Remembering 9/11

September 12, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This morning, USGLC National Security Advisory Council Member Gen. Hugh Shelton reflects on his experience as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the critical days after the September 11 attacks this morning with an op-ed on, entitled “Lessons of September 12.”  He discusses the important role our civilian tools of development and diplomacy play in keeping our nation safe, writing, “While budgets are tight, the one percent of the federal budget we invest in our development and diplomacy programs is essential in addressing the threats we face and ensuring America remains a leader in the world. To not provide adequate resources to these vital programs through our International Affairs Budget is to risk forgetting the lessons of September 12, 2001.”  You can also watch Gen. Shelton’s remarks from our conference last year.

Must Reads

USGLC In The News

Lessons of September 12 (General Hugh Shelton, CNN)

Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are trained for battle. They are not trained to be development experts, nor should they be. As the President recognized on September 12 and from that day forward, we would need both military and civilian “boots on the ground” to achieve our national security goals.  Ten years later, our country remains under threat from terrorists and extremists and must contend with the problems of a complex and interconnected world. Weak and failing states, natural disasters, poverty and pandemic disease all feed the beasts that threaten our security. We have to be one step ahead of our enemy and that requires us to have the most effective and efficient civilian and military programs in place.  While budgets are tight, the one percent of the federal budget we invest in our development and diplomacy programs is essential in addressing the threats we face and ensuring America remains a leader in the world. To not provide adequate resources to these vital programs through our International Affairs Budget is to risk forgetting the lessons of September 12, 2001.

Who’s In the News

Bush Effort Targets Cervical Cancer in Developing World (Betsy McKay, Wall Street Journal)

George W. Bush is making the first major foray of his post presidency into global health, with a partnership to combat cervical and breast cancer in the developing world. Mr. Bush was widely applauded for establishing the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which has spent nearly $32 billion since 2004. It put more than 3.2 million people on AIDS drugs through September 2010, and it funds HIV testing and counseling for nearly 33 million people a year. Now, his George W. Bush Institute is forming a public-private partnership to use the AIDS-relief plan’s huge infrastructure of doctors, nurses, and clinics to expand screening and treatment of women for cervical cancer as well as breast-cancer education.

With reports of threat, Clinton warns against allowing terror fears to undermine U.S. values (Joby Warrick, Washington Post)

“We cannot afford to live in fear, sacrifice our values, or pull back from the world,” Clinton told an audience at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Closing our borders, for example, might keep out some who would do us harm, but it would also deprive us of new entrepreneurs, ideas, and energy.”  Clinton outlined a long-term vision for defeating terrorism that integrated military operations with law-enforcement and what she called “smart-power” statecraft: diplomacy and targeted foreign aid intended to enhance global cooperation against terrorism and diminish the appeal of al-Qaeda and allied groups.

Richardson rebuffed in effort to free Alan Gross (Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post)

The Cuban government has rebuffed a mission by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to free a U.S. government contractor jailed in Havana, even ruling out a visit with the man, Richardson said Sunday.  Richardson vowed to remain in Cuba until he was allowed to see jailed American Alan P. Gross…Cuba’s action appeared to be an extraordinary snub of the prominent, Spanish-speaking Democrat and former U.N. ambassador who has had cordial relations with the island’s government.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Size of CR Puts GOP At Odds (John Stanton, Roll Call)

House conservatives are gearing up for a fight with Democrats and their own leadership over the size of the upcoming continuing resolution, even as Republican leaders soften their rhetoric regarding President Barack Obama. Conservatives, unhappy that last month’s debt limit deal included significantly higher budget levels than those included in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan‘s (R-Wis.) budget, are demanding the CR — and a subsequent omnibus spending measure — stick to Ryan’s numbers rather than those agreed to in the debt deal. But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other leaders are in no mood for another budget battle, and the Appropriations Committee is expected to produce a CR that runs through November that meets the budget levels set in the debt deal.

Does anyone care about foreign policy? (Al Kamen, Washington Post)

Indeed, barring some truly major overseas event, foreign policy matters may play less of a role in this election than in any in recent memory. The three televised debates have traditionally set aside one focusing on foreign policy matters, but you’d have to wonder whether they will bother this time around — unless it’s a session on foreign trade policy or maybe how isolationist the country should be. Fact is, President Obama could lead a Navy SEAL team to neutralize al-Qaeda’s Ayman al- Zawahiri and Anwar al-Awlaki, broker a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, engineer a South Korean buyout of North Korea, take out Iran’s nuclear operation, and resolve Pakistan-India tension — and get little credit in the polls.  That’s because those things don’t create a single job.

Don’t Listen to Romney: America is Safer than Ever (Michael Cohen, The Atlantic)

It all sounds very ominous. But the truth is that, for all the warnings of imminent doom, rarely before in America’s history has the United States been in less danger than it is today. And understanding that might be the single most effective tool for keeping America safe and secure in the 21st century.  The United States today faces no serious existential threat from a foreign actor, no great power rival, and no military competitor that imperils the American homeland. Part of this is the result of geography, but the larger reason is that no country that considers America a rival has much good reason to turn it into a potential enemy.

House Freshmen Emerge as G.O.P. Power Brokers (Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times)

Along with three fellow Republican freshmen in the House from South Carolina — one of the most concentrated manifestations of the conservative populism that has reshaped the party — Mr. Scott has shown he can help advance his agenda in Congress and is now flexing his muscles in presidential politics as well. The four South Carolina freshmen — Mr. Scott and Representatives Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney — have been among the most prominent faces of the anti-Washington movement. They were among the 66 Republican House members to vote against the deal to raise the debt ceiling, and they remain popular in South Carolina, a state where the Tea Party has been the wind beneath the wings of Senator Jim DeMint and the hot breath on the neck of Senator Lindsey Graham, whose occasional deviations from orthodoxy have left some conservatives grumbling about him. In a state that could play a vital role in the selection of a presidential nominee, the blessing of the Freshmen Four would be enormously helpful to candidates looking for some Tea Party sheen, and demonstrate the unusual power that they enjoy within their state’s party.