Dr. Anthony Cordesman
CSIS Burke Chair in Strategy
September 12, 2001
We are now in a period where
there is a real risk that we can overreact and use the
wrong words. We face a new level of terrorism, an attack
on our homeland tantamount to war. We need to act decisively.
But we also need to fully understand who is responsible
and not simply blame Osama bin Laden or Iraq or whoever
else is convenient.
We need to prepare. We cannot
achieve anything in terms of deterrence if we simply
strike at low-level perpetrators. If we are to succeed,
we must attack and kill the leaders of the movements
responsible. At the same time, we must know that full
chain of responsibility, whether governments are really
involved and who in those governments is involved.
We cannot simply lash out
at another country like Afghanistan. We have to strike
precisely. This means we have to rethink retaliation
in our military operations and do so calmly and objectively.
Similarly, we cannot throw
money at homeland defense or counterterrorism or simply
try to defend against one type of attack. We need to
have a comprehensive reassessment of how we budget and
plan for homeland defense. We obviously need to change
our priorities, but to do so, we need careful planning,
and we need to be very, very sure that what we do is
effective and is worth the cost both in dollars and
out civil liberties. It is this need for careful evolution,
which should be our response, not seeking some sudden
fix or finding a scapegoat and attacking the wrong target.
by Dr. John Hamre
Analysis by Dr. Simon
Analysis by Dr. Shireen
Analysis by Mr. Daniel
Analysis by Ms. Michèle Flournoy
Analysis by Dr. Anthony