A Secure America in a Secure World
The Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” reflects a major failure of leadership and makes Americans more vulnerable rather than more secure. The administration has chosen a path to combat terrorism that has weakened multilateral institutions and squandered international goodwill. Not only has Bush failed to support effective reconstruction in Afghanistan, but his war and occupation in Iraq have made the United States more vulnerable and have opened a new front and a recruiting tool for terrorists while diverting resources from essential homeland security efforts. In short, Washington’s approach to homeland security fails to address key vulnerabilities, undermines civil liberties, and misallocates resources. The administration has taken some successful steps to counter terrorism, such as improved airline and border security, a partial crackdown on terrorist financing, improved international cooperation in sharing intelligence, the arrest of several high-level al-Qaida figures, and the disruption of a number of planned attacks. But these successes are overwhelmed by policy choices that have made U.S. citizens more rather than less vulnerable. The Bush White House has undermined the very values it claims to be defending at home and abroad—democracy and human rights; both Washington’s credibility and its efforts to combat terrorism are hampered when it aids repressive regimes. Furthermore, the administration has weakened the international legal framework essential to creating a global effort to counter terrorism, and it has failed to address the political contexts—failed states and repressive regimes—that enable and facilitate terrorism.