The aim of this paper is to study whether the US war on terror is just or unjust; the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade center shook the whole world and had many negative impacts on the society. Mass killing of people took place; people who had very little idea of what was coming their way were taken for a ride. Innocent people were killed for no fault of theirs; brutality was unleashed in more ways than one. This was one big attack which caught the attention of the people; there are so many terrorists’ activities which don’t catch the eye of the people living in different parts of the world. Terrorism has become a menace and it hampers development and growth of a country. It is very important take appropriate measures.
US War on Terror
The US war on terror was launched after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the US bombarded several countries to eliminate the terrorists, countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and a few others were invaded by the US. The sole purpose was to eliminate the menace of terrorism. During this invasion the US crossed all limits, several unethical activities were also carried out by the US soldiers, and they redefined the word torture. Several Iraqi citizens had their body parts removed by the US soldiers; many dogs were also used in this operation to torture the citizens. The eye balls of several people were removed and many barbaric activities took place. The US claimed that Iraq was in possession of biological weapons capable of mass destruction but no such weapons were found once the operation by the US in Iraq was completed. Saddam Hussein was also brought to justice during this invasion; he was hanged till death by the US. There are several ethical factors involved in “War on Terror”.
On the other hand the war on terror has decreased the terrorists’ activities to a significant extent. The US eliminated many terrorists by air strikes in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. The same has reduced the activities of the terrorists and the same has dampened the zest of the terrorists which was very essential. Dampening the zest of the terrorists was very important because had this not happened, the terrorists would have executed several major strikes across the world. The war on terror is a very debatable issue, ethically it may be argues that it is a very bad thing but realistically it is a very good thing and there was a very high need for such a war on terror. The war on terror killed many innocent people, the air strikes and the invasion took away countless lives, this is highly unethical and this could have been minimized but the US did not make any efforts to minimize this and ruthlessly took away many innocent lives. This aspect also has two sides, when making an air strike, it is very difficult to know where the innocent people are located and it is very difficult to know who is innocent and who is not in context to terrorist activities, hence this can be justified. The following part of the paper will examine the other aspects of war on terror launched by the US.
The Impact of Terrorism
Terrorism has affected our lives and there are no two ways about it, the impact it has left on the people who have lost their near and dear ones cannot be put across in words. The paper presents a comprehensive view of how the situation has changed after the 9/11 attacks, There should be a no non-sense policy which should be followed by the government of the countries when it comes to terrorism. It is high time to eradicate this problem once and for all to make the world a better place to live in.
This paper will also study how different leaders combated against terrorist attacks like how did Bush respond to the 9/11 attacks, how did Blair respond to 7/7 and how did Ehud Olmert after Hezbollah Kidnapped the Israeli Soldiers. Numerous of definitions have been formulated yet no one has offered a definition acceptable to all. Terrorism is a very old instrument of disruption and change. In the Middle East, terrorism has a significant impact. Assassination of prominent leaders’ can be was also carried out in ancient biblical times. As Boyer Bell observes, “There is no satisfactory political definition of terror extant or forthcoming, and there is similarly no common academic consensus as to the essence of terror and no common language with which to shape a model acceptable to political scientists or social psychologists”. (Bell, 20 April 2009).
Most definitions emphasize that terrorism is an act of violence designed to influence the political behavior of nations, organizations, groups, and individuals. As a contemporary issue for the purpose of this foreign policy brief, terrorism refers “to any violent act directed against noncombatants and carried out by an organized group rationalizing such behavior with political and religious arguments.”(Davidson, 20 April 2009) This foreign policy brief contains the following: background to the issue, key points of interest for USA, recommendations for Canadian Foreign Policy, and Domestic and International consequences of recommended actions. The policy brief will try to explain the eminent threats that have recently been issued towards USA and the other allies of the ‘iniquitous American government.’ This paper will study the following three cases in details:
- Bush’s Reaction after 9/11
- Tony Blair after 7 July 2005
- Ehud Olmert after Hezbollah’ Kidnapped the Israeli Soldiers
Terrorism is the issue on every one’s mind these days. It is a global disorder that we have been fighting, and probably will be fighting for many years to come. What is terrorism? The word refers different things to different people at different times and the same is very evident. “Violent activity at one point in time may be called terrorism, while the same action may be deemed war, liberation, or crime at another time in history.” (Chossudovsky, 20 April 2009)
The most accepted definition of terrorism is the illegitimate use of force on innocent people to achieve a political objective. National groups or clandestine agents usually intended to influence an audience.” These inflictions cannot be performed directly by any government, but they can be funded by a government. If these actions were inflicted directly by a government, this is known as terror, not terrorism. However, with these definitions you can see how difficult it is to define terrorism. Terrorism has been around a long time and often appears in poor second and third world countries. “Terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” (Terrorism, 20 April 2009).
Since terrorism has affected the world so hard recently, the United States and other countries are trying to find a way to end or limit terrorism as much as possible. However, the best way to solve terrorism is to learn the causes of it and then to come up with a reasonable method to solve it.
Bush’s Reaction after 9/11
“The terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, were brutally inhumane, but the people who planned and carried out those acts were not inhuman. Their personal motivations-about which we know very little-for bringing about such monumental devastation were entwined with the more well-known and articulated motivations of the large group to which they belonged-AL Qaeda.” (Blind Trust, 20 April 2009)
The United States has a long-standing tradition of protecting American interests from intrusions that can range from external to internal infiltration; however, on September 11th 2001 our country experienced the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. In the three years following the attacks, much has been learned about the terrorist organization, Al Qaeda, and how they were able to penetrate American borders to carry out their destruction. September 11th has become a turning point in the way Americans view the world. This is not only true in public opinion, but in the way our government handles domestic and foreign policy. The problem facing the Bush’s administration has been how to craft policy that will prevent future terrorist attacks while maintaining civil liberties. Many steps have been taken since September 11th to try to learn what gaps existed in current policy and how those gaps can be filled to try to prevent another tragic assault that comes from the evil intentions of terrorists. President Bush has taken a preemptive stance on deterring future attacks, but there are many areas of policy that need to be explored when trying to deviate future attacks; some of those areas include diplomacy, finance, law enforcement, and intelligence. (Burbach and Clarke, 20 April 2009)
President Bush in his article addressed to the nation that we will be having a Prolonged Campaign not just one battle against terrorists and terrorism. President Bush goes on to says that this prolonged Campaign (War) will not be the War you are used to hearing or seeing about. President Bush stated this War would be against the terrorists, wherever they are hiding. President Bush also states he will be using new methods of approach that may include air strikes, covert operations, and others. President Bush also declared Osama Bin Laden as the prime suspect and his AL-Qaeda. President Bush also goes on to says that he will also go after those nations that harbor terrorists such as Afghanistan and the Taliban regime. The Taliban regime is currently giving Osama Bin Laden safe haven in Afghanistan. Those nations that aid and safe haven, will be considered as a hostile regime to the United States. President Bust states, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
Newspapers across the country, call for an investigation into Bush’s lies about the reasons for war on Iraq. Many people may accept the fact of Bush’s false pretext for a war on Arab people in a distant place, especially after the fact.
The magnitude of the crisis is readily apparent by noting that 9/11 serves as a pretext for a never-ending war against the world, including preemptive strikes against defenseless, but resource rich countries. It also serves as a pretext for draconian measures of repression at home, including the cabinet level Department of Homeland Security and Patriot Act I, and its sequel. The 9/11 Commission has offered proposals to merge all agencies from their current bureaucracy location into one large intelligence bureaucracy, and the formation of a National Counterterrorism Center, headed by a new National Intelligence Director. Legislation to reform intelligence has been stalled in Congress during the current session, but there is positive aspect to the formation of one intelligence bureaucracy. With so many different intelligence agencies being located within different bureaucracies, tensions exist between the CIA, NSA, and FBI.
Appropriations to each agency are granted through the Congressional Appropriations Committee. For example, the NSA’s budget is directly tied to the budget given to the Defense Department. When the Department of Defense’s budget is slashed by the Appropriations Committee, the NSA also experiences a reduced budget. The Justice Department is responsible for the FBI budgeting, which makes the FBI more loyal to the Justice Department than another intelligence agency. By making intelligence agencies dependent upon budgeting and appropriations to these different departments, there is an incentive to not share information with other intelligence agencies in other departments. The FBI would not want to give up a piece of information that may help the CIA to solve the “mystery” or produce “the big story”. Such an event could lead to CIA favoritism in budgeting. If we put all the intelligence agencies in one bureaucracy, they would be less dependent on separate budgets; and would have fewer constraints in their lines of communication.
Tony Blair’s reaction after 7 July 2005
When the terrorist struck in London a year ago, Prime Minister Tony Blair had been on an emotional roller-coaster. “From the elation of winning the 2012 Olympic bid for London he flew home from Singapore to chair the G8 summit at Glen eagles in Scotland, only to be woken from a few hours sleep to the grim reality of the first suicide attack on Britain.” (Tony Blair, 20 April 2009).
‘This is a very sad day for the British people, but we will hold true to our British way of life,’ said Blair, breaking off from the G8 proceedings to chair the government’s emergency meetings in London. Opinion polls have consistently shown that, even though his government has been buffeted by many a scandal and internal squabbling, many Britons feel secure with Blair’s ‘sure touch’ on terrorism.
“Unlike US President George W Bush, who initially hesitated to return to Washington after the attacks, and Spanish leader José Maria Aznar, who by blaming the separatist movement ETA turned the 2004 Madrid bombings into an instant political football, Blair showed leadership in crisis, analysts believe.” (Tony Blair, 20 April 2009).
‘His initial response showed that he was very much in touch with the British public,’ said Frederick Fors, Swedish author of the study Bombings in London: Terrorism and institutionalized crisis management.
Fors, from Crisis mart, the National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training of the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm, believes that Britain’s long experience with Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorism, and Blair’s conviction that Britain would become a target after 9/11, helped prevent an ‘overreaction’ to July 7.
‘Given the scale of events in London, it might have been easy for him (Blair) to look for scapegoats,’ Though ‘mistakes were made’ in the handling of the attacks, and in the period leading up to the bombings, most of these had been laid at the door of the intelligence services and the police. “Asked why it appeared that, a year on, the credit attributed to Blair for his handling of the crisis had all but evaporated, Fors said he believed that other factors, including the Iraq war, were responsible. Criticism of police behavior in the wake of the attacks, and the reliability of intelligence information had also led civil rights groups to question the government’s adherence to basic democratic and human rights principles.” (Tony Blair, 20 April 2009).
In June, Amnesty International accused the British government of ‘continuing to erode fundamental human rights…with attempts to undermine the ban on torture at home and abroad.’ But according to Fors, the British government did not behave differently from any other by resorting to harsh legislation, and stringent measures, in the fight against the terrorist threat. It is quite difficult to say whether 7/11 brought a significant change or not, Toney Blair certainly tried his bit to ensure peace in Britain.
Ehud Olmert after Hezbollah’ Kidnapped the Israeli Soldiers
Ehud Olmert’s decision to go to war in Lebanon in response to abductions of soldiers was taken as early as March 2006, according to a leak of his evidence to the commission investigating the war. The report means that the military strategy was decided more than three months before it was triggered by Hezbollah’s abductions of two soldiers on Israel’s northern border in July.
The report, in Haaretz, also goes on to suggest that Mr. Olmert was told in May that Lebanon was ready to enforce UN resolution 1559, which prescribed the disarming of Hezbollah in return for withdrawal from Shaba Farms, the border zone occupied by Israel which is projected as a casus belle by Hezbollah, but which is also claimed by Syria. It is believed that a message to President Bush, Tony Blair and President Jacques Chirac was passed. “According to the paper, Mr. Olmert told the commission that he had held a series of meetings after becoming Prime Minister and had decided that in the event of abductions there should be air attacks, accompanied by a limited ground operation.” (Olmert Planned, 20 April 2009)
He clearly mentioned to the military that he wanted to decide well ahead of any such event rather than make a hasty decision at the time.
“The Israeli military said last night it was looking into a report by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem that it used an 11-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man as “human shields” while searching for gunmen in its sweep of Nablus last month.” (Olmert Planned, 20 April 2009) Hezbollah guerrillas took into their custody two Israeli soldiers and massacred up to seven Israelis in Lebanese border violence on Wednesday, further making the situation in the Middle East much worse than it actually was.
“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the Hezbollah attacks as an “act of war” by Lebanon and promised a “very painful and far-reaching” response.”Fulfilling its pledge to liberate the (Arab) prisoners’ and detainees, the Islamic Resistance… captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine,” the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah said in a statement.” (Israel Calls, 20 April 2009)
“The two captives were transferred to a safe place,” it said, without stating what condition the soldiers were in.
However, that is not to say that we should stop paying attention to other criteria; that would be a foolish thing to say or even imply. As we all know, there are terrorist groups other than the extreme Islamic fundamentalist groups.
We must also remember that just because you are being aware does not mean you should pass judgment. That would be an overreaction. Being aware is not the same as discrimination. There is a fine line between this awareness and racial bigotry. We should avoid returning to the policies which we followed during World War II when many innocent Japanese-American citizens were unjustly deprived of not only their freedom, but also their personal property (real estate, finances, etc.) It is in our best interest to remain impartial in our awareness. Maybe one day we will win this war on terrorism, domestic and foreign, but until then we need to stay vigilant and “Keep on keeping’ on”, as Joe Dirt would say, and show these criminals that they will never scare us into submission. If we allow them to do so, they will win! To conclude it is very fair to say that the war on terror launched by the US is just and this has prevented a series of attacks that could have been executed by the terrorists.
Ahmed, Nafeez Mosaddeq (2002). The war on freedom: How and why America was attacked September 11, 2001. Joshua tree, CA: Tree of Life Publications.
Blind trust: Large groups and their leaders in times of crisis and terror. Charlottesville, VA, US: Pitchstone Publishing 367 pp.
Bamford, James (2008). Body of secrets : anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency : from the Cold War through the dawn of a new century. New York: Doubleday, 2008.
Burbach, Roger, & Clarke, Ben (Eds.) (2007). September 11 and the U.S. war: Beyond the curtain of smoke. San Francisco: City Light Books.
Bell Boyer, J., Transnational Terror, Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1975, 6.
Chossudovsky, Michel (2002). War and globalization: The truth behind September 11. London: Zed Books.
Davidson, Lawrence, Terrorism in Context, Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring 1986): 112.
Israel Calls. Muslim Media Network. 2009. Web.
Olmert Planned. The Independent. 2009. Web.
Terrorism. The Anthrax Attacks. 2009. Web.
Tony Blair. A Case Study in Crisis Management. 2009. Web.
Ziring, Lawrence, The Middle East Political Dictionary (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2008), 284.