The turning point of history’s great events Essay
The turning point of history’s great events
History is full of incidences which have altered its course. One such incident that has altered the course of present politics and possibly the course of international politics and international law is the horrendous act of terrorism of 9/11. In its wake the incident has left consequences that are still affecting the course of politics and international laws.
United States actions against Iraq, Afghanistan and even its relation with the country of Western Europe have been affected in the aftermath of 9/11. It seemed that United States identified Iraq as a potential threat to its policies in the Middle East and promoter of terrorism and despite UN resollution chose to go it alone and used a new doctrine of pre-emptive attack to what it saw as a potential threat from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiled by Iraq.
Unfortunately no WMD were found in Iraq but the doctrine of pre-emptive strike will be cited by many governments to attack their weaker neighbors. Israel was the only country to have used this doctrine to attack Iraqi under construction nuclear power plant. The United Nations and United States had condemned Israel for this action.
The War on Terrorism also created dilemmas for International law as United States refused to recognize Taliban [Borelli, 2005] and Al-Qaeda suspects as Prisoners of War (POW) and classified them as Illegal combatant denying them status of both common criminal and POWs creating problems such as Guantanamo Bay, CIA interrogation Centers and legal status of prisoners.. This has created a problem for the International law and also a precedent for many other countries to cite in defense of their own illegal activities.
The racial profiling and early version of Patriot Act once again discriminated between different type of US citizens, authorizing illegal wire tapping and invasion of privacy of law abiding Arab Americans which made the people recall Japanese internment during the Second World War.
The attack on the World Trade Center had won United States worldwide sympathy and this opportunity could have been used to strengthen international laws against terrorism. The US government actions have alienated many of our traditional allies in Europe. The world is still not free of terrorism and the coalition of willing formed in the wake of 9/11 has not yet achieved its objectives. The United States citizens and Congress which gave almost a unanimous support to war on terrorism and War in Iraq now find that they have been misled by the government and have said so with their votes in the Congressional elections.
It seems that the incident of 9/11 which had won us worldwide sympathy and desire to act against terrorism has resulted in a much divided and threatened world due to our actions since 9/11. One thing is certain; the incident of 9/11 has altered the course of the history. The new system will hopefully give more importance to international bodies and international laws [Gasser, 2002] to resolve dispute and the threats posed by terrorism. Alternatively, the consequences could further divide the world and may even create wider conflict in the Middle East and even more problems for the world peace.
- Borelli, S. Legal Black Hole, retrieved from Internet on 27 February 2007 http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/review-857-p39/$File/irrc_857_Borelli.pdf
- Gasser, H., Acts of Terror, “Terrorism” and International law, ICRC, September 2002, Vol. 84, No 847, http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/5FLCCX/$File/irrc_847_Gasser.pdf
 George W. Bush, Memorandum on ‘Humane treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees ’,
7 February 2002, available at
 Secretary of Defense, News Briefing, 11 January 2002,available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2002/briefings.html
 According to news reports, shortly after the attacks of 11 September the President of the United States signed a secret order authorizing the CIA to set up a network of secret detention and interrogation centers outside the United States where high value prisoners could be subjected to interrogation tactics, which would be prohibited under US law. The US government negotiated “status of forces ”agreements with several foreign governments allowing the US to set up CIA-run interrogation facilities and granting immunity to US personnel and private contractors;
Ref: J. Barry, M. Hirsh and M. Isiko. “The roots of torture ”, Newsweek, 24 May 2004;