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Strategic Security

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Here’s a topic sure to create some controversy …

Maybe it is time to reconsider the Executive Order 12333 2.11 (search), that forbids the United States government from orchestrating strategic political assassinations of both foreign officials and terrorist leaders.

Yes, Pat Robertson was loudly decried for proposing the Chavez assassination and was ridiculed for being out of his right leaning mind.

Let’s look at the legislative piece though and follow the logic to see what merits may exist with the use of covert activity, in this regard, to more effectively achieve what military efforts are striving to attain at a much higher human cost.

This proposal to repeal the ban on strategic political assassinations does bring out some valid points …

In the latest incarnation of legislation to repeal the ban, Rep. Terry Everett, an Alabama Republican, introduced a bill called the “Terrorist Elimination Act of 2003.� Everett’s legislation asserted that the assassination prohibitions, including Executive Order 12333, “limit the swift, sure and precise action needed by the United States to protect our national security.�

It goes on to state that “present strategy allows the military forces to bomb large targets hoping to eliminate a terrorist leader, but prevents our country from designing a limited action which would specifically accomplish that purpose.�

The legislation would lift the ban on the assassination of terrorist leaders who pose a direct threat to national security, yet who have not committed a direct act of terrorism against the U.S. A change in this policy would allow intelligence and military communities to act quickly and decisively to stop terrorists before they are able to inflict harm upon the nation.

In addition to addressing the issue of peacetime strategic assassination, Everett’s legislation lifts the ban on the prohibition of non-military covert actions. The argument for such a change of policy is partially based on the fact that, on numerous occasions, the U.S. military has been ordered to use a military strike in the hope of removing a terrorist leader who committed crimes against the U.S. (That strategy is, in most cases, ineffective, as witness Bill Clinton’s attempt to do in Osama bin Laden with cruise missiles.)

Everett succinctly packaged the motivation behind this portion of the legislation when he stated, “I have a tough time understanding why we can spend tens of millions of dollars on a single effort to kill a terrorist leader of an organization, yet we can’t use covert activity against them.�

Repealing the ban might have the potential to address some of the concerns being expressed regarding costs associated with military spending and still maintain national security efforts.

I know this could be an explosive topic to offer, but read the full article and associated links and fire away … with your opinions!