U.S. Security and the Terrorist Welcome Mat Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2546 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

U.S. Security and the Terrorist Welcome Mat

There is little question that the United States is under unprecedented threat within her own borders. Indeed, since the horrific events of September 11, the United States has continued to quake under the potential for continued attacks upon our own soil. Further, given the fact that the nation is also currently embroiled in a war that is likely to tax the emotional, political, and financial resources of the country for some time to come, it seems all the more pressing to assure that another attack inside the United States be prevented at any cost. However, this is currently not the case.

Although many Americans imagine that the state of security within the United States is far superior to pre-September eleventh days, this is far from true. In fact, many if not most of the serious security flaws that existed before the attacks continue to exist to this day. Although, on some fronts security may have improved slightly, the lack of good intelligence, coupled with the continued and unrestricted existence of a kind of international "welcome mat" into the Untied States, places the nation at great and continued peril. Indeed, according to many experts, the United States not only does not do a good enough job at preventing access to terrorists or other criminals to North American shores, but it goes so far as to extend a hearty "welcome," to those that do make it in.

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All one has to do to begin to grasp the extent of the continued security problems in the United States is to take a cursory look at the amazingly lax, permissive, and blatantly commercial nature of the U.S. immigration laws. Indeed, terrorists are in many cases as free to exploit immigration laws for their own gains as the original hijackers on September 11. Even worse, it is not only possible for terrorists to "bluff" their way into the country (as did the aforementioned terrorists), but it is also possible for them to "buy" their way in quite legally.

Term Paper on U.S. Security and the Terrorist Welcome Mat Assignment

The United States has long had a tradition of welcoming foreigners. In fact, many know the United States as a "nation of immigrants." This is mainly because of the many ways in which a perspective visitor or immigrant can gain entry into the country. Although there is no question that the immigration tradition is a noble one, the simple fact is that it has now become a source of significant abuse, leaving the nation open to grave danger.

According to a recent study, conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies:

Foreign-born militant Islamic terrorists have used almost every conceivable means of entering the country. They have come as students, tourists, and business visitors. They have also been Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and naturalized U.S. citizens. They have snuck across the border illegally, arrived as stowaways on ships, used false passports, and have been granted amnesty. Terrorists have even used America's humanitarian tradition of welcoming those seeking asylum (Camarota, 2005).

To be sure, the fact that the nation (under the auspices of the Immigration Department) actually welcomed and facilitated the entry and continued presence of the terrorists who inflicted so much damage on the American people causes far more pain as well as cause for reflection than any "outside attack" (like Pearl Harbor, for example) ever could evoke. In addition to the above observations, consider the continued findings of the study which concluded that no less than one third of the forty eight confirmed terrorists studied by the Center for Immigration Studies report were on tourist visas, were Green Card (permanent resident) holders, or were even fully naturalized U.S. citizens. Further only one fourth of the terrorists were "illegal" in status, and some of these had applications for political asylum in process (2005).

Perhaps even more shocking (and worrisome) is the fact that for a few U.S. dollars, a potential terrorist can apply to win a "lottery" to gain access to permanent residence in the United States. Known as the "Green Card Lottery," a program designed to grant access to immigrants coming from nations normally not as represented in immigration numbers (largely due to U.S. restrictions). The problem with this of course, is that (as in the words of the State Department's deputy inspector general), " ... despite new fraud protections, the diversity visa-lottery program ... is a prime opportunity for criminals and enemies of the United States to enter the nation (Dinan, 2004)." Further, according to Anne Patterson, deputy inspector general for the State Department, " ... The bottom line is it's a program that can be taken advantage of by hostile intelligence officers or terrorists (2004)." Even more alarming, according to many is the fact that once granted "green card" status, even "temporary" green card status, one is virtually free to travel to and from the United States at will, wherever one wishes to go -- thereby broadening the contact abilities of potential terrorists.

Perhaps most ridiculous of all is the fact that, according to the rules of the green card lottery, applicants may "try their luck" even if they come from the State Department's official list of nations that sponsor terrorism. This is all the more strange when one considers the fact that nationals from these countries are normally barred from even applying for temporary visas, but are allowed to apply for the coveted permanent visa through the lottery (2004).

Another troubling aspect of the lax security that continues to plague the nation (often supported by financial interests), is the current way in which millions upon millions of foreign nationals are literally rushed through national and international airports without having been properly screened. This, many assert, is due less to logistical problems than with the pressures that "big business" bring to bear.

Consider, for example the fact that many blame the horrific attacks on September 11th on lax security directly related to the privatization of airport security (driven by both big business and low-bid, greedy government). However, although many believe that the situation has improved due to the federalization of airport security with the Transportation Security Administration, the government has yet to pick up the slack (represented by insufficient screener numbers and training at many airports). Further, although the actual workers may now be receiving government checks (and training), the equipment and technology provided to the TSA is increasingly being bid out to big business -- thereby transferring the old problem to a new form (Jenkins, 2002).

Although the fact that the United States Government is horribly lacking in its responsibility to provide adequate and effective security for lawful U.S. citizens, perhaps most alarming is the well-known fact that the U.S. has had such a pivotal role in supporting, training, and protecting the very forces that have attacked us, both in history, as well as in the present day -- even in the era of terrorism. Take, for example, the explicit an implicit U.S. support given to the government of Japan prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor -- specifically concerning its use of military weapon testing and germ warfare upon the residents of China. Not only did the United States know about horrific experiments and conditions suffered by the Chinese and other ethnic groups, but it also failed to foresee just how these weapons might be used against the United States until the attack. By then Japan had conducted countless experiments aimed at taking U.S. lives on U.S. soil (3902u2).

Of course, as most Americans know, the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Osama Bin Laden was also directly aided by the United States in an extreme example of short sidedness. Although it was true that the United States opposed the Soviet Union during its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, primarily due to its involvement in the "Cold War" against all forms of communism, it was extremely short sighted in ignoring the eventual threat of Islamic militancy, particularly as it might spring from the hot house of Afghanistan (Rasheed, 2002). Further, one might have also imagined that once the Soviet threat was eliminated (via much aid from the United States), the "Mujahadeen" would necessarily turn to the next "big threat" according to them, namely the existence of Israel buoyed by the support of the too powerful United States (in their view).

Although it is simplistic to imagine that the Al Qaeda organization was successful in its attacks against the United States due to its support of Bin Laden during the Soviet/Afghan war, one can conceive that the sum total of such aid, coupled with the extremely permissive immigration and access polices pre 9/11 certainly helped Al Qaeda in its goals. However, given the rather shabby show that Saddam Hussein and his Baathist government gave during the Gulf War and the current war, it is doubtful that previous American aide is enough in itself to blame.

Regardless of the level of blame one places on the aid given to terrorist groups (especially in their originating phases) by the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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