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The War On Terror

The War On Terror

Erroll Southers (Former Deputy Director of the California Department of Homeland Security) gives expert video advice on: What is the 'war on terror'?; How high should the 'war on terror' be on our list of national priorities?; How does the 'war on terror' affect our civil liberties? and more...

What is the 'war on terror'?

First, terror is a strategy and it's difficult at best academically speaking to have a war against a strategy. Second, to suggest “the war” suggests there's a strategy for success. So, if the war on terror means that we're going to mitigate terrorism from ever happening again we will never win that war. Unfortunately this is much like the War on Drugs. The war on drugs has been around for as long as I've been alive and Narcotics trafficking is alive, and well, and prospering. So I would like to say that we have an effort here to contain terrorism. To reduce the risk of terrorism. And I think that's what you'll find Homeland Security, National Security agencies are engaged in, which is reducing that risk making that environment hostile for them to operate in, in order for them to be successful.

How high should the 'war on terror' be on our list of national priorities?

The 'war on terror' should be high on our list of priorities because of --speaking globally --the threat that exists. Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel and France, countries that are seen by Al Qaeda as being infidels or anti-Islamic, by the true nature of our alliance with them we are subject to being attacked as well. I do think, however, it deserves to perhaps have some parity with global warming, with education, with the economy. But, national security is always going to supersede everything else. I do not think you could have all those other entities flourish in a state where the security is not felt to be confident, comfortable, and intact. So it is always going to be a priority. What is interesting, though, is that the Department of Homeland Security has already announced that next year they are going to be reducing their grant funding by about 50%. So that would suggest to someone like me that they have a reasonable expectation that the risk has been reduced, and they can reduce accordingly. I would hope that funding would then go to some of those other efforts that are national priorities.