All in National Security

The total dollar amount spent on domestic counterterrorism has continued to climb ever since, and for fiscal year 2013, the Congressional Budget Office expects the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget to be $68.9 billion, or roughly $526 per household.

The recent failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSCDR) to reach an agreement on the reduction of the federal deficit may turn into a full-blown military budget crisis with enormous, unforeseen consequences for national security if the United States does not act soon.

Antarctica is home to more than emperor penguins and a few dozen humans with science citizenship barricaded in small hermetic bases. It is also host to an estimated 200 billion barrels of hydrocarbons, alongside large quantities of gold, silver, uranium, and many other rare metals underneath a pristine ice cap still virgin of commercial exploitation. Securing a territory with such a rich underground, in whole or in part, would bless any country with durable energy security and, thereby, increased political independence in the international arena.

The problem with the firmly partisan prism of the media through which most of American politics is dissected is that we lose the many nuances of our political realities. Complexities become distorted and disfigured as they are forcefully shoved into the binary classifications of party politics. Perhaps the most extreme example is the way foreign policy has almost disappeared in today’s political consciousness, not in the least because the Obama administration’s policies defy easy political branding. However, despite the media’s predisposition to ignore what happens outside of Wall Street and Main Street this election season, President Obama’s first term has been rather eventful on the foreign policy front.

One of the most difficult elements of coping with terrorist attacks is managing the emotions that it elicits from victims. It is a simple enough argument to state that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be unbearable to the American people, but such an attack is inevitable-if not from abroad, then from the new crop of "home-grown" extremists materializing everywhere from Portland, Oregon, to Fort Hood, Texas. The future of terrorist attacks in the U.S. is not going to be on the scale of Sept. 11.

In late April 2004, the news that American soldiers had abused detainees at Abu Ghraib prison arrived to the public in a string of shocking photos. The images that exposed the torture of prisoners were brutal and strange—and they were memorable, resistant to amnesia. On May 24, President Bush made a somber address about the news. He called the abuse “disgraceful conduct by a few American troops, who dishonored our country and disregarded our values”—seedless, atypical, un-American. The story of our response to torture at Abu Ghraib is also the story of our unbelief in that declaration.

Missing Pages

A major occurrence in history can be spun in different ways, depending on the words used to describe it. The attacks of September 11, 2001 are a seminal event in the lives of students today, and are bound to remain so for future generations. Despite the indelible images of that day, the greatest impact that 9/11 will have in the public memory may be its description in the pages of history textbooks.