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The US Anti-terrorism Efforts are Failing Essay

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Updated: Nov 29th, 2019


The world is still in shock and panic following the recent terrorist attacks that marred the 2013 Boston Marathon event in April (Gale Group para 1). The Boston Marathon is one of the major global sporting events that draw attention from virtually all parts of the world. The organization of the event, like all the other big events held in the U.S., takes great consideration of the aspect of security to arrest any eventualities.

The ease with which terrorists managed to sneak through all the security surveillance during the event and planted bombs on the finish line and among crowds successfully highlights the sorry state of anti-terror efforts in the U.S. The American authorities, more so the security agencies, were caught napping. Terrorists are changing their tactics faster than the American security system can keep track.

Thesis Statement

Inferior security strategies, too much trust on the superpower position, and an infiltrated security agency have reduced the U.S.’s efficiency in tackling terrorism.


The American anti-terror strategy is employed as a reactionary rather than proactive mechanism. The American security agencies do not work towards unmasking any plans hatched out by terrorists to attack American interests prior to the events but rather only spring up into action after damages have been done.

An effective and more superior strategy would be one that follows through the secret actions of the terrorists, including hacking into their communications, and obtaining first-hand information that can be used to counter their plans. Had the American security agencies been proactive in their approach, Osama bin Laden and his team of attackers would not have found it easy to comfortably plan and attack significant spots in the country.

For terrorists to identify such highly guarded areas in the country, such as the Pentagon, and successfully hatch a plan to attack, it means they had ample timing to carry out their plans. These plans involved dissidents, some of whom were comfortably residing in the country as they continued with their plans.

A proactive security strategy would have at least nabbed secret communications among the terrorists, and result in a quick action that would have helped to salvage the situation. However, the only active participation of the security agency, after the September 11 attacks, was the ferocious military action in Afghanistan that lasted for almost a decade, before bin Laden was eventually captured and killed.

The American security system harbors the facade that the USA, by virtue of being a superpower, is safe from any kind of penetration from terror groups. The superiority of America, particularly in the army and in the technological front, has for years created the wrong impression among the security agencies that no dissident would attempt to attack the country. However, this is where the greatest loophole lies.

Terrorists continue to exploit this loophole in the quest to perpetuate their heinous acts. Terror groups and individuals have come up with their own technology and weapon, which by far is less superior, compared to what the FBI and CIA use, but which they have successfully used to cause harm to Americans and their property.

While the US security agencies and their command believe that their tactic is well ahead of any other group or country in the world, the dissidents seem to have rightly noted the fact that they only need to change their strategies continuously, regardless of how inferior they might be, until they achieve their targets.

These loopholes are what the two brothers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who planted the series of bombs during this years’ Boston Marathon event, succeeded to exploit with no serious effort (Gale Group para 5). The bombs were made of simple raw materials, the ones that are readily available to any citizen, and casually ferried to the highly guarded event of Boston Marathon stature.

What the police and all the other security agents in the event assumed is the fact that there are thousands of CCTV cameras in and around the city, which no terrorist would risk going through while carrying a bomb of whatever nature. However, the two terrorist brothers succeeded in their mission, perhaps after attending several similar events in the past and having noted how the security was a big mockery of its own self.

The American security system could be itself infiltrated by individuals who disguise themselves as security agents and officials, but who could be operating as spies for the terrorists. Many sad events have occurred, which have involved US soldiers or other security personnel, turning against their call of duty and instead indulging in terror activities. Such rogue officials (Dao para 1), even though could only be a handful, might be the most critical link through which terrorists receive secret details and information about security plans and strategy.

Somebody could be rocking the boat from within, a fact that gives the terrorists greater advantage over the working of the security agencies. The highly efficient coordination that was displayed by terrorists in the September 11 attacks leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering the fact that the aircrafts used for the attacks had been hijacked from the airport. The terrorists could have received support from rogue security agents, a practice that could still be ongoing even today.


The U.S. security operations have managed to put into check the troubled Middle East region, which today remains to be the greatest threat to the world in terms of terrorism. The Islamist groups that have established safe heavens in Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria, among many other countries in the region propel many terror attacks and activities that virtually affect the entire world.

However, the USA has individually managed to quell these groups and their heinous activities to an extent of nullifying their combined threat to security.

With proceeds from oil being the main source of funding that these groups rely on, the U.S. has been controlling international oil trade involving some of the notorious countries and their regimes, such as Iran, to a point of denying them significant funds for intended use in perpetrating terror. Other assets and bank accounts related to the terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, which are stuffed abroad have all been withheld following the US’s efforts to nip their activities in the bud.

The U.S. military and its entire security agency are one of the best equipped and trained in the world. They employ the finest anti-terrorism strategies that have so far paid off. The military was deployed in Afghanistan almost immediately after the September 11 attacks with the objective of capturing Osama bin Laden (Rothstein and Arquilla 111).

The army’s might and strategy managed to defeat the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had cooperated with Osama bin Laden in his terrorist activities and plans. The U.S. prevailed over a peaceful transition that saw the country establish a democratic regime, and retrained its army and police in order to curb the runaway insecurity in the country. Today, the Taliban has no room to execute their heinous activities and instead have been reduced to a mere ragtag group with little power to undertake their missions.

The ousting of the Taliban presented the U.S. with a greater opportunity and ability to destroy all terrorism cells that had set base in the country. The Al-Qaeda network that operated from Afghanistan was scattered together with the Taliban regime. Continued military action, excellent strategy, and up-to-date security planning eventually paid off when the U.S. captured and executed dissident Osama bin Laden in 2011.

It is commendable that the U.S. Army managed to accomplish its main objectives in Afghanistan by dethroning the Taliban, dismantling Al Qaeda operation basis in the country, and capturing Osama bin Laden, given the vast geographical size and the lawlessness that prevailed in Afghanistan.

Another safe haven for the terrorists in the recent times, Iraq, has equally been cleansed of terror cells following the US’s heavy military operations in the country. A democratic regime has since been established following the ouster of Saddam Hussein, and the military and police retrained to give them the necessary skills to tackle terrorists.

The U.S. security machinery is also credited with acting speedily to determine the individuals who were behind the Boston Marathon bomb attack in April 2013. The authorities have successfully managed to unearth several plans by individuals who targeted to execute terror not only in the U.S., but also across the entire globe.

The U.S. has increased surveillance across the world, particularly monitoring major international trade routes, including the dangerous East African trade routes that were in the recent times captured by Somali terrorist related to the Al-Qaeda.

These efforts continue to be of necessity as terrorism remains contained, although a lot still needs to be done to eliminate the vice completely. For instance, while the Taliban and Al-Qaeda networks seem to have been severely weakened following America’s extensive military work, the practice seems to have shifted to individuals rather than groups.

Although these individuals may be working with each other for a common course, they no longer focus on operating together as large groups with clearly defined commands and hierarchy. Instead, the individuals are scattered all across the world, and in most occasions carry out attacks out of their own volition, in the hope that those guilty of vilifying Islam could suffer from the attacks (Pipes para 2).


Terrorism continues to be a menace globally, especially in the U.S. despite the federal government’s heavy spending on security. The authorities in the U.S. increased the defense budget and immediately sent troops to Afghanistan to fight terror following the September 11 attack.

However, terrorism incidents in the country have continued to be witnessed, including the latest bomb attacks during the 2013 Boston Marathon event. The U.S. efforts and strategies to counter terrorism, however, have borne some positive results. The U.S. military managed to capture and execute Osama bin Laden, who was the chief mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

The military also succeeded in ousting the Taliban government in Afghanistan. This is the government that promoted and funded global terrorism. It is important for the security agents in the U.S. to address this failing anti-terrorism strategy by continuously integrating new tactics because terrorists are also changing their tactics swiftly.

Works Cited

Dao, James. “.” New York Times, 2009. Web.

Gale Group. Boston Marathon Bombings.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. 2013. Web.

Pipes, Daniel. “.” Capitalism Magazine. 2006. Web.

Rothstein, Hy S, and John Arquilla. Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America’s Longest War. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, 2012. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The US Anti-terrorism Efforts are Failing." November 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-us-anti-terrorism-efforts-are-failing/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The US Anti-terrorism Efforts are Failing'. 29 November.

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