Morton Halperin

Formerly director of policy planning at the Department of State (1998–2001), Morton H. Halperin is Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He worked for many years for the American Civil Liberties Union, where he directed the Center for National Security Studies.

Recent Articles

Safe at Home

President Bush got one thing right: The greatest threat to American security is a rogue state providing a terrorist group with a weapon of mass destruction and the means to deliver it in the United States. Unfortunately, almost everything he has done since September 11 has made this problem worse rather than better. We need new policies, new approaches and new institutions to reduce this risk.

Deter and Contain

The simplest question that supporters of going to war with Iraq cannot answer is why would Saddam Hussein be less likely to use his weapons of mass destruction if we attack than if we contain him. This debate, essentially within the Republican Party, closely mirrors the struggle over the proposed rollback of communism that raged in the GOP in the late 1940s and early 1950s -- until President Dwight Eisenhower settled it. As we currently debate whether some form of containment can work, it is worth reviewing the lessons of that history.

Stockade Justice

Even before the ink was dry on the antiterrorism bill,
the Bush administration began relying less on powers granted it by a cowed
Congress and more on assertions of inherent presidential authority. Several new
actions--the establishment of military tribunals, the monitoring of lawyer-client
conversations, the interrogation of several thousand Middle Eastern men, and the
continued detention of hundreds of aliens--have violated the most basic
principles of the American system of justice. Namely:

The Liberties We Defend

The tragic and unbearable events of September 11
have united Americans and much of the world as they have not been united for
many years. The Bush administration has a unique opportunity to create effective
domestic and international structures to deal not only with terrorism but with
the other twenty-first-century threats to national and international security.

Less Secure, Less Free

For civil libertarians, there was one extra nightmare when we finally got to sleep on that awful day of September 11, 2001. We knew that the Washington bureaucracy's wish list of additional powers to conduct surveillance of Americans would not be based on a careful analysis of what went wrong. We feared that in the new climate, Congress would rush through the Bush administration's request without reading the text. The result would be less liberty but no greater capability to prevent terrorist acts.