Former CIA Officer Robert Grenier has been vocal recently, advocating that “domestic extremists such as those who stormed the Capitol” on January 6 be treated as an insurgency.
“We may be witnessing the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen,” Grenier warned in a recent op-ed for The New York Times.
In 2001, Grenier was the CIA Station Chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He later became the CIA’s Iraq mission manager and then director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2006.
In an interview with NPR this week, Grenier explained how the country should respond to this “insurgency” based on his experiences overseas.
“I don’t want to be one to suggest that somehow the United States is going to in any way resemble Iraq or Afghanistan at the height of violence. But what I think is useful is to have some way of thinking about the problem and thinking through the elements of the solution,” Genier said.
He added, “So I think as in any insurgency situation, you have committed insurgents who are typically a relatively small proportion of the affected population. But what enables them to carry forward their program is a large number of people from whom they can draw tacit support. And that’s what I’m primarily concerned with here. I think what is most important is that we drive a wedge between those violent individuals and the people who may otherwise see them as reflecting their interests and fighting on their behalf.”
“So I think as in any insurgency situation, you have committed insurgents who are typically a relatively small proportion of the affected population. But what enables them to carry forward their program is a large number of people from whom they can draw tacit support. And that’s what I’m primarily concerned with here. I think what is most important is that we drive a wedge between those violent individuals and the people who may otherwise see them as reflecting their interests and fighting on their behalf.”
Grenier then emphasized the need for a “national conversation” to take place, saying “…it’s all of us who really need to be engaging with one another in a very sincere way, admitting what we don’t know and trying to seek out the truth together. Because without that, I think that there’s a level of distrust that is not only unfortunate for the politics in this country, but will also provide a basis for sporadic but endemic violence in this country.”
On top of adopting a “proper national tone,” Grenier argues it must be made clear to the “insurgents” that their leader lost the election. That includes the “national security imperative” to convict Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.
“The fact of the matter is that the most violent elements that we are concerned about right now see former President Trump as a broadly popular and charismatic symbol. He is their charismatic leader, whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not. You know, just as I saw in the Middle East that the air went out of violent demonstrations when [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein was defeated and seen to be defeated, I think the same situation applies here,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is that Mr. Trump has lost. It’s very important that people see that he has lost, is a private citizen. But I think it’s extremely important that his potency as a symbol for the most violent among us is somehow addressed.”
Grenier said his thinking comes from strategies adopted by the U.S. overseas, such as in Afghanistan, where since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the country has been countering threats like al-Qaeda.
Grenier explained that “…even at the seeming height of the crisis immediately after 9/11, there really weren’t that many members of al-Qaida in Afghanistan,” adding. “And the thrust of our campaign there was, yes, to hunt down al-Qaida, but primarily to remove the supportive environment in which they were able to live and to flourish. And that meant fighting the Taliban.”
“And I think that is the heart of what we need to deal with here. Hunting down people who are criminals, that is something that which U.S. law enforcement is very well capable of doing and doing while preserving fundamental civil rights. That’s in some ways the easiest part of the problem. The difficult part of the problem is affecting the environment within which violent elements otherwise would be able to thrive.”
Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer
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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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