Our second event for Tuesday, February 5th, was a Happy Dog Takes on the World gathering located at the Happy Dog (where else?) on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. The event was titled “How America Confronts Terror” and it consisted of a conversation between Mr. Tony Ganzer, WCPN host/producer, and Professor Joshua A. Geltzer, Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council from 2015 to 2017 and now the Executive Director, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law (ICAP) and ASU Future of War Fellow, New America.
In the course of the evening, Professor Geltzer questioned President Trump’s recent proposals for a much reduced presence, if not withdrawal, from Afghanistan and Syria because such moves might create opportunities for terrorist forces to strengthen themselves there. To be sure, Professor Geltzer believed that our military forces are a vital element in a successful counterterrorism strategy but such a thing also involves strong alliances with our allies and policies that minimize civilian casualties, uphold human rights, and provide genuine assistance to embattled countries. Professor Geltzer also praised the efforts of Mr. John Moody, III and Mr. Bill Coninger there representing ACAMS (a sponsor for this evening’s program) which traces money laundering schemes often cited as a major source of funding for terrorist operations.
During the Q and A, we asked Professor Geltzer about counterterrorism and immigration policy and he said that they should be kept separate from each other. He then recommended that we check out an article that he co-wrote titled Trump has Misled the Public on Terrorism. Time to Correct the Record that appeared in the Washington Post on October 16, 2018 concerning what he considered to be erroneous stats about terrorist attacks in the United States being committed by the foreign-born.
Professor Geltzer also expressed his opposition to the travel ban imposed on certain countries in the Middle East whose inhabitants are mostly Muslim. Afterwards, we spoke with the professor for a moment about the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. Not surprisingly, Geltzer also indicated his opposition and agreed with us that such a wall would hamper our relations with Mexico. Along these lines, he mentioned that in the next couple of days his colleagues at the ICAP would be attending a hearing regarding possible plans to construct a border fence in such a way that it would separate La Lomita Chapel, a historical church in Mission, Texas from its parishioners.