“The Effective Strategy”

by Deborah Pearlstein

No less an authoritative source than the Wall Street Journal reports that outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff may be rethinking his views on what makes for effective counterterrorism strategy.

The Bush administration’s point man in protecting America against terrorism says U.S. investments in safety should not be restricted to airport screening machines or border fences. Michael Chertoff says the U.S. also should spend more on foreign-aid programs, scholarships for foreign students and other tools of so-called soft power. The idea isn’t new, but the messenger is. Mr. Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security since February 2005, heads an agency known for its crackdowns on immigration and the ratcheting-up of passenger screening at airports. He spent the first three years of his tenure working to integrate the 22 agencies and roughly 200,000 employees that make up the department, which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Mr. Chertoff said he came to his views over the past six months or so, when he finally had time to think about big-picture challenges. Now, he said, “a lasting victory in the safeguarding of the country” can be achieved only by marrying traditional security with winning “a contest of ideas, and a battle for the allegiance of men and women around the world.” …. “I don’t believe you can placate your way out of threat by terrorism,” Mr. Chertoff said. But at the same time, “if you can affect the recruiting and the sympathy and the pool of people in which terrorists recruit, from a long-term standpoint, that’s the effective strategy.”

Still seems like a long-shot for getting that life-tenure federal judgeship back.


One Response

  1. It is particularly sad that Chertoff’s learning curve was this long.  I beleive many in the Bush administration have had this same learning curve.  After eight years of governing, they are just now coming to realize the importance and usefulness of “honor diplomacy,” bilateral talks with rogue nations, and that respect in the international community is not demanded through force and intimidation, but earned through diplomacy and cooperation.

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