Daniel R. DePetris: The Political Docket

The U.S. Is Not Ready for the Next 9/11

Posted in U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy by Dan on January 4, 2010

With all of the missteps preceding the failed Christmas day bombing, one has to ask whether the United States- eight years after September 11, 2001- is really up to the challenge. According to reporting from Newsweek (can be seen here), Time Magazine, Foreign Policy Magazine, and a whole host of other media outlets, the answer is an overwhelming no. The U.S. may be succeeding against terrorist networks overseas…as is evident in the CIA’s drone-program over Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. But this same government is not performing up to par on the defensive side of the conflict.

As was said by General David Petraeus, the War on Terrorism cannot be won solely by killing a few operatives and hoping that a network unravels as a result. The only way this conflict can be won- or at least tolerated- is through a multifaceted approach.

Tactical strikes on Al’Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan and Somalia are fine, but as long as our domestic intelligence service is entangled within a web of bureaucracy, we might as well be living like September 11 never happened.

What is more, Washington needs to take a more preventive approach against terrorism in the long-run. Economic development, transparency in government, and job opportunities may be able to cut terrorism at its roots. Civilian help is a vital part of an effective counterterrorism policy; one that actually keeps this country somewhat safe.

-Daniel R. DePetris


11 Responses

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  1. access said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    America supposedly, has the best and most expensive intelligent agencies money can buy. But apparently, this is false. Even our president is left in the dark. We are being protected by incompetent, keystone cops.

    All governmental agencies are broken just like our government.

    This country is good at one thing, and that is war.

  2. Latino Vet said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    The Rushnicnas will ty an make this a political issue by fear mongering us to death. Grandma is safe and so are your children. the sky is not falling and waiting in longer lines at the airport is useless. We are chasing a bunch of incompetent illiterates around piles of rock to maintain the military industrial complex period.

  3. kenfromillinois said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    So now we know Obama was party to the systematic breakdown in security. Heads should role. Obama should resign for doing nothing but let his DHS chief worry about American servicemen being terrorists. Heck! I wish returning servicemen attacked the White House and the Senate. That’s where the most dangerous enemies of the middle class reside!

  4. Agnim said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    If a caring father goes out of his way to risk the well-being of his son and warn about that son, whom he ought to know more than anyone else can, then that FATHERLY SACRIFICE & WARNING is sufficient in an of itself for the authorities to ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION!

    At least bring the unfortunate and misguided lad in for questioning and revoke any visa he may have had. After all, we are not dealing with your everyday criminals?

    We are dealing with maniac muslims, who CANNOT care about the well being of others; because those insane islamist suiciders don’t care about their own well-being.

    But here’s what happen.

    The father is African; and historically the input of Africans aren’t valued much by US white supremacists.

    And so white supremacist karma came back to haunt them.

    Another thing, US white supremacists have so racially abused and misused ethnic/racial ‘profiling’ in the past; now that profiling may serve useful purpose it is being resisted and rejected to the detriment of ALL!

    Lesson? Racism does not pay. And centuries of bigotry IS coming back to bite US in the butt!

  5. Oldanalyst said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    (Access said we are good at war. Really?)

    We seem to have intelligence (?) agencies that work for different countries. Many administrations have tried and apparently failed to force the FBI, CIA, NSA etc to talk with each other in real time. We need real intelligence and this is going to require an even stronger push for cooperation. Lack of inter agency communication is not acceptable. At times, we have even seen a lack of intra agency communication. Maybe this latest screw-up will prompt action. I fear the action will become political (as Cheney seems to be making it).

    We need to remind all that terrorist acts will honor no party affiliation, religious conviction, intellectual capacity or any other variation. If a bomb goes boom, so do all nearby. No petty inter/intra agency squabble should ever allow the bomb to go off in the first place. Now if the time to act, President Obama.

  6. Mainer1776 said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I will NEVER take seriously again, being “wanded” by TSA. I will SMILE without laughing when I see Grandma or Little Billy on his way to Orlando being “wanded”.

    WHAT A CROCK! The government doesn’t even try to protect us from REAL enemies, but we have to put up with all that nonsense at the airport.

    Something else… did you know that TSA scanners can’t detect titanium? I’m sure all the people in Yemen, Afghanistan and in Al Qada already know this.

  7. GrandaCeeCee said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Another clear indication that the President needs to get rid of ALL of the Bush administration officials he has retained, like this ass at the NCTC. Every one of them including at the DOJ and the DOD! We cannot afford these Bushie loyalist incompetents in our nation’s security system any longer. Forget bi-partisan cooperation. It hasn’t existed for over 20 years.

  8. nandrelli said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    OldAnalyst wrote”

    “We need to remind all that terrorist acts will honor no party affiliation, religious conviction, intellectual capacity or any other variation.”

    Maybe you should tell that to Secretary Napolitano, who warned us to beware of U.S. military vets returning from deployment to the Middle East, because they might join right-wing white-power militia and, with their military experience, could be the most potent terrorist threat we have.

    So far, on her watch, the score is 3 Muslim terror attacks on U.S. soil, killing 14 people (15 if you count the unborn baby of the woman killed at Ft. Hood, and 293 on flight NW 253 – count them because none of our security apparatus did ANYTHING to stop the Crotchless Bomber), none by skinhead white guys.

    Napolitano should have been bounced out ages ago.

  9. Hyphenated American said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Enjoy flying the Obama-airlines…

    Things are getting quite peculiar these days. The Obama-security (CIA, TSA, FBI) failed to prevent a moslem terrorist from a nearly fatal attempt to blow up an airplane full of passengers. Notice that it’s not like the guy was f*king inconspicuous. In order to enumerate all the obvious signs which “might have” alerted the authorities, I was required to make a long numbered list since I could not fit everything into one sentence. Each of the points in the list should have been enough to get this man an extra pat on the groin at the airport, and yet, he was allowed to promenade through all the security details as if he were wearing an invisible cloak, while the blond blue eyed 70 year old Norwegian women had to strip naked in front of the airport security to make sure they were not jihadists on a suicide mission.

    To read the rest of my article, go here:


  10. austin c said, on January 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    The mastermind of the underwear bomber incident and Fort Hood massacre is the same person, i.e. Anwar Al-Awlaki of Yemen. It is of interest to know why Obama and the major media did not call the Hort Hood massacre as terrorist attack by Islamic extremist like the underwear bomber case. The terrorist did not succeed in the underwear bomber case, but they did succeed in the Fort hood base, and the attacker Major Hasak even got a complement from AL-Awlaki as heroic action, after the mass killing occurred.

  11. Anonymous said, on January 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    A private intelligence service warned last September that a novel bombing technique used by Al Qaeda in Yemen to try to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism chief represented an important “tactical innovation” that could “have a catastrophic result

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