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2004-08-04 - 2:04 p.m.

A book review:

America the Vulnerable: How Our Government Is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism by Stephen Flynn

Stephen Flynn is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was the lead author of the task force report “America: Still Unprepared. Still in Danger.” And his articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs. He spent twenty years as a commissioned officer in the U. S. Coast Guard, served in the White House Military Office during the George H.W. Bush administration, and was director for Global Issues on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton Administration.

ISBN 0-06-057128-4

He contends that we are still dangerously unprepared to prevent or respond to another attack, primarily because this administration attempts to fight terrorism abroad. While we receive a steady stream of somber warnings from Ridge and the President about possible terror attacks, the increase in budget to fight terrorism within the confines of the U.S. is equal to 4 percent of the Pentagon’s annual budget.

He goes on to say that “in 2002, over 400 million people, 122 million cars, eleven million trucks, 2.4 million rail freight containers, approximately eight million maritime containers, and 59,995 vessels entered the United States at more than 3,700 terminals and 301 ports of entry. …And there are 7,000 miles of land borders and 95,000 miles of shoreline, which provide ample opportunities to walk, swim or sail into the nation. Official estimates place the number of illegal migrants living in America at over seven million.”

I found these numbers staggering…and am astounded that the budget to oversee this gargantuan task is a mere $14 billion more than before 9/11, whereas the Pentagon budget is $476+ billion. This book outlines what could and should be done to not only protect, but to respond, when the next attack does materialize. The electorate should work to mobilize the Congress and administration to not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk. The new terror Czar must be given authority over budget and personnel to manage the risk of terrorism on U.S. soil without bankrupting the very things we are trying to secure – our freedom.

I recommend you read this book…and most of all, ask your elected representatives – local, state and federal officials – to read it – now. Timely and transcendent.

Warren Rudman, former U.S. Senator, co-chair, the United States Commission on National Security for the 21st Century
"Stunningly detailed. Unsettling but necessary reading for all Americans deeply concerned about the future security of our nation."

Gary Hart, former U.S. Senator, co-chair, the United States Commission on National Security for the 21st Century
"This book had to be written. Flynn’s threat scenarios are chillingly persuasive. His urgent prescriptions are compelling."

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