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Moreover, the media plays a significant role as well in recognizing terrorism. Due to the media tendencies of quickly abandoning the story once it had lost its drama, issues on terrorism becomes any other news story that could be just thrown away and be forgotten. Thus, it is not surprising then that people fail to appreciate its context, or see it as one part of a long-running historical struggle. (Jackson, 2002).
Aside from these all, there seems to be wrong allocation of resources and focus of the government. Admittedly, one of the hardest parts in combating any terrorist behaviors like bombings and massive killings is that it had become a part of a political issue. It had been become a political issue because politicians begin to make statements about it, and a national political issue when Presidents make statements about it. Only when there were already men who had been direct victims of terrorism that the politicians had tried to address the issues of terrorism. (Hewitt, 2002)
On the other hand, laws against terrorism had been implemented. They had given the police and the judges' new powers in order to fight terrorism. More money is being allocated to the security budget. After the various terrorism attacks in 1996, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Antiterrorism Bill, which granted the federal government new powers to deny entry to suspected terrorists, to deport aliens suspected of having terrorist ties, and to prosecute those who raised funds for terrorist groups. Clinton further proposed the strengthening and expansion of the wiretapping powers wherein the military will be allowed to exercise their authorities in domestic terrorism that involves biological and chemical weapons, as well as the tagging of materials that might be used to build explosive devices. But this proposal had been denied. An extra billion dollars was allocated to law enforcement agencies, and the guidelines for FBI action were relaxed. The FBI hired hundreds of new agents and, with this increased manpower, has increased its investigation of domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing from about 100 cases to over 900 (Hewitt, 2002)
The foundation of the United States counterterrorism policy, according to the U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, are embodied in four principles: the government makes no concessions to or agreements with terrorists; terrorists must be brought to justice for their crimes; states that sponsor terrorists and terrorism must be isolated and pressured so as to force a change of behavior; and the counterterrorism capabilities of countries allied with the United States, and those that require assistance in fighting terrorism, must be bolstered." (United States, 2006)
The United States policy on counter terrorism dates back from President William J. Clinton's Presidential Decision Degree (PDD) 39 in 1995 when he had first outlined the guiding principles in combating terrorism. It was only in 1998 though when he made specific the provisions for fighting terrorism which becomes the PD 62. It was only after the September 11 bombings when policies on the U.S. counterterrorism's face had changed considerably (United States, 2006). The Patriot Act was introduced as well as other measures that refocus on the FBI, the country's leading law enforcement organization. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other intelligence agencies were to share grand jury and wiretap information. The penalties for committing terrorist acts or even supporting them through sheltering or funding assistance have been increased. The Attorney general was at the same time given the power to detain non-citizens without charge, allows federal agents to use "roving wiretaps" whereby they can tap any phone that a suspect uses, and grants federal agents new powers of surveillance over internet and e-mail communications (Hewitt, 2002).
The Act created the foundation for a domestic intelligence-gathering system on a scale never before seen in the United States, and both conservatives and liberals criticized the bill as a threat to civil liberties. By an executive order President Bush created an Office of Homeland Security, and appointed Tom Ridge as director with the task of developing a national strategy and coordinating the domestic response to the terrorism threat. Later another executive order empowered the President to order military trials for international terrorists and their collaborators. Congress voted to increase spending on intelligence gathering by $1 billion over the previous year, although not all of this is directed against terrorism. (Hewitt, p. 115)
After the anthrax scare, the Senate introduced legislation providing an additional $3.2 billion to deal with the threat from bio-terrorism. Funding has increased from $4 billion in 1990 to $9.6 in 2001, and, adjusted for inflation, approximately $70 billion of federal money was spent on counterterrorism between 1990 and 2001, with a further $14.5 billion already budgeted for 2002. Figure 7.3, which shows the growth since 1990, provides an indicator of the growth of counter-terrorism as a political issue (Hewitt, 2002)
The United States had made a great deal of producing high power machines that would help them defend the country from any terrorist attacks. However, they had neglected the fact that terrorism could be on a small-scale basis such as the Anthrax issues that had spread a couple of years back. The over-emphasis on the mass destruction policies of the counter-terrorist attacks should be addressed such that the country may once again be an easy target for the terrorists.
Homeland Security agency was set up to fight terrorism threatening the home - the United States of America. An appointed political friend of the president acts as the head of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as its several agencies that were put under its jurisdiction. The department takes full responsibility of securing the safety of the Americans. On the other hand, their focuses were more on the different strategies in the country's readiness as to the attack of the terrorists. One of the department's largest divisions is the research and development program that aims at creating and innovating the most advanced weaponry that the country can use against terrorism attacks. The federal has been allocating huge amounts of the federal budget towards this division for it believes in the ability of science and technology to help fight against terrorism (Homeland Security, 2006).
However, although the purpose of the agency is truly defensive rather than offensive, there is still enough evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is but under funded. This problem of the agency had been going on since the first research and development department under the federal government had been established.
Research and development, which is but another branch of science and technology is recognized as the country's ultimate hope in fighting against terrorism. The R&D of science and technology department of the federal government as well as the research and development division of the homeland security had been identified as the most significant factor that would counter terrorism and provide national security.
Consequently, some evidences such as having port security has received only one-tenth the amount that the Coast Guard says is needed. A major weakness in home security is the desperate financial position of state and local governments. Because of the limited budget provided by them by the government due to the poor economic conditions of the country as well as the dying up federal grants, they have been forced to reduce expenditures not only for education and welfare, but also for police and fire departments. T he latter are the first line of defense against terrorism on mainland America, and their dangerous financial position is related to the federal tax cuts, favorite items in the domestic agenda of the Bush administration which favors tax breaks for the rich as a way of stimulating the economy (Gareau, 2004).
The negligence on the part of the United States regarding bombings and other forms of terrorist attacks could be pointed out as the main cause of its inability to prevent it. However, according to Jackson (2002), terrorism can never be totally defeated. It can never be eliminated or suppressed by any society. Terrorism is similar to an organized crime that can never be overcome. No other measure can ever stop it, however it can be lessened (Jackson, 2002).
There are two general points that should be made about Oklahoma bombing and all other forms of deadly attacks in America. First, counterterrorism policy should not overemphasize weapons of mass destruction and spectacular events. Most terrorism is small-scale, carried out by a handful of people or even a single individual. Most terrorist attacks result in minor damage, and usually cause no fatalities. Bombing casualties overall are minor compared with those caused by other natural and social disasters. Second, although the Oklahoma City bombing was followed by a resolve to crush terrorism wherever it existed, history suggests that complete victory is unlikely (Hewitt, 2002)
The more that the country insists on finding measures of totally suppressing terrorism, the more that the country might be neglecting other areas that could have at least prepared itself from being once…[continue]
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