Step 2: Better Intelligence

The second very important, very difficult, very long-term step in defeating the incredibly dangerous enemy we face as a nation is to seriously beef up intelligence.  And even though many (including President Bush) tout technology all day long as the answer to national security- and every other kind of problems, I’m not buying it.  We’ve got technology coming out of our ears, but we still can’t stop the insurgency in Iraq or secure the southern border or quell Iran’s or North Korea’s aspirations for nuclear weapons they can hand out to the highest bidder. 

The bottom line is that you can’t beat back evil until you’ve got boots on the ground blending in with it.  Until we have WAY more native- and extremely-well-trained Arabic-speaking operatives infiltrating every corner of the worldwide terrorist network, we’re never going to defeat it. 

  • If we had a guy in the next cave over from Osama, he’d be dead right now.
  • If we had operatives in even 20% of the terrorist cells in Iraq, we’d be twice as far into ending that horrific situation.
  • If we had been inside Al-Qaeda 10 years ago, maybe there wouldn’t have been a 9-11.
  • Etc…

Campus Watch, a fascinating site that watch-dogs the Middle East, published an amazing article on this topic back in 2003.  I think the following quote says it very well…

In the intelligence war, Islamists have a distinct advantage. Among the ranks of Islamist radicals are thousands who have studied in the United States, speak serviceable English, and can move with ease in American society. How many field agents of American intelligence can move at ease in the Islamist milieu? German and British universities once produced spies who could speak half a dozen Arab dialects and recite the Koran from memory. Today’s only superpower cannot recruit enough Arabic translators to handle routine intercepts.

Check out the entire article at:
http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/921

We’re never going to win this war until we unravel this trend and reverse it.  First, we should spend whatever money is necessary to entice the best and the brightest in the Arabic community into the CIA.  I’m sure we’re already doing some of that.  Whatever efforts are in play there, let’s double them.  However, this isn’t the only action necessary.  Next we have to address the problem that nobody wants to do the work. 

Here’s the rub, and it’s two fold… 

  1. Too many people think America is the problem, and
  2. There’s a definite cross-section of the Muslim world that wants to play out a world domination kill-everyone-not-like-me scenario, who will hate America no matter what we do, because we represent freedom and they hatefreedom.  And of course they would.  Freedom means that people think for themselves instead of strapping bombs on and blowing themselves up for Allah.  (Ever notice that the leaders ordering the strikes are never the ones blowing themselves up.  Hmmm….)

The problem in recruiting the average Muslim today is that they not only don’t believe in America and in her cause of freedom.  Many of them think America is the evil player here, because they’ve been fed that garbage since before they could walk.  And it doesn’t help that there are so many others in America (stemming back to the Vietnam era) who agree and enforce their delusions.  Stack on top of all that the jealousy that exists around the world of this amazingly great nation, and it’s a lethal formula for breeding Jihadists around the world.  So, this has to be fixed.  I know many would advocate giving stuff to the terrorists and others who hate us until they like us more, but I just don’t see how that’s going to work with irrational fanatical killers.  Didn’t work so well the 1930’s.  I think we should learn from that lesson (*shoots piercing look at France*).  Let me unpack it…

Part of having the stomach to fight this war is to realize that can’t have our cake and eat it to — not all the time. You’re going to read this theme a couple of times in my top-ten series.  We’ve gotta be tougher.  This isn’t some game in the fantasy Utopian socialist dreamland that some want to live in.  This is war, and there’s a very real enemy that would dance in the streets if they could wipe out every single man, woman and child on this continent.  

As long as the ACLU is running around with the brevado and the power to call “unconstitutional” anything and everything that makes anyone in America (except white males and Christians, of course — nobody cares about them) feel a little bad, then we’re never going to be able to rally the power necessary to defend ourselves — let alone defeat a brutal enemy.  As long as there are cameras mixed in with Marines so that pundants halfway around the world can arm-chair-quarterback every single call made by every single battle commander, we’re just plain screwed.  As long as liberals can oppose every single program the US government has tried to put in place to fight terrorism since 9-11 just because it’s a Republican executive branch proposing it, and yet never propose any concrete alternative plans, then we’ll never be victorious.  As long as we care more about our own comfort and all the things we feel we’re entitled to, we’re making it a veritable certainty that one of these days Seattle or Philadelphia or Chicago is going up in a blaze of glory we’ll call “9-11 Two, The Cost of Enduring Apathy”.  (It’s okay though; I’m sure Michael Moore will throw together a great “documentary”.)

So, with that introduction rant out of the way, here’s what I think we need to do (and the ACLU is gonna love this)…  Instead of giving them things to try to make them happy in the hopes that they’ll like us more (they’re laughing at us, by the way), we need to drop the hammer on the troublemakers.  Both in America and in Iraq, we need to shut down the militants.  We already have hate speech and sudition crimes on the books.  We’ve gotta start putting them to work.  We do that by profiling the people that are plotting to destroy the free world, and cut off their access to brainwashing their public.  Unless we keep the poison out of the ears and eyes of the average Arabic-American teenager (or Iraqi teenager for that matter), we’ll never be able to recruit them into the service of this country (to whom they owe their freedom and prosperity).  And without better intelligence on the ground in Iran and elsewhere (the result of their service), we may not survive long enough to debate the issue. 

I’m sorry that means cutting off some “free speech” for a select few, but the truth is that it hasn’t been very free lately.  It’s costing us a lot, actually.  And the freedom to say and do what I want was never meant to come without responsibility and cost.  In other words, you don’t have the right to plot to overthrow your government.  If the local Mulla has told little Joey 74 million times by age 16 that America is the Great White Satan, then how effective do you think the FBI or the CIA will be at recruiting him at age 19 to spy on Ahmadinejad in Tehran or on the local Al-Qaeda cell in the Seattle? 

 And I’m not suggesting we start blanket-censoring people with divergent ideas.  This is about harmful and seditious speech.  We put everyday FBI agents (lots of them) on the ground in American masques, and if Fred the Cleric gets all “we hate America” and “death to the Zionists”, then Fred gets removed from his position of authority and thrown in jail.  I know it sounds ugly, but if we don’t stop the brainwashing (and frankly start a little brainwashing of our own in the right direction), we’ll never get anywhere.  Regulating it is important, I agree.  Not turning it into some kind of crazed witch hunt is too.  But playing with kid-gloves isn’t going to work anymore — in fact, it really hasn’t worked too well to date either.  If we don’t have the stomach to fight this war — which is based on an ideology of hatred and death — then again, we may not survive to debate it.  Take the gloves off in the propaganda arena, and though a few people will scream that their rights were violated, literally millions of lives could be saved in the process.

Summary:  Recruit more Arabic spies, and cut the head off the propaganda machine to make that possible.

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About Jeff Block

Lover and follower of Christ. Husband and father. Writer and seminary student. On a long journey, learning to swim with the current of God's love and walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
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3 Responses to Step 2: Better Intelligence

  1. Brad Bull says:

    I hear a lot of “I love Bush and his policies” in your analysis, but little else. Most of what your saying essentially points to “It’s never America’s fault. 😉 jk

    I agree with the need for better intelligence, however, you include many tangents in this rant that don’t seem relevant to improved intelligence.

    “As long as the ACLU is running around with the brevado and the power to call “unconstitutional” anything and everything that makes anyone in America (except white males and Christians, of course…” This is a gross misrepresentation of the ACLU and their policies.

    “As long as there are cameras mixed in with Marines so that pundants halfway around the world can arm-chair-quarterback every single call made by every single battle commander, we’re just plain screwed.” Your buddy Bill O’Reilly is just as guilty as anyone else for this.

    “Instead of giving them things to try to make them happy in the hopes that they’ll like us more” This is also a misrepresentation. Most people here are advocating financial incentives to existing groups and personnel that are advocating for freedom and democracy. No one wants to bribe terrorists.

    “As long as liberals can oppose every single program the US government has tried to put in place to fight terrorism” Again not true, Senators Leiberman and Clinton come to mind. But more importantly, Senator McCarthy, are you villifying those who dare to disagree with any policy claiming to promote American security? The Homeland Security bills are some of the most pork laden bills to come out of congress in decades.

    “I’m sorry that means cutting off some “free speech” for a select few, but the truth is that it hasn’t been very free lately. It’s costing us a lot, actually.” Freedom has always cost us a great deal. And we as a country have always been willing to pay that price and not compromise our freedom (McCarthy era being an exception).

    “There’s a definite cross-section of the Muslim world that wants to play out a world domination kill-everyone-not-like-me scenario, who will hate America no matter what we do, because we represent freedom and they hatefreedom….” I think it is dangerous to oversimplify our enemy like this. Terrorists join for a variety of reasons, mostly from false propoganda. But they do it for religous reasons, or they are convinced that the U.S. is suppressing freedom elsewhere to keep our power, some to push world domination, etc.

    Summary: We need better intelligence and to clamp down more on terrorist recruiters. We can do this without compromising our freedom, brainwashing our public, or oversimplifying the enemy (i.e. they all hate our freedom and are jealous of us)

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  2. Jeff Block says:

    > I hear a lot of “I love Bush and his policies” in your analysis…

    That’s ridiculous. Show me where I pound the Bush drum *anywhere*. In fact, if anything, I’ve been really critical of the president. It’s amazing to me that he hasn’t gotten more done in the 5 years since 9-11 to keep us safe.

    > you include many tangents in this rant that don’t seem relevant to improved intelligence.

    I’ll grant you they’re tangential, but I do think important to the discussion at hand. They provide context. I’ll try to elaborate below.

    > Jeff: The ACLU is a fascist organization that calls “unconstitutional” anything that doesn’t agree with the way it wants the world to be.
    > Brad: This is a gross misrepresentation of the ACLU and their policies.

    How would you characterize the ACLU? Not what it *claims* to be or *used* to be, but what it is. My point is that if a single cleric got pulled out of a masque and thrown in jail because he was threatening national security and teaching 4 year olds to do the same (happens every day), the ACLU would be right there defending him. Not defending their country or the many people this guy would hurt, but the guy wanting to destroy destroy destroy.

    > Jeff: “As long as there are cameras mixed in with Marines so that pundants halfway around the world can arm-chair-quarterback every single call made by every single battle commander, we’re just plain screwed.”
    > Brad: “Your buddy Bill O’Reilly is just as guilty as anyone else for this.”

    Even if I were to concede you that point, all you’re doing is justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior. There’s no way around the fact that this is a huge problem, and makes it incredibly difficult to fight the war (which I’ll get back to in a later post). It also would make it incredibily difficult to deal with these leaders who continue to brainwash the Islamic street (which is why I mention it in this post).

    > Jeff: “Liberals can oppose every single program the US government has tried to put in place to fight terrorism”
    > Brad: Again not true, Senators Leiberman and Clinton come to mind.

    And Lieberman has been vilified for it, voted out of office, and is the target now of nice friendly racial slurs from his fellow democrats. And Hillary Clinton was boo’d off stage the last time she tried to say that maybe just pulling our troops out of Iraq without a plan was a bad idea. Warm welcomes for their daring to concede that maybe President Bush isn’t satan.

    > But more importantly, Senator McCarthy, are you villifying those who dare to disagree with any policy claiming to promote American security?

    No, Brad (and please stop with the name calling — how is that advancing the discussion), I’m saying that many liberals say that Bush is doing everything wrong, but they fail to offer an alternative plan. I’m exactly NOT saying that you shouldn’t disagree. *I* disagree with many things we’re doing. But if you’re gonna say “your idea sucks”, you have to immediately follow that with “and here’s my better idea”, or you’re (in my opinion) disqualified from the debate.

    > The Homeland Security bills are some of the most pork laden bills to come out of congress in decades.

    Agreed, and I think the way this (reacting to 9-11 by creating a giant new beurocracy in government) was done was a *terrible* move by the President and congress. Don’t forget though that the libs SCREAMED at Bush for not doing this sooner, not reacting to 9-11 well enough, etc. I blame them all together. The fact is that too many politicians are just not doing what’s best for the country.

    > Brad’s comments about the cost of freedom.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Jeff: “There’s a definite cross-section of the Muslim world that wants to play out a world domination kill-everyone-not-like-me scenario, who will hate America no matter what we do, because we represent freedom and they hate freedom….”
    Brad: I think it is dangerous to oversimplify our enemy like this.

    Are you trying to tell me that my statement is not 100% accurate? How can you argue that there is not a subset of the Muslim world that thinks exactly that way? If this is not true, then why would they blow up trains in Spain or even threaten Canada and Russia recently? These are countries that aren’t even really supporting us in the war.

    > Terrorists join for a variety of reasons, mostly from false propoganda.

    Isn’t that exactly what I’m saying? … that we need to reverse that trend.

    Lastly, I agree wholeheartedly with your summary statement, with the exception that you need to understand that there ARE many in the world who hate what we call freedom and there ARE many in the world who are just plain jealous of our prosperity. Until you are willing to accept that, I submit you will have a very difficult time dealing with the incredibly dangerous threat we face right now.

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  3. Brad Bull says:

    Jeff, you are correct on the name calling. This is a serious discussion and that belittles our debate. my apologies. ;-(

    You are also correct about Lieberman and Clinton, however many democrats do still support them. They just don’t seem to scream as loud. Democrats do suffer in that they differ in opinion among themselves. However, many of the criticisms on post 9/11 terror policy don’t need alternatives. Many policies were of the nature of we want to do this, and criticisms were we don’t want you to.

    I mistakenly took your consistent ranting against all things liberal and twisted them into Bush love. You do espouse a largely neo-con agenda, so I had a mistaken impression.

    I haven’t done much looking yet, but I cannot find the ACLU incident you refer to. (mosque cleric) However, with their track record, this would be most likely because no warrant was isssued, or lack of Miranda rights, etc. Some type of violation of civil liberties. The ACLU is one of the few organizations defending the people (all people) of this country from tyranny and opression. Granted it is from tyranny and opression by our government. Our government is falliable, they protect us from tyranny and opression from outsiders, but do -in my opinion- need to be watched like a hawk.
    Our government has historically oppressed people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. so it is reasonable to acnowledge an organization is needed to police government action.

    I am definitely not a terrorism expert, but I do hear other reasons from people who hate America (not that I am out searching for this). i.e.
    Unwavering support for Israel, who often use a hammer to swat a fly.
    Historic support for despotic/tyrannical leaders (Saddam Hussein, Fulgencio Batista , Ngo Dinh Diem, David Ben Gurion -admittedly debatable-, etc.)
    Then the whole my religion is right and yours is wrong and I will kill you. (this is different from a hatred of freedom in my opinion)
    So, I think the statement “they hate freedom” is not 100% correct.

    We do agree that there are people in the world who hate us (regardless of our different views on why) – which is fine by me, and some who would take up arms against us because of this – not fine.

    We disagree on whether the ACLU and those who criticize our goverment are undermining our war on terror. Whether or not they embolden our enemy (I don’t believe they do) . I feel their right to free speech is FAR, FAR, FAR more important than any negative cosequences that may arise from their actions. (note, big difference in criticizing government and advocating overthrowing it)

    I would rather our governemnt fail defending freedom than win compromising it.

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