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Challenges for US Counter-terrorism Efforts

Challenges for US Counter-terrorism Efforts

As a direct consequence of September 11, a number of substantial challenges lie ahead in the area of counter-terrorism.. The most prominent of these is the changing nature of the terrorism phenomenon. In past years, when terrorism was largely the product of direct state sponsorship, policymakers were able to diminish prospects for the United States becoming a target using a combination of diplomatic and military instruments to deter potential state sponsors. Today, however, many terrorist organizations and individuals act independently from former and present state sponsors, shifting to other sources of support, including the development of transnational networks.

Many terrorism experts have suggested a shift in the type of violence terrorists are willing to inflict. Terrorism statistics indicate an overall reduction in the number of terrorism incidents per year, but an increase in the number of victims per incidents. While the number of historical cases of terrorists using CBRN weaponry is low, this trend toward increasing violence and less state control may drive certain terrorist groups toward unconventional weapons. On the other hand, the reduction in direct state support may decrease the terrorist’s ability to acquire or independently develop CBRN weapons. These shifts have produced a number of policy and program initiatives designed to better deter and prevent future acts of terrorism while also building a national capacity to effectively respond to terrorism incidents involving the full range of weapon types.

A key challenge is working both at home and abroad to identify, track, and defeat terrorist groups before they undertake acts of violen…

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As we move forward after September 11, terrorism receives increased attention in the foreign policy, national defense, and law enforcement communities. As we assess and formulate our international and national commitments, policymakers are likely to consider possible impacts of terrorism on those commitments and on public and political support vital to those commitments. The challenges facing us in assessing threats, allocating resources, and insuring an effective congressional role in counter-terrorism policy are complex. But inherent in challenges are opportunities to bring together the diverse elements of the counter-terrorism community to share information, experiences, ideas, and creative suggestions about how to effectively deal with this growing national security, law enforcement, and public policy concern.

Free Essays on September 11

September 11 Started a War at Home

These are the times when we define ourselves–as individuals and as nations. Are we confronters or evaders? Philosophers or actors? We pursue our *personal* destinies in our support, condemnation, or indifference regarding our nation’s pursuit of *its* destiny. The result: USA in war abroad, and in turmoil at home. While we all agree that the attacks were horrific and unjustifiable and that a rapid response was desirable, the responses we condone diverge dramatically. The impassioned dissension among Americans is echoed here on campus, with the Coalition Against Terrorism advocating war and the Peace Network impugning it.

No surprise that our emotions are running high, with so much at stake. Countless lives are in jeopardy, in US and the middle east, given the endless possibilities for physical, chemical, and biological warfare, and the presence of nuclear weapons simpler than many household appliances. We have enough reason for disquiet without adding clashes on the homefront to the list. Yet each side accuses the other of kneejerk reactions: the patriots call the pacifists habitual apologists and anti-Americans, and the pacifists label the patriots’ military response an act of fury and rage.

Surely there is some confusion on both sides. The fact that very few have crossed party lines supports this point. If there were any broadly convincing facts, we might find people who traditionally support the US stance opposing the war, or vice versa. But those who have always been in favor of American foreign policy are the strongest supporters of the war effort, and those who have always been most cynical of it are the strongest detractors. This is not to say that ne…

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… to the uncertain ramifications and embrace both perspectives–in so far as they both intend the best world for everyone. Do not let your freedom be undermined by those who decree “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”. Such threats are an insidious attempt to replace complicated moral reasoning with fear. It is also the surest sign of insecurity in the rational justification of one’s position. I note with deep regret that this is the course the US government has chosen.

If we must fight this war abroad, let’s do it without fighting a war at home. Given the great uncertainty, and the contradicting need for a rapid and forceful response, we would benefit the world most by understanding and respecting each other on the homefront. There are valid concerns on both sides. Away from the action, we have the luxury of giving them their due attention.

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