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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Criticism of the War on Terrorism against Terrorism

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 0 Comments

Critics argue it has been used to justify unilateral preemptive war, perpetual war, human rights abuses, and other violatiosn of international law. Opponents have also heavily criticised the Iraq War, and USA PATRIOT Act. Criticism of the War on Terrorism addresses the issues, morals, ethics, efficiency, economics, and other questions surrounding the War on Terrorism. Arguments are also made against the phrase itself, calling it a misnomer.

The notion of a “war” against “terrorism” has proven highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long standing policy objectives, reduce civil liberties, and infringe upon human rights. Some argue that the term war is not appropriate in this context (as in War on Drugs), since they belive there is no tangible enemy, and that it is unlikely international terrorism can be brought to an end by means of war. Others note that “terrorism” is not an enemy, but a tactic; calling it a “war on terror”, obscures differences between conflicts. For example, anti-occupation insurgents and international jihadists. Some have also alleged that the tactics used are counterproductive to the goals. The US media has also received criticism for its coverage of the War on Terrorism. The Bush administration’s use of the War on Terrorism to justify the invasion of Iraq has been particularly controversial, as the link asserted between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein was disproved, even by Bin Laden himself. In 2007, Presidential hopeful, John Edwards, called the War on Terror a “bumper sticker, not a plan”.

Decreasing international support

In 2002, strong majorities supported the US led War on Terrorism in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, India, and Russia. By 2006, supporters of the effort were in the minority in Britain (49%), France (43%), Germany (47%), and Japan (26%). Although a majority of Russians still supported the War on Terrorism, that majority had decreased by 21%. Whereas 63% of the Spanish population supported the War on Terrorism in 2003, only 10% of the population indicated support in 2006. 19% of the Chinese population supports the War on Terrorism, and less than a fifth of the populations of turkey, Egypt, and Jordan support the effort. However a major exception is India, where the support for the War on Terrorism has been stable. Andrew Kohut, speaking to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, noted that, according to the Pew Center polls conduced in 2004, “majorities or pluralities in seen of the nine countries surveyed said the US led war on terrorism was not really a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism. This was true not only in Muslim countries such as Morocco and Turkey, but in France and Germany as well. The true purpose of the war on terrorism, according to these sceptics, is US control of Middle East oil and US domination of the world.”

International Campaigns and Operation Against Terrorism

Campaigns and theatres of operation


Horn of Africa

In October 2002, the Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) was established in Djibouti at Camp Le Monier. It contains approximately 2,000 personnel including US military and Special Operations Forces (SOF) and coalition force members, Coalition Task Force 150 (CTF-150). The Primary goal of the coalition forces is to monitor, inspect, board and stop suspected shipments from entering the Horn of Africa. The regions and areas of Operation Iraqi Freedom Included in the operation is the training of selected armed forces units of the countries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in counter terrorism and counter insurgency tactics. Humanitarian efforts conducted by CJTF-HOA include rebuilding of schools and medical clinics as well as providing medical services to those countries whose forces are being trained. Somalia became the mother of all operations as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist faction campaigning on a restoration of “law and order” through Sharia Law, had rapidly taken control of much of southern Somalia, displacing other militia and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. On July 1, 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osamam bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western states that his al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there. On December 14, 2006, the US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer calimed al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, a claim denied by the ICU After seeing their power limited to the city of Baidoa, the TFG was attacked in a final ICU offensive aimed at destroying it in December 2006. But Ehtiopia intervened, defending the TFG and forcing the ICU to retreat. The ICU abandoned conventional warfare, instead opting for guerrilla combat, turning the battle to an insurgency as Ethiopia began aiding the TFG restore order. The Prime Minister of Somalia claims that 3 terror suspects from the 1998 Embasssy Bombings were in Kismayo. On 30 December 2006, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Muslims worldwide to fight against Ethiopia and the TFG in Somalia. The United States carried out several strikes against al-Qaeda targets within Somalia during 2007.

War against Terrorism

The War on Terrorism (also known as the War on Terror) is a campaign initiated by the United States government under President George W. Bush which includes various military, political, and legal actions ostensibly taken to “curb the spread of terrorism,” following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The War on Terror was authorized by the United States Congress under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists passed on September 18, 2001. Both the phrase “War on Terrorism” and the policies it denotes have been a source of ongoing controversy, as critics argue it has been used to justify unilat.


Terrorist organizations carried out attacks on the US and its allies throughout the latter part of the 20th century, prompting occasional military responses. Following the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, United States President Bill Clinton launched Operation Infinite Reach, a bombing campaign in Sudan and Afghanistan against targets associated with al-Qaeda. In October of 2000 the USS Cole bombing occurred, followed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The latter attacks created an immediate demand throughout the United States for a response. The first aspects of the campaign came in the freezing of assets terrorist organizations and associated groups. The United Nations Security Council also adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 which obliges all States to criminalize assistance for terrorist activities, deny financial support safe haven to terrorists and share information about groups planning terrorist attacks. NATO began Operation Active Endeavor on October 4th, which stepped up security checks in the Mediterranean. After the Taliban rejected an ultimatum to turn over the al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, the United States and NATo allies began air strikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets on October 7, 2001. The Afghan Northern Alliance and allied militia, added by elements of the United States Special forces, began a ground offensive that succeeded in capturing most of Afghanistan by early 2002. While operations continued in Afghanistan, the campaign was expanded into the Philippines, where United States Special Forces assisted the Philippine army against elements of al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Abu Sayyaf. It was expanded further into the Horn of Africa, where NATO allies began training Ethiopian and Djiboutian armed forces in anti-terror and counter-insurgency methods.

On March 20, 2003, the United States, United Kingdom and a coalition expanded the campaign into Iraq, seeking to topple Saddam Hussein for his alleged possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction and state sponsorship of terror. By May 1, they had succeeded in doing so, though an insurgency developed supported by al-Qaeda and other militant elements. Likewise, the Taliban insurgency continued in Afghanistan, and their frequent border crossings into Pakistan prompted the nation to expand the campaign further into Waziristan in 2004, to remove Taliban and al-Qaeda elements. In 2005 the Security Council also adopted resolution 1624 concerning incitement to commit acts of terrorism and the obligations of countries to comply with international human right laws. Although both resolutions require mandatory annual reports on counter terrorism activities by adopting nations the United States and Israel have both declined to submit reports.

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