I, myself, before September 11, 2001 did not know what terrorism was. It is completely a new term for me, and I could never figure how terrible it is. But then, experiencing and witnessing the feeling of losing the one you loved who was a victim of that disaster, I recognized that the world is no longer as safe as before. Today, not only America but also Britain, Spain, Indonesia…became the target of terrorists. The terror tissue is the most challenged thing for all the governments to solve. Even though after September 11, 2001, US has attacked and destroyed a lot terrorists’ bases in over the world, the terrorists still survive and keep aiming to US and its allies. There is an old proverb of ancient Asian military: “understanding yourself and your enemies is the key to win every battle.” Thus, in order to annihilate terrorism, we need to comprehend what it is. From the book “War on Terror” of Patrick Coaty, we will be able understand deeply how and why terror has an influence in our society by basing on 3 perspectives: terror and international environment, terror and state, and terror with individual.
Terror was first used From the French revolution to the end of World War II as a tool to clean the monarchy in a society by the Jacobins, terrorist groups of French revolution. Then terror was developed when the Soviets threatened and exploited people. Opponents were starved to death. The state controlled what a person ate, wore and even drank. It was evaluated as reliable for Soviet society. The Soviets used terror to break the traditional societal structure that evolved during the Czars ‘reign”. Under the time Soviets ruled the country, the gap between the poor and the rich became larger. The rich became richer and they hide the poor to work for them. Later on, that created the food shortage in the urban of the society because the rich only produced what they needed for life instead of what society needed. The duty of the Soviet Union is to maintain the balance of entire society by control the products of rich peasants.
However, they did not success, and that was also the reason why the Soviet Union is collapsed later. Eventually, terrorism evolved under Hitler’s reign to basically killing people to take control and gaining power by combining it with the police power of the state. Hitler learned from the experience of Stalin of Russia– he killed all of the people that helped him to become a leader. The Military Organization combined with the Gestapo which was one of the four organizations of the German Workers Party, and was responsible for the killings of millions people. As a result of World War II, the United Nations, which were the permanent members of the U.N Security Council include Great Britain, France, Russian and the Soviet Union, China and the United States, was established to prevent future wars and genocides.
The United Nation has an obligation to provide international peace and security. Unfortunately, each member has different perspectives and ways to maintain their influences over the world, and that led to the forming of a favorable environment for terrorist groups and their state sponsors. The nation liberation is another type of terror. During the cold war, many countries were established by using the violence to gain the power. We saw the connection between Soviet Union and groups that used terror as an expression of national revolutionaries to destabilize the government like revolutionaries in Vietnam, Cuba, and Korea. These attacks have these similarities: support from the state, the element of surprise and the access to international media. To gain more power and more influences to other half of the world, Soviet Union and its allies such as Syria, Libya secretly supported the terror group and used them as a political tool to break down the Western countries.
The terror groups such as PFLP and the PLO usually targeted to citizen of Israel, and US allies. Although the ending of tension and completion between the Soviet Union and the United States led to the termination of the Soviet Union, and many of the terrorist of groups based in the United States and Western Europe began wither after Communism fell, terrorism did not disappear. In order to maintain and survive, terrorism needs to have a sponsor. The state sponsors of terrorism are between Iran, Syria and their sponsorship group Hezbollah. Iranians have expanded their impact through the Middle East and mainly in Lebanon by helping with the founding of Hezbollah. The Iranian administration has taken part in direct kidnapping and slaying of hundreds of Americans starting with the U.S. Marine barrack attack in Lebanon in 1983. In the meantime, while not directly responsible for the killing of Americans, the Syrian made the terrorist attacks possible by letting the Iranian provide Hezbollah with military needs that the United State Department has approximately calculated is about 80 million dollars a year.
After the attack of 9/11, the US government has discovered that Al-Qaeda was behind. September 11th, an important event for al-Qaeda, marked the change of al-Qaeda from an organization to a movement. The U.S. pushes the September 11th attacks, issue of the counter-terrorism to the top. Unlike the other groups of terrorist like Hezbollah which require a sponsor to make their move, Al-Qaeda has their own financial system. Al-Qaeda makes profits from our needs for drugs and oil. Another way to earn money quickly of Al-Qaeda is trading heroin for money and weapons; it is hard for US government keeps an eyes on what Al Qaeda did to prevent them on time in the future. Moreover, Al Qaeda also used charities as a cover to raise the fund for the attack their enemy, Americans. Bin Laden, a leader of Al Qaeda, made a speech that all Americans will be the target of attack because they pay tax for the government.
Before 9/11, Al Qaeda has successful bombed World Trade Center of US, but US government failed to destroy all terrorists at that time. There are three different levels of plans to fight the counter-terrorism. The three are: criminal justice, preemptive strategy to counter-terrorism and targeted killing. Like criminal justice, the domestic police power of the state treats terrorist the same way one would treat kidnappers, bank robbers or murderers. Although international public opinion is generally in agreement that those that preach and actively use terrorist tactics to spread their ideas must be stopped, there is a problem when the U.S. uses means that go against the idea of humane and fair treatment of those being pursued. This is shown by the negative reaction of many Americans to the length of time suspected terrorists have been imprisoned on Guantanamo Bay and the mistreatment of suspected terrorist in the prisons of Iraq.
However, to wait for the terrorists to come to U.S. soil is to play with fire. It does not know when and where their next attack will be. How to prevent terrorism is one of the most concerning problem of the government. Supporting the terrorists’ group is one way helps them gain more power and influence. Therefore, the government had better find a way to cut off all the connection between them and their sponsor than trying to rummage everywhere and destroy terrorists one by one. The government has to tighten the security. The lack of security along our borders has also made it possible for terrorist to live among us and to train and organize without our consent. It is the best to let the police and army always be prepared and practice every single day.
Protecting and checking status and biography of every citizen cannot be neglected. As a citizen, we should and have to report some suspicious actions of stranger to police. There are a lot of plans being given, but it is said above that we will not know when and where their next attack will be. All we can do is being prepared and knowing how to protect not only ourselves but also people we cherish. Our government needs our help and cooperation. . Although we don’t know that the attack like 9/11 would happen in the future or not, it would be a good start in letting the average individual improves their understanding the elements in the War on Terror.