How has US anti-terror strategy lead to more terrorism?

It is now five years since the "9/11" incident and people have reached their own opinions about the US anti-terrorist strategy. The US President George W. Bush believes that the Iraq war has made the world a safer and better place. However, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid does not agree. "The American people clearly know that in the five years following the '9/11' incident, we are not as safe as we should and expect to be", said Reid. Why do people believe this? The US has conducted its war on terrorism both at home and abroad.

Looking at the US, it can be seen that the US government has certainly been effective in its fight against terrorism during the past five years. After the "9/11" incident, the President gave many orders to strengthen domestic security. Orders were made to establish the US Northern Command in order to defend national security and to set up the Department of Homeland Security to oversee the anti-terrorism strategy. There were also demands to: establish a National Intelligence Bureau to co-ordinate 15 intelligence agencies; enhance the monitoring on people and goods entering the country at airports and ports; launch stricter management of immigrants and foreigners across the border and conduct an unprecedented wiretapping of telephone calls. As a result, President Bush proudly claimed that over the past five years there have been no more terrorist attacks similar to the "9/11" incident. This is one of the main reasons why nearly 50% of Americans were satisfied with the Bush Administration's anti-terror performance over the past year even though the dissatisfaction rate of his general performance was as low as 30%.

However, the US anti-terror efforts overseas have proved disappointing. Taking a broader perspective, terrorist activities have not changed significantly since five years ago. With the anti-terrorism campaign continuing, even more terrorist activities have actually occurred and the situation is not improving. From the Toronto explosion to the plane scheme in London, most of the terrorist activities were targeted at the United States and its allies in the Iraq war. There has also been the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the escalation of the conflict between religious sects in Iraq. President Bush has turned Iraq into the centre of the US anti-terrorism conflict. The major polls in recent months have indicated that 62% of Americans disapproved of Bush's decision on the Iraq issue; 69% think the Iraq war has complicated US diplomatic activities; 63% think that the Iraq war was not worthwhile; 56% claim that the Iraq war was a mistake and as much as 68% think that the US invasion of Iraq will lead to more terrorist attacks in the United States, putting the country's security at risk.

The public and the media are questioning why the US anti-terrorism campaign has only resulted in more terrorist activities. It seems that there is something wrong with strategy.

Firstly, the US neo-conservatives have "hijacked" the great cause of anti-terrorism. They greatly believed in anti-terrorism and launched a war that was falsely justified. This has decentralized and diverted the attention of anti-terrorism and its track, but also created a hotbed of training ground of terrorist activities.

After the evidence for mass destructive weapon was denied, the United States resorted to a banner of "democratic panacea" and was determined to establish a model of democracy for the entire Middle East region. However, the reality is that this only encouraged the regime and relied on more than 130,000 American soldiers being close to the brink of a civil war. Since July, more than 100 people were killed every day in a religious vendetta. Just as some scholars have pointed out, democracy can not survive amongst military forces.

The United States not only attempted to expand the scale of the war on terrorism, but also tried to make the issue one of ideology and religion, whether intentionally or not. Not long ago, President Bush took over the extremely conservative slogans and defined the anti-terrorism war as a "confrontation between free and democratic Western forces and anti-freedom-and-democracy fascism forces in the Middle East.". In his speech delivered at the American Legion National Convention on August 31st, Bush divided the terrorists into three categories: "Some are radicalized followers of the Sunni tradition, who swear allegiance to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda. Others are radicalized followers of the Shia tradition, who join groups like Hezbollah and take guidance from state sponsors like Syria and Iran. Still others are 'homegrown' terrorists - fanatics who live quietly in free societies they dream to destroy." US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld even said that this was another round of a new ideological war against the Islamic Fascism following the war against Nazism and Fascism and the Cold War against Communism. Rumsfeld did not wonder far from the theory of "Clash of Civilization" and therefore received protests from Islamic organizations. CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations) National Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed criticized President Bush for linking "Islamism" with "fascism". "It will foster the hostility to Islam and Muslims in the United States", said Ahmed. It should be pointed that there is a risk of such stereotypes that result in the anti-terrorism war having repercussions on religion.

In summarizing the lessons learnt from the "9/11" Incident, President Bush and Vice President Cheney announced a new anti-terrorism strategy. Firstly, the United States is absolutely determined to prevent attacks before they occur and is therefore watchful of terrorists abroad, known as "pre-emptive" politics. Secondly, any person or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and will be held to account as a US enemy, although this actually fosters even more enemies. Thirdly, the US is determined to defeat the ideology of the enemies by supporting the forces of freedom. This is a distortion of the nature of terrorism. Fourthly, the United States is working to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, keeping those weapons out of the hands of the killers; however this requires the United States to first abandon its double standards. One of the flaws of the new anti-terrorism strategy is that the United States has not reviewed its partial and double-standard policy in the Middle East.This is in fact the major source of the increasing anti-US sentiment and terrorist activities in the Middle East. Without directly addressing and eliminating this root cause, the United States will never be successful in the fight against terrorism.

By People's Daily Online

People's Daily Online ---