Homeland Security
Nicholas Johnson
Comment Entered in the
Western Behavioral Sciences Institute
International Leadership Forum
(an online, invitation-only exchange on a number of topics, including "Terrorism")

1:64) 27-OCT-2001 13:18 Nicholas Johnson

If the goal of our anti-terrorist efforts, including our military response, is to improve our "homeland security," it seems to me the results so far indicate that it has been counter productive.

I don't mean to cast aside concerns about the literally millions of refugees we have helped to create, many of whom will die of starvation, public health threats, or other causes -- including "collateral damage." I acknowledge that these issues can be talked about in humanitarian and religious terms. But such discussions tend to provoke emotionalism and charges of lack of patriotism or worse.

So I'm just approaching it from a "national defense" perspective. That may not eliminate the disagreements, but it at least turns down the volume.

The problem, from a limited "homeland security" perspective, is not just that the war isn't going as well as we'd initially hoped. Starving refugees, even Taliban warriors, aren't that much threat to our homeland security as long as they stay in Afghanistan.

The problem [from this military/national defense perspective, as distinguished from humanitarian concerns] is that the strategies we are using are raising, rather than lowering, the levels of anger among Muslims who weren't crazy about the United States to begin with. The number who interpret Islam to require -- not just permit, but require -- a defense of their religion that involves an armed attack on the U.S. The number who believe that there are special after-life benefits coming their way if they are killed in the attempt.

On September 12th we had support in Pakistan. During the last 24 hours alone, the number of Pakistanis who have armed themselves and attempted to go into Afghanistan to join the war against us, the Infidels, increased from 60 to 5000.

This change of heart, this increased anger, does not bode well for our efforts to reduce the likelihood that we will come under new, and even more innovative and deadly, terrorist attacks in our homeland from equally increasingly angry potential terrorists newly entering our country or already in our midst.

From my perspective, and that of the world's press I am reading, it seems to me that my "homeland security" is every day somewhat less than it was the day before.