When preparing for the Dept. of State “Foreign Policy Classroom” with Marc Norman, Director of Africa, Europe and The Americas, I was not at all expecting what I got. I figured there would be a lot of talk about those specific countries. How we research terrorism and defend attacks from terror cells in those areas. However, this lecture was the most detailed comprehensive lesson on taking down terrorism in general. Marc Norman, while hilarious spoke on broad terms on how US effectively has taken down terrorist attacks.
Norman stated a line that really has stayed with me and I never thought about. When defending the United States, we have to be luck 100% of the time to keep our people safe. However, any terrorist unit, only has to be lucky once. When thinking about it, I’m sure we have been lucky most of the time considering the rareness of a large scale terrorist attacks.
Norman spoke about taking down down terrorists in a very systematic way. For instance you make money harder to wire and transfer. There goes their funding. You make it hard to talk on any normal way of communication. You take away their communication. When you spread out their leaders in different prisons across the world, or even take care of the leaders in a more permanent manner. There are so many thinks that the US government does to make life so much more difficult for terrorists. These are probably the things that do the most damage, that the average American citizens don’t even realize.
A factor I never thought about with work the state dept. does is how much red tape they have to cut through. Norman made a joke that the best way for a terrorist cell to evade punishment is to change their name. Thats the easiest thing for them to do, something so easy and simple. I know the government has to follow the same rules as everyone else, but working for a bureaucracy such as the Government must get very frustrating. The work the State dept. never has seemed more rewarding and with Norman’s insight, the audience really felt like they were the good guys.