Counterterrorism Contradictions

by GADI ADELMAN September 19, 2011
 
In the second paragraph of the Overview of the National Strategy for Counterterrorism it states,
 
The United States deliberately uses the word “war” to describe our relentless campaign against al-Qa’ida. However, this Administration has made it clear that we are not at war with the tactic of terrorism or the religion of Islam. We are at war with a specific organization—al-Qa’ida.
 
I could easily end the article here and let you ponder that one statement, but the National Strategy for Counterterrorism goes oh so much further. This 19 page “strategy” is anything but and is just one more example of how well the current administration can waste time, man power and your money.
 
You would think that by now, ten years after 9/11, that those who have been elected, to among other things, protect the American people, would have some sort of grasp on counterterrorism. You would think that, but you would be wrong.
 
Last Sunday on the anniversary of 9/11 during each and every speech I heard over and over again that “it has been ten years and we have not been attacked”, really?
 
I guess Nidal Hassan and the Foot Hood shooting didn’t really happen after 9/11/01 or in even in the United States. I must have been mistaken about the Christmas day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who attempted to set off his Fruit of the looms; I thought it was Christmas day 2009. Granted he didn’t succeed, but it was an attack nonetheless. I could go on here naming others from Shahzad Faisal, the Times Square SUV bomber to the D.C. snipers John Allen Muhammad, and Lee Boyd Malvo, but you get my point.
 
In the introduction of the 19 page strategy it states,
 
As we approach the 10th anniversary of that day, we can look forward with confidence in our accomplishments and pride in the resiliency of our nation. We have prevented another catastrophic attack on our shores…
 
Oh, so I guess in this case Foot Hood wasn’t “catastrophic”? Tell that to the family, friends and co-workers of the 14 people shot dead that day, or to those that survived that will never be able to sleep well again.
 
First and foremost the entire strategy is based on one enemy and one enemy only. No, not terror or terrorism, remember that is a “tactic not an enemy”. It clearly states over and over again the enemy is “al-Qa’ida”. It mentions “al-Qa’ida” 165 times in its 19 pages.
 
It does however offer a definition. In the section “The Threat We Face” it states,
 
The principal focus of the National Strategy for Counterterrorism is the collection of groups and individuals who comprise al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents. 
 
Affiliates: Groups that have aligned with al-Qa’ida.
 
Adherents: Individuals who have formed collaborative relationships with, act on behalf of, or are otherwise inspired to take action in furtherance of the goals of al-Qa’ida —the organization and the ideology—including by engaging in violence regardless of whether such violence is targeted at the United States, its citizens, or its interests.
 
I think the way that the definition is worded it would cover any organization that commits a terrorist act. Wouldn’t it be easier to say “terrorists”? Just sayin’...
 
On September 9 of this year, just days before the 9/11 anniversary, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched on the new National Strategy for Counterterrorism while giving a speech at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York. She stated,
 
“Earlier this summer, the Administration released its National Strategy for Counterterrorism. It makes very clear we face both a short-term and a long-term challenge. First, to keep up the pressure on al-Qaida and its network. Second, to face down the murderous ideology that fueled bin Ladin’s rise and that continues to incite violence around the world.”
 
“To face down the murderous ideology that fueled bin Ladin’s rise and that continues to incite violence around the world.” Hmmm. Madam Secretary, you are aware that terrorism was around long before Bin Laden was born in 1957 right, so maybe the “ideology” that you speak of didn’t come from him, perhaps it came from somewhere else, say, oh, I don’t know, Islam?
 
Secretary Clinton also spoke of the difference between the way we treat “terrorists” and they us,
 
“When we capture al-Qaida members, we detain them humanely and consistent with international standards. And when we do strike, we seek to protect innocent civilians from harm. Terrorists, of course, do exactly the opposite.”
 
Perhaps Madam Secretary you should read that the next time you plan on chastising Israel when they retaliate with a surgical strike in Gaza after its civilians are killed by Hamas rocket fire.
 
Clinton also spoke on law enforcement action vs. military,
 
“And just as we will not shy away from using military force as needed, we will also use the full range of law enforcement tools. Those who argued in the past that the fight against terrorism was a military matter and not appropriate for law enforcement posed a false choice.”
 
“This also means putting terrorists on trial in civilian courts, which have time and again shown their effectiveness at convicting terrorists, including many right here in New York, without endangering our local population.”
 
Aside from the fact that she used the dreaded “T” word, I don’t recall the argument about whether or not putting terrorists on trial in civilian courts was only a question of “endangering our local population”. I thought it had something to do with the fact of giving the murderous bastards Constitutional rights in order to have a civilian trial even if they were not U.S. citizens.
 
Clinton also spoke about weapons of mass destruction,
 
“We’ve also taken steps to protect against new cyber dangers and to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. That remains the gravest threat facing our country and the world.”
 
Wow! Does that include countries like Iran that not only support and train and supply terrorists, but are actively working towards building a nuclear weapon? You might want to mention it to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you could do it in person since he is coming to NY today.
 
Towards the end of her speech she spoke about the need to have an “international counterterrorism network”,
 
“We need to expand our efforts to build an international counterterrorism network that is as nimble and adaptive as our adversaries’. So we have launched a diplomatic offensive to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on counterterrorism.”
 
Finally, she unveiled the new Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF),
 
“We have a broad and ambitious agenda, and to carry out this work, I am upgrading our office devoted to counterterrorism to a full-fledged bureau within the State Department.
But until now, there’s been no dedicated international venue to regularly convene key counterterrorism policy makers and practitioners from around the world. So later this month, we will take another significant step forward by establishing a new global counterterrorism forum.”
 
Another bureau? Just what we need, more offices, more people, more red tape and more money spent and of course even though it will be an “International” group it will be based here in America like the U.N. I feel better already seeing how well that has worked out.
 
But as if all this doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, the final explanation from Clinton surely will,
 
“We’re bringing together traditional allies, emerging powers, and Muslim-majority countries around a shared counterterrorism mission in a way that’s never been done before. Turkey and the United States will serve as founding co-chairs and we will be joined by nearly 30 other nations. Together, we will work to identify threats and weaknesses, devise solutions, mobilize resources, share expertise and best practices.”
“This will improve international coordination, but it will also help countries address terrorist threats within their own borders and regions.”
 
Who better to be on this group than a “Muslim-majority”? Does the fox watching the hen house come to mind or I am I being too critical? After all, the Arab Spring has brought us such wonderful Democratic governments throughout the Middle East.
 
According to the new GCTF website,
 
The U.S. proposed the creation of the GCTF to address the evolving terrorist threat in a way that would bring enduring benefits by helping frontline countries and affected regions acquire the means to deal with threats they face. It is based on a recognition that the U.S. alone cannot eliminate every terrorist or terrorist organization. Rather, the international community must come together to assist countries as they work to confront the terrorist threat.
 
It will provide a needed venue for national CT officials and practitioners to meet with their counterparts from key countries in different regions to share CT experiences, expertise, strategies, capacity needs, and capacity-building programs.
 
Okay, “frontline countries and affected regions” as well as “different regions to share CT experiences, expertise, strategies”. Sounds like a good idea, America should learn from other countries counter-terror expertise and strategies.
 
So, let’s just take a look at what countries are involved in this new Global Counterterrorism Forum.
 
The 30 founding members of the GCTF are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
 
Glad to see so many of our “allies” in that list. Especially Pakistan since they played such a pivotal role in helping us Kill Bin Laden. 
 
But hold on, there is a name missing from that list, isn’t there? If you really want to have counter-terror experiences, expertise and strategies what would be better than the country that has faced more terror than any other?  Who has more experience dealing with terror more than any other? Who, more than any other country has the expertise of dealing with terror day in and day out?
 
Of course why would this administration use the country that I speak of, after all it is September and the Palestinians are about to ask the UN for Statehood.
 
So I ask you, counter-what, counter-terror or counter-Israel?
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org  Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He can be heard every Thursday night at 8PM est. on his own radio show “AmericaAkbar” on Blog Talk Radio. He can be reached through his website gadiadelman.com.
 

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