Coercion As an Instrument of Counterterrorism Policy Essay

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Coercion as an Instrument of Counterterrorism Policy

What advantages disadvantages coercion force instrument counterterrorism policy? Explain giving suitable examples. 1500 words subject terrorism a globalised world

The use of force to make a person or community behave in an unwilling manner is referred to as coercion. Using intimidation, threats, or any form of force or pressure are some of the methods an individual can be coerced onto doing something involuntarily. Coercion methods are used for leverage, mainly to force a person to behave in the desired manner. During coercion physical injury or pain may be involved or it may be in the form of psychological harm. These actions are taken for enhancing the threats credibility. Obedience and cooperation of the individual can be achieved by, threatening further harm Airaksinen, 1988.

An extreme form of coercion is torture. Torture involves the infliction of severe pain on an individual until they give out the information desired.

There are various forms of coercion namely, physical, psychological, social, and legal. The most commonly used form of coercion is physical. In this form of coercion, an individual is threatened by using force on them, threatening their loved ones or their property. Physical coercion can also involve harming the individual though it does not result to destruction or death. Psychological coercion involves using blackmail to get an individual to cooperate. The most renowned example of psychological coercion was in China in 1951-1952. This happened during the campaign referred to as Thought Reform and was carried out in universities and prisons. Legal coercion is lawful force or pressure used on an individual to get them to cooperate with an investigation. The threats include using harsh penalty threats, or offer for the charges been dropped. Social coercion involves the fear of falling out with a certain group, and this makes individual do things out of fear.

The use of systematic terror for coercion is referred to as terrorism. There is no agreed upon definition for terrorism globally. The violent events that are intended to generate fear in people because of their religion, ideological, or political standings are referred to as terrorism. The term is emotionally and politically charged, and this makes it even harder to define the terminology. The use of force by one's state can be described as terrorism by other states, and this makes the term more controversial.

Advantages of using coercion

To counterterrorism, the military employs some form of coercion on its enemies. The continuous bombing of terrorist camps, which result in killing and capturing of the terrorist leaders, is a good example of physical coercion. This type of coercion makes the nation be seen as strong, and instills fear in the other terrorist nation. It also keeps the terrorist off balance and it is successful in disrupting their efforts. The continuous destruction of enemy camps and bases renders them in active and can be viewed as a coercion measure. This is because, the enemy will start feeling the pressure and change their behavior as they will continuously fear that their bases will be attacked, thus, making them start strategizing afresh if they will find a base that will not be attacked.

The captured leaders or individuals are coerced into giving out more information about any plans the terrorists had. The individuals can be either tortured until they provide the information or give out details of where their leaders are hiding Gunderson, 1979.

Other coercion methods can be used before torture is applied, only if the methods do not work is torture employed. Every individual or leader has a breaking point, in the fight against terrorism these individuals can be coerced until they break. All that is needed is an establishment of their breaking point. Using coercion the government can be able to find terrorism information before the event takes place.

Coercion power can also make the government be perceived to be more powerful than it actual is, which would become a psychological coercion against the terrorists. Playing on the psychologists minds and making them think the nation is well protected than it actually is confuses the terrorists and their plans get shelved. Influencing the terrorists' emotions, opinions, behavior, and attitude by using psychological actions and propaganda can help counter terrorism Shimon, 2000.

For example, during the World War II propaganda was spread by Adolf Hitler by using microphone technology that made him look messianic thus exaggerating his presence. The British also used Radio broadcasts to spread propaganda. The propaganda was used to weaken the German troop's morale. In psychological coercion, one can use white, grey or black coercion. White coercion is mostly composed of truthful information that is not strongly biased and the source of this information can be acknowledged. Grey coercion involves using information that is mostly truthful, but the information cannot be proven to be wrong and the source is never identified. Black coercion contains information that is deceitful, and the credited information source is not responsible for the information.

Legally prosecuting the captured suspected terrorists creates fear among other terrorists. The prosecution and sentencing to the highest punishable by law ensures that the other terrorist get to hear about this, and some might change their tactics and behavior. Also by threatening the captured terrorists by using the law and encouraging them to disclose their secrets is another advantage of coercion. The information gathered from them can be used to counter any terrorism activity. To encourage them to talk they can be promised reduced sentences or dropping of the charges if they cooperate fully. The captured individuals can also be interrogated under the law and information derived from them either willingly or through coercion.

Disadvantages of using coercion

Coercing an individual to provide information may lead to wrong information being provided with the intent of leading the authorities into a trap. This may lead to an ambush which may be severe and leads to the loss of lives. The soldiers who would be acting on the information, may find themselves trapped, and they end up been victims of the terror groups they were trying to fight in the first place. Ascertaining the information provided by the individual would be very important before any action is taken to ensure it is truthful. Terrorists are trained to endure any form of coercion and this ensures they can withstand coercion in the eventuality of them been captured.

Torturing an individual with the intent of getting information from them or wanting them to behave differently, may not work as intended. The individual may not withstand the torture, and this may lead to their death. This would make the coercion unsuccessful as they would not gain the required information or get to change the individual's behavior. The effect of the person's death after torturing may lead to more serious retaliation from the terrorists and other nations, as they would be perceiving the torturing nation as been terrorists themselves. This creates more tension and less coordination between the different nations.

Bombing of terrorist camps and dissuading them from establishing new camps is considered to be a psychological coercion, the continuous attacking of the bases may lead civilian casualties and loss of lives. The civilians injured will need medical care, and the nation would have to foot this bill, and this would increase the cost incurred in fighting terrorists. Innocent civilians injured in the process of fighting terrorism lead to reduced support from other nations. Therefore, physical coercion may lead to unintended outcomes and less support from other nations. The use of drones in the fight against al-Qaida by President Barack Obama is quite indiscriminate, and it might lead to political instability and creation of terrorist safe havens.

The law is very clear that an individual's rights should not be disrespected. This applies no matter the crime the person has committed. Any interrogation that takes place should happen in the presence of the individual's lawyer Gupta, Singh, & Sprague, 1993.

Gaining information from a suspected terrorist without their attorney's presence could make the information in admissible in court as they could argue they were forced to provide the information or the information was provided under duress. The individual could then be set free as they would not have a case against them. This would be a win for the terror groups as they would not lose the individual. In the eventuality the individual is set free they would rejoin their group, and they would use the coercion methods used on themselves to train others on methods of withstanding coercion. With the training, the terrorists would be better placed to withstand any tactics employed while seeking to get information from them.

Giving an individual a plea bargain can make the state look lenient to terror suspects and it could be perceived as unwilling to fight terrorism. Though the information provided may be reliable, the state has to ensure it shows other terrorists that it is not lenient to them when they are captured. The reduced sentence should be harsh and…

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