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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is it Time to End the War on Terror?

On September 7th, Intelligence Squared US held a debate on the motion "It's Time to End the War on Terror," which addressed the issue of whether the threat of terrorism should the organizing principle behind our foreign policy (amongst other things). Arguing on behalf of the motion were Peter Bergen and Juliette Kayyem;  arguing against it were Richard Falkenrath and Michael Hayden.

If you recall those attending an Intelligence Squared US debate vote prior to and after the debate, and the winning debate team is decided by how many minds were changed and in what direction. As always not only can you listen to the debate at the Intelligence Squared website ("It's Time to End the War on Terror"), but you can access transcripts of the debate as well. The debates can also be downloaded from iTunes.

Here's a brief description of the participants (from the Intelligence Squared website):

Peter Bergen is one of few Americans to have interviewed Osama bin Laden face-to-face, Peter Bergen is one of today’s foremost commentators on America’s national security and the War on Terror. Author of two New York Times bestsellers, Bergen’s recent release The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda has been called “one of the most important accounts on the subject” by the newspaper. He is Editor of the AfPak Channel, a premiere clearinghouse of news covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and issues of transnational terrorism. Bergen is also the Director of the National Security Program at the New America Foundation and a Research Fellow at NYU’s Center on Law and Security.

Juliette Kayyem formerly served under the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. With nearly 15 years of experience in counterterrorism and homeland security, she was Massachusetts’ first Undersecretary for Homeland Security, a member of the National Commission on Terrorism, and a legal advisor to Attorney General Janet Reno. Kayyem, named a CNN/Fortune Magazine’s People to Watch, co-wrote the critically acclaimed Preserving Liberty in an Age of Terror. The highest ranking Arab-American woman in federal government, she now is a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a foreign affairs columnist for the Boston Globe.

Richard Falkenrath, who was the Deputy Assistant to President Bush and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, is no stranger to the complexities involved with the United States’ large-scale effort to combat terrorism. The principal author of the National Strategy for Homeland Security, Falkenrath also served as Senior Director of Policy and Plans within the Office of Homeland Security after 9/11. As the Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism at the New York Police Department from 2006 to 2010, Falkenrath strengthened the city’s overall effort to prevent, prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks. Falkenrath is now Principal at The Chertoff Group, a global security and risk-management advisory firm, an Adjunct Sr. Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Contributing Editor at Bloomberg News.

Michael Hayden, with a prolific career in national security – from serving 39 years in the U.S. Air Force to directing the NSA for six years – General Michael Hayden has overseen nearly every branch of the intelligence community. Once the highest ranking military intelligence officer in the country, Hayden later became the Director of the CIA in 2006, gaining unprecedented access to the collection of information concerning the plans, intentions and capabilities of America’s adversaries. His remarkable list of senior positions includes Commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center and Chief of the Central Security Service. He is currently a Principal at The Chertoff Group focusing on global political and terrorist risk analysis.

1 comment:

  1. I am inclined to think it is time to stop using the war on terror as the organizing principle for our foreign policy. I wish George Bush and his friends had been able to conceive of our response to 9/11 as a limited police action, rather than as a global war; and I definitely think it's time to stop using this term when we speak of our efforts to deal with the ideological extremists who oppose us and our way of life.