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The idea that we need something “beyond waterboarding” to find out what terrorists know is absurd. With the exception of a few extreme cases – like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – we can get the information we need without waterboarding, much less techniques that are “far worse.”
If we’ve learned anything from the last 35 years, it is that there is a critical mass of people in the Middle East who support jihad and terrorist activities against the West. Yesterday’s al Qaeda that became today’s Daesh will become tomorrow’s unnamed lightning rod for radical jihadists. This whack-a-mole existence is no way to secure the future, but there are several actions we can take now to minimize the known unknowns of tomorrow.
Apparently, “In the aftermath of Paris, the US Department of Homeland Security became so worried about the implications for screening travelers to America that it gave France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Greece a February 1 deadline to fix ‘crucial loopholes’ or lose access to the US visa waiver program.” This certainly doesn’t sound like a minor issue. It isn’t.
With the enormous problems faced in securing their borders and monitoring who is coming and going as Daesh explicitly targets Europe, temporarily suspending Schengen seems a wise move. It would give European countries and the US time to strengthen security measures while slowing the influx of refugees.
If security at the foreign departure airport contains vulnerabilities and the security at the domestic arrival airport also has vulnerabilities, then our security really becomes one based upon luck, which isn’t what American taxpayers expect after spending tens of billions of dollars on security after the September 11 attack.
European countries are fighting a two-front sovereignty fight: an external one with the EU and an internal one with culturally dissimilar migrants, with the two fights increasingly interconnected in a potentially toxic brew. The key issue for them and for America is this: will immigrants and their progeny see themselves as citizens of their adopted countries or will they remain loyal to the places from which they came?
In his speech yesterday at the National Press Club, House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry was right to criticize the current National Security Council for overreach. The balance of power, though, between the NSC and Defense, State, and others, is for the president to decide. This one has chosen poorly, others have chosen well.