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Two interviews on terrorism were conducted by Xandra Kayden (member of the LWVUS Board from 2001 to 2008) with Brian Michael Jenkins in Los Angeles in August of 2008. They are part of the “Strategies for a Secure World” program that encouraged Leagues to educate themselves and their communities about why we are under attack, how terrorism has changed, and to begin thinking about what kinds of policies will be required to defeat terrorism in the long-run.
Mr. Jenkins is a leading expert on counterinsurgency and homeland security. He is currently the senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation on terror. He was a Captain, U.S. Army Special Forces serving in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam; Deputy Chairman of Kroll Associates, an international security firm; served as a member of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, and the National Commission on Terrorism. His most recent books include “Will the Terrorists Go Nuclear?” (2008) and “Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves” (2006).
LWVUS program on liberty and security also includes “Local Voices,” a dialogue on the balancing the values of civil liberty and security; and “How Homeland Security is Working at Home,” local research on the plans, training, and resources at the local level for emergency preparedness, whether caused by natural or manmade disasters. Material on all three are available on the LWV website. Strategies for a Secure World includes three short papers: “A Brief History of the Middle East,” “Terrorism Past and Present,” and – under the title name – brief descriptions of four published strategies to deal with terrorism.
The League’s partnership with RAND in preparing these papers was based on the expectation that a public educational forum would be held on the history and the current expectations about terrorism – for which these taped interviews could be downloaded and used if there were no local terrorist expert available. A workshop on the strategies would follow, where participants would consider the underlying assumptions – not for the purpose of approving one or the other, or even with the expectations of coming up with one on their own – but rather, to engage Americans in thinking about the future, making them able to put the threat into perspective and better able to evaluate whatever solutions become U.S. policy