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Coping with Terrorism
Fighting terrorism has been the focus of the US since the November 2001 attack. However, the success of the efforts made by the government to reduce terrorism remains a subject of debate. The government has enacted the USA Patriot Act, and the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program has been adopted to gather intelligence concerning security threats (Friedman, 2005). Moreover, surveillance has been improved in various private and public areas such as airports. For instance, all airports in the US have scanners that can detect any weapons hidden in the body (Roskin & Berry, 2010). Another action taken by the government is fighting terrorists abroad by destroying their military base, sources of financing, and hideouts. As a result, no major attacks have been reported in the country after 2001.
Improving the Efforts
Critics of the government believe that little or no progress has been achieved in the antiterrorism campaign. Despite the efforts made by the US military, terrorism and lack of order is still a major problem in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This makes the US vulnerable to acts of terror in the future. In this respect, expanding military operations abroad is likely to improve national security. In addition, uniting the citizens to support the fight against terrorism is likely to improve the effectiveness of the efforts made by the government to improve security (Roskin & Berry, 2010). Given the failure of the US to dismantle terrorist groups around the world, a new strategy should be put in place. Specifically, military action should be integrated with effective political and diplomatic solutions.
Sources of Success
The progress made by the government to reduce acts of terror within the country can be attributed to increased surveillance by the security agents. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security monitors the activities of all citizens in the country to detect any security threats (Friedman, 2005). As a result, several terrorists have been captured and brought to justice. The private sector has also taken measures such as installing CCTV cameras to ensure security within their premises. In addition, several countries around the world have joined the fight against terrorism. These efforts have contributed to improved security in the US.
The argument that the US is losing the fight against terrorism at the global level seems to be true. The four main objectives of the war against terrorism include “fighting the enemy abroad, denying terrorists state support, denying terrorists access to weapons of mass destruction, and spreading democracy” (Perl, 2007). The Obama administration has been steadily reducing US troops in Afghanistan. However, terrorists still control a large part of the country. Moreover, most citizens believe that US troops should exit Iraq since the war is too expensive and has failed to achieve meaningful results.
Terrorists continue to enjoy state support in various countries. For example, Pakistan has been home to Al-Qaeda leaders since 2001 (Friedman, 2005). Furthermore, the Taliban established an office in Qatar in 2013 to coordinate its activities. Indeed terrorists have increased access to sophisticated weapons, which they use to launch attacks in various countries that support the US. Democracy is far from being achieved in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where terrorism is widespread. Clearly, these trends show that the US has made little progress in the war against terrorism.
Friedman, L. (2005). Are efforts to reduce terrorism successful?. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Perl, R. (2007). Combating terrorism: The challenge of measuring effectiveness. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.
Roskin, M., & Berry, N. (2010). IR: The new world of international relations. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.