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The War on Terrorism in the United States Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 13th, 2021

Introduction

The United States is one of the few industrialized countries in the world. It is a country that is admired by many. It has been seen by most as the land of the free, a place to fulfill dreams. It is one country that everyone, almost, would like to come and live in. They say that America is a country full of hope and fulfillment. America has been the center of envy for most countries as it prospers economically. It also has been the center of a lot of controversy as per its security measures and military forces. Everyone thought that the United States of America is an untouchable country. The world thought it was the safest and most beautiful place to live in. This was the truth before the tragic September 11, 2001 incident happened.

The world trade center during the 9/11 incident.
Figure 1. The world trade center during the 9/11 incident.

The 9/11 incident had changed the way the world sees America. it also did change the way the American government sees the issue of terrorism. For the last couple of years, the war against terrorism was heightened. It can be said that the pursuit against heads of terrorist group has been taken into a higher level after the American government saw what these groups are ready to do to spread terror around the globe. Each has their own opinion on what is right and wrong regarding the war against terrorism. Sides are being taken as the impact of the war against terrorism is evaluated. It has been six long years of fight and struggles to amend the wrongs done in the past. it has been six years when America started to really be more serious about containing terrorism.

Context

Terrorism is as old as human conflict and is often see as a political struggle that can be done by any player. It has been an old problem that has been made even worst by the employment of ever more dangerous and lethal forms of attack. It is a great equalizer of power (Baudrillard, 2003). The picture shows how killing and bomb attacks became a common scene in countries with the issue of terrorism.

The September 11 bombing had made a great impact on the lives of those living in the States and around the globe as well. Some could still recall the vivid scenario at that time the plane collided with the building. Nobody was prepared for that. It had shown how a great country like America could be the target of a heinous crime. Since this incident, the US government had modified its rules and laws to make sure that it will never be repeated. They have even resorted to going out on war with some countries when they deem necessary. Some of the actions that Congress has done are passing the Anti-terrorism Bill, Aviation and Transportation Security Act, and freezing the account of Al Barakat and Al Taqwa that are suspected to give financial aid to terrorists.

The Anti-terrorism Bill was passed last September 19, 2001 and October of the same year the Congress has passed the bill and it was signed by the President. This bill defines how they would handle terrorists and if ever, the attacks that would be made by the enemies. In the Anti-terrorism bill, they detailed how they plan to intercept and obstruct terrorism in the United States of America (York, 2001).

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act was passed by the Congress last November 16, 2001. Since the 9/11 tragedy was brought upon by an airplane crashing in the World Trade Center, they have tightened the security and provided rules in this act on how airport security personnel and air marshalls must do their work (York, 2001).

The freezing of asset of Al Barakat and Al Taqwa was done through the decree of EO 13224. This executive order authorizes aggressive actions against the bankers of international terrorism. The assets were not frozen only in America but in other countries as well that believe terrorism should be stopped (York, 2001).

Picture of President Bush and Bin laden, the key actors in the war on terrorism.
Figure 3. Picture of President Bush and Bin laden, the key actors in the war on terrorism.

These are just some of the bills that were passed to make sure that the American citizens are safe and that there will be no repeat of the tragedy. After five years, the effectiveness of these bills and actions of the government is still left to be seen for five years is still a very young age to gauge how safe America is after the tragedy and after all the measures that were made. One thing is for sure though.

America has proven its enemy that knocking them is never that easy because their revenge is more harsh and cruel. This was especially seen on what the United States of America has done to the assets of Al Barakat and Al Taqwa. These two have already made their millions through their businesses but since they are known to finance terrorist group like Al-Qaida’s group, suddenly all that they have worked hard work and all their riches come to a halt.

Argument

There are a lot of issues about human rights and budget used for the war against terrorism. A lot of people around the world see the Bush administration as incompetent when it comes to handling terrorism matters. Many believe that going out on war in the Middle East was unnecessary. Humanitarians believe that it is a serious issue and that what is needed is to think a hundred times before someone holds a gun and aim it at another person. When you are given the chance to hold a weapon for destruction like the gun, it comes with a great responsibility that you might have not foreseen. Make sure that you are fully aware of what you are against at and what you are fighting for before you commit yourself into doing such a chivalrous act for your society and for mankind.

When the United States declared against war on Iraq, Russia was one of those who oppose this moved. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was one of those who blocked its way through the United Nations Security Council for the war to be a legal one (Bryan, 2003). The Russians believe that what America had done will not help the situation but instead create a catastrophe in the Persian Gulf. The United States on the other hand accuses Russia of supplying Iraq with military equipment to Iraq which means the country has bypass the sanction given by United Nations against Iraq. Russia denied this allegation and asked the United States to act more responsibly.

In a realistic point of view, the state is taken as a unitary actor and Military power takes primacy. In realism, policies are made according to who needs to gain power and what countries need not just a negotiation but for a more forceful action. Power domination and military power are the names of the game. Countries opted to make use of their power to solve a recurring problem and to make things easier. This is what the Bush Administration had opted to use when they try to solve the problem of terrorism by attacking Iraq. Most Americans have lost their confidence in the foreign policies made by the administration. They saw it as something that does not support an American ideology (William,1982).

The search for a vision by international intervention as most Western leaders do has painted a picture of destabilization and destruction for some countries, even if it is in favor of ethical relativism (William, 1982).

Winning the war on terrorism

Graphical representation of terrorist attacks through the years.
Figure 4. Graphical representation of terrorist attacks through the years.

Answers sought by the American government against terrorism might be seen by some as a loss but if one looks at the bigger picture, America is winning the war on terrorism. Prolonging the problem may cause bigger issue to arise. It can become a battle of wills and create bad feelings (Kelman, 2005). The time frame of the alternative solution must be set and strictly followed since if it is loose, justice is delayed. The American government made sure that justice was not delayed for what the tragic accident that befall them.

Since the US government started the war against terrorism, important progress has been made. The method of identifying individuals as terrorist, their modus operandi, and their mechanisms of travel and funding has improved. These might not completely eradicate terrorism but it is one way of showing how serious the US government is in winning the war against terrorism.

Winning the war on terrorism does not necessarily mean more of the enemies were killed, it also means being able to strengthen the security against terrorism in the national front. The United States of America is a vast country that is made up of fifty states. With the wide area of responsibility and with a numerous airports and airlines going in and out of the territory, providing transportation security is a very tedious job.

A lot of well-trained officials need to be put in command to make sure that these ports are taken care of against terrorism (Coughlin, Cohen, and Khan. 2002). The transportation and Security Administration department was made as a response to the 9/11 tragedy. TSA was made with the aim of solidifying the transportation safety procedures. Intelligence sharing, vulnerability analysis, technology sharing, and VIPER teams are the answers of TSA in bringing on a more strict safety procedures.

The Iraq war is not the first time that the American government started a war against a suspected terrorist in the Middle East. This is certainly not the last as issues on Iran nuclear weapons are also casting doubts in the news. This issue might have put America in a negative light because of some humanitarian issues but if we look at it in the bigger picture, there are positive outputs that are just not being sensationalized. In the first quarter of 2007, there is a lot of news about more and more Al Qaeda members captured. Important military allies of Osama bin Laden has also been reported to have been killed in crossfire between the military groups and the terrorist.

There is even news of an Iraqi believed to be a crucial link between al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, and his cadres in Iraq (Economist.com / Global Agenda, 2007). Punishments and discipline should be effective and American government had been effective in spreading terror to terrorists, making them feel that the US government would stop at nothing to make sure that justice is served.

Military force was used carefully and selectively. But like other tools, it was available to the President in responding to the real-world problems our nation confronted. Government officials’ credibility with his people is decreasing because of the warfare and political power is done not in a traditional way. After the Cold War, Western security has been an important political and ideological defense sought after. However, some Western leaders have forgotten that humanitarian intervention as part of their foreign policy cannot be abused. A thing that most political leaders have forgotten as foreign policy became an important source of authority and credibility for them. Drastic measures were taken with the good of the majority in mind (Schmid and Jongman, 2005).

The US government was able to maintain a global coalition of more or less seventy countries that supports their advocate against terrorism. Bringing terrorists to justice will take a combined, determined, and sustained effort by countries around the world and The United States and key partners have stepped up to this challenge. International treaties and policies are agreed on to counter the different threats posed by the terrorist.

Afghanistan was not abandoned by the US government after the war against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The US government helped Afghanistan stabilize their country after the war by helping set up the Afghan parliament. In 2005, U.S. terrorism and foreign policy analysts visited Afghanistan to assess the political and security situation, as well as the role of outside forces. The US government provided the political help that the country needed to rebuild itself. As of date, US military troops have not yet left the country as terrorists are still determined to destabilize the government and drive out international peacekeeping forces. The US government and its allies on the other hand have foreseen what might happen and are preparing all the necessary actions to stop terrorism.

Map of US military deployment.
Figure 5. Map of US military deployment.

The picture above shows how serious America is in fighting the war against terrorism. Different emergency groups and task forces are deployed to ensure the security of its citizens.

If political groups around the world are doing their best to seize terrorism, terrorists have also enhanced as the threat of biological warfare agents are in the news and reports. The history of terrorism shows us that despite the combined efforts of policies, security measures, and intelligence gathering the threat still lingers.

The American government had prepared not only their policies and military but also by making sure that the medical and emergency service communities are trained on what should be done in case of symptoms caused by biological warfare agents. The Us government also have what they call the “Critical Incident Stress Debriefing” team that handles the emotional condition of exposed survivors.This denies terrorists their goal of creating panic and crisis throughout the country and the world (Schmid and Jongman, 2005).

Conclusion

Countries in the Middle East need a new perspective. An idealist point of view might be something that is hard to implement but it does not mean that it is unachievable. Nothing is impossible and the hope for peace and stability will never be abandoned. It is high time that the approach handled to these countries be modified (Goldstein and Freeman, 1990).

Battles are not being fought because of hatred. it is more on because of ideologies, of what one perceives to be right wherein the other think of it as negative. No war waged is ever futile if the end will justify the means. Culture set the behavior that surrounds an institution’s code of conduct. Factors that are included are the way we comprehend the environment, how we use time and power, how we perceive space and structures. Also included is our perception of collective and individual tasks or relationships. (McNamara, 1999).

It is not about who is right and who is wrong but a need to be aware that questioning conventional wisdom is healthy to increase understanding and awareness on certain international issues. Options to resolve difficulties and conflicts together should be attained by logical reasoning and unbiased decisions within. Resolving conflicts requires decision-making skills and steps that should be followed. Problems do not arise overnight. There are always underlying factors that need to be investigated to know the rot cause of the problem.

American soldier and Middle Eastern people during a quiet time.
Figure 6. American soldier and Middle Eastern people during a quiet time.

The US citizens are not far more important than those living in the Middle East or those third-world countries. However, the battle started by the US government was not something that is aimed at people living in third world countries. it was a war against terrorism. There are a lot of people who are against the move of Bush administration as they opted to start an all out war in Iraq and other terrorists’ country. People thought it is just a waste and is just a way of killing people who weren’t supposed to be part of it. However, what others had failed to see was what the Americans were doing for those innocent people who were just truly victims.

Aside from the shipment of weaponry and military men, the US government also sends help in the Middle East, help that includes food, medicine, education, and in some cases even political help. It was not just an exchange of bullets but the US government also sees the need to take care of those caught in the cross fire. This shows how America is truly winning the war. Nationalism is not measured by the mere existence of loyalty but also in measuring the obligations and the existence to which it is owed (Riasanovsky and Riznik, 1963).

Media played a great role in publicizing it and instilling in the minds of the many that it was somewhat a feasible truth shading its reality of discrimination and maltreatment of some less fortunate human beings. The War on Terrorism will be a very long war. It can and will not be won unless true liberty wins. It might still be a long way but actions are being done and currently, America is winning the war.

The war on terrorism isn’t just about a political war on whether a Democrat or a Communist is elected President. It is about America’s freedom and liberty. The terrorist will not change their purpose when a new president steps in. Osama bin Laden remains at large and the quest for him will not stop. Even the most powerful state in the world was not left behind in the problem with terrorism. It is a problem articulating a national interest in international or domestic politics.

Reference

Baudrillard, Jean. (2003). The Spirit of Terrorism: And Other Essays. London: Verso Bracken, Paul and Jon Alterman. (2003, Feb 21). Is the United States winning the war on terror? New York Times Upfront: Scholastic, Inc.

Bryan, Rebecca.( 2003). Ivanov Warns US Against Unleashing ‘Information War. Russia Journal Daily

Coughlin,Cletus C, Jeffrey P. Cohen, and Sarosh R. Khan. (2002). . Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Web.

Goldstein, Joshua S and John R. Freeman. (1990) Three-Way Street: Strategic Reciprocity in World Politics. London: University of Chicago Press

Kellner, Douglas. (2007). September 11 and Terror War: The Bush Legacy and the Risks of Unilateralism. Web.

McNamara, Carter. 1999. Basics of Conducting Performance Appraisals. LLC Library. Web.

Schmid, Alex Peter and A. J. Jongman. (2005). Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Data Bases. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

The Economist Newspaper Ltd. (2007). Who is winning? Fighting terror. London: Economist.com / Global Agenda.

Wessely, Simon and Valeriĭ Krasnov. (2005). Psychological Responses to the New Terrorism: A NATO-Russia Dialogue. Brussels: IOS Press.

William. (1982). Values, Ethics, and the Practice of Policy Analysis. Lexington: Lexington

York, Grace. (2001). America’s War against Terrorism. Michigan: The University of Michigan Library.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The War on Terrorism in the United States." September 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-war-on-terrorism-in-the-united-states/.

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