Trailblazing the Way to a Healthier Environment sample essay
On a Sunday morning, more than 60 years ago, the United States of America was attacked by an Imperial Army from the East. It was a day of infamy according to the then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was indeed a day of ill repute as Americans began to adjust to a new age of global warfare. In the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack, the U. S. intelligence community was severely criticized for failing to warn the nation of an impending attack from the Japanese aggressors. It was found out late that there was enough intelligence gathered to have alerted the army base there, but it was largely ignored.
Eerily a similar thing happened to the United States in September 11, 2001. The same surprise attack and the same degree of destruction. Again, the U. S. intelligence was caught flat footed. This paper will attempt to explain that the United States intelligence community, since the end of World War II is very conscious about change and its need to adapt to a changing environment. Even if recent events can question that statement. It is then the goal of the proponent to understand why in spite of the willingness to undergo transformation, intelligence gathering seems not to be effective, efficient, and comes handy when really needed.
Intelligent Work In the opening lines of Michael Turner’s book one can find a quote from John Stuart Mill, a modern day philosopher who provide a premise for secret intelligence work and he said, “There is no such thing as absolute certainty, but there is assurance sufficient for purpose of human life. ” The profound statement was undoubtedly been meant for the general population but it can also be applicable to spy games and international politics.
The philosopher was right, there is indeed no way to be one hundred percent sure, but there is a way to make sense of the little information one has gathered regarding the future and then be content of that sense of certainty no matter how uncertain. Before going any further it is important to first define what is intelligence work, placed in the context of espionage and keeping abreast of the enemy’s plans. According to Michael Turner there are a variety of definitions from fantasy to paranoia; but to the professionals it is simple: To them, intelligence is a particular kind of information that helps to inform, instruct, and
educate the policy world. To consumers of intelligence – the policy makers – intelligence is that and more. To political leaders […] a political liability, depending on whether intelligence information helps or hinders the fulfillment of political goals. Simply put, it is a tool to create a little certainty in a world gone complex and unpredictable. Intelligence therefore is not merely information gathering but also interpretation of those data gathered. Hence, in the following pages it will become clearer why it is proper to call the people and the structure that makes information gathering function as an intelligence community.
An example of such is the U. S. Intelligence community, whose roots go deep and whose core continually experiences cleansing and transformation from the challenges of a World War, turbulent decades of the 70s and 80s and finally being redefined and reshaped into a relevant component of the U. S. political and military system in an age of global terrorism. Evolution There were three major events in the 1940s that provided solid foundation for the soon to be established Central Intelligence Agency.
First of all, America won a global war that suddenly placed the U. S. in new territory in terms of political power. This led Michael Warner and J. K. McDonald to remark that, “America acquired global responsibilities in World War II, but neither Congress nor the White House initially had a clear idea of how to discharge them. ” The second one is the reappraisal of current systems of warfare that was made clearer by the awesome display of Axis forces military prowess that led several top brasses of the U. S. military to exclaim:
Recent developments in the field of new weapons have advanced the question of an efficient intelligence service to a position of importance; vital to the security of the nation in a degree never attained and never contemplated in the past […] failure to provide such a system might bring national disaster. The third one is the death of President Franklin Roosevelt and the rise of Harry Truman. When Truman became president America was in for a great ride. He was different than FDR. The manner of his speech is different as well as his logic and the way he executes plans and the necessary adjustments for a post-World War II America.
Yet it is difficult to argue that he was not the best man for the job at one of the most crucial times in U. S. history. In connection to the progress of the U. S. intelligence community, Truman’s role was that of the catalyst and the force that is driving him is his utter disappointment at what had happened at Pearl Harbor. He made it clear in the absolute terms that putting the U. S. in such a vulnerable position must not happen again. And then 9/11 happened, it must be interesting to know what Truman would have said if he was still alive today. Telltale signs
The case that was raised against intelligence operatives before the Pearl Harbor attack is the availability of intelligence information that would have given a clue as to the real intentions of the Japanese in 1941. In the same manner critics are wailing that there was enough data to have raised an alarm but instead 9/11 happened. In fact the tell-tall sign of a radical method of attacking citizens was already imminent even in the decade of the sixties and seventies. It can even be said that it was kind of ironic that foreign extremists group understood how to work inside America by first looking at their American counterparts.
American extremists like the Klu Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations were giving the FBI and the local police a hard time. Their clandestine meetings and their ability to exploit the freedom of speech and that other aspect of human rights where someone is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. It is not hard to imagine that groups like Al Qaeda have learned valuable lesson from how their American counterparts behave in terrorizing U. S. citizens with their cry for racial cleansing and their hatred for the establishment.
To be fair to the intelligence community, the above-mentioned development is not easy to plot in a graph and then like a Wall Street analyst, able to see a trend – predicting what would happen in the next few years. It is almost impossible to connect all the dots and see a clearer picture of what would have happened in the 21st century. First of all there was no precedence to a September 11 kind of an attack. It boggles the mind as to how an individual who professes a love for God could go ahead and murder thousands of innocent civilians who probably have no idea what is the cause of the aggression.
At least in the time of Pearl Harbor there was heightened tension due to the war in Europe and there is an explanation to the attack but with this new war with terror the question is being asked by many, “Why are they angry at us? ” A New Breed As discussed earlier, the nature of warfare was predictable – at least in the kind of battle tactics used. The effective use of troop movement coupled with the use of equipment and other hardware; with fighting done in mostly open territory, jungles and or in the wilderness where combat is expressed as the annihilation of an army by another army.
But in recent times there is a new kind of warfare being waged. It is a war led not by men in uniform but extremists groups that most of the time would fight not for country but for a cause more profound than simple economics or expanding territory. They are what James Carafano and Marc Sauter described as “an evolving threat” and the authors added: …the modern domestic terrorist threat has adopted advanced organizational and operational techniques that make it increasingly insidious.
…terrorists from various groups have demonstrated an ability to work by themselves or in small groups […] they can operate as ‘leaderless resistance,’ operating from general instructions or directive, perhaps spread via Web sites. Such small cells are difficult to detect and stop. Since they are a new breed, it follows that their methods are new and they have gone through a lot of “out of the box thinking. ” These extremists consider it great joy to find a weakness in the current system and exploit it mercilessly.
Thus, it must follow that the system must change or else the enemy would have already conjured up an elaborate plan to render those protocols obsolete and ineffective. An example of such an application of cunning and radical thinking was highlighted by the 9/11 commission report on how Al Qaeda was able to exploit the chink in the airport security’s armor. The report described how Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari was able to pull off one of the most daring attack on U. S. soil: …Atta was selected by a computerized prescreening system known as CAPPS […]
created to identify passengers who should be subject to special security measures. Under security rules in place at the time […] his checked bags were held off until it was confirmed that he had boarded the aircraft. Breaking down the scenario much further one can see the disparity of values between American citizens and the member of the Al Qaeda group. As mentioned, the security measure did not allow for the possibility that the attacker will not value his life and so there is a possibility that he would drive himself and a plane full of people into the Twin Towers.
It was difficult for an American to understand sacrifice for a cause higher than one’s own. The fanatics had no problem understanding such a belief and thus when it was time for them to offer the same sacrifice they go ahead unmindful of what will happen to them. Rendered Ineffective Yet it was not only the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the terrorist group that made them very difficult to catch and outwit but it is also due to the fact that current laws at that time inhibit a much more thorough examination of the terrorists before they even had a chance to board the plane. This will be clarified using the 9/11 report.
According to the commission, “The FBI was criticized, rightly, for the overzealous domestic intelligence investigations disclosed during the 1970s. The pendulum swung away from those types of investigations during the 1980s and 1990s. ” It is common knowledge that hindsight allows for perfect vision and looking back intelligence work is easier. The pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly, now one can see the big picture. It was these investigations that took the sting out of the intelligence community. Now, the law is already on the side of the American extremists, they enjoyed protection from the constitution.
The only thing that the Islamic terrorist needed is to acquire that kind of status, the ability to function like an American citizen and they then could enjoy a high degree of freedom to plan and execute their dastardly acts. It is now easy to understand why the intelligence community had a hard time gathering data. In the months following September 11 and with the subsequent passage of laws, the pendulum swung back to the other side and more and more Americans are willing to give up a degree of freedoms just so they could maintain a normal life similar to what they enjoyed in the years prior to 9/11. Conclusion
The paper clearly demonstrated the fact that it the U. S. intelligence community should not be made liable to the success of the enemy to launch surprise attacks in American soil. The first example of such an attack was described as a day of infamy when Japanese Imperial troops stormed unhindered and totally obliterated the U. S. fleet stationed at a U. S. base in Hawaii. The second one was just recent and equally horrifying. Yet, this time the enemy has evolved. It no longer was the same enemy that carries their national colors but this time operating in the shadows, in cells, leaderless oftentimes, but still more committed than ever.
The transformation of the enemy is the principal reason why they could not be easily detected. And in order to effectively combat them, the components of the U. S. intelligence community must do the same. It was not that the aforementioned community lacked the desire to change but sometimes it is changing ineffectively without considering first the environment and the changes that is happening around them. This made the community look awkward and vulnerable to an opponent more nimble and skilled in guerilla tactics. The end of the Cold War did not mean an end of a mentality.
The Berlin Wall the last mighty symbol of European Communism and Soviet global hegemony is long gone but the habits still remain. American warfare was still geared for that ultimate day in battle when millions of communists are pitted against a million allied forces. The kind of battlefield envisioned by Cold War veterans is an arena full of military hardware where tanks, planes, armored vehicles, choppers and other bulky materials are being maneuvered by a general giving decisions as if a chess player moving pieces on a combat zone.
But when the 21st century came the enemy did not send masses of troops but instead sent the bravest and most committed from their fanatical ranks. They did not use smart bombs but outsmarted the best operative from both CIA and FBI by training under their very noses and assimilating themselves as good migrants or exchange students. Their cunning was again put on display when they use non-lethal equipment and transform them into weapons of mass destruction. Who could have thought that two airplanes loaded with fuel can bring down a skyscraper in New York?
Against such, the U. S. intelligence community was caught unprepared. It is difficult to put the blame entirely on their shoulders. The attack was unprecedented. The basic information regarding intelligence gathering that has been discussed here is enough to suggest that intelligence is not only about information gathering but also about interpreting the data that was gathered. This is the dilemma of every intelligence officer, to accurately interpret what was discovered and make sense of it, using past experiences.
Now, what if the enemy decided to “think out of the box” so to speak and do something not only beyond imagination but also beyond decency there is almost no way someone can predict that kind of behavior unless there was a precedent. When the terrorists boarded the plane there was a security measure in place. Let one assume that security was made very tight that fateful day in September 11, 2001 and the computer scanning the passport of the terrorist has given a warning to seriously consider Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari as an immediate threat.
The protocol would call a search for their belongings and their luggage but as the 9/11 commission report has pointed out this could never be a serious deterrent to their plans. And now it is known why the security measure was rendered ineffective – the terrorists instead of bringing weapons on board, turned the aircraft with a full tank into one gigantic bomb with high-octane fuel as the main ingredient of the explosive device.
Now, who could have predicted that from happening? Western mindsets have never gone that crazy or that desperate to have imagined such possibilities. It is a trait only attributable to Bin Laden perhaps. At any rate this argument provides support to the idea that the intelligence community should not be the one to receive all the negative press about what happened last September 11, six years ago to this day. In conclusion there is a pattern emerging here. The U.
S. intelligence community is being transformed based on intelligence failures in the past – with an eye towards predicting what future global warfare would look like. All these are done not with the smug assurance of an all knowing analyst but with a humble acknowledgment that no one can really predict what would happen in the near future. Yet also with the confidence that enough is known and as Stuart Mill had said it is, “…sufficient for purpose of human life. ”
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