Socio-Political Factors of 911: Motivations and Responses
Whereas terrorism against American targets abroad has been all too common, most Americans have tended to believe themselves safe from such horrors at home. However, September-11 terrorists' attack on World Trade Center at New York ended this illusion (White, 2003).
To end the threat of terrorism against the American people, we must know the true reason why we American are so hated in other parts of the world. Modern technology makes mass murder and terrorism so ridiculously easy that just about anyone can do it. Terrorism cannot be stopped by military might. In fact, we are already witnessing the sign of enough worldwide hatred against America to give rise to a thousand new terrorists for every one terrorist we kill. We must not blame Muslims or Arabs in general for the Sept.11th attack. The criminals are those people who are trained in a value system that is foreign to any religion, and dangerous to our freedom and way of life. If Americans are to avoid being made the villains in the Middle East, and heal the region, changes must be made in our foreign policy.
First, we must insist that Israel and Palestine make peace. Currently, we are financing the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and that is the chief pretext used by fanatics to preach hatred for America. The Palestinians, of course, have been the greatest victims of this half a century of Israeli terror (Ennes, 1979). Second, we must remove U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia. They once served the purpose of protecting that nation from attack by Saddam Hussein, but that is no longer an imminent threat. Some powerful people there support terrorists against the U.S.A. And the fact reveals that the Saudis are not reliable allies and we shouldn't support them or other despotic governments in the area. Third, we must switch to greater use of alternative energy here in the U.S.A., and otherwise make ourselves independent of Middle East oil. Our presence in Middle East is seen, rightly or wrongly, as supportive of repressive regimes in the area such as Saudi Arabia, because we need their oil. Fourth, the government should hire skilled American ad agencies to foster good will towards the U.S.A. At the same time, we need to counteract the influence of the terrorist training schools instituted by fanatics in Pakistan and other places, or try to shut them down. (McGhie, 2004).
Since September 11, America has been on a war footing, with armed soldiers standing guard at our nation's airports, enhanced security at nuclear power plants and other vulnerable locations, and military jets flying combat air patrols in order to intercept and shoot down hijacked commercial aircraft. The legal climate has also been affected by the events of September 11. The President has announced that suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens may be tried in special military tribunals lacking many of the due process standards of American criminal courts. For example, Ejaz Haider -- the editor of one of Pakistan's most influential newspapers and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution -- was stopped outside the Washington think tank by two armed, plainclothes officers from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Haider had originally been invited to the United States by the State Department for a conference on U.S.-Pakistan relations. Yet he was arrested and interrogated for hours. Now something is required of visitors from many Muslim countries to the United States as part of a stringent set of immigration restrictions that have been imposed since the September 11, 2001, attacks. It reveals a disturbing pattern that has emerged in the year and a half since America was first attacked by terrorists: the U.S. government has begun to impose highly restrictive regulations on visitors from Muslim lands, restrictions that have had the primary effect of telling men like Ejaz Haider -- potential friends and supporters of the United States -- that they are no longer wanted in the country. A huge source of goodwill is thus being wasted. The irony of this new policy is that the United States' openness to outsiders has long been the foundation of the country's economic and social fabric. No other nation has a history of being as welcoming to outsiders as the United States. This trait has been a source of America's greatness and of much of the foreign goodwill toward the United States. Erecting walls to keep out people of the Muslim faith will obscure that vision of America as a shining beacon on a hill. And that is something neither the United States nor the world at large can afford (White, 2003).
Also, Washington's present homeland security policy, shaped by panic-driven regulations on ill-crafted mandates, is undermining this openness and harming America's broader foreign policy. The Patriot Act was a response to the trauma of the September 11 attacks and to the fact that some of the hijackers had entered the country on student visas to attend U.S. flight schools. The new legislation was part of an effort to start better vetting and monitoring of foreign visitors, including students and scholars attending American schools. A Web-based tracking and reporting system is being established to allow the INS to monitor the status of all foreign students. All nonimmigrant visitors and green-card holders must now report changes of address to the INS. Finally, and most controversially, all nonimmigrant male visitors between the ages of 16 and 45 from certain countries have been required to register with INS offices. Rather than combating the growing radicalism and anti-Americanism of many Muslim youths around the world, the stringent new visa policies are only feeding such resentment. At a time when the United States needs pro-American ambassadors more than ever, its government seems bent on turning away the next generation of them. Meanwhile, most U.S. universities, schools, and national associations have encountered several bureaucratic and logistical problems and have been unable to computerize their databases within the mandated time period. Many of the required technical and logistical elements, including the underlying databases, simply do not exist. To make matters worse, INS officials are required to physically visit and re-certify every one of the thousands of American schools accepting foreign students, at a time when the agency is already stretched thin. The damaging effects of the new system have already begun to be felt across the U.S. educational system and beyond. According to the Association of American Universities, the unintended consequences of the new visa screening requirements have included a massive decrease in the number of foreign students from Muslim states, scores of foreign faculty being unavailable to teach courses, scientific research projects becoming delayed or derailed, and businesses moving trade elsewhere (Ajami, 2002).
Currently local police officers have the exclusive charge to respond to and handle any attacks within the rubric of state and federal statutes that forbid assault, murder, the possession of specific sorts of weapons, etc. A cursory look at law enforcement capabilities to protect innocents should a group of terrorists conduct a military-style assault, however, indicates that the police might be quickly overmatched.
The Justice Department has obtained broad discretion in the use of wiretaps and other surveillance techniques to track suspected terrorists and spies. The three-judge panel said the expanded wiretap guidelines sought by Attorney General John Ashcroft under the new USA Patriot Act law do not violate the Constitution.
There have been several other changes in the lives of the people after September-- 11 terrorist attack. For example, So much donated blood was wasted after last year's Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that U.S. blood banks have struck a special task force to ensure that it doesn't happen again. More than 200-000 units of whole blood had to be thrown away after Americans donated 500-000 extra units in September and October. Donated blood is discarded if it remains unused after 42 days (Paden and Singer, 2003).
Ironically, donations in the U.S. has since turned into a drought that was caused, at least in part, by news that so much blood was wasted and that fewer than 260 units were actually needed to treat victims of the attacks in New York and Washington. The task force has responded with a call for multiyear awareness campaigns that emphasize the need for donors to make regular, periodic blood donations instead of responding once to a single emergency. It also says that all blood banks should keep a minimum 7-day supply of red blood cells in all communities at all times.
To increase the fear of American citizen, the 7-month-old son of an ABC News producer was infected by the deadly germ -- possibly during a visit to the network's offices in New York City. It is no wonder that we are experiencing an unprecedented degree of apprehension. And yet experts say that as much concern as there may be, many of our fears are unfounded -- and there are signs that Americans are finding ways to cope.