War on Terror as we probably come across on a daily basis has become a cliché in more or less a manner. First coiled by the former U.S president George W. Bush, the term describes global war against various militant organizations perceived to perpetrate terrorism activities. The war on terror, is not only a military warfare, it is a war fought on ideologies, political and legal fronts. It does not only target militant organizations it also streamlines political regimes suspected to provide support or hiding grounds for the militants. It is a global war fought and led by the U.S and the United Kingdom with the support of North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO). Top of the list on the war on terror is the Islamic movement al-Qaeda whose leader was reportedly killed in Pakistan.
War on terror is based on a number of key objectives against which those in the forefront in the fight hope to measure progress and success against. The prime objective of the war on terror is the location, defeating, and destruction of terrorism and complete elimination of all their organizations (Huntington, 1991, pp. 39). It also strives to reduce susceptibility of weak states to terrorist attacks by persuading them to join the campaign of the war on terror. By locating countries and states suspected to harbor terrorists and most importantly, those that knowingly support terrorism activities. The war is aimed at coercing unwilling states to collaborate with the global community in order to make these countries inhabitable by terrorists.
Looking closely at the progress of the war on terror since its inception during the Bush administration, this essay discusses why the war on terror could have possibly lost objectivity and subsequently its battle on the war on terror. In the Middle East, for instance, it is evident that the U.S invasion has caused more of harm than good. The violence witnessed is a clear indication that the war is not objective largely (Stilglitz, 2008, pp. 601). There have been reports of adverse infringement of civil rights, abuse of power, loss of live, and other adverse crimes committed against humanity. We begin, first, with the recent survey conducted by over a hundred and fifty foreign experts aimed at determining the effectiveness of the war on terror and whether or not there is a possibility of winning the war on international terrorism.
In the report released in the wake of 9/11 terror attack, a whopping 80% of the experts postulate that the war on terror cannot be won. On a close study of this report, we realize that, apparently, the U.S is in some way enhancing thriving of terrorism (Huntington, 2002, pp. 250). This is possible because, one, the U.S funds most of these militant organizations through oil dollars funneled for use for terrorism globally. Secondly, even more fascinating is the knowledge that most of the jihad websites are hosted in the U.S! The websites as we all know are not in any way harmless. Possibly, they contain detailed information and scheme on how the various terrorist missions. The question is if the U.S should try to convince the world that it is in the forefront in the fight against terror, why should in continue hosting these Jihad websites? (Sitkof, 2008, pp. 147)
Huntington argues that, the events of 9/11 marked U.S’ most condemned the attack on its people. The attack resulted in the devastation of the World Trade Centre and inevitably 3000 casualties. In a retaliatory, manner, the U.S staged a massive war on Afghanistan with the aim of destroying al-Qaeda. Interestingly, they did not only fail, but the mission ended up with 3,500 casualties, all of whom were civilians. What the masterminds of the war on terror have not been able to achieve since the declaration of war is the ability to draw a line between the Muslim religion and militants.
Apparently, according to them every one of a Muslim descent automatically qualifies to be considered a terrorist with ill motives against the U.S. This is not true by any means. For instance, following the events after the 9/11 attacks, Muslims in the West were subjected to a great deal of prejudice, including being beaten up to the extent of some being killed. The events that followed the retaliation by the U.S clearly show that the U.S has no full control of the turn of events. It has failed in making it known to its citizens that the enemy is just not the foreigner with a long beard in their midst but a group of extremists founded on Jihadist ideologies (Huntington, 2002, pp. 278).
Considering the direction the war on terror has taken in the recent past, it is evident that it has other hidden implications and reasons. Now, it most countries in the forefront in the war consider Islamism as a threat toward achieving the new world order (Pollack, 2003, pp. 250). This means that it is not about the war neither is it about securing the safety of the civilians, but rather an intense fight to maintain the status quo of these powers. On the side of the Muslims, the reactions are equally fatal. They consider the war on terror as a sort of Zionist scheme to fault them.
The policies advanced by the U.S as am means of justifying their continued attacks on Muslim countries, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, most nations in the world are using the same reasons to advance their own motives for being against the Muslims (Keen, 2006, pp.200). However, knowingly or unknowingly, it all narrows down to affect the civilians in the long run since most of these Muslim-based extremists operate under the umbrella of their governments. Following the events of the 9/11, most countries have rushed to the protection of their citizens ignoring the plight of refugees and immigrants. This has seen gross violation of human rights and crimes against humanity. Acting on these subjective policies, governments use the excuse of fighting terror to suppress any possible uprising of protests. This, inevitably, has lead to undermining fundamental rights such as freedom of movement and that of expression.
The war on terror, apart from being considered the most viable measure to ensure world peace has placed the world in the most vulnerable position of all time. This because, by painting the Muslim religion as a bad organization, it has resulted in gross religious intolerance and destabilized the international law and its policies. Criticism by Amnesty International on the policies and acts of atrocity by Anti-terror governments gives a clear proof of action by these countries without consideration of the international law and universal human rights (Ricks, 2007, pp. 122).
According to Amnesty International, the governments are losing their ethical scope they forgo fundamental values in their discriminate pursuit for power and recognition. They fail to realize that these global values and ethics are the root to sustainable peace and security in the world. Apparently, what these powers have failed to comprehend is that violence breeds violence. The Bush administration definitely was aware that its subsequent retaliatory acts on Afghanistan did not symbolize the end of terrorism but fueled the now escalating acts of violence in a tit-for-tat basis.
This is not to say that the retaliation by the U.S was much uncalled for. In some way, the U.S was justified in their subsequent attacks only that it engaged in the slaughter of innocent civilians. Somehow, as Pollack postulates, the extremists had to be made aware that they jus could, out of nowhere attack civilians of other countries and expect their government to coil their tails. For a moment, stories of the-now slain Bin Laden were unheard of in Afghanistan. The Taliban went underground for some time, and their activities reduced considerably.
To illustrate the argument that the war on terror is probably being lost, we look closely on how it is fought. Evidently, it uses fear to rally support from other nations to join in the fight. By imposing threats of economic sanctions, the super powers have been able to coerce other nations to the party to their discriminative fight. However, as it has always been, the result of this is the effects on the civilians on both sides. The fight has lost objectivity and scope in that we now see it as a struggle for power. The U.S, particularly, cannot concede defeat from the Muslims and will proof their superiority even at the expense of the lives of its civilians and those of the Muslim states (Gordon, 2007, pp. 200).
Surprisingly, a recent assessment shows that following the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent invasion and occupation Iraq by the U.S has catalyzed a rapidly growing and spread of Islamic revolution. The report by the Criminal Intelligence Agency (CIA) shows that more than ever the war on Iraq has worsened the problem of terrorism. Gordon (2007, pp 234) argues that after the September, 11 attacks, the Bush administration commissioned the establishment Guantanamo Bay detention Camp to lock up suspected terrorists from both Iraq and Afghanistan. This attracted a great deal of criticism from the international law enforcers. To date it is considered a gross violation of human rights to lock up suspects in this facility.
However, on a positive not credit ought to be given when due. Considering the role of this facility with some objectivity, we see that it provides a good way of ensuring that suspected terrorists are locked up as they await justice. This, considered to random bombing of areas suspected to be habited by terrorist, remains the most viable option in ensuring civilian rights are not disregarded. The facility, though, is reputed badly for the way captives are treated and tortured during interrogation (Nye, 2003, pp. 212).
According to Kagan (2004, pp. 435) necessary to consider the likelihood that the war on terror is close to the finishing line. Less than a fortnight ago, we woke up to the statement from the Whitehouse proclaiming the death of the most sought after terrorist; Osama Bin Laden. The news was welcomed across the globe with great jubilation with many considering it a significant leap toward winning the war on terror. For more than two decades, Bin laden remained on the top of the list for most wanted terrorists.
The capturing and killing of Bin Laden did send a clear message to the extremists that the U.S is closing in on them. From this, one can clearly see that the war is on and could be won. However, the demise of Bin Laden does not symbolize the end of terrorism that has brewed up for the last 50 years. It merely ignites a renewed series of retaliations and counter-retaliation. This means we are yet to witness more and more attacks on the U.S with the need to avenge for the killing of their leader (Kagan, 2004, pp.480).
For the obvious reasons of the need to secure the interests of the civilians of these nations, it is important the war be intense, and its scope be narrowed more. With the latest developments in the fight against terrorism, it is clear that the objectives for advanced for the fight are attainable. With Bin Laden out of the picture, it reassures much that justice can finally be accorded and that international peace is achievable (Keen, 2004, pp 200).
The war against terror has been considered as a war between the civilized and those against civilization. Despite criticism advanced against the measures taken by the U. S in its fight against terror, on the other hand, if it provides the only chance to win the war, then the end justifies the means (Keen, 2004, pp.278). During Bush’s administration, up to two-thirds of al-Qaeda’s leaders were captured and detained; some were killed during the series of ambushes. Possibility of winning the war is also depicted by the seizure of up to $200M of the terrorist’s finances.
The funds were traced, and the sources determined thus allowing the U.S to identify the countries and persons behind the funding of the extremist’s movement. Despite the apparent measures taken to ensure the objectives against terrorism are met, Islamic militants appear to be undeterred in their quest for advancing their own ideologies.
In my opinion, I would say the war against terror is far from over. It cannot be won by the use of the current strategies. The U.S and other governments fighting against terrorism need to incorporate other strategies, which are narrower in scope and indiscriminative in its war on terror (Johnson, 2002, pp. 230). Considering the current turn of events in the struggle to overcome terrorism I am inclined to say that the U.S has lost the plot. This is evident from the way those governments that fight against terror have culminated their policies into religion-based ideologies. For instance, currently, most Muslims are considered to be allied to terrorists (Johnson, 2002, pp. 203).
According to Huntington (1997, pp. 27), the loss of the war is evident from the way the super powers have not been able to control economic meltdown caused by widespread violence as a result of war. It is true that with persistent struggles by the U.S, the number of members of extremists groups is on a significant decline, though; even a small number can still cause havoc. This is true considering the fact that the deadliest terrorist attack of all time was successfully pulled by nineteen men. Therefore, with an equal struggle from the extremists side makes it difficult to close the files on terrorism (Huntington, 1997, pp 26).
The fall of al-Qaeda, even if it happened over night, does not mark the end of terrorism. There are a number of other mushrooming extremists groups in the Arab world who will still make it a dream for us to lay back and boast of peace in the world. Other terrorism groups employ different tactics to commit various atrocities. For instance, the use of biological weapons is not familiar with the al-Qaeda though it remains a threat to the world’s security. Therefore, it calls for diversification of this war if we are to ever win the illusive war on terror. Such measures include adequate filtering of Islam to avoid overgeneralization and victimization of innocent civilians. The U.S has unleashed its rage on the civilians of the nations suspected to host terrorists forgetting that the real perpetrators of terrorism are still out there, planning probably another attack. Recently, after the Islamists confirmed the death of Bin laden, I could sense some vengeance on the part of the Islamists. Therefore, it suffices to say that the war on terror is far from over and may never be won in the future.