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Defending the Homeland - Book Report/Review Example

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Defending the Homeland by Jonathan White: Book Review Introduction This paper provides a brief review of one of the most renowned books to have been published since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. The book, titled ‘Defending the Homeland: Domestic Intelligence, Law Enforcement and Security’ is written by Jonathan White…
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Download file to see previous pages Moreover, the book also discusses some of the issues that may arise as a result of these changes in US homeland security. White wrote the book when he was employed by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to assist in training state police for anti-terrorist operations. Main issues One of the most important points raised by the book is that along with improving national defense, engaging local and state security agencies will also raise numerous questions on civil liberty and structure. In simpler words, involving local police in national security will redefine the very nature of policing. The logical flow in the book is consistent wherein complex issues are elaborated in an understandable manner through the use of real issues that are encountered by law enforcement agencies. The initial chapters also do a wonderful job in defining and differentiating between new terms under the title ‘coming to grips with concepts’. Some of the common terms described here include first responders, cyber-terrorism, anti-terrorism, crisis management, criminal intelligence and counter-terrorism. In fact, the complex and conceptually challenging aspect of terrorism has been summarized within a paragraph. While the author acknowledges that characterizing and providing a definition for terrorism may be a daunting task, he also seems to realize that the book does little to reflect the concept of defending the homeland in simpler terms. In the most basic terms, White defines terrorism as a form of violence or threat that causes harm to innocent people besides instilling a notion of fear in them. Thus, the book clearly outlines that terrorism is not restricted to attacks on military targets, but can be perpetrated against anyone. The first four chapters discuss a diverse range of issues including the USA Patriot act, Intelligence operations, homeland security, bureaucracy and warfare in an intricate style by juxtaposing various dilemmas and factors that influence these issues. The book is extremely useful for debates and intellectual arguments since it introduces a number of scholarly sources to the reader across different philosophical domains. The second chapter, titled ‘Intelligence Rivalries and Civil Liberties’, compares law enforcement against intelligence and discusses some of the constitutional issues that have affected the functioning of the former. It further goes on to analyze the effects of increasing and limiting the powers of the executive and the perceived impact of each action on national security. Despite some very strong arguments in favor of improving national security, the book tend to overemphasize the 9/11 incident as a pivotal moment which changes the very fabric of America. However, experts like Poulin (2010) argue in favor of the contrary, suggesting that 9/11 was simply a culmination of many preceding events that had been brewing for many decades in a different part of the world. The fourth chapter does a good job in describing the thinning boundaries between the armed forces and local security agencies given the focus of the government on America’s ‘War on terror’. Thus, there is some indication of a gradual shift in the power of state police and their involvement in conflict of global proportions. In fact, Hoehn (2007) shares this viewpoint and argues that every war consists a civilian facet and involved some level of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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