President George W. Bush honored Karen Hughes as she was sworn in for an undersecretary position at the State Department earlier this month, once again claiming that fighting terrorism abroad is making America safer.
“We are striking [terrorists] in foreign lands before they can hurt our citizens,” Bush said.
Regardless if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were necessary, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is actually doing little to prevent another Sept. 11-sized attack from happening on U.S. soil.
“America has a clear strategy for victory in the war on terror,” declares the White House Web site. But the main strategy is foolishly focused on fighting “the enemy abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home.”
That statement implies only people born outside America can be terrorists. With some students brutally afraid of walking too far off Main Campus late at night, I say terrorism is rampant in North Philadelphia.
At a June violence reduction symposium hosted by Mayor John Street’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said “domestic terrorism is just as bad [as it is internationally].”
Bush is not doing everything within his power to prevent terrorism in America.
Though Bush says he is strengthening aviation, border and port security, Congressional research regarding the rising number of undocumented aliens in the United States challenges that assertion.
The Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said roughly 7 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the United States in January 2000 – a number some speculate has since grown to more than 10 million.
Though most people associate illegal immigration with Latin America, many aliens also come from Asia, the USCIS reported. So instead of advocating a stringent policy to thwart the illegal invasion of our country, Bush proposed a temporary worker program that would appease the aliens rather than deport them.
The Democratic governors of Arizona and New Mexico declared state of emergencies several weeks ago in response to the illegal immigration crisis. When will Bush get the memo?
In an ongoing report by the Congressional Research Service, updated May 27, the CRS said, “Significant gaps in [shipping port] security still remain,” even though Bush signed several bills into law intended to make seaports safer.
The same report said the U.S. Government Accounting Office “found that not all containers that CBP had targeted for inspection at the overseas loading port were being inspected by the host customs administration,” referring to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
More than 9 million marine containers enter U.S. ports annually, but the CBP “physically inspects only a small fraction of the containers,” the CRS reported.
For a president who seems all too eager to go to war over supposedly existing weapons of mass destruction, Bush is incredibly lax toward the real possibility of terrorists smuggling similar weapons through U.S. ports.
The government allocated about $15 billion over the last three years to improve aviation security, according to the White House Web site, but some of the new measures designed to improve security have produced dubious results.
Last year, airline employees denied U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D., Mass.) entry on an airplane because feds mistakably entered him on a counterterrorism “no-fly” list. Kennedy is one of Bush’s harshest critics, but he’s not a terrorist.
The government cannot effectively reduce violent crime in America, protect our borders from illegal immigration or protect U.S. shipping ports from harboring terrorists and their weapons. But they’re great at putting innocent citizens on terrorist suspect lists.
If that’s what Bush meant by saying “We’re on a hunt for the terrorists” at Karen Hughes’s swearing-in ceremony, then it’s clear we’re in trouble.
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman can be reached at email@example.com.