The Federal Bureau of Investigation indicates that there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. The U.S federal code, however, defines terrorism as ‘the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objective’. The U. S is considered unique among many countries in the world due to its ability in containing multitudes in relative to harmony.
A substantial number of terrorism cases in the American history can be said to be motivated by an intense distrust on the American democracy. This explains the increased cases of domestic terrorism as many Americans result into violence in attempts to identify and authenticate the identity of a true American (Brill, 2003). Currently, the US has populations of varied origins, backgrounds, beliefs, and values, which have led into a cultural mix. All these citizens feel that they have their democratic rights in claiming loyalty and benefits of the American system (Claussen, 2013). Most domestic violence and attacks result over claims over whom or what is authentically American. Examples may include the 1995 city bombing in Oklahoma and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombings, which were caused by anti-government extremists who used the attacks to promote their cause.
The most recognized form of terrorism in the US, however, is foreign terrorism where the attacks are strategized by foreigners who work together with some terrorists based in the country. The history of such attacks can be traced as from 1970’s, but a focus on the events of the last decade may explain the state of terrorism in the country. Between 2001 and 2011, the country recorded a total of 207 terrorist attacks with the smallest number of attacks being recorded in 2006 (Claussen, 2013). However, among these attacks, 21 were recorded as the most fatal.
During the last decade, the US has had a sequence of successes against terrorists, from the upsetting plot to detonate liquid bombs in airlines to the killing of the man behind most attacks, Osama Bin Laden. The government has also succeeded in dismantling or disrupting most of the al-Qaeda operations. However, the threat on terrorism has not yet disappeared as the Al-Qaeda group continues to become increasingly prevalent and continues to adapt new means of technology in advancing their technique and weapons (Claussen, 2013). Other groups, such as al Qaeda in Peninsula, have not only demonstrated their intents and abilities to terrorize US, but have also shown their abilities to influence and inspire others to carry out their attacks on Americans citizens living in other countries. The most recent example is the attack on a Kenyan mall; where some Americans were killed by suspected American terrorists and other foreign terrorists who derive power from al Qaeda.
Future threats of terrorism.
Despite the massive investments in the Bush and Obama’s administration on war on terrorism, the US still remains at risk of terror. The terrorists seem to adapt powerful trends that align with the administration’s strategy with the most recent attack in Boston revealing their power. The terrorists use modern technology to organize stateless groups, fund and organize themselves in an unprecedented manner (Brill, 2003). This coupled with the difficulties in tracking and punishing them means that America remains unsafe on terror.
Terrorists have adopted the modern tools of war that include radiological, chemical and biological weapons, which pose significant challenges to the federal government as it is difficult to determine which of the weapons the terrorist intend to use in an attack (Blumenfeld, 2013). Additionally, these weapons cause significant damage to property, animals and kill huge numbers of unsuspecting civilians. In most cases, the terrorists manage to kill massive numbers of civilians, and this implies that whether they are caught or not, their intentions to kill are executed. This poses a threat to the federal government as every attack leads to loss of lives.
The terror groups have resulted into recruiting attackers in all corners of the world implying that they may not only be from the Arabica background as the Federal government prospects. This implies that many criminals walk freely and without being suspected by the FBI or the criminal department (Brill, 2003). Increasing the number of recruits implies that America faces increasing number of terrorist threats. Additionally, terrorism has become a form of income generation field where many American youths fall for the trap of money.
Terrorists have also adopted new strategies in attacking when least expected. Despite the policies set forth by the Federal government and the inspectorate service, the Al Qaeda group continues to strike America without any signals and trace to finding those behind the attacks. They use weapons which are not easily detected and manage to put the lives of many Americans at risk (Blumenfeld, 2013). Additionally, they keep changing their targets with the latest being targets on human food sources.
The federal government has registered several instances of success on most of these threats. However, there remains a gigantic threat due to the capability on the use of computers in destroying, stealing and altering information. Cyber terrorism poses future threat on the ability of the federal government and security forces to fight terrorism as most sectors are at risk as a result of over-dependency on electronic information systems. Terrorists use the different search engines on the web in recruiting, planning, formulation of plans, and instilling fear among civilians. This remains a risk in this century as the reliance in computers keeps increasing Roth, K. (2002).
What can be done?
The current and future threat that America faces against terrorism does not revolve around and individual or group; it results from distance lands, local neighborhoods, homemade weapons, biological and coordinated cyber attacks. This implies that the state as well as local and tribal law enforcers, citizens, business owners, and communities should be on the front line in detection and prevention of the attacks. There is a need for awareness that protecting the country should be a shared responsibility where everyone should be informed of the threats that the country faces.
There is a need for technological advancement in detecting and preventing radiological, nuclear and biological threats. This should be applied at every point of entry and exit of the country. The country also needs to invest on disaster preparedness so that in the event of an attack; the damage and loss of lives are minimized (Blumenfeld, 2013). There is also need for a campaign to strengthen on the global security supply chain. The Homeland Security has applied this on most seaports, but there is the need for intensive screening at the boarders, airports, and any public facility.
In conclusion, the case against terrorism should be treated not only as a domestic issue but as a global issue. Countries need to work collaboratively on war against terrorism, and improve on fighting device and technology in detection of threats. Roth (2002) feels that there is also need for citizen awareness programs so that any suspected criminals can be brought into the book before they cause fear, threat or kill civilians.
Blumenfeld, T. (2013). Problems in FBI. Middle East Quarterly, Vol.20 (2).
Brill, L. (2003). Terrorism, Crowds and Power, and the Dogs of War. Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 76(1).
Claussen, D. S. (2013). The Terror Factory: Inside FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Journalism History, Vol. 39 (1).
Roth, K. (2002). Misplaced Priorities: Human Rights and the campaign against Terrorism (Perspectives). Harvard International Review, Vol. 24(3).