Facing 9/11 'aftershocks,' U.S.faces critical decisions, Lugar says


by Joe Arnold


Posted on September 12, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 12 at 12:22 AM

Ten years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States faces critical decisions balancing national security and foreign policy with the sacrifices those polices require, said U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"9/11 was a shock to the United States," Lugar said in an interview with WHAS11 News regarding how the terrorist attacks changed the country.

Not only the horror of that day, but how America reacted - the military budget boom, the birth of a homeland defense system, in some cases, spying on American citizens.

"And a huge escalation not only in expense and manpower but in anxiety," Lugar continued.

And a shift in foreign policy, the Bush Doctrine.

"In which the doctrine known as the neo-con spread," Lugar explained, "that we could in fact effect arab societies by having a democracy there, almost a model of the United States, that would change the culture of the situation."

The war on terror has come at a tremendous cost, American lives lost in battle and the financial toll of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"A part of the trillion dollar budget deficits and debt come clearly from this period of ten years," Lugar said. "It's been a huge escalation of the federal debt in that period, in the interests costs of this.  And, our dependence upon other countries to loan us money, that's different in a big way."

"Many people were geared up to build weapons systems," Lugar said, "now they look like they are going to be gearing down.  The pressures in Washington are considerable to keep all of this going."

Yet, Lugar said the nature of war and counter-intelligence is undergoing a transformation with the ability of the military to use unmanned aircraft.

As other nations have cut their military budgets, Lugar said only the U.S. is capable of deploying troops to strategic areas.

"The others can't even fly troops out there," Lugar said, "and that's true in Asia where we're depended upon now to be sort of the arbiter with China.

"These are perhaps issues we would have had in some form, but they certainly came to the fore in 9/11 in a hurry."

"We're in a period now of where we are suffering some of the aftershocks of this," Lugar said.

"Giving credit where it's due, I have no doubt that the lack of attacks in the United States (since 9/11) has come from extraordinary efforts by American military and intelligence personnel and the ingenuity of the American spirit." Lugar continued.

Yet, how sustainable is that effort?

"We don't know where the future lies," Lugar said, "and we cannot manage every country.  We cannot finance even in our idealism of this.  And these are going to be difficult questions to raise."