National security Quotes


A nation that can't control its energy sources can't control its future.

Hitherto, the Palestinians had been relatively immune to this
Allahu Akhbar
style. I thought this was a hugely retrograde development. I said as much to Edward. To reprint Nazi propaganda and to make a theocratic claim to Spanish soil was to be a protofascist and a supporter of 'Caliphate' imperialism: it had nothing at all to do with the mistreatment of the Palestinians. Once again, he did not exactly disagree. But he was anxious to emphasize that the Israelis had often encouraged Hamas as a foil against Fatah and the PLO. This I had known since seeing the burning out of leftist Palestinians by Muslim mobs in Gaza as early as 1981. Yet once again, it seemed Edward could only condemn Islamism if it could somehow be blamed on either Israel or the United States or the West, and not as a thing in itself. He sometimes employed the same sort of knight's move when discussing other Arabist movements, excoriating Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, for example, mainly because it had once enjoyed the support of the CIA. But when Saddam was really being attacked, as in the case of his use of chemical weapons on noncombatants at Halabja, Edward gave second-hand currency to the falsified story that it had 'really' been the Iranians who had done it. If that didn't work, well, hadn't the United States sold Saddam the weaponry in the first place? Finally, and always—and this question wasn't automatically discredited by being a change of subject—what about Israel's unwanted and ugly rule over more and more millions of non-Jews?
I evolved a test for this mentality, which I applied to more people than Edward. What would, or did, the relevant person say when the United States intervened to stop the massacres and dispossessions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo? Here were two majority-Muslim territories and populations being vilely mistreated by Orthodox and Catholic Christians. There was no oil in the region. The state interests of Israel were not involved (indeed, Ariel Sharon publicly opposed the return of the Kosovar refugees to their homes on the grounds that it set an alarming—I want to say 'unsettling'—precedent). The usual national-security 'hawks,' like Henry Kissinger, were also strongly opposed to the mission. One evening at Edward's apartment, with the other guest being the mercurial, courageous Azmi Bishara, then one of the more distinguished Arab members of the Israeli parliament, I was finally able to leave the arguing to someone else. Bishara [...] was quite shocked that Edward would not lend public support to Clinton for finally doing the right thing in the Balkans. Why was he being so stubborn? I had begun by then—belatedly you may say—to guess. Rather like our then-friend Noam Chomsky, Edward in the final instance believed that if the United States was doing something, then that thing could not
by definition
be a moral or ethical action.

From time to time our national history has been marred by forgetfulness of the Jeffersonian principle that restraint is at the heart of liberty. In 1789 the Federalists adopted Alien and Sedition Acts in a shabby political effort to isolate the Republic from the world and to punish political criticism as seditious libel. In 1865 the Radical Republicans sought to snare private conscience in a web of oaths and affirmations of loyalty. Spokesmen for the South did service for the Nation in resisting the petty tyranny of distrustful vengeance. In the 1920's the Attorney General of the United States degraded his office by hunting political radicals as if they were Salem witches. The Nation's only gain from his efforts were the classic dissents of Holmes and Brandeis.
In our own times, the old blunt instruments have again been put to work. The States have followed in the footsteps of the Federalists and have put Alien and Sedition Acts upon their statute books. An epidemic of loyalty oaths has spread across the Nation until no town or village seems to feel secure until its servants have purged themselves of all suspicion of non-conformity by swearing to their political cleanliness.
Those who love the twilight speak as if public education must be training in conformity, and government support of science be public aid of caution.
We have also seen a sharpening and refinement of abusive power. The legislative investigation, designed and often exercised for the achievement of high ends, has too frequently been used by the Nation and the States as a means for effecting the disgrace and degradation of private persons. Unscrupulous demagogues have used the power to investigate as tyrants of an earlier day used the bill of attainder.
The architects of fear have converted a wholesome law against conspiracy into an instrument for making association a crime. Pretending to fear government they have asked government to outlaw private protest. They glorify "togetherness" when it is theirs, and call it conspiracy when it is that of others.
In listing these abuses I do not mean to condemn our central effort to protect the Nation's security. The dangers that surround us have been very great, and many of our measures of vigilance have ample justification. Yet there are few among us who do not share a portion of the blame for not recognizing soon enough the dark tendency towards excess of caution.

Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.

As to the 'Left' I'll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our 'national security' calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of 'Left' intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush's legitimacy. So I don't even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.

The National Security Agency’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

There is one key area in which Zuma has made no attempt at reconciliation whatsoever: criminal justice and security. The ministers of justice, defence, intelligence (now called 'state security' in a throwback to both apartheid and the ANC's old Stalinist past), police and communications are all die-hard Zuma loyalists. Whatever their line functions, they will also play the role they have played so ably to date: keeping Zuma out of court—and making sure the state serves Zuma as it once did Mbeki.

It's very, very difficult I think for us to have a transparent debate about secret programs approved by a secret court issuing secret court orders based on secret interpretations of the law.

During the Senate debate on the intervention in Iraq, Sen. Clinton made considerable use of her background and 'experience' to argue that, yes, Saddam Hussein was indeed a threat. She did not argue so much from the position adopted by the Bush administration as she emphasized the stand taken, by both her husband and Al Gore, when they were in office, to the effect that another and final confrontation with the Baathist regime was more or less inevitable. Now, it does not especially matter whether you agree or agreed with her about this (as I, for once, do and did). What does matter is that she has since altered her position and attempted, with her husband’s help, to make people forget that she ever held it. And this, on a grave matter of national honor and security, merely to influence her short-term standing in the Iowa caucuses. Surely that on its own should be sufficient to disqualify her from consideration?

The New START accord cuts the strategic nuclear arsenals on each side to 1,550 warheads. Can any of its critics make a case that our security would be imperiled if, the very next day, Obama and Medvedev made moves to take the levels down to 1,000—then to 500?
If so, come show us the math. If not, it may be time to stop making arms control so politically complicated—time to stop letting arms control get in the way of disarmament.

For those who believe executive branch officials will voluntarily interpret their surveillance authorities with restraint, I believe it is more likely that I will achieve my life-long dream of playing in the NBA.

The government researchers,aware of the information in the professional journals, decided to reverse the process (of healing from hysteric dissociation). They decided to use selective trauma on healthy children to create personalities capable of committing acts desired for national security and defense. p. 53 – 54

Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.

The message from too many Democrats and Republicans alike remains that we should not let facts get in the way of our day-dreams. It's so much easier to fantasize about an alternative and ideal world, rather than making the hard and unpopular decisions that are necessary to deal with the complicated and frustrating one in which we live. It is so much easier to imagine that world as a blank slate on which America can draw as it wishes, rather than to recognize that limits on American power, and recalibrate strategy accordingly. If Americans fail to reexamine their fundamental attitudes toward that world, then the risk for the future is that failure in Iraq will make the United States more cautious, but not wiser.

We have seen segments of our Government, in their attitudes and action, adopt tactics unworthy of a democracy, and occasionally reminiscent of totalitarian regimes. We have seen a consistent pattern in which programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal violence or identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what witnesses characterized as "vacuum cleaners", sweeping in information about lawful activities of American citizens. The tendency of intelligence activities to expand beyond their initial scope is a theme which runs through every aspect of our investigative findings. Intelligence collection programs naturally generate ever-increasing demands for new data. And once intelligence has been collected, there are strong pressures to use it against the target.

Homeland security requires a secure homeland currency.

However, this court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.

It is a fundamental principle of American democracy that laws should not be public only when it is convenient for government officials to make them public. They should be public all the time, open to review by adversarial courts, and subject to change by an accountable legislature guided by an informed public. If Americans are not able to learn how their government is interpreting and executing the law then we have effectively eliminated the most important bulwark of our democracy. That’s why, even at the height of the Cold War, when the argument for absolute secrecy was at its zenith, Congress chose to make US surveillance laws public. Without public laws, and public court rulings interpreting those laws, it is impossible to have informed public debate. And when the American people are in the dark, they can’t make fully informed decisions about who should represent them, or protest policies that they disagree with. These are fundamentals. It’s Civics 101. And secret law violates those basic principles. It has no place in America.

It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of legislative authority," the Federalist tell us. And modern commanders in chief tend to reflexively invoke the war metaphor when the public demands that they take action to solve the emergency of the month, real or imagined.
"War is the health of the state," Randolph Bourne's famous aphorism has it, but Bourne could just as easily written that "war is the health of the presidency." Throughout American history, virtually every major advance in executive power has come during a war or warlike crisis. Convince the public that we are at war, and constitutional barriers to actions fall, as power flows to the commander in chief.
Little wonder, then, that confronted with impossible expectations, the modern president tends to recast social and economic problems in military terms: war on crime, war on drugs, war on poverty. Martial rhetoric often ushers in domestic militarism, as presidents push to employ standing armies at home, to fight drug trafficking, terrorism, or natural disasters. And when the president raises the battle cry, he can usually count on substantial numbers of American opinion leaders to cheer him on.

Authorities this broad give the national security bureaucracy the power to scrutinize the personal lives of every law-abiding American. Allowing that to continue is a grave error that demonstrates a willful ignorance of human nature. Moreover, it demonstrates a complete disregard for the responsibilities entrusted to us by the Founding Fathers to maintain robust checks and balances on the power of any arm of the government. That obviously raises some very serious questions. What happens to our government, our civil liberties and our basic democracy if the surveillance state is allowed to grow unchecked? As we have seen in recent days, the intelligence leadership is determined to hold on to this authority. Merging the ability to conduct surveillance that reveals every aspect of a person’s life with the ability to conjure up the legal authority to execute that surveillance, and finally, removing any accountable judicial oversight, creates the opportunity for unprecedented influence over our system of government.

...that the Bomb altered our subsequent history down to its deepest constitutional roots. It redefined the presidency, as in all respects America's "Commander in Chief" (a term that took on a new and unconstitutional meaning in this period). It fostered an anxiety of continuing crisis, so that society was pervasively militarized. It redefined the government as a National Security State, with an apparatus of secrecy and executive control. It redefined Congress, as an executor of the executive. And it redefined the Supreme Court, as a follower of the follower of the executive. Only one part of the government had the supreme power, the Bomb, and all else must defer to it, for the good of the nation, for the good of the world, for the custody of the future, in a world of perpetual emergency superseding ordinary constitutional restrictions.

Recent events in the Middle East and North Africa clearly show just how dangerous the world is, and how great the challenges facing the intelligence community are going to be in the future as threats to U.S. national security continuously evolve. The U.S. intelligence community did not foresee the sudden collapse of the pro-U.S. regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, the eruption of a civil war in Libya, and the escalating wave of street protests across the Middle East. Then again, no one else in the U.S. government or among our allies abroad did either.

It is important not to latch onto some strategic fad to justify radical cuts in the U.S. Army or Marine Corps. For two decades, since Operation Desert Storm, some have favored stand-off warfare, featuring long-range strike from planes and ships as the American military’s main approach to future combat. But it is not possible to address many of the world’s key security challenges that way including scenarios in places like Korea and South Asia, discussed further below, that could in fact imperil American security. In the 1990s, advocates of military revolution often argued for such an approach to war, but the subsequent decade proved that for all the progress in sensors and munitions and other military capabilities, the United States still needed forces on the ground to deal with complex insurgencies and other threats.
A military emphasis on stand-off warfare is some- times linked with a broader grand strategy of offshore balancing by which the distant United States would step in with limited amounts of power to shape overseas events, particularly in Eurasia, rather than getting involved directly with its own soldiers and Marines. But offshore balancing is too clever by half. In fact, overseas developments are not so easily nudged in favorable directions through modest outside interventions. One of the reasons is that off- shore balancing can suggest, in the minds of friends and foes alike, a lack of real American commitment. That can embolden adversaries. It can also worry allies to the point where, among other things, they may feel obliged to build up their own nuclear arsenals as the likes of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia might well do absent strong security ties with America. Put bluntly, offshore balancing greatly exaggerates American power by assuming that belated and limited uses of U.S. force can swing overseas events in acceptable directions.

The requirement for the United States to craft a national security strategy (NSS) document was first codified in the National Security Act of 1947, and amended by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. The 1986 amendment requires the President to submit the document on an annual basis to Congress to provide a comprehensive report on U.S. national security strategy. Both pieces of legislation mandate that the strategy include a "comprehensive description and discussion of worldwide interests, goals, and objectives...that are vital to the national security of the United States." It would also address foreign policy, world wide military commitments, U.S. national defense capabilities, short- and long-term uses of the elements of national power, and the requirement to have the strategy transmitted to Congress in both classified and unclassified form. A number of national security strategies were developed over time prior to the Goldwater-Nichols legislation, to include what many believe was the most significant grand strategy of the era, NSC-68, the key containment strategy against Soviet and Chinese communism. All were crafted during the pre-Goldwater-Nichals Act period at the classified level.

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