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March 31, 2010

Essay on Terrorism

Before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, most Americans thought little about counter-terrorism. Yet since the attacks, we as a nation have been on the verge of being obsessed with defeating terrorism. Under the leadership of President Bush, our government set out to actively eliminate terrorist groups. Any country harboring or aiding terrorism is a potential target. Currently, United States troops are deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to fulfill this policy. These combat units are the tip of a spear, and in a sense, our first line of defense against terrorism. They are an integral part of our counter-terrorism efforts and are the most visible element. However, counter-terrorism is a team effort, and the team is very diverse. There are hundreds of civil, federal, and military organizations working together to combat terrorism. It is the purpose of this report to shed light upon these organizations and allow the reader to better understand the immense task at hand in countering terrorism and how these organizations are achieving that goal.

An old military adage states that to defeat your enemy, you must first understand him. This can be applied to the war on terrorism, but understanding terrorism is much more complicated than expected. For instance, there is no single definition of terrorism accepted by the international community. The United Nations cannot agree on a definition and accepts that it cannot do so. The complex nature of terrorism can be blamed for this. In fact, the labeling of an individual as a terrorist can depend on the observer. The Basque separatists in northern Spain are fighting to keep their culture intact and in some extreme cases, to create a sovereign Basque state. They occasionally use car bombs, kidnappings, and assassinations to try to break away from the Spanish government. To the Basques, this is a just fight for freedom, but to the Spanish government and people, this is a terrorist organization that poses an immediate threat. So essentially the definition of terrorism lies in the “eye of the beholder”. Despite the difficulty in defining terrorism, there are elements of terrorism that are agreed upon. (more…)

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