Friday, September 9, 2011

Defense spending expert says U.S. foreign policy creates homeland security concerns

Williams says the Gitmo detention facility should have been closed. JTF Guantanamo photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Gino Reyes
The war in Iraq, the evolution of the war in Afghanistan, the drone attacks in Pakistan and the continued existence of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay all tarnish the perception of the United States in the eyes of Muslims around the world. And they all make it that much harder to keep the United States safe from terrorist attacks.
That opinion is offered by Dr. Cindy Williams, a principal research scientist of the MIT Security Studies Program where she examines, as she did in government service, the allocations of military resources.
Williams (not to be – as she has in the past – confused with actress Cindy Williams) in an interview with News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network, says the war in Iraq, in particular, left a bad impression of the U.S. for many Muslims.
The war in Afghanistan, she says, when conceived in 2001, was the right thing to do, because the Taliban and al Qaeda had teamed up to take control of a nation to use as a launching spot for attacks against the United States. But she says, while she supported that invasion, the decade that the U.S. has been there has turned a war-weary population against the United States. A view shared by many in the Muslim world.
Further, the U.S. military should have bottled al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Once the terrorists moved freely across the lawless border with Pakistan, it created a situation where the United States felt compelled to launch drone attacks in a country considered an ally.
Finally, Williams says, while she recognizes the political ramifications of closing Guantanamo Bay, President Obama should have stuck to his promise to shutter the detention facility within one year of taking office. Keeping it open has strained relations between the United States and Muslims around the world – many of whom previously viewed the USA as a shining city on a hill worth emulating.

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