New Jersey, Terrorism and Public Responsibility
By Arnold Keiser, OIC President
We live in one of the most vulnerable parts of the country. New Jersey's close proximity to two very large population centers, four major international airports, three large seaports, critical highways, large industrial centers, oil refineries and complex rail systems makes our state a prime target for non-state organizations such as Al-Qaeda.
Additionally there are a variety of governments who have harbored resentment towards us for decades such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran and others. This vulnerability is magnified substantially by the fact that measures taken to protect our borders and transportation facilities remain grossly insufficient. Our immigration policies also remain highly problematic.
Aside from the murderous intentions of the perpetrators of the Pearl Harbor and 9-11 attacks, we should remember that in both cases, these attacks would not have been possible had our intelligence agencies and other relevant agencies been vigilant.
The fact is they did not anticipate or identify the possibility of these attacks. Our homeland security was more or less non-existent. Key government entities had dysfunctional communication issues.
When told about the terrorists on the plane over Pennsylvania, air force jets were sent in the wrong direction.
Aside from homeland security issues, US foreign policies and diplomacy did not reduce tensions with people throughout the Muslim world and with a variety of other governments. In certain cases US foreign policies and security strategies have exacerbated our poor relations with many governments.
Invading countries in the Middle East has increased existing resentment towards the US and our allies. Existing resentment and hatred fueled by years of our government supporting brutal dictators for oil and security reasons.
Diplomacy as it is commonly practiced has proven to be generally ineffective in transforming our adversaries into friends and mediating longstanding conflicts such as those between Israel and the Palestinians.
UN and US diplomacy failed to prevent or resolve the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda. US diplomacy has also not been successful in attaining common ground with China on human rights, trade deficits, Sudanese and environmental issues.
In defense of our foreign policymakers and diplomats, I want to point out that these diplomatic failures are for the most part not due to officials having a lack of expertise, dedication or experience.
The problem is that all human beings have varying levels of conscious awareness. If we cannot recognize the critical obstacles interfering with the successful completion of our challenges, the problem will remain in a vicious circle with all the consequences continuing or coming to pass. US foreign policies, negotiations and security strategies can become many times more effective.
The mission of OIC is to advocate the services of special consultants capable of dramatically increasing the effectiveness of governments.
We need to recognize the fact that given the scope of our challenges and vulnerabilities, we cannot realistically expect that the government can do it all. Every New Jersey citizen can play a role in securing our state.
The opportunities are many. Certain citizen groups help to protect our border with Mexico. We can do things here along those lines. We can do things to assist the State Police, local police, emergency services, our airports, seaports, rail systems, tunnels, bridges and nuclear facilities.
We can lobby Congress for more money for our First Responders and critical state agencies. We can petition the federal government for greater Coast Guard and Naval protection along our coast. We can demand that far more ships coming into our ports are scrutinized for weaponry or explosives.
We can ask the Homeland Security Secretary and our Homeland Security Committees in Congress to substantially increase the measures being taken.
There are numerous non-profit organizations one can join to foster people to people relations with other countries. We can bring the issue of diplomatic effectiveness before the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees.
There is something that all of us can do regardless of age, mobility or any preconceived lack of knowledge, time or expertise.
In a world of increasing danger we can no longer afford the luxury of relying solely on government officials. Our security and the security of those we love is at stake as much as we would love to deny reality!
Ignoring the reality of Hitler's advances in Europe brought death and destruction to Great Britain. Ignoring reality in the Pacific brought the US Pearl Harbor in 1941. Ignoring reality in 2001 brought us once again totally unprepared on 9-11.
Arnold Keiser is President and a Founding Member of the Organization for International Cooperation.