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Thursday, February 11, 2016

9/11 Discussion

Did the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks achieve its goals? In what ways were the 9/11 attacks successful? In what ways were the 9/11 attacks unsuccessful? Discuss.  
Al Qaeda achieved it's goals. First, It was a successful terror attack, as Bin Laden gloated, “”America has been filled with horror from North to south and east to west” (Parfrey, 2001, p . 304). Second, it targeted a prominent goal for propaganda, as Bin Laden points out that “ “so that it's greatest buildings are destroyed” (Parfrey, 2001, p . 304). Finally, it served as a trumpet call for war, as Bin Laden exhorts “every Muslim must rise to his religion. The wind of faith is blowing and the wind of change is blowing...” (Parfrey, 2001, p . 304). Thus Bin Laden in this 10/8/01 Al Qaeda press release highlights the ways in which the 9/11 attacks succeeded. The attacks failed in one regard, in that the passengers of Flight 93 finally saw through the taqiyya of the hijackers and fought back, spoiling the attack on the White House. 
What has been the impact of terrorism on U.S. and its counterterrorism policies? Has there been any change in the U.S. policies on counterterrorism following the 9/11 attacks? Compare and contrast the U.S. counterterrorism views and activities before and after the 9/11 attacks?  
American counter terror (CT) policy is always in flux due to several factors. One factor that contributes to this flux is the competitive politics nature of our society. Another factor in this flux is a historical pattern of overreaction to events by overreacting policies. Powers contends that “American history is replete with examples of the extreme pendular mood swings in official positions and public opinion that yield policies that produce unexpected results” (2004, p. 43). Powers highlights this by discussing intelligence failures that led to 9/11 in context to the overreaction to government spying on domestic subversive terror groups, and on some Americans that were not involved with these groups as well, in the 1960's and 1970's ; “When the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 tried to understand the reasons for the FBI's almost incomprehensible failure to pursue the leads given them by the Phoenix and Minneapolis field offices, they used words about the FBI like risk-averse, politically correct, an excess of caution, timorous” (2004, p. 47). CT policy has changed even after the 9/11 attacks, at first “since 9/11 has seen a swing back towards covert operations and targeted assassinations of terrorist high-value targets” (Richards, 2012, p. 766). Evidence of the flux due to politics can be seen in the recent trade of 5 Islamist terrorists for the deserter Bergdahl This is indicative of a lack of seriousness on the part of the American people that is apparent in the Baby Boomer and other generations. ”Baby boomers believe in their singularity: that their times are unique and that they are wiser and more enlightened than those that preceded them” (Kaplan, 2002, p. 30). This observation can doubly be applied to the “selfie” generation.

Describe what makes the U.S. unique in the international terrorism scenario in terms of a context for developing counterterrorism measures.
In contrast to the “me” generations that America has produced, there has always been a core of Americans that can be described as Jacksonian (see Mead for a full exploration of the Jacksonian typology) in nature; this is where the bulk of our defenders come from as “Jacksonian America views military service as a sacred duty” (Mead, 1999-2000, para. 44) and they have a strong faith in the nature of our exceptional history as a country. I no longer have my copy of Born Fighting, by James Webb, but it is an excellent complement to the Mead article. In addition to the core concept of liberty, the checks and balances set into the founding of our politics has a jurisdictional effect on CT policy. The Jacksonian concept of war, the sense of liberty, and the federalist division of power all have effects on the way we establish CT policy. The Jacksonian influence can be seen in the “American 'war lobby' that becomes active in times of national crisis—a political force that under certain circumstances demands war, supports the decisive use of force, and urges political leaders to stop wasting time with negotiations, sanctions and Security Council meetings in order to attack the enemy with all possible strength” (Mead, 1999-2000, para. 11). The sense of liberty, and the system of checks and balances, can be seen most clearly in the following discussion regarding due process.

Does the U.S. legal system have restrictions that limit the ability to develop counterterrorism tactics? Explain your statement regarding this with proper reasoning and references.
Because due process is a central pillar of American liberty, we need to keep in mind that American citizens and legal residents have legal protections from certain CT tactics. In addition, due to the fairly consistent Supreme Court readings of the Fourteenth amendment, there is a view that any person tried by American law has the protection of Constitutional rights. Such precedents as Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886), Wong Wing v. U.S. (1896), and Plyler v. Doe (1982) have granted Constitutional protection for non-citizens, and have led to the view that “the Constitution presumptively extends not just to citizens, but to all who are subject to American legal obligations, and certainly to all persons within the United States“ (Cole, 2003, pp371-372). Personally, I disagree with that interpretation, and consider that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended so that recently freed slaves, who had no choice to enter this country, were extended rights as citizens. The consideration of terror suspects as deserving of the protection of law has led to controversy in a wide range of CT policies, from drone strikes to rendition to detention of terrorists to trying terrorists under civilian courts as opposed to military tribunal. ”A potential issue exists as to the jurisdiction of military commissions, and, in some instances, even as to the jurisdiction of general courts-martial, when armed conflict exists but war has not been declared” (Everett, 2006, pp.6-7). Indeed, the Supreme Court invalidated President Bush's Military Order establishing military tribunals in the 2004 case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Continuing the tradition of contradictory legal assertions, Congress then “promptly passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006” (Elsea, 2014, p.1).

Cole, D. (2003) Are foreign nationals entitled to the same constitutional rights as citizens? Thomas Jefferson Law Review,Vol. 25:367 Retrieved June 6, 2014 from http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/facpub/297

Elsea, J. (2014).The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA 2009): Overview and legal issues. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved June 17, 2014 from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41163.pdf

Everett, R. (2006). The role of military tribunals. Brown University International Law Journal. Vol. 24:1 . Retrieved June 17, 2014 from http://www.bu.edu/law/central/jd/organizations/journals/international/volume24n1/documents/1-14.pdf

Kaplan, R. (2002) Warrior politics: Why leadership demands a pagan ethos. New York, New York. Vintage Books

Mead, W. R. (1999-2000, Winter). The Jacksonian tradition. The National Interest. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://denbeste.nu/external/Mead01.html

Parfrey, A. (ed). (20010. Extreme Islam: Anti-American propaganda of Muslim fundamentalism. Los Angeles, California, Feral House

Powers, R. G. (2004). A bomb with a long fuse. American History, 39(5), 42–47. Retrieved September 10, 2014 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=14624935&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Richards, J.(2012). Intelligence Dilemma? Contemporary counter-terrorism in a liberal democracy. Intelligence & National Security, 27(5), 761–780. doi:10.1080/02684527.2012.708528

I wasn't clear enough when I laid out those sentences.  The quotes in the first answer were by Osama Bin Laden in a press release right after 9/11.  Parfrey was quoting him.  It is clear to me that Bin Laden was gloating in these quotes.  You don't gloat when you don't think you have won.  By making these attacks on America, "Bin Laden had sold a cult of power. When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse, he had famously opined" (Fajami, 2011, para. 7).

It wasn't necessary for al Qaeda to destroy America, that wasn't the goal.  The goal was to blacken our eye and give the jihadists and potential jihadists a taste of the "strong horse".

I don't think we overreacted to 9/11.  Contrary to that, I don't don't we have been firm enough or consistent in our approach either to terror in general or to the ideology of Islam.  I am a Jacksonian in a lot of my own thought.  My reference to overreaction was in regards to the Church Committee and the intelligence reforms of the 1970's.  The PATRIOT Act was intended to resolve some of the reforms that "blinded" us resulting from the 70's reforms.

Fajami, A. (2011, May 3). Osama Bin Laden, weak horse. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 15, 2015 from

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