Vice chair of 9/11 commission tells WFU audience nation needs better counter-terrorism strategy

By Maggie Barrett
October 28, 2004

Lee Hamilton

Former congressman Lee Hamilton of the Sept. 11 commission told an audience at Wake Forest University Oct. 28 that counter-terrorism may be the most pressing issue for the next president of the United States.

"We have real enemies in this world who are trying to kill all of us," Hamilton said. "Indeed, the reason that foreign policy and national security have been so unusually prominent in this election is that Americans are concerned about their personal safety."

Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat who served as vice chair of the Sept. 11 commission, spoke during the university's Fall Convocation to students, faculty and staff.

In his address, Hamilton outlined four components of developing an effective counter-terrorism strategy. He referred to the components as "the four I's" : identification, intelligence, integration and international. He elaborated by saying the United States needs to do the following:

  • Identify the threat, so that the strategy is designed to confront the enemy

  • Get better intelligence, so that the United States can act to prevent attacks

  • Integrate all of the nation's resources: the military, public diplomacy and foreign aid, among others

  • Obtain international cooperation

Hamilton, who is director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said the United States is safer now as a result of the Sept. 11 commission's efforts.

"It is my hope that because of our work, we are now moving with more unity and clarity in the right direction."

Hamilton, who served 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, warned that fighting terrorism will require the country's efforts for years to come.

"We are faced with a long and difficult struggle against Islamist terrorism," he said. "It will test President Bush or Kerry in the coming years. No doubt, unexpected challenges will also emerge to test whomever is president — they always do."

"To defeat these enemies and keep America safe, we will have to come together, Democrat and Republican," Hamilton added.

Several university awards were presented during the ceremony. The Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service was given to Charles Richman, professor of psychology. The Jon Reinhardt Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching went to Sarah Watts, professor of history. Two Wake Forest alumni, Mitchell Cox of Hillsborough and Lynne Peters of Cary, received the Marcellus E. Waddill Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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