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Week 7 - Essay Example

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The September 11 assault on the United States led to a declaration of “war against terrorism” by the United States, aimed at combating terrorism-related activities. The war on terrorism entails the use of military strategies in order to deal with terrorist groups. However,…
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Week 7
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no. “War on terror Post-9/11 perceptions of terrorism The September 11 assault on the United s led to a declaration of“war against terrorism” by the United States, aimed at combating terrorism-related activities. The war on terrorism entails the use of military strategies in order to deal with terrorist groups. However, the use of the term “war” seems a bit farfetched considering that terrorism is not a factor that can be dealt with using military means. In general, terrorism is viewed as strategic tactics used by organized groups to carry out violent attacks meant to create fear among certain populations. These attacks are usually meant to coerce authorities into giving into the political, religious, and social goals of the terror groups. Therefore, terming the fight against terrorism as “war” eludes logic.
As a counterterrorism measure the “combat on terror” has various questionable aspects. The main problem with the approach by the United States is that terrorism is viewed as a factor that can be dealt with through military action. According to Reese & Lewis, in 2003, United States soldiers invaded Iraq on grounds that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing weapons capable of mass destruction and that he was linked to the September 11 attacks (779). The result of the invasion was mass deaths of civilians and the abuse of human rights. Critics of this invasion, according to Reese & Lewis state that the United States was not averting any terror threats; rather, the invasion was an excuse for imperialist activities in Iraq (779).
The problem with viewing terrorism as being synonymous with the September 11 attacks is that it distorts the meaning of terrorism to the general American population. According to Pillar, most Americans view terrorism almost entirely in relation to the September 11 attacks (1). The difference with the 9/11 attacks and other terror attacks is that most terrorist activities are not as organized and lethal as the 9/11 attacks. The reason for this difference is that most terror groups have neither such sophisticated weaponry nor such detailed planning. Since 9/11, almost all counterterrorism measures are equated with the fight against the Al-Qaeda, with every terror-related incident being examined for possible links with Al-Qaeda. To date, most of the counterterrorism resources are channeled towards making sure that the Al-Qaeda does not reestablish itself (Pillar 2).
The practice to equate terrorism with Al-Qaeda is misinformed considering that there are numerous other terror groups the world over. For example, Pillar writes that the Boko Haram is a terrorist group that is unleashing terror in Nigeria, even going as far as attacking the head offices of United Nations in Abuja in 2011 (5). The implication here is that while the United States is busy concentrating on one group, other terror groups are slowly growing and may soon prove to be the next Al-Qaeda or even worse.
The practice by Americans to victimize specific countries just because specific terror groups belong to those countries, for example, the Iraq invasion is wrong. Fundamentally, the United States should strategize its counterterrorism policy, drop the term “war” and maybe replace it with the conventional “fight.”Additionally, the government should minimize the use of violence in countries deemed as terror hubs and deal with the specific groups without victimizing entire populations. The truth is that terrorism is a monumental problem that endangers global populations. However, the American perception of terrorism needs to change and Americans need to understand terrorism in its rightful context and not merely in relation to the Al-Qaeda.
Works Cited
Reese, Stephen & Lewis, Seth. Framing the War on Terror: The Internalization of Policy in the US Press. Journalism 10.6 (2009): 777-797. Print.
Pillar, Paul. American Perceptions of Terrorism in the Post-9/11 Decade.CTC Sentinel 4.9 (2011): 1-20. Print. Read More
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