Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Fighting terrorists, from a conceptual point of view

Before I left the White House, I addressed an audience at the US Naal War College on homeland security and the law. This author, who reviewed the conference proceedings, seems to believe there is a deep divide within the federal government:

"Everyone has an opinion and rarely do opinions on homeland security appear harmonious. Homeland Security advocates generally support DHS activity as necessary to protect the nation in the global war on terrorism. Those less favorably inclined to DHS, as well as some within the DHS, see the threats to the United States as threats from a criminal element that happens also to be terrorists. These threats, they believe, are best countered by law enforcement efforts.
A deep divide exists between these two major viewpoints and neither side seemed willing to offer any credence to the other side's position. Such a basic division involves and affects methods, sources, resources, planning, and thinking. "

I traded some emails with Dr. Handley after I saw his report. While there still may be some individuals within the US law enforcement community who advocate combatting terrorism as only a law enforcement issue, most agree that we also must have extra-judicial options. We tried the "law enforcement only" approach once before and we ended up with September 11th. Personally I'd rather not go back to those times. We must find new tools that work, while still protecting basic human rights.