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David Cameron has written for this morning’s Sunday Times, setting out his homeland security agenda:

  • The Conservative leader promises a cabinet minister dedicated to homeland security but without a US-style department because, he writes, "that would cause far too much upheaval."
  • There’ll also be a dedicated border police "to patrol every port and airport and exercise tight control over entry to, and exit from, Britain".
  • He repeats his pledge to scrap Labour’s £20bn ID card scheme and to invest the money in "security, surveillance and Special Branch."
  • "It is time to replace the Human Rights Act with a British bill of rights that will enable ministers to act within the law to protect our society."
  • "Telephone intercept evidence should be made available to the courts."
  • Mr Cameron’s final point concerns the need to "embrace genuinely moderate Muslims, the majority who love Britain and want to live in peace, while confronting the fundamentalists."  Mr Cameron shares the concern of Michael Gove MP and Martin Bright that the Government has radicalised Muslim opinion within Britain by dealing with their most extreme representatives.

OverlordterrorIn an interview in the same newspaper Gordon Brown rejects the idea of a cabinet minister for homeland security:

“Every minister and every agency of government must take responsibility for security — each of them must play their part.  But, ultimately, because the fight against terrorism must be fought both at home and abroad, it is the prime minister who must take the lead, as Tony Blair has done. If you are prime minister, you cannot devolve responsibility for protecting the nation. It must always be your first priority.”

Mr Brown suggests that the Conservative Party does not understand “the scale of the threat we face” and reiterates his support for ID cards:

“You can’t protect your borders or conduct effective surveillance if you don’t have a proper system of identity management.”

The Chancellor, in a move certain to delight The Sun, also backed Met Chief Sir Ian Blair’s latest intervention in support of a much longer detention period for suspected terrorists:

“Given the scale of the threat we face, we must give the security service and the police not just the resources they need, but the powers they need, to gather securely the evidence and use that evidence to gain convictions.”

The ingredient missing from both men’s remarks is a strategy for
victory in Baghdad.  It is difficult to see how we can have any
homeland security if we hand victory to the terrorists gathered in Iraq
to humble America.  William Kristol makes it clear this weekend, in an
article for The Weekly Standard, that civil war and the creation of
safe havens would follow a retreat from Iraq:

"Among the many fruits of an Iraqi collapse could well
be the creation of safe havens, perhaps quite extensive ones, for
international terrorist groups. We have read some hopeful assessments
that the Iraqis themselves will not permit al Qaeda or other terrorist
organizations to operate in their midst once American forces leave.
That hope strikes us as fanciful. Today, Sunni insurgents work in
tandem with Islamic jihadists in their bloody assaults on innocent Shia
civilians. In the sectarian violence that would follow a collapse of
American policy in Iraq, such cooperation would no doubt continue. And
in a chaotic Iraq consumed by civil war, who would take the trouble to
ensure that some portions of Iraqi territory do not become little al
Qaeda-stans?"

Read the full article here and its recommendation of increased troop deployments:

"Instead of looking for a graceful and face-saving way
to lose in Iraq, the president could finally demand of his civilian and
military advisers a strategy to succeed. Such a strategy would do what
previous strategies have not done: provide the number of American
forces necessary to achieve even minimal political objectives in Iraq.
Such an effort would begin by increasing American force levels in Iraq
by at least 50,000.  The objective of this increased force would be to
do what has not been done since the beginning of the war: to clear and
hold Baghdad, without shifting troops from other contested areas of
Iraq. As our colleague, military expert Frederick Kagan, has
argued–and sources inside the U.S. military have confirmed–an
additional 50,000 troops could secure the Iraqi capital. Once that is
accomplished, clear and hold operations could expand outward toward the
areas of the Sunni insurgency. This strategy would not pacify and
stabilize all of Iraq in one year or perhaps even two. But it could
secure and stabilize the vital center of that country, and provide real
hope for progress–hope to Iraqis as well as to Americans. At least the
president would be able to hand off an Iraq that had some prospect of
success instead of one heading inexorably toward disaster."

John McCain is probably the only up-and-coming politician who has the courage to recommend such a strategy.

25 comments for: Homeland security depends upon victory in Iraq

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