooperation among private sector entities should be removed. Corporations have been far too slow in response to the challenges.
• Organized citizens and responsible investigative media should demand accountability from national, state, and local leaders for how governments at all levels are making the population safer from terrorism and for the publication of independent cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness evaluations of progress or lack thereof.
• The FBI needs to better organize for counterterrorism and to ensure that field agent reports on terrorism are taken more seriously at headquarters in Washington. It needs to install state-of-the-art computers and a staff capacity to analyze data on potential terrorism in the United States.
In the middle run, it is important to better assess the Patriot Act, hastily passed after September 11 through an aggressive White House campaign that misleadingly implied that opponents were unpatriotic and aligned with terrorists.
The act does solve an important problem identified by Coleen Rowley in chapter 30 (as well as by the 9/11 Commission): it removes procedural barriers that intelligence and criminal investigators believe prohibited them from sharing information, causing missed opportunities in unraveling plots. But it also permits federal investigators to look at individuals' retail purchases, Internet searches, e-mail, and library usage, all without notification. It allows the U.S. attorney general to detain immigrants based on "suspicion," requires businesses to report "suspicious transactions," allows the government to conduct secret searches without notification, grants the FBI and other agencies greatly expanded access to all sorts of personal and business data with little judicial oversight, and allows for surveillance of any number of domestic organizations and advocacy groups.
Despite the many new powers the Patriot Act grants, a host of experts doubt whether it will actually succeed in reducing terrorist activity. For example, while the act permits the government to collect vast amounts of information, it does not provide the agencies involved the resources required to analyze it. As New York University law professor Stephen Schulhofer has observed, "A large part of what we lack [already] is not raw data but the ability to separate significant intelligence from 'noise.'"
Serious debate over these policies is only now emerging. Many are wary because the government is so secretive and because it has shown such bad judgment in so many policies, like being unable to confront militant Islam with something other than force.
At the same time, even greater powers of search and surveillance may be enacted. There also is talk of legislation that would change the historical prohibition in the United States against the military enforcing the laws of the land. The founders of America understood the threats to democracy posed by stationing full-time soldiers on the streets. Later legislation made clear that Congress understood the difference between protecting the nation from foreign attacks and policing our neighborhoods. Short of martial law, such military policing would be a mistake of enormous proportions. Instead, the National Guard—ordinary citizens on temporary leave—should be trained and equipped for homeland security operations when local and state law enforcement are not enough. This is the recommendation of the Hart-Rudman Commission.
Remember, too, that there are sunset clauses on about half the provisions of the Patriot Act. To determine whether to keep the provisions, we need an independent, nonpartisan commission, created by private sector foundations, to fund an assessment that determines the benefits of the act, asks whether the right people are targeted, inquires whether the American population is being protected, documents whether current provisions have the national and international support needed to succeed, and presents to the American taxpayer the costs of what we are doing compared with the benefits.
In the longer run, America must systematically reform the FBI along the lines recommended by the 9/11 Commission and begin to resolve the decades-long failure of the FBI and the CIA to fully cooperate. The organizational changes being made to American intelligence agencies are only a small part of the solution. The more important task is to make the FBI and the CIA run better. They cannot any longer be dominated by careerists who carefully try to manage their promotions and secure their retirement benefits. Regular infusions of professionals from spheres outside of the CIA and the FBI are needed. The priority at the FBI and CIA should be to secure higher quality managers, analysts, and agents.
Longer-run vision must cast off failed, supply-side privatizing ideology and use public funds to simultaneously improve both our national security and education systems. The world is experiencing an era of dramatic progress in bioscience, materials science, information technology, and scientific instrumentation. Being in the forefront of these and related fields will help fight terrorism abroad and at home— and create millions of new jobs in the process.
However, conservative privatizers have seriously underfunded public-sector-supported basic scientific research in recent years. As a result, the United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals. Not surprisingly, the American education system has fallen behind other countries. Following the recommendations of the Hart-Rudman Commission, America consequently needs to double the federal research and development budget and to legislate a National Security, Science, and Education Act to generate sufficient numbers of researchers, engineers, scientists, and teachers in math and science. The act also should serve as a major federal response to soaring higher education tuition costs. Grants, not loans, should be provided to students from middle-class, working-class, and impoverished families.
We also need to follow the recommendation of the Hart-Rudman Commission to reinvest in our public infrastructure and, in the process, eliminate our energy dependency on other nations. To meet this goal, the United States will need an increase in conventional energy production (more deep gas wells, for example); adoption of greater transportation efficiency standards; a graduated tax on carbon emissions; increased reliance on renewable energy sources, such as sun, wind, and water; and renewed research in alternatives, including hydrogen fuel cells. If developed wisely, these energy policies will not only help provide physical security but also economic security, through the creation of millions of jobs for the middle class, workers, and the truly disadvantaged.
- Mike Alien, "President Campaigns to Make Patriot Act Permanent," Washington Post, April 20, 2004.
- Keith Bradsher, "China Bars Steps by Hong Kong Toward More Democratic Voting," New York Times, April 27, 2004.
- William Branigin, "Kay: We Were Almost All Wrong," Washington Post, January 28, 2004.
- Ted Bridis, "Ex-Aide Says Bush Doing Terrible Job," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 20, 2004.
- Ethan Bronner, "Collateral Damage," New York Times Book Review, February 22, 2004.
- Sewell Chan and Michael Amon, "Prisoner Abuse Probe Widened," Washington Post, May 2, 2004.
- Dan Chapman, "We're Trying to Spread a Little Truth," interview with Ray McGovern, Atlanta Journal Constitution, December 7, 2003.
- Jim Chen, "For Good Reasons, China Finances U.S. Deficit," The World Paper, March 2004.
- Joseph Cirincione,Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Alexis Orton, and George Perkovich, WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C.January, 2004.
- Richard A. Clarke, "The Wrong Debate on Terrorism," New York Times, April 25, 2004.
- Edward Cody and Philip P. Pan, "Beijing Tightens Control of Hong Kong," Washington Post, April 7, 2004.
- Economic Policy Institute, "Soaring Imports from China Push U.S. Trade Deficit to New Record," February 13, 2004, at http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_archive_l 1202002.
- Economist, "Not So EZ," January 28, 1989.
- Dan Eggen and John Mintz, "9/11 Panel Critical of Clinton, Bush," Washington Post, March 24, 2004.
- Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus, "Ashcroft s Efforts on Terrorism Criticized," Washington Post, April 14,2004.
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- Douglas Farah, "Al Qaeda's Finances Ample, Say Probers," Washington Post, December 14, 2003.
- Jeff Faux, "The Financial, Political, and Moral Deficits of the American Empire" chapter 21 in Alan Curtis, editor, Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield,2004).
- ————, "You Are Not Alone," in Stanley B. Greenberg and Theda Skocpol, The New Majority -.Toward a Popular Progressive Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997).
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- Todd Furniss, "China: The Next Big Wave in Offshore Outsourcing," at http://www .Outsourcing-asia.com/china.html, June 2003.
- James Glanz, "Scientists Say Administration Distorts Facts," NewYork Times, February 19, 2004.
- Philip Golub, "U.S.: The World's Deepest Debtor," Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2003.
- William Greider, Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992).
Guardian Weekly, "Beijing's Ugly New Offensive Against Democracy," editorial, March 11-17, 2004.
- Gary Hart, "A Detour from the War on Terrorism," Washington Post and http://www.garyhartnews.com/hart/writings/coluinns/columns_03_09_2003.php, March 9, 2003.
- ————, "The New Security: Economic Growth and Justice in the 21st Century, www.gary-hartnews.com, March 4, 2003.
- ————, "The Other War," American Prospect, December 16, 2002.
- ———— and Warren B. Rudman, America Still Unprepared—-America Still in Danger, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC., October 2002, at http://www.cfr.org/pdf/Homeland_ Secunty_TF.pdf
- ———— and Warren Rudman, "Securing the Homeland," Newshour with Jim Lehrer, at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/july-dec02/senators_l0-31.html, October 31,2002.
- ——— and Warren B. Rudman, "We Are Still Unprepared," Washington Post, November 5, 2002.
- Anne Imse, "Former Senator Hart: America Unprepared for Terrorist Attacks," Rocky Mountain Netwjune 19,2003.
- Douglas Jehl, "Tenet Concedes Gaps in C.l.A. Data on Iraq Weapons," NewYork Times, February 6, 2004.
- ————, "White House Eyes a Powerful Post for Intelligence," NewYork Times, April 16, 2004.
- ——— and David E. Sanger, "The Struggle for Iraq: Commission to Decide Itself on Depth of Its Investigation," Neu/York Times, February 3, 2004-Larry C.Johnson, "The War on Clarke," TomPaine.com, March 29, 2004, at http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/10158.
- David Johnston and Jim Dwyer, "Pre-9/11 Files Show Warnings Were More Dire and Persistent," NewYork Times, April 18, 2004.
- Joseph Kahn, "A Challenge to China's Leaders From a Witness to Brutality," New York Times, March 14, 2004.
- Paul Kennedy, "The Perils of Empire," Washington Post, April 20, 2003. ———, "U.N. Bashing Misses the Target," Tribune Media Services International, February 10, 2004.
- and Bruce Russett, "Reforming the United Nations," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1995.
- Christopher Lee, "Most Say They Are Less Safe Since 9/11," Washington Post, April 1, 2004.
- Eric Lichtblau, "New Details Put FBI's Action Under Scrutiny," NewYork Times, April 12, 2004.
- David MacMichael and Ray McGovern, "Ex-CIA Professionals: Weapons of Mass Distraction: Where? Find? Plant?" CommonDreams.org, June 18, 2003, at http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0425-ll.htm.
- ————, "The Burden of Truth," Sojourners, November-December 2003
- Christopher Marquis, "New System Begins Rerouting U.S. Aid for Poor Countries, NewYork Times, February 22, 2004.
- Dana Milbank, "Opinion of U.S. Abroad is Falling, Survey Finds," Washington Post, Mutch 17, 2004.
- Adam Nagourney and Philip Shenon, "Bush Says Brief on Qaeda Threat Was Not Specific, NewYork Times, April 12, 2004.
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- NewYork Times, "Dream-Filled Missile Silos," editorial, April 1, 2004.
Joseph S. Nye Jr., The Paradox of American Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
- Dana Priest, "Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Criticized," Washington Post, April 27, 2004.
- ———, "Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings," Washington Post, April 14, 2004.
- James Risen, "Ex-Inspector Says CIA Missed Disarray In Iraqi Arms Program," New York Times, January 26, 2004.
- Corey Robin, "Grand Designs: How 9/11 Unified Conservatives in Pursuit of Empire," Washington Post, May 2, 2004.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, "If We Cared To, We Could Defeat World Poverty," New York Times, July 9, 2003.
- David E. Sanger, "Calculating the Politics of Catastrophe," New York Times, May 2, 2004.
- John Schmid, "Same Bed, Different Dreams," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 28, 2003.
- ———— and Rick Romell, "China's Economic Boom Hits Home," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 27, 2003.
- Philip Shenon, "9/11 Panel Set to Detail Flaws in Air Defenses," NewYork Times, April 25,2004.
- ————, "Panel Plans to Document the Breadth of Lost Opportunities," New York Times, April 11,2004.
- ———— and Erie Lichtblau, "Sept. 11 Panel Cites C.I.A. For Failures in Terror Case," NewYork Times, April 15,2004.
- Mickey Spiegel, "China: Religion in the Service of the State," U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Washington, DC., March 16, 2000.
- Richard W. Stevenson and Janet Elder, "Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes," New York Times, April 29, 2004.
- Nancy Talanian, "License to Criticize the Patriot Act," at http://www.commondreams ,org/views04/0402-03.htm, April 2, 2004.
- Pierre Tristam, "Of Course the Attacks Were Preventable," CommonDreams.org, at http://www.cornrnondreains.org/views04/0420-06.htm, April 21, 2004.
- "U.S. Trade Deficit with China Surges to a Record High," Taipei Times, October 13, 2003.
- United States Commission on National Security/21" Century: Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change, Phase III report, February 15, 2001.
- United States Department of Treasury, "Foreign Holding of the U.S. Debt," Washington, D.C., April 15,2004.
- William Wallace, "The European Mistrust of American Leadership," chapter 7 in Alan Curtis, editor, Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).
- Washington Post, "The 9/11 Debate," editorial, March 24, 2004.
Mark Weisbrot, "The IMF at 60: Reform Still a Long Way Off," Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services and CommonDreams.org, at http://www.commondreanis.org/views04/0420-08.htm, April 20, 2004.
- Steven R. Weisman, "State Department Report Shows Increase in Terrorism," NewYork Times,
June 23, 2004. James Q. Whitman, "Prisoner Degredation Abroad—and at Home," Washington Post, May 10, 2004.
- Robin Wnght, "Top Focus before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism," Washington Post, April 1, 2004.
- Stephanie Zunes, "Bush Endorsement of Sharon Proposal Undermines Peace and International Law," at http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0415-14.htrn , April 15, 2004.