Terrorism has not been formally defined. Yet most persons would agree that terrorism involves the use of violent and gruesome tactics aimed at defeating enemies both real and perceived through the use of sheer terror, fear and intimidation. It involves the use of tactics such as economic embargoes, massive and continuous aerial bombardment, troop surges to overwhelm and intimidate, suicide bombing, mail bombs, biological warfare, threat of nuclear weapons, roadside bombs through the use of improvised explosive devices, terror cells, recruitment and training, to include training of women and children, to carry out unspeakable acts of violence.
How does a government confront such a situation when it is fighting, in most instances, an enemy that has no fear of death, persons and organizations willing to sacrifice, men and women with families to support; the lives of women and children to further their beliefs and goals? Organizations that are willing to wait years for that one chance to strike their enemy in the heart. Fanatics for whom there is no greater ideal than sacrificing their lives in the name of their religious, government and political ideology.
The first step, to combating terrorism, is the understanding of the reasons behind it. Governments must understand the mentality of the countries and cultures that they have branded as terrorists.
Certain sections of the eastern world hold some fundamental beliefs about Western Capitalist society and Western Society holds some beliefs about the eastern world. These beliefs have helped to keep the fires of terrorism from being extinguished.
These include belief that western countries have no respect for the cultures of other countries and are constantly seeking to impose their belief on them.
The western world insists the eastern world consists of fanatics’ hell bent on spreading death and destruction for no apparent reason save for their belief in religious ideology and in some cases to protect a lucrative illegal drugs and weapons trade.
Western society has attempted with varying degrees of success, to penetrate every facet of eastern culture. From imposing believes about religion (Christianity), politics (democracy), education, culture (lifestyle choices (homosexuality, promiscuity, indifference to religion and tradition) and Economic models (Capitalism, exploitation and manipulation of other countries human and natural resources, the pursuit of wealth to the detriment of others, greed and corruption).
Certain sections of eastern society continues to hold to religious and traditional belief such as women should not be educated, persons should follow tradition and not sway from it, and that Western society consists of infidels who have no regard for their God, tradition, morals and are hell bent on corrupting and exploiting everything that it touches. Therefore they have concluded that these infidels/terrorists must be gotten rid of by any means necessary. After all they have to protect and fight for what is right.
To top it all off; in a sense both parties have said that its way is the right way. This is bound to lead to conflict because taking such a stance will naturally be seen as disrespectful. Therefore to solve the problem both parties have to admit where it has gone wrong and seeks to correct some of the mistakes. This instead of insisting that they are totally innocent and is only seeking to defend itself against unwarranted attacks, they must seek to make amends for some of the atrocities that they have committed and genuinely seek each other’s forgiveness.
Since that is never going to happen. Let us examine other possibilities for dealing with terrorism on the Western front.
- Open communication between law enforcement and all anti-terrorism groups is essential. The lack of communication and co-operation among the various stakeholders is what has led to the terrorist being able to orchestrate and carry out some of the most successful attacks. Over the years in the aftermath of a terror attack; it has been revealed that in most instances one agency has information that was not passed on or was just totally ignored by another.
- Increase training for law enforcement agencies personnel to assist them in detecting and apprehending terrorist.
- Sensitization of the public through the use of a public education campaign regarding how to detect suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism. The most dangerous types of terrorist are the ones that are home grown. Terrorist have been known to operate in low crime neighbourhood in the country that they wish to attack. Sometimes operating for years without any contact with the parent organization.
- Stability must be achieved in the Middle East. The dispute between Israel and the Palestinians must be settled for good. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, North Korea and Pakistan who have all been labeled as nations that supports terrorism must be continuously monitored. There can be no letup in terms of vigilance.
- Border security (Air, sea and land) must continue to receive priority attention. Countries such as the United States cannot afford to relax the beefed up border security. Even though the world economy is still in recession. The resources allocated to border security must be maintained or increased to ensure the protection of citizens.
The United States and its allies in the aftermath of World War II has essentially become the police force of the world. This has put these nations in harm way. As with any young police force members tend to use excessive force, disregard procedure, profile persons, engage in corruption and abuse the persons they are sworn to protect. This naturally leads to the force losing its credibility and causes it to come under continuous attacks from those whom they have wronged in the name of Justice, truth, protecting and serving. Repairing such a relationship will require a lot of knowledge, skill, tack and experience on the part of our leaders.