Present American military and law enforcement agency might has been put to a test both internally and externally in recent years. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was born, in large part, in response to the events of September 11, resources for battling terrorism have increased. Nevertheless, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that the United States is not adequately equipped militarily to confront and defeat sophisticated terrorist operations.
While there has been a decrease in terrorist acts occurring in the United States, acts of terrorism abroad have not decreased. Clearly, the adequacy of military planning and military preparedness has been called into question. Douglas Bodero (1999) has identified four major theological extremist areas. These four groups are apocalyptic cults, Black Hebrew Israelism, the Christian Identity movements, and white supremacy religions. Doomsday cults believe that they must take offensive action in order to bring about the end of the world (White:2002). These beliefs
form the basis and justification for the use of violent methods which are often directed at the United States. “… (T)errorist weapons are increasingly sophisticated and deadly. ” (White: 2002). Osama bin Laden excluded, intelligence agencies in the United States have been highly successful in locating and identifying terrorist group leaders. Unfortunately, the failure to obtain intelligence from Middle East sources before terrorist acts occur has often been a challenge for the United States military and law enforcement agencies.
This -1- is demonstrated by the failure to win battles in the Vietnam, Korean, and Iraq Wars. While the United States certainly has a tremendous military advantage with highly technological weapons, including nuclear weapons and satellite surveillance, access to nuclear weapons has no advantage unless the United States is willing to use such weaponry. Treaties with the United Nations have outlawed the use of nuclear weapons by any country. By doing, the United States has no ability to use such military might.
In the countries previously described, ground war tactics and guerrilla warfare have proved a match with American troops (White:2002). The unpopularity of the military draft, which originated in the Vietnam era, has prevented the United States from building sufficient troops needed in fighting terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism. Clearly, the United States simply has insufficient troops to battle terrorism occurring abroad. An increasing trend comes in the form of state-sponsored terrorism. Libya, Syria,
and Iran are but some of the many countries which finance and provide weaponry and safe havens to terrorist groups. In the past, terrorist training camps located in Afghanistan have assisted in training aspiring terrorists from all over the world, including the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) (White:2002). In order to make a dent in preventing terrorism, the United States must recognize that a policy which publicly states that “We will not negotiate with terrorists” is often an impossibility. Certainly, the British initially believed that rogue colonies in the American
Revolution were terrorists and Britain used that policy to no avail. The policy which is advanced herein ignores basic crisis negotiation tactics. Just as police must negotiate with -2- kidnappers and hostages to prevent harm to citizens, it is asserted here that the major conflicts could be mitigated and prevented (to some extent), with a different ideology in dealing with the “terrorists” and terrorist groups involved in the Iraq Civil war. CITATION White, J. (2002). Terrorism: An Introduction (4th Ed. ). Belmont:CA Wadsworth. -3-