INTRO: Given recent events, it would be impossible to write this essay without first acknowledging the biggest victory in the War on Terror since its inception, the targeted assassination of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALS. With the kingpin of al-Qaeda, and mastermind behind the September 11 attacks on the United States, officially out of the picture, the world is a better place. Yet, a "better" place does not necessarily mean a "safer" place. There are still radicals and Islamic fundamentalists (Jihadists and Ba'athists) and enemies of the United States who would like to see this country suffer and who will stop at nothing to see their terrorist plans actualized. In short, the world is still a dangerous place. With that in mind we must continue to safeguard this country from terrorist attacks and it is the thesis of this essay to investigate ways in which we can effectively fight the war on terror and ultimately prevent another 9/11.
Know Thine Enemy
PREMISE: The War on Terror is a complex and difficult war, unprecedented really. We are fighting an enemy that is relatively inconspicuous yet ubiquitous, present even on our own soil. As a result, we learn that to effectively fight terrorism and prevent another 9/11, we must first identify the enemy.
EVIDENCE: Like Vietnam where our soldiers had difficulty differentiating the Viet Kong from the local villagers, in the War on Terror our enemies are just as adept at blending in to their surroundings and assimilating into a foreign culture. This is why it is paramount that we pinpoint exactly who they are, using as much detail as we can possibly find.
President Bush did a good job of identifying who are enemies are on the governmental level. President Bush looked to his staff and used his resources and Intel to demarcate precisely who the enemy was. After conferring with former CIA director R. James Woolsey, President Bush had a definitive understanding of who the enemy was. The Bush doctrine identified Jihadists, Syrian and Iraqi Ba'athists, as well as Iranian clerics.
By removing as much ambiguity from the situation as possible, the Bush Administration could then set up clear directives on how to initiate attacks that would kill and eliminate those terrorist organizations. Of course, before direct action can be taken the use of force must be set against the framework of international law, acknowledging the complexity of the War on Terror and the simple fact that the U.S. does not exist in a vacuum.
CONCLUSION: In Conclusion, the first steps in preventing another terrorist attack is to continually ensure that the enemy is clearly identified. And this, despite being rather obvious, is not as easy as one might think, consider what has happened in the past week and how that may have impacted our relationships in the international community, for instance, we don't know what the blowback will be from our covert military operations in Pakistan. We may have made new enemies. Which is why it is critical that the U.S. continue to identify who is, and isn't, an enemy, while also being mindful that its judgments, determinations and actions against these enemies have repercussions throughout the international system.
A Friend of an Enemy is an Enemy
PREMISE: Once an enemy has been clearly identified, and once there's been deliberation over how pursuing the enemy will impact the international community, the next step to preventing another 9/11 is to go after states that sponsor, whether overtly or covertly, terrorist activity. As President Bush said On September 20, 2001, "Those who harbor terrorists are terrorists." - YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE THIS QUOTE?
EVIDENCE: There are really two different ways to go after those states that sponsor terrorists, carrots or sticks. Carrots are incentives (aid, resources, etc.) to comply with and work with the U.S., whereas sticks are punitive measures (sanctions, military force) to enforce cooperation.
One of the most successful approaches to thwart terrorism is a stick-based approach, highlighted in the Bush doctrine, known as anticipatory self-defense. Essentially, a proactive instead of reactive approach which puts the U.S. On offense against terrorism. Part of this approach hinges on the idea of turning friends into enemies vis a vis nation building and the democratization of failed states.
Two great examples of anticipatory self-defense are the War in Iraq and the War in…