Disturbing survey results from the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy regarding the struggle against Islamist totalitarianism. According to “more than 100 America’s top foreign-policy hands,” the federal government is not doing enough to prevent another attack. But who are these experts? Was anyone from the military consulted? In the last survey 14% agreed that President George Bush’s foreign polices were, “the greatest single threat to national security.”
Six months ago, we launched a groundbreaking new index that asked more than 100 of America’s top foreign-policy hands if the United States was winning the war on terror. Their answer? No. Now, surveyed again today, this bi-partisan group sees a world that continues to grow more dangerous and a U.S. national security strategy that is failing on several fronts. In the second Foreign Policy/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index, these experts warn that not only is another attack imminent, but that the United States may be distracted from the threats that matter most.
America’s leaders like to say that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, represented a watershed. After that fateful day, Americans were told, problems that had been allowed to linger—terrorist sanctuaries, dangerous dictators, and cumbersome government bureaucracies—would no longer be neglected and left for terrorists to exploit. Yet, more than five years later, Americans are more skeptical than ever that the United States has effectively confronted the threat of terrorism. Barely half believe that their government has a plan to protect them from terrorism. Just six months ago, 55 percent of Americans approved of the way the war on terror was being handled. Today, that number is just 43 percent—lower than at practically any point since the 9/11 attacks.
That skepticism could be easily attributed to dark events in the past six months: a bloody war between Israel and Lebanon, a plot in Britain to explode liquid bombs aboard air-liners bound for the United States, North Korea’s nuclear test, a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, and Iraq’s downward slide into deadly sectarian strife. But is the public’s pessimism over the war on terror just a problem of perception? After all, the United States has yet to be attacked again at home—and that could be the most important benchmark of all.
You can read the full report here (pdf).