Thursday, November 13, 2008

Terrorism: Remember That?

[Security Update] Last night and this afternoon political junkie and Salt Lake City mayor alum and Ted Wilson*attended two events connected with the annual Rocco and Marion S. Siciliano Forum at the University of Utah. The endowed lecture series is sponsored by the U.'s College of Social and Behavioral Science. Its mission is to focus on the state of American society (a wide range of topics, obviously).

Following is Ted's account of the discussion:

Yes, Things are Bad, But They May be Worse.

Just as we thought things might be getting tense, when stock markets dive, jobs disappear, and the economy sucks, the Rocco and Marion S. Siciliano Forum at the University of Utah's College of Social and Behavioral Science gathered up some of the nation's leading experts on terrorism. The message is sobering. Former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, and co-chairman of the 9-11 Commission kicked off the event with a speech at the Rice-Eccles Stadium tower.

He pointed out complacency toward another terrorist attack as the biggest problem; only 5 percent of the electorate this year listed terrorism as a major political issue. Hamilton did not mince words: "America is not as prepared as it should be to protect the country from terrorism. Another attack on the United States is a probability." During a panel today, Margaret Warner, senior correspondent for PBS's Newshour with Jim Lehrer asked three experts a final question: "How likely is it the United States will be hit with a major terrorist attack in the next five years?" The answer was, collectively, "probable." It makes one shudder they all used the same word. It's another reason to hope Barack Obama brings change to the national scene.

(Members of the panel: Bruce Hoffman; professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Amos N. Guiora; professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah and former terrorism expert in the Israel Defense Forces Judge Advocate General's Corps; Chibli Mallat; legal counsel for Amnesty International's Middle East office and current professor at the S.J. Quinney Law School.)

(Holly Mullen)

*Ted Wilson is my husband and an occasional blogger.

1 comment:

  1. I'd say it's less probable now than it was before the election, simply by virtue of the fact that we, as a nation, chose to elect the candidate who opposed the Iraq invasion before it started--the candidate who said he would be willing to sit down to talk with the leaders of nations like Iran and Syria. We have a President-elect who's already making plans for the closure of the "illegal combatant" detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

    The people of this country have demonstrated that they want a leader whose approach to foreign policy is guided by the spirit of cooperation, rather than the mistaken belief that we can impose our will on the rest of the world. I believe that's the first step towards curtailing the tide of young terrorist recruits willing to kill innocent civilians (and die in the process) because they are filled with anger and the need for vengeance.

    Now we need to keep an eye on Barack to see whether he delivers on his promises.


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