Is Our Country Safe?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been on a speaking tour of late criticizing some of President Obama’s decisions. He has generated a lot of conversation with one particular statement that he made. In his interviews with Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation and with Sean Hannity he talked about how he feels that our country is less safe with President Obama in charge. This opinion is based on some of the choices that President Obama has made in his first few months in office. I don’t believe that Mr. Cheney intends to scare us with his assessment, I think he hopes to put in the spotlight some of the decisions that have been made in an attempt to draw more talk about them. Mr. Cheney basis his opinion on two real key areas. The first the closing of Guantanamo and secondly President Obama’s decision to end what he calls torture techniques that the Bush Administration had used to their advantage.

I also believe that those two decisions were poor ones. Now whether or not they make us less safe is still up for debate. I think to say you are closing Guantanamo is one thing, but you need to have the plans in place to deal with the terrorist that are currently housed there. President Obama allowed his emotions to make the decision without really thinking about how it would be handled. We are now seeing that a few of the detainees have been transferred to Bermuda. They are staying at a lavish resort and photos surfaced of the detainees swimming in the ocean enjoying themselves. Many countries are refusing to accept the detainees and I think most states in our great nation would do the same. I know that I would prefer not to house any of the detainees in Pennsylvania. If the detainees were brought into The United States, then we could say that this decision is making us less safe. Until then, I don’t see how just closing Guantanamo makes us less safe.

The second area dealing with the interrogation techniques could make us less safe. I don’t believe the effectiveness of waterboarding and the intelligence we gained from it can be debated. Now from a moral standpoint the arguement that the costs outweigh the gains could be made. Most folks that oppose the use of interrogation methods do so under the theory that the same intelligence could be gained by using other “non-torture” methods. Now whether or not waterboarding is torture is a debate that could go on forever. That doesn’t speak to whether or not the act itself makes us more secure. Time will tell whether or not we are able to gain the proper intelligence from known or suspected terrorists by using other less controversial methods. By the way those other methods have yet to be identified. I can easily see how we may lose the ability to gain information from detainees without the threat of more invasive procedures to obtain the required intelligence. Mr. Cheney has argued that intelligence that the Bush Administration gained from captured terrorist would not have been obtained without the use of waterboarding.

The current events in North Korea is of concern to me in terms of national security. In my opinion we are not being aggressive enough to control the situation. President Obama is allowing the situation to control him and his decisions. If North Korea is able to develop Nuclear Weapons and is able to team up with some other countries most notably Iran then we are in danger. We need to be proactive in handling this situation and making sure it doesn’t get out of control. The jury is still out on this situation as well. Whoever wins the election in Iran has spoken out in favor of nuclear weapons in the past. So it is a situation that we need to address.

I do not feel that right now we are less safe as a nation, but I do feel that in the coming weeks and months that could change. As the detainees from Guantanamo are relocated, we will be able to make a better assessment of how dangerous this situation will become. As suspected terrorist are captured and subsequent intelligence is or is not gained will determine the danger in that. Finally as the situation in North Korea continues to develop and the outcome of the election in Iran is known we will have a better idea of what danger that situation poses to us as well. Something definitely to keep an eye on in the news in the days ahead. Coming tomorrow…the Pennsylvania Budget Battle continues as the deadline approaches…..the effects of the budget on working Pennsylvanians and the services available to it’s citizens.

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