Debate Club

Obama Has Made America Safer, but He Could Use Help

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To paraphrase a famous election-year question, "Is American safer now than it was four years ago?" Emphatically, yes.

We are safer at home, safer overseas, and our national power and position in the world are largely unthreatened. Our soldiers are no longer in harm's way in Iraq, thanks to the fulfillment of a promise by the president. We are on a timetable to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan by 2014, and our allies and the Afghan police and military are carrying an increasing share of the burden, even if the security status there is somewhat dubious. Despite some rattling of sabers by Iran and scattered incidents of maritime piracy and terrorism, the U.S. military is still without peer or challenger.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Afghanistan.]

The president has continued a war against al Qaeda that he inherited, and he has increased the intensity of that war, using UAV strikes and special forces raids. The killing of Osama bin Laden is only one symbol of the successes of the wider fight—one that the U.S. and its allies are winning, as the remnant of al Qaeda struggles to remain relevant amid the political awakening in much of the Islamic world.

In the area most visible to many Americans, security in our skies, we are, sadly, no safer. Despite spending billions of dollars per year, the TSA and Department of Homeland Security for the most part continue to offer only the appearance of security, rather than effective, efficient security. The president, like his predecessor, may take credit for the absence of any successful attack, but this is likely the result of our luck and our enemy's ineptitude, rather than of millions of us taking off our shoes and throwing away our water bottles.

[Read President Obama Goes All In on the Taliban.]

Finally, as Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told Congress in February 2009, our national security was most threatened by the financial crisis. The recovery may be unsteady, but we are immeasurably safer today than four years ago. The president took steps that most economists agree prevented a global depression, and his policies have resulted in a safer world, not just a safer United States.

With our troops still at war in Afghanistan, and threats from nuclear Iran and North Korea, the president's policies are being criticized, and he is still being attacked personally. Our country would be safer, still, if the opposition were a loyal one, and the discourse more civil.

Lawrence Husick

About Lawrence Husick Co-chairman of the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Center for the Study of Terrorism

Tags
Obama administration
Obama, Barack
foreign policy
bin Laden, Osama

Other Arguments

#1
164 Pts
Obama Got Bin Laden, but Other Threats Have Grown

No – Obama Got Bin Laden, but Other Threats Have Grown

Edward A. Turzanski National Security Analyst at La Salle University

#2
153 Pts
Obama's Proposed Defense Budget Cuts Leave Us Vulnerable

No – Obama's Proposed Defense Budget Cuts Leave Us Vulnerable

James Jay Carafano Director of the Heritage Foundation's Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies

#3
128 Pts
Obama Keeps al Qaeda at Bay, but Handcuffs the CIA as Well

No – Obama Keeps al Qaeda at Bay, but Handcuffs the CIA as Well

Nathan Sales Law Professor at George Mason University School of Law

#5
-37 Pts
Obama Learned From Bush's Mistakes and Successes

Yes – Obama Learned From Bush's Mistakes and Successes

James Dobbins Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation

#6
-44 Pts
President Obama Deserves Credit for Keeping Us Safe

Yes – President Obama Deserves Credit for Keeping Us Safe

William F. Daddio Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University

#7
-107 Pts
6 Reasons America Is Safer Under Obama

Yes – 6 Reasons America Is Safer Under Obama

Lawrence J. Korb Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

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