The FBI defines terrorism as employing violence and instilling fear in people in pursuit of political aims. It continues to categorize it into domestic terrorism and international terrorism, which is terrorism within the boundaries of the US and beyond respectively (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014). Such fear can range from threats of grizzly harm or death, financial terrorism that arises from having such fear as losing money or fallen economy, cyber terrorism aimed at destroying critical infrastructure technology in the society and lastly, psychological terrorism aimed at influencing people’s way of life.
When the statement “war on terror” is made, the early morning attacks of September 11, 2001 on Washington, DC, and New York City obviously come into the mind. The blasts instilled fear and horror in American citizens of magnitude that has never been felt since the Pearl Harbor attack. It was after this attack that the Bush Administration declared a global war on terror that involved open and covert combat operations, introduced security legislation, activities aimed at blocking any form of terrorist financing amongst others. The US Government sought for help from other states to join the fight against the phenomenon by declaring that “you either are with us or with the terrorists.” It made many governments to join the campaign by passing new harsh statues, doing away with incumbent legal protections in addition to toughening domestic policing and intelligence services (Global Policy Forum, 2005).
In order to counter terrorism, the U.S. Government has put in place various strategies. First in the list is Intelligence sharing. The Government is making efforts to encourage information sharing amongst various intelligence agencies. It includes fusion of intelligence data, diplomatic reports as well as open-source information alongside distributing the same to the relevant parties real-time. It also includes sharing such critical data with local authorities in foreign countries to enable them to put in custody potential terrorists as they hatch their terrorist plans.
Secondly, international financial cooperation whereby many states are encouraged to be parties to the larger Terrorist Financing Convention, although many of these countries still have insufficient laws that criminalize various forms of terrorist financing. Moreover, the countries often have no capability to enforce such regulations. It prompts the US and its close allies to provide technical assistance to the countries, for instance, the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Third is the increased use of drones. The drones are also known as predator aircrafts that carry weapons aimed at attacking terrorists strongholds or installations. The use of these unmanned planes is widely embraced by the Obama Administration, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, such strategy has been challenged by the Government of Pakistan but all in all it clearly provides a choice that can be effective in neutralizing terrorists without necessarily putting at risk the lives of militants.
Fourth strategy is a rendition whereby the Government secretly abducts suspected terrorists and takes them to a third party country for questioning. The revelations show that the suspects are taken to secret facilities and tortured by the CIA. No matter how unethical it is, renditions have been successful in the capture of international criminals, for instance Carlos the Jackal.
In addition, the US Government conducts raids on bases, training camps and safe havens of terrorists. In the cases whereby terrorist bases or camps are in foreign soil, the governments of the countries involved are advised to destroy them and in case they do not have the capacity to do so or are unwilling, the US does so. Any military action on another country’s territory bears international political fallout and, therefore, the intelligence and military officials must be sure in their actions before engaging.
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Lastly, the development aid is another strategy that has worked in war on terrorism, but with the exception of Osama Bin Laden. Obviously, most terrorists hail not from the wealthy Saudi royal families. The disbursing aid to increase economic and political lives in such areas will reduce desperation and susceptibility to terrorism (Kolodkin, 2010).
The counter-terrorism strategies of the U.S. Government encourage terrorist activity and do not reduce them as it was anticipated. It is for thee reason that the U.S. Government relies too much on military actions and less on complementary support methods and techniques that can possibly reduce terrorism and reconciliatory issues that encourage adversarial anti-US tendencies. The only way to overcome terrorism is to be smarter and more diplomatic alongside prioritization on the use of national resources. It is only then that the U.S. will do everything it can to reach incumbent peace and security.
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