Terrorism refers to those violent actions that are for causing fear (Hoffmann 120). The terrorism actions are commonly from a political or emotional point of view. Political violence intends to bring fear to civilians through violent discrimination and destruction of the targets. The intention of the terrorists is to influence the media to publicize the attack to destroy the political picture of the target. Terrorists’ attacks have adverse effects on large audiences, and they cause severe and deep psychological effects. Often, terrorist acts have a political aim where the attackers intend to effect a certain change in that manner. The victims of terrorism suffer because they are targets who terrorists intend to have their demands met through them. This is by instilling fear in the target audience and meeting their political or religious demands.
The 9-11 attacks were acts of terrorism. The al Qaeda organized these suicide attacks targeting the United States (Selden 67). The al Qaeda took control of four passenger jet airliners, and deliberately crashed two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Within two hours, the towers fell. They demolished buildings that were nearby and shook other building close to them. Many people working in the building lost their lives that day. Those on the airliners also lost their lives in the terrorist attack. According to the ZCommunications magazine,Selden notes that the third airliner crashed into the Pentagon whiles the fourth into a field near Shanksville without having any survivors (45). The casualties who died in this attack were mainly civilians of the United States and of other nations. The main drive for these attacks was because of the U.S. troops presence in Saudi Arabia, their support for Israel, and their approval against Iraq (Enders and Sandler 260). The United States suspected al Qaeda led by its principal Osama bin Laden as the initiators of the attack. It was after this attack that the United States launched its War on Terrorism.
The September 2011 attacks had instant and adverse effects on the American people. This offensive operation resulted in many orphans and deaths. There was need for blood donors to donate blood to take care of those injured during the attack. Investigations began to find out if Iraq was part of the attacks. There was also evidence that the target for the attacks was on NATO countries. The Afghanistan war arose in 2001 targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda groups (Enders and Sandler 261). This was after American and British forces initiating their aerial bombings. Americans managed to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, which was a major step for Americans in the war against terrorism. Other nations with their own intrinsic struggles with the religious terrorism also expanded their armed forces to prepare themselves for war. From the start of the American international war on terrorism, the focus on Al-Qaeda and Osama-bin-Laden has been on the decrease. The U.S. government killed hundreds of Osama’s personnel in the Afghan war. An example of top officials of the association killed or captured include: Atef Mohammed and Zubaydah Abu. On the other hand, the few personnel are on the list of capture and one of them is Zarqawi Musab (Hoffman 123). However, despite the attack on most of its officials, the al-Qaeda association continues to work in a more devolved system.
Globally, terrorism is worse since September 11 attacks in America on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Before the 9/11 attacks, the average attacks done then were violent and extreme. It is now normal to find many violent attacks all over the world, which just pass without most nations considering them as extreme. Terrorism is the order of the day and the situation is likely to persist in the future. The fact is proved in the database of terrorism which is maintained by Rand Corporation (Selden 56). The American division of Homeland Security finances this organization to maintain this database. The database includes both national and global terrorism occurrences. For instance, the average monthly increase in the rate of terrorism fatalities is 150 per cent (Selden 59). This is the increment rate for about fifty-nine months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. A large percentage of terrorism relates to the Iraq war, but not all the activities relate to Iraq. Without considering the terrorist activities of Iraq, there is an average monthly increase of 10% or more for the period after 9/11 in terrorism fatalities.
The 9/11 attacks are the main reference point for terrorism incidences. The 9/11 event exhibited how the terrorists were in terms of organization, ability, and movement when carrying out the plot. Therefore, when the period after the 9/11 incidence is divided into two, it can be noticed that fatalities in the second half were more than in the first half. “There are approximately 5177 terrorism deaths in the second half compared to only 4772 mortalities in the first half (Hoffman 212).” This trend shows that the terrorism activities are not diminishing in any way. The American intelligence department refers to after 9/11 wars as a major contributor to the terrorism activities and capabilities. Iraq is the main point of training terrorists who then spread out to other countries to undertake terrorism activities. According to Selden, the various types of terrorism activities include suicide bombings, use of remote control bombs, kidnappings and assassinations (51). The major bombings in Madrid in 2004 and the attempted London bombing of July 21, 2005 are part of terrorism activities since the September 11 attacks. These bombings came after the commencement of the Iraqi war and they were the worst to happen since the 9/11 attacks.
During election campaigns, the combating terrorism is a prime issue. Most presidential aspirants will promise to deal with terrorism activities and eliminate their leader. President Obama is one leader fighting terrorism within his jurisdiction to the core. One of his major successes is the killing of the al-Qaeda principal, Osama bin Laden. This achievement is a big step on the war against terrorism from the 9/11 attacks. Before this attack, it was not common to hear Presidential aspirants promising to end the terrorism reigns. This is because the terrorists groups did not have elaborate organizations, and the groups were on the initial stages of their operations. The war on terrorism before the September 11 attacks was hardly evident.
The devastating effects after 9/11 are the major drive for political parties to rouse forcefully public opinion in support of America’s war agenda. The main aim of this war on terrorism is to destroy bogus states and Islamic terrorists who pose as a threat to Homeland security (Enders and Sandler 270). The fighting terrorism since 9/11 signals an upcoming social and economic crisis together with increased levels of poverty and unemployment. This is unlike the period prior to the 9/11 attacks. The focus was more on raising the social and economic status of the country, but not on fighting terrorism. This changed with the attack with more resources diverted to the battle against terrorism. The decline in economic activity that the United States is experiencing is because of the impacts of terrorism. The Americans are aware of an outside enemy, the al-Qaeda, which is threatening their country and the rest of the world. With this fear instilled, it is likely that more funds will involve fighting terrorism than improving the economy of the country.
The terrorism after the 9/11 attacks is adverse because of the effects of the World Wars before this time. The American and the Japanese were the major instigators of these wars where they fought other weaker nations. This war led to the emergence of terrorists groups, which arranged the attack of September 11. This was the beginning of contemporary terrorism, which targets the powerful nations such as the United States.
The invention of al-Qaeda as an association supporting terrorism in the world and training service men is traceable back to the Soviet war that happened in Afghanistan (Hoffman 140). During this time, Osama Sponsored and later formed the al-Qaeda terrorist group whose main operations were in Afghanistan. This was because in Afghanistan, the Islamist government of Taliban had power in that country. Before the U.S. attacks on September 11, there were other attacks targeting the operations of the United States. These include the explosions of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the year 1998. These bombings led to the launching of the Operation Infinite, which was a military procedure on explosions aimed at US citizens. In the year 2000, there was also attack plans before the 9/11 attacks, which was an endeavor to attack the Los Angeles International Airport. The fight on terror began even before the 9/11 attacks. The goal was to pass laws that would freeze the property of terrorist members and their countries, and conduct the forces of government against them.
Since the September 11 attacks, the al-Qaeda terrorist group and other primary Islamic groups have been prosperous on several major attacks compared to a few that were unsuccessful. The various major terrorist attacks are: the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia, and the 2004 Madrid train attacks. The Madrid train attack in 2004 consisted of a series of planned attacks against the commuter transport system. The Spanish courts linked this attack to al-Qaeda though there was no direct involvement of the terrorist group. The terrorist activity happened three-days before Spain’s main elections and left 191 people dead with 1800 others fatally injured. The event occurred on March 11th the year 2004 where four trains traveling on the same line were exploded in the early morning. Thirteen makeshift explosive gadgets positioned in the trains resulted in the carnage. The aftermath of this bombing was street protest against the attacks in a state-organized demonstration. The effects of the attack had a political, national and international impact.
Among the unsuccessful attacks, include the 2010 Times Square car-bombing attempt (Enders, and Sandler 275). This attack failed when two street sellers noticed the car bomb and informed a patrol officer about it. The bomb failed to explode and police disarmed it before causing injuries to civilians. The attack linked a Pakistani of 30 years who admitted to carrying out the car bombing. This young man had trained at a Pakistani terrorist training site according to the U.S. officials. The U.S. warned of adverse results for any attempt of the kind again. The Pakistani was sentenced to life in prison. Other unsuccessful attacks include the current Manhattan terrorism plot and the Dearborn mosque-bombing scheme.
Terrorism can leave any nation greatly divided. It is a never-ending struggle hence requiring political and popular will in order to combat the trend. It is usually a designed, intended and well thought out attack. The challenge in analyzing terrorism is in identifying the aspects that provoke terrorists, and animate terrorism. To eradicate terrorism effectively, it is vital to understand terrorist procedures, their origin, and their motivation in the present world. Terrorism targets a certain audience to cause psychological effects such as fear and intimidation. The United States and all other democratic countries that cherish freedom and fundamental civil rights will always be targets to terrorism. For the United States, it is because of the hatred felt towards it, which is not likely to diminish in the future. It is clear that terrorism is worse since the 9/11 attack, and strategies are in place to end terrorism. These strategies need clear guidelines to ensure that the fight against terrorism is successful.
Enders, Walter, and Sandler, Todd. “After 9/11. Is it all Different Now?” Journal of Conflict
Resolution, 49.2 (2005): 259-277.
Hoffman, Bruce. Rethinking Terrorism and Counterterrorism Since9/11.Arlington, VA:
Taylor & Francis. Print. 2002.
Selden, Mark. “Terrorism Before and After 9-11”. ZCommunications, September 09, 2002.