Broadly, terrorism is defined as the use of violence on people or property for political reasons. It’s the act of causing terror or fear upon the citizens of a particular nation. It’s a political tactic used by terrorist when they believe that there is no other better way to accomplish their desire. Terrorists are the individuals who practice terrorism; they can also be referred to as the agents of terrorism since they attack nations they are opposed to.
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Terrorist targets specific group of people whom they belief have a connection to a certain view of the world that they posses. In this context of terrorism, there is the Bioterrorism (an intentional and deliberate use of harmful biological substances that causes danger to human and animal health). The biological substances may not have an immediate effect like the one caused by nuclear or chemical attack but gradually causes illness.
The most used biological substances are viruses, bacteria’s, and germs. The terrorists’ major goal is to exploit the media and get control of the news cycle. They do not necessarily aim at destroying the victims, but to make them objects of exploitation to send a message to the third party which in most cases is the government or head of state. The victims are used as the first step of transmitting information to the target group. There is certain organization among the terrorists whose work is to plan which media to exploit.
The information is then transmitted to the target audience. Terrorists carry out their operations in cultures where the government has put strong security measures and their aim is to exploit individual rights and shake their fundamentals. In most cases terrorist targets are buildings in busy cities, towns, and urban centers. The targets (buildings) are highly crowded, where most people carry out their daily operations (Linden, 2007).
On the other hand, highly populated areas are points of attack whether there are existing buildings or not. For example the United States September 11, 2001 bomb blast in New York City (World trade Center), was an ideal target for causing panic. Terrorists are pleased when they cause mass panic since this is their ultimate goal; the U.S.A. is more vulnerable to this attack and has a reason to panic.
The latest and most memorable terrorist attack was on the twin towers, September 11, 2001. This paper analyses as a case study September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, it will interpolate the measures to be taken to prevent a future attack as well as the effects that such an attack have on the lives of the affected.
In reference with the case, I will use secondary data to give a detailed background on the case. I will analyze the security situation and measures that had been put in place before the attack and try to analyze the possible loopholes that were exploited by the attackers.
There were a lot of physical, psychological, and emotional damages that were done on the people on United States of America by the attack; I will interpolate them from data from the media houses and from written and electronic sources. The following are the objectives of my study:
- To find out the major loopholes that was exploited by the terrorists in the attack
- To find out the measures that can be put in place to ensure that such an attack will not occur again.
- To find out what is the most effective way to reduce water supply exposure to terrorist attack in United States and the world as a whole.
- To find out how terrorism recruitment can be suppressed (my area of focus will be in Yemen)
- To find out what is the most effective way to increase staff emergency preparedness training
Evolution of Terrorism
Terrorism began in the 13th century during the time of the Jewish Zealots and Assassins. The Jewish Zealots attacked the Roman forces and the fellow Hebrews. The other example of ancients terrorists were the Assassins. They presumed the role of an escape party for the Nizari Ismalis who mostly used assassination on their enemies.
One of their tactics was to send a single man to kill a leader of their enemy while risking his own life. This proceeded to the 16th century in which barbarism and terror were used to scare away their enemies. This was a result of dutiful and cultural conflict amongst different communities. Later, principalities and monarchies developed into nations which used supremacy to hold back the terrorist activities.
The term terrorism was recognized in 1795 when the revolutionary government instigated terror, with its agents referred to as terrorists. They used coercion and elimination strategies on their fatalities. At the end of the American Civil war, renovations were which resulted in the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan. Diminutive activist groups became known at the end of the 19th century shaping the revolutionary.
These groups murdered the leaders of many nations including but not limited to Spain, Russia, and the United States. Corporation and association lacked in the social groups which made revolution to be an unsuccessful political group. This paved way to the communism which became powerful in the 20th century.
In the late 19th century, scientific developments were made on firearms and the revolutionary group assaulted many nations. This was the time when there was an increase in the tide of nationalism in many parts of the world in which people’s identity was combined with political state (Chaliand, 2007).
Patriotism became a sturdy force in many royally kingdoms towards the beginning of the twentieth century. A group called the Black Hand became active and could use assassination to cause terror to its enemies. This act of terrorism saw the beginning of the First World War. In early 20th century, two events occurred that prejudiced the nature of conflict to what we know today.
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These events were the two world wars which caused a lot of damage to international and government’s legitimacy. During this period, nationalism spread all over the world and became a strong force which was subjected to people from different colonial empires. The main point of focus was the nationalist identities. Nations became more close to their ethnic ties and international politics developed.
Nations which had been denied their opportunity of existence as separate nations realized their political ambitions; terror was one of the tactics that was used to execute their struggles. Contemporary terrorism commenced in 1968 after the popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) seized an airline in Israel. Surrounded by these assaults was the 1972 Munich Olympics assault in which 11 athletes from Israel were slaughtered.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (LPO) concerned itself with the political attacks and was determined to search for a solution to end them. Its aspirations were opinionated which required Arafat (the leader of LPO) to stay away from terrorism in order to demonstrate to the people that he had the potential to lead a Government without the use of force.
The LPO’s terrorism acts ended and Islamic fundamentalism was spread in Middle East; this led to the emergence of the al-Qaeda and Hama. In 1979, a counter revolutionary militia was formed for the purpose of opposing the Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and in 1987 contra operating procedures were asserted where the human rights was bloodily abused.
People were raped, murdered, and others were kidnapped and property worth millions was destroyed. The target of the contras was the health care clinics and its workers. This came to an end after Violetta Chamorro was elected in 1990. Five years later, Oklahoma City was bombed and 168 people died and eight hundred people were left injured.
This bombing had been directed to the government of U.S.A. as reported by the prosecutors who were said to have carried out the offence. Some of the latest and most memorable terrorist attack is on the twin towers, September 11, 2001 and 2004; there was Spain train bombings in Madrid and other bombings in United Kingdom and London. Since then, U.S.A. has been experiencing terrorist attacks which have continuously caused fear among the residents.
The motive that was cited for the attack was the support of United State to Israel, trade sanction to Iraq, and its presence in Saudi Arabia. All these motives had been proclaimed earlier before the attack for example fatwa of August 1996. These motives were reinforced when bin Laden and al-Zawahiri after the attack repeated movies and documentaries stating the earlier warnings that the United States had been given (Chaliand, 2007).
September 11 2001 Historical Background
Of the recent past the attack is one of the major attacks that made the biggest destruction. The United States is considered as one of the most powerful country in terms of economic power and military preparedness but despite this the attack was made successful. It was made in a way that the security team could not detect. It occurred on two buildings (World Trade Centre and Pentagon) that were prime attacks from the attacker’s point of view. After the attack were done by al-Qaeda.
In 1996, Bin Laden, called on for American troops to get out of gulf of Saudi Arabia, he claimed that Prophet Muhammad was against permanent presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia. In the 1998 fatwa, Al-Qaeda wrote,
for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas, & Lee, 2004).
They went further to say that the presence of troops from America in Muslim countries amounted to provocation of the entire Muslim community. Despite all these allegations and reasons that were given by the al-Qaeda, it is thought that the attack was also motivated by jealous that Islam countries have on the western countries especially due to the positive effects that globalization has brought to western countries. It is seen just as a way to air out their frustrations.
It is an attack that used mass casualty and mass destruction to ensure that they destabilize entire societal systems. In the attack it involved 19 men connected with Al-Qaeda, who made three incidents of bombing using hijacked commercial planes. The attack happened almost at the same time at the World Trade Centre in Manhattan, New York, Pentagon at the Arlington County, VA and a rural field near the Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The attack resulted in 2,986 deaths (189 from the Pentagon, 184 innocent victims and 5 hijackers). After the attack the then president of United States, George W. Bush, affirmed a worldwide war on terrorism. Terrorist attacks became the order of the day in almost every part of the world (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas, & Lee, 2004).
What Went Wrong?
The United States is respected for its tight security all over the years, but on September 11 Attack shocked the world after they were able to sail through the tight security and make an attack.
The idea to attack United States was the idea of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who then advised Bin Laden on the issue. This was in 1996. This was the period that Bin Laden was in a transition period after coming from Sudan. This information was communicated to the United States and in 1998, in his statement the Director of Central Intelligence Counterterrorist Center reported to President Bush of the preparations that Al-Qaeda was making.
He noted that they were training personnel’s on how to hijack flights. There were three people mainly concerned with the attack; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and Laden’s deputy, Mohammed Atef. They held various meetings choosing the attack points. After all was done and said, the attackers started to trickle in the United States using different routes in the year 2001 (Goodin, 2006).
After the attack, there were various interpolations that were brought forward to try and explain what went wrong. Obviously there was a security lapse that the attackers utilized. Some of the loopholes so recognized could have been solved by mere operation of a better team, more effective information-sharing, and a more rigorous system.
Some were out of system failures that were far out of control. The security system was the one that carries the biggest blame however the attack had not been planned for one day, the al- Qaeda’s had been in the United States for a long time that they had learnt the operation of the security system of the country. The major loophole that was exploited by the terrorist is lack of alertness by the security officers of United States.
There was also the leaking of security information to the Al-Qaeda’s this was used against the United States. Security systems were not as tight as they should have been. Previously the Al-Qaeda’s had declared a holy war against the United States but the United States were ignorant in taking the warnings (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H., Lee H., 2004).
Security should not necessarily come at the price of liberty but considering the current trend in the world and the regular attacks by the terrorist then nations are left with no option. The government has the responsibility of protecting its citizens from the threat of terrorism and this can only be through provision of tight security measures and restrictions.
The United Nations’ (UN) Security Council imposed some restriction to democracies as a result of the terrorist acts. The restrictions included; denial of financial assistance to terrorist, refusal to support persons who have been involved in terrorist acts, criminalizing terrorist acts, encouraging states to be cooperative, and offering assistance on information regarding terrorists.
Appropriate measures should be taken on refugees and there should be coordination at the national, sub regional, regional and international levels. Democracies can be able to deal with these restrictions if only there is coordination and cooperation among the major stake holders of the nation and that information is channeled through the right channel in real time so as to reach the target audience and necessary remedial measures taken.
In most cases, before an attack is done, the attackers are fully aware of the security situation that prevails in the said country and the specific place. This should be the starting point. This means that when the attacker learns of a weak-point in the security team that they can exploit, this is the time and the area that the attackers focus.
In the case of the United States attack the security lapse is seen right from the borders where the attacker was let in the country without having undergone a high surveillance. They sailed in the country and even got time to spy the country and establish the weak area of attack. The concerned department up-to this point is the border officers, the police, and customs officers.
After the attackers were in the country, they were able to get in the plane and hijack it. This is another area that with high technology like the one adopted by the United States, they should have been detected. It shows that somebody was sleeping on the job. With good security there will be measures to effectively reduce exposure to terrorist attack in United States and the world as a whole and prevent recruitment of attackers (Barreli, 2007).
Computerization of the War against Terrorism
The United States has embarked on measures aimed at integrating war against terrorism with other countries by the use of computers. This has enabled a free and reliable sharing of information and data about the probability of other attacks. The system that is in use now is called Saab’s Widely Integrated Systems Environment (WISE).
It is a system that gets information from other countries’ data base and uses it to establish measures that can fight against terrorism. This investment requires a lot of financial support and highly qualified personnel. The system also gives information to other integrated countries which come together to look for solutions that can be used to prevent other attacks.
The system at time fails or can be tempered with, this requires that there should be continuous upgrading and getting intelligence reports. In case there is a problem in the system, it should be diagnosed as soon as possible. Experts both in the system and intelligence gathering should be deployed. In most cases hackers of a system are people who know very well how the system works, this means that only a few trusted people should understand how it works. Sharing of intelligence is also very important (Barreli, 2007).
The country has further invested heavily on the purchase of modern equipments especially on motor vehicles with the capacity to operate on the terrain landscape.
There are war jets that have sensors that can detect bombs from long distances and inactivate them. There are also modern bomb detectors that have been deployed to assist in the fight; they include highly maintained sniffer dogs that are trained occasionally to ensure their effectiveness. More to this, the state has modern weapons and has embarked on the training of the military, currently highly beefed up.
It is not the equipments that have increased but the spending which have significantly gone higher. The U.S.A. has the largest military budget in the world, and no doubt has the most advanced war equipments. The security budget is expected to grow at a rate of 3% every year, it is estimated that by the year 2015/2016, the country will spend $26 billion. There are also plans whose implementation has already commenced; they are aimed at increasing the number of troops to at least two million in number.
Collaboration with Others
The world has become a global village as computers are increasingly connecting people. This has also enabled economic integrations in countries efforts to be economically stable. After the economic integrations have been attained, the next step from this should be political integration. This will assist in ensuring that the countries protect their partner from attacks.
There are countries that are known to have a large number of terrorists, for example Afghanistan. They should also be involved in the regional integrations. This is seen as the move that United States had when it facilitated economic integration between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A recent example is the trade agreement that was signed on 18th July, 2010, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the intention of the agreement is to facilitate trucks to travel along Pakistan to India. If the agreement is well utilized the three countries are more likely to work together for the welfare of the other not only economically but also politically. This will be a milestone in reducing attacks.
United States has entered into collaborations with other regional, international agencies, and countries to fight the menace. For instance it has joined hands with the Australian government and other countries to dialogue with Muslim countries to stop the terrorist attacks. It has also established a working affiliation with, Indonesia (which is considered to have the highest Muslim population), to fight terrorism. U.S.A. involved other countries after recognizing that the fight could only be won through collaboration and use non violent interventions.
Dialogue is also another way that the country has embarked on. U.S.A. is currently collaborating with China, being an economic power house, and Japan to help bringing sanctions to the terrorist’s known countries like North Korea and Iran. Japan is also in the front line working together with U.S.A. and China to fight terrorism. Efforts has also been concentrated in Africa since it lacks self defense mechanism, South Africa and Kenya are also included in plans to fight terrorism.
Collaboration with the developing African nations is basically aimed at training on the ways to fight the vice. In the recent terrorist attacks that involve the Somali’s high jacking ships in the ocean, Kenya has been in the forefront of negotiations on these attacks. Soldiers from the developing countries got a chance to train with the Americans; this is fully on the support of the government funds (Barreli, 2007).
Intelligence Gathering Team
The country has deployed people who are aimed to assist in the fight against terrorism. These are people who are highly trained in criminology as well as relevant data collection. The crime experts are not restricted to the country only but are sent to other countries for this service.
It is also important to recognize the effort that the country has embarked on in training the immigration officer’s on the ways to counter terrorisms. They are trained on the need to protect the country and are educated according to their qualification and role on the strategies that they should employ to detect the terror attack. In the entry points, may it be in the ports or those points that can be accessed using motor vehicle; the high intelligence team has been deployed and gathered information from those people entering the nation.
Patrols in the high seas are also a recent venture that the country has employed aimed at stopping a terror at the earliest time possible. These patrols are composed of the customs officers, the high intelligence teams and the police. They are armed enough to combat terror. The above measures have been successful; however there are concerns about their effectiveness.
The above are among the measures that have been taken by the country in their fight against terrorism, it is worth noting here that all the above are government expenditure. Governments get its finances from the people through taxes and so incase of any increase in the expenditure it is the common man who suffers.
The budget of the security has the greatest portion in the country at about 8% of the total budget and as noted earlier it is expected to grow at a rate of 3% each year and it will approximately reach $26billions in 2015/2016. There is no other source that the government has other than the public (Barreli, 2007).
An English saying says “failure to plan is planning to fail.” As much as an organization, company or country has the required resources from the people to the physical resources, nothing can be attained if the resources are not organized and planned in such a way that production can happen.
The success of the management is to a great extent measured by how well it is going to organize the available resources to attain quality and efficiency in its operation. In the case of a country, there is the need that the military and security forces should be well trained to ensure that they are alert at all times.
Any information that is of threat to the security should be treated with the importance that it deserves; at no one point should they be caught off guard. Just to be on the safe side, customs officers though they may not be in the military, should be trained on some of the basic ways of monitoring and detecting people. Surveillance and using of risk management tools to screen those who visit a country should be utilized.
Effects of Terrorism
The most immediate effect of an attack is the massive deaths and injuries that it causes to the lives of human beings and animals. However, these are not the major targets but only victims of circumstances. Once the media is exploited then the whole nation undergoes a transition stage as concentration is shifted from major developmental issues to those related to the victims affected, the losses incurred, and investigations as to what were the causes of attacks.
The economic development becomes stagnated and heavy financial losses are experienced. A lot of property is destroyed. Creation of wealth is when a country can effectively protect what it has for the benefit of the current and the future generations in the cases of terrorists attack then there is a reduced aggression in creation of wealth since nobody is aware when such an attack will occur again.
Depending with the kind of attack that is involved the effects are different. For example attacks by nuclear weapons are different from the effects of explosive bombs attack. In the case of nuclear attacks the effect is long-lasting. Fear of a subsequent attack is a long lasting. In the deaths that occurred as a result of September 11 attacks, of all the people who were in the hijacked planes died and those who were working in the building. Almost three thousand people including the nineteen hijackers met their untimely death.
The majority of the deaths were civilians from the United States and from other 70 nationalities; the number of casualties of over 2976. Today there are people who still are nursing these injuries. Other than the deaths that were instant or those that were as a result of injuries, there are other deaths that resulted because of diseases resulting from the smoke and dust. Lung cancer is one of the secondary causes that were as a result of the attack.
United States of America is a major player as a consumer and producer in the world. The purchasing power of the Americans was reduced and thus demand of exports and home produced goods reduced. This led to reduced gross domestic earning of the world. Companies closed down and trade suffered greatly.
After the attack there was a wide spread panic in the country and the world at large. The panic was a renewed one of the attack that had been made in 1998 in the Kenyan and Tanzanian United states embassies. The whole world felt that the security of the country was reduced. United States is the world’s greatest trader, after the panic, many countries feared that if they trade with the country, then they may become terrorist target.
The economic situation of the country deteriorated. As a result of the attack, there was a wide-spread panic in the country, many people were not willing to invest in the United States thus the economic growth was highly affected. This was not by citizens only but also by citizens of other countries.
The budget that was/is used for security purposes has drastically increased. The effect of this is the shift from other sector investments. It has been noted that since the focus has moved to security purposes some sectors in the economy are highly affected.
The Local Crime Rate
The local security has been overshadowed by this mind of the international terrorism concern. There are increasing crimes in United States that the police have not been able to avoid effectively.
The rate of police ratio to citizen stands at 2.09293 per 1,000 people. This number cannot protect the population adequately. The crime includes; murder, car stealing cases, bank forgery, drug trafficking, sexual assaults, and money counterfeiting. These are crimes that the police can protect the country from if they were given support that they require.
According to the 2003–04 DUCO statistics, approximately 88% of young detainees had used an illegal drug in the 6 months before their arrest, while 70% were under the influence of the illicit drugs at the time of offence.
The study also shows that juvenile detainee’s were10 times more likely than adolescents in the general population to use amphetamine and hallucinogens and 16 times more likely to use inhalants”. The focus on the terrorism has left the country with a threatened future. The focus has been so much that there are no plans to grow the budget of the country’s internal security.
This has left the citizens at the expense of the local criminals. The number of murders that happened in 2007 (which is the lowest recorded since 1993) stood at 230. This is a very huge figure when compared with the number of deaths by terror attack. The military should not be given the full focus at the expense of the local man. As much as in case of an attack the lives lost may be high, the small rates of death through local crime are higher. The police should be empowered to protect the common man against local criminals.
The globe is now recovering from the world economic crisis that hit in the end of 2007. It is thought that world economic crisis originated from the United States of America, because the focus has shifted to terrorist attack.
United States has experienced reduction of foreign income and trade with other countries. As much as the country would like to have peaceful borders and assisting the developing countries to build more security features, I feel that what the developing countries need now is a boost in their economy so as they can feed the population.
The deaths that are as a result of hunger and malnutrition in these countries take the first priority in their development. One of the major impacts of the crisis is deterioration in the living standard, this is because many jobs were lost as trade among countries was affected negatively, and companies were forced to lay off workers. Families’ living standard deterioration brought psychological suffering.
Reduction on Capital Expenditure
As governments tried to finance its budget deficit, the main area that suffered was the developmental budget. Infrastructures were delayed and their budget sliced because of lack of funds. This led to a slowed development and increased poverty; this is also because the major focus is on terrorist attacks but not on investments in other areas of the economy.
Reduction in capital expenditure means that the country will suffer as a whole. Insurance and banking companies were largely affected and many are them that seek for bailing out by the government. The lending rate and money available for lending reduced. With an inactive financial crisis the world economy cannot grow. The confidence of the people to the government was reduced and political environment was unfavorable, an element that leads to leaping economies.
Health is another area that the country has suffered as a result. This is again because of the focus of government funds and the gasses that were produced in the attack. Although the country has a good medical system, there are some diseases that have remained a threat to her citizen.
Some have killed several people, and other made the lives of citizens miserable. Such diseases include; cancer, obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases. They are diseases that can be effectively controlled, however no much campaigns have been implemented to address them since the focus has shifted to terrorist attack.
As a result of the attack, countries took different centre stages. This means that there are those countries that supported the attack and those who did not. As a result there was emergence of enemies among countries. The world relation that is of great importance for the general development of the world was affected.
Generally, the Christian countries and the Muslims countries were seen to take different stand on the issue. The Muslims were of the opinion that the attack was necessary and legitimate whereas Christian countries were against. International wars were affirmed, for instance, the United States pronounced war against Afghanistan. The declaration of war led to more destruction as attack was made to fish out terrorists. In their bit to fish out terrorist even innocent people were killed, the economy of Afghanistan was drastically affected.
Terrorism began in the 13th century during the time of the Jewish Zealots and Assassins. Terrorism is one of the major world concerns of late. There has been an increased attack in different countries for one reason or the other. September 11, attack by Al-Qaeda has one of the greatest damage in the history of the world.
It was made successful despite the advanced security systems in the United States. The effects are felt even today over nine years after the attack. It is important for a country to put adequate measures to protect its citizens against any form of terrorism attack. United States has put measures to ensure that her citizen are well protected, this measures as discussed above are both within the boundary and also outside the boundaries.
It has also collaborated with other countries in this act, as well as enforcing the developing country to assist them not to be vulnerable. As much as this is important, a balance need to be struck that will ensure that the campaigns and investment has not been done at the expense of the common man.
The budget should be sensible and easy to handle. It should also aim at assisting the developing countries to become reliable and they will curb terrorism by themselves. This is not a one country game and measures should be put in place for quick detection of substances at the earliest point of attack, physicians should develop modern detection facilities to assist in the fight. Countries should sign and abide to international conventions that discourage terrorism.
Barreli, L. V. (2007). Prevention, preparedness and protection. New York: Nova science publishers
Chaliand, G. (2007). The History of Terrorism: from Antiquity to al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press
Goodin, E. (2006). What’s wrong with terrorism? New York: wisely
Linden, E. V. (2007). Focus on Terrorism, Volume 9. Focus on Terrorism. New York: Nova Publishers
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. K.,& Lee H. H. (2004).The 9/11 Report: The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United State. New York: St. Martin’s Press