Eight years of the Bush administration's approach to counterterrorism have yielded two open-ended and bloody wars; a massively expanded security apparatus, and spending on defense far outpacing outlays on domestic programs, even during a crisis-plagued economy.
Yet while liberals have spent much of this time opposing the Bush administration's agenda, many of their proposals for Obama go beyond merely rolling back President George W. Bush's policies Ã¢â‚¬” withdrawing from Iraq, shuttering the Guantanamo Bay detention complex, abolishing torture Ã¢â‚¬” to offer new areas of emphasis, like stabilizing Afghanistan, an Arab-Israeli peace and a re-envisioned balance between security and liberty.
has a terrific piece up today that brings together the opinion of an informal
coalition of progressive national-security and civil-liberties experts are urging
the president-elect to redefine the war on terrorism. The piece at Washington
Independent is important, getting some of us on the record on what's important going forward in fighting terrorism, long before President-elect
Obama and his administration are sworn in.
"Not just his rhetoric," said Joanne Mariner, terrorism and counterterrorism director at Human Rights Watch, "but in the promises he's kept Ã¢â‚¬” his vote against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, [which] was quite important Ã¢â‚¬” Obama has made clear he has a very different approach in mind to counterterrorism than the [Bush] administration has taken." ... read more
Eric Holder, Obama's pick for A.G.:
"Let me be clear," Holder told the lawyers' association. "I firmly believe that there is evil in the world, and that we still face grave dangers to our security. But our ability to lead the world in combating these dangers depends not only on the strength of our military leadership but our moral leadership as well. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ To recapture it, we can no longer allow ourselves to be ruled by fear. We must evaluate our policies and our practices in the harsh light of day and steel ourselves to face the world's dangers in accord with the rule of law."
One important issue, was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
"A successful counterterrorism agenda for the new administration needs to place a high priority on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, a senior White House policy aide in the Clinton administration who is now executive director of the progressive American Jewish organization, J Street. ... .. read more
Richard Smith, an Army veteran of Afghanistan with VoteVets, urged more agricultural involvement in Afghanistan. His take is very interesting.
Matt Stoller, progressive activist and blogger at OpenLeft, wants an end to the idea of a "security theater," which was coined by cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier. The short hand definition from Ackerman is "ostentatious but ineffective displays of increased security." Schneier, however, doesn't believe that will happen and explains why.
Lastly, my take from the piece:
Taylor Marsh, a progressive political analyst and former radio host, also urged a renewed counterterrorism focus in South Asia. "Counterterrorism in the Obama administration has to begin with the Af-Pak region immediately," she said, referring the to Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. "First, we need limited additional deployment of forces into Afghanistan. Afghan cities must be made more stable, through working with NATO countries, or we're going to have more problems not fewer with regard to terrorism. Because focusing on Pakistan alone, the jihadists will simply cross the border where we're not building security. The Af-Pak region deals with two countries of varying complexities and unique challenges for Obama Ã¢â‚¬” but neither country can be dealt with in a vacuum."