Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 8, 2010


Filed under: Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Jessica Herrera-Flanigan on November 8, 2010

I was talking to a family friend this past weekend who retired from his company after 30 years.  Thirty years with the same company – something that you do not hear about too often in these days of downsizing, transient workforces, and job transfers.  Finding people who spent 10 years at the same place is becoming a challenge (5 years if you happen to reside in the D.C. area).

As I talked to the friend, I thought about the election last week where voter loyalty and party identity are the exceptions, not the norm.  Independent voters – who identify with neither the donkey or the elephant – appear to be growing in numbers and have shown that they will vote against candidates regardless of party.  The 2006, 2008, and 2010 trail of losing incumbents serves to demonstrate that loyalty in politics is not what it used to be.  Indeed, many predict that Congress may continue to experience a pendulum of power swapping between Republicans and Democrats through several more cycles (though redistricting efforts could make this theory irrelevant).

Even our allegiances to sports teams is not what it once was with attendance at games and television ratings down and owners moving teams to find more passionate fans.  I mean, what does it say when a team in the World Series declared bankruptcy in the months before the playoffs?

So what do these examples have to do with homeland security? Nothing and everything.

Nothing in that there is no clear homeland security threat to be seen in them, though I am certain someone out there might point out that economic espionage may be more prevalent for employees who have no investment in a company or that transitional governments are more prone to security risks.   I will defer to others to make those arguments.

Everything in that they show a troubling trend where “loyalty” and “affiliation” are becoming less prominent in our society, resulting in less allegiances, more alienation, and a greater need to be a part of some group.  Such a trend could lend itself to the development of homegrown terrorism, as  the Council of Foreign Relations recently noted in a report.

So how exactly does the U.S. government reverse the growing trend towards “me” and “alone,” which may contribute to homegrown terrorism? Some guidance can be found in the President’s National Security Strategy released in May.  The report found that the empowerment of communities was critical to counter radicalization:

Our best defenses against this threat are well informed and equipped families, local communities, and institutions. The Federal Government will invest in intelligence to understand this threat and expand community engagement and development programs to empower local communities.

I wonder, however, if instead of intelligence we need a comprehensive sociological and cultural analysis of our changing societal norms.


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Comment by Art Botterell

November 8, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

Four decades ago Alvin Toffler forecast a “new tribalism” as one symptom of future shock. He predicted that some folks would react against overwhelming change by drawing ever closer their loyalties and affiliations, the boundaries they draw between “us” and “them.”

So I wonder whether what you’re describing is a net diminution of loyalty and affiliation or more of a realignment.

Comment by "Ths The Patriots of Main Street USA" vs the Disloyalty of Congressional

November 9, 2010 @ 5:35 am

Unfortunately the President, his wet-behind-the-ears WH staffers, his Goldman Sachs riddled appointees, local pols convey incompetency for teh job and their self-agenda and Congress’ emulation of arrogant greed on bith sides of the aisle point to the loss of ethical and valued decision-makers and a constituency who in “entrusting” these self-fulfilling fools has little or no confidence in those governing, thus the internal threat from within.

It is not AQ nor the Taliban that concerns us as much as the political disconnect to we the people and the apparent lack of ethical folks at the helm….Mutiny is in the winds and we are no longer whispering it in the pews, but loudly porclaiming it in the voting booth! Did you hear us “Smug-smiled Pelosi?? Listen attentively for “loyalty” within the populace to America is indeed quite apparent!

Thank God we have the folks at DoD and NSA and other agencies whereby committed and dedicated Americans serve and we thank each and every one of them! We once again thank our insightful forefathers for their guidance and their warnings about those who from within could threaten our well being which is reality today.

I refer to this executive administration as the Goldman Sachs administration and like China, this further stimulus and even more stimulus monies thereafter will not only create currency devaluation and instability, but will surely lead us into fiscal bankruptcy and War!

God Bless America!

If there is any analysis to be done, it should focus on how to instill values and ethical manner among those who tell us they wish to serve the public and more often than not, serve their own needs….

We are besieged from within and we have no Winston Churchill to save ‘Ol Glory, the Brits, the freedom of persons everywhere but ourselves….

“The Patriots of Main Street USA” where in a new book I refer to you and I who portrayed our utter digust in the lack of loyalty these politicians have shown to the freedom we respect and understand its requirement to protect as elections sent unison and clarity to those seeking political office –

Christopher Tingus
Main Street USA

Comment by Art Botterell

November 9, 2010 @ 10:29 am

Like I said…

Comment by Dan O'Connor

November 9, 2010 @ 11:09 am

Loyalty. Loyalty is one of the two most important qualities one can exhibit. The other is trust.

Why is there diminishing loyalty? These are simply my opinions.

Loyalty or the state or quality of being loyal is a faithfulness to commitments or obligations. Whether its soldiers, legislators, marriage partners, or teammates, I’d estimate that there is less loyalty than ever before. In some aspects, it’s a novelty. Why? A lot of it has to do with the celebration of self over community, greed over group. We celebrate many types of infidelity in our society and entertainment and reward those willing to change or alter their belief system and political affiliations.

I don’t think you can dismiss some of our cultural shifts either. We’ve diminished the role of organized religion in our communities and those organized religions have failed to uphold the tenants of their faith by exploiting their constituents. We have diminished the value of family, community, government, and responsibility too. This is not a chicken or the egg debate.

When an institution fails to maintain the trust of its constituency, it will be corroded from the inside and usurped. That’s where we are now. We have continually elected officials who do not have the tools necessary to selflessly do the job. When trust is diminished to a punchline, constituents turn away. So who are the fools? Did we get what we asked for or voted for? Or were we sold one bill of goods all the while our leaders had no intention of delivering? Tough questions.

So philosophically I present this to you; if you fail as a father, you’re a failure for life… harsh, but true, in my opinion. But the truth of the matter is how one defines failure and what the expectation is, is more important than a continuing diminishment of what success is. Are our leaders considered “fathers”(mothers too)? (We call our “Founding Fathers that for a reason don’t we?) IF you follow that premise and the contagion of example is what breeds loyalty and trust, I would submit to you, we are exhibiting exactly what our elected officials are demonstrating by their example.
Take a minute to read these words and replace Marine with citizen and Officer with Congressman/Senator/elected official; Marine General John A. Lejeune introduced Marine Corps Order No. 29 in 1920, which states,
“Young Marines respond quickly and readily to the exhibition of qualities of leadership on the part of their officers. Each officer must endeavor by all means in his power to develop within himself those qualities of leadership, including industry, justice, self-control, unselfishness, honor, and courage, which will fit him to be a real leader of men and which will aid in establishing the relationship described below.

The spirit of comradeship and brotherhood in arms which has traditionally existed throughout the ranks of the Marine Corps is a vital characteristic of the Corps. It must be fostered and kept alive and made the moving force in all Marine Corps organizations.

The relation between officers and enlisted men should in no sense be that of superior and inferior nor that of master and servant, but rather that of teacher and scholar. In fact, it should partake of the nature of the relation between father and son, to the extent that officers, especially commanders, are responsible for the physical, mental, and moral welfare, as well as the discipline and military training of the men under their command who are serving the Nation in the Marine Corps.

The recognition of this responsibility on the part of officers is vital to the well-being of the Marine Corps. It is especially so for the reason that so large a proportion of the men enlisting are under 21 years of age. These men are in the formative period of their lives and officers owe it to them, to their parents, and to the Nation, that when discharged from the service they should be far better men physically, mentally, and morally than they were when they enlisted.

To accomplish this task successfully a constant effort must be made by all officers to fill each day with useful and interesting instructions and wholesome recreation for the men. This effort must be intelligent and not perfunctory, the object being not only to eliminate idleness, but to train and cultivate the bodies, the minds, and the spirit of our men.

It will be necessary for officers not only to devote their close attention to the many questions affecting the comfort, health, morals, religious guidance, military training, and discipline of the men under their command, but also to actively enlist the interest of their men in building up and maintaining their bodies in the finest physical condition; to encourage them to improve their professional knowledge and to make every effort by means of historical, educational, and patriotic addresses to cultivate in their hearts a deep abiding love of the Corps and Country.”.

Are our leaders doing that?

On Saturday I attended a viewing of a collection of Norman Rockwell paintings with a group of Canadian friends. The Canadians, mostly business leaders, had come to Washington to hear about the election and get a more intimate view of America.
As I moved through the gallery I was struck at how Rockwell captured the idea and ideal of America. Art being interpretive, I was struck at the innocence and warmth, the potential if you will, of the children and adults displayed in the paintings. I wondered both quietly and than later out loud if this was in fact a reflection or simply a manufactured ideal. Were we duped? Is our history and idea of America a fabrication or real…It is directly linked…directly linked to loyalty and trust.

Have we been abandoned or have we the people abandoned the idea of Idyllic America? Are we the country that we have believed us to be or simply a construct that’s exploitation and foibles have caught up to?

If we want loyalty, we must first exhibit loyalty…with no expectation of reciprocation. That’s the issue…”Where is mine” is more prevalent than “what can I do”. If we want trust, we must exhibit trust… this is the fuel of loyalty and its absence the lack there of.

If our leaders seem surprised, stunned, and saddened that they were voted out it is because they did not trust the American people to tell them the unvarnished truth and trust them, but instead pandered and placated them with artificial constructs to minimize our predicament…bad news does not get better with time.

The newly elected leaders, representatives of the Republic did not exhibit trust in their constituents but contempt. They passed laws Americans did not want and are not leading but managing the country, the issues, and therefore the people. We do not need to be managed; we need to be led.

It is striking that well over $4Billion was spent on elections. What’s even more striking is there are several studies and lots of information that state commercials and ads do not sway voters’ opinions or change their minds as to how they will vote. I’ll dig into that on my own. But the idea that peoples votes are bought is staggering on its face value. If that’s the leadership model of loyalty and trust; buy them and blind them, we can kiss the idea of America goodbye.

So, if leaders want trust and loyalty, they have to earn it. It’s like any other commodity; behavior and performance can net you a surplus or a deficit. The reason there was such a huge swing again in the house was the elected leaders of the past have not earned the right or privilege to accrue a surplus of loyalty and trust.

Check out these synonyms as well;

Fealty, devotion, constancy. LOYALTY, ALLEGIANCE, FIDELITY ; all imply a sense of duty or of devoted attachment to something or someone. LOYALTY connotes sentiment and the feeling of devotion that one holds for one’s country, creed, family, friends, etc.

ALLEGIANCE applies particularly to a citizen’s duty to his or her country, or, by extension, one’s obligation to support a party, cause, leader, etc. FIDELITY IMPLIES unwavering devotion and allegiance to a person, principle, etc.

If our elected leaders, our representation, our “fathers” of today want unwavering devotion and allegiance, they better come to understand and deliver through the contagion of example loyalty to their country; not their party, not their donors, not their committees, but to their people. They need to recognize that welfare is a “state” not an entitlement… they must strive to enable all Americans to do well, especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well being, or prosperity. They must realize that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…

Seems like we the people did our job…now they have to do theirs.

Loyalty… to get it you have to give it.

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 9, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

Fascinating post and comments! In an earlier blog post or comment somewhere I mentioned how energy and loyalty were the two hallmarks of WH staff over the course of various administrations, not competence.

I was reminded over the weekend by a friend of the apparently accurate story of how and why FDR promoted George C. Marshall over a large number of senior officers. Apparently in a meeting with wide attendance of flag rand soldiers, FDR made some suggestions in a rather pointed and detailed way to the group to which he was speaking. Only one person spoke up stating his reasons why FDR’s suggestions did not make sense and were not based on reason or whatever. The group was shortly dismissed by FDR. All in attendance that were flag rank though Marshall had ended his career. Very soon thereafter, FDR picked Marshall over many senior to him has the new Army Chief of Staff. Hoping that each Chief Executive and Commander-In-Chief is able to discern competence in his subordinates as the ultimate mark of loyalty. Ability to pick competent subordinates is extraordinarly difficult. So always look to see the quality of those surrounding anyone in command as the true mark of the quality of the leader.

And since Jessica started out with this remarkable post commend the book by two female corporate culture gurus who in late 80’s published a book called “Why Jenny Can’t Lead” describing how males regard loyalty as the distinguishing feature of any subordinate. While females look to competence and ability. Their theory–in neolithic times- all males able to do so went on the hunt and each left the cave knowing that a severe injury during the hunt could lead to a return to the cave only if a man’s fellow hunters were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get the injured hunter back. I gave the book to my wife, a World Bank executive and after reading she concluded the corporate consultants were correct. Sadly loyalty does seem to trump competence more often than not. IMO of course. Here is to those who speak up when a majority is against them, and who provide options and opinions without fear of dismissal to their bosses. Still pretty rare IMO. Not sure where it came from but always like the aphorism “One man [woman] who is right makes a majority!”

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