Mutually Assured Destruction By Terrorism Essay, Research Paper
Mutually Assured Destruction by Terrorism
The year is 1999. The Cold War has been over for more than a decade and for the first time in a half-century, the world is free from the spectre of nuclear apocalypse. It should be a time of peace and prosperity, but all over the globe the embers of old animosities have been fanned to flame…. (Clancy 1).
Now the world must face a new fear. Not one of Armageddon or mutually assured destruction, but one of terror. Sane politicians no longer hold the key to the destruction of the world. We must now be wary of crazed lunatics with guns, bombs and religious fallacies filling their heads. They hold the key, and are very willing to use it. Increasing terrorist activity, the flourishing terrorist industry, the growth of the nuclear black market, and nuclear testing by rogue states have become the most prominent threat to our national security in the post-cold war global community. Our military faces many problems such as the inefficient use of funds, inadequate training of forces, and restricted international authority, which limit our ability to eliminate these threats effectively.
Between 1894 and 1901, five world leaders were killed by terrorists including the U.S. president, William McKinley. Terrorism had become the top priority to politicians, police chiefs, and writers. In the past century it should have become a top priority to every law-abiding citizen on the face of the earth (Laqueur 1).
Defense Secretary, William Cohen warns, New threats and dangers, harder to define and more difficult to track, have gathered on the horizon (Knight 32). Over the last fifty years, we have seen aggressive, terrorist-like movements grow at a very frightening rate. These groups include religious fundamentalists, fascists, and apocalyptic millenarians. Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Queda, Aum Shinrikyo, the Branch Davidians, and the Baader-Meinhof gang are examples of highly malicious terrorist groups. They have attacked hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Many of these groups are overlooked because they hide behind legitimate companies and associations and seem harmless (Laqueur 1). Then they come out of hiding to attack subways, schools, and offices because of their beliefs. They become so involved with their cause that they set aside their humanity. These so-called harmless terrorists are turning terrorism into the substitute for wars in this new world disorder (Hillen 1).
Terrorism has become such a problem that the United States State Department has a specific definition: premeditated, politically or religiously motivated violence that is perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or agents; usually intended to inflict fear of influence and audience (Global A1). There are many other sources that agree with the State Department s view. Most of these definitions do not show the extent of the problem (Laqueur 1). However, terrorism is not just a problem; it has become an international industry (Clancy 1).
One entrepreneur that has helped the industry to grow is the globally feared and hated, Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is claimed to be responsible for the World Trade Center bombing and the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He has followers around the world ready to help carry out his private jihad or holy war. Funding for his group comes from his family fortune. With most of the $200 million he controls lost in foreign accounts and bogus front organizations in the U. S., his financial transactions go virtually unnoticed (Vistica 1).
He operates training camps to prepare his elusive followers for their missions. In these training camps, his agents are taught the following: how to create fake passports and documents, the use of basic covert communication, and the use of small arms and explosives. These organizations and the multinational intelligence network that he has built up create an extensive shield for bin Laden (Smyth 2).
Though the CIA has been shadowing bin Laden for nearly four years and has his profile memorized, it still didn t receive the slightest warning about the attacks on Kenya and Tanzania, which killed over 250 people (Vistica 1). Bin Laden has supposedly spent $15 million on Semtex explosives from Czechoslovakia, which are thought to have been used in these bombings. Other weapons and munitions are imported or smuggled from China, Iran, and Russia (Smyth 2). Terrorists around the globe are able to access money and resources just as easily through front organizations, global access to the Internet, and the black market (Clancy 1). We can t allow this to go on.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, everyone felt safe because the cold war was over. Russian communist leaders no longer had the power to wipe out America. Russia was in the hands of sane people who wanted capitalism to flourish. The Doomsday Clock had supposedly stopped (Elliot 18). This couldn t be further from the truth. The chance of nuclear materials, information, conventional weapons, and military experts and engineers falling into the wrong hands has never been greater (Wilkie 1).
In the past years, over 1,000 documented reports of nuclear materials being smuggled out of Russia have surfaced. Although only six have been verified as actually being nuclear weapons material, it s still enough to cause concern. According to Phil Williams, an expert on international crime at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, in almost all illicit markets, only the tip of the iceberg is visible (Wilkie 1). Nuclear materials make up only a portion of the terrorist black market. Almost any type of weapon or technology imaginable can be found for sale (Clancy 1).
Many skeptics believe that while materials can be smuggled, the danger is negligible because of the difficulty of making a nuclear bomb (Wilkie 1). However, terrorists possessing modern weapons-grade uranium would have a better than average chance of creating an explosion just by dropping one half onto the other (Alvaro 1). Also, with the rapidly growing Internet, plans for nuclear weapons are readily available. The secrets of atomic science have been revealed to the world (Wilkie 1). A good physics degree and access to a technical library are all that is needed to produce a design for nuclear fission weapons or even thermonuclear weapons within six months (Alvaro 1). Fortunately, making a nuclear weapon is considerably more difficult than designing them (Wilkie 1). Yet, even the engineering can be bought on the nuclear black market.
While capitalism in Russia is struggling, the military, which was once considered equal or better than its American counterpart, is in shambles. Morale amongst the Russian people is low and money is scarce. Scientists that developed rocket engines and other nuclear and military technology for the great Soviet arsenal now make battery-powered toys for $10 to $15 a month (Elliot 19). The protectors of that arsenal also work for low wages and have lost faith in their motherland. With so little to stand for and hungry mouths to feed, it s easy to see why it won t take much to bribe these people into aiding terrorist groups or just to look the other way.
The smuggling of nuclear materials isn t the only problem. With the economy of the former Soviet states at an all time low, many are very willing to sell their stockpiles of weapons and materials to rogue states or to countries that are known to support terrorism in order to generate income. These former Soviet states, which include Kazakstan and the Ukraine, control approximately 30,000 nuclear weapons and 3,200 strategic nuclear warheads (Alvaro 1). Over 1,800 of these are located in the Ukraine making it the world s third largest nuclear power (Elliot 19). This also makes the Ukraine the wholesale department store of the nuclear black market. The weapons contained in the three most powerful nuclear nations, the United States, Russia, and the Ukraine, thankfully, may never be used, because of nuclear test bans and the diminishing fear of mutually assured destruction.
The great Cold War arms race ended only to bring on a new arms race in eastern Asia. Recent tests by India and Pakistan, two Asian nations that struggle often over boundaries and religious differences, have jump-started a new nuclear scare. These flagrant disregards to nuclear test bans may cause other, more volatile nations to go nuclear or begin testing again. Many of these nations are terrorist supporting nations such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea (Smith 1). The new proliferation developments give them an easy way out if they break the test ban treaty by saying they want to be able to defend themselves against these new nuclear states. When they do, the United States will issue economic sanctions against these countries, which do not effect terrorists at all because of their front organizations in other countries. These fronts allow them to keep money flowing to their programs (Morrison 37). When the sanctions don t work, the U.S. then tries to solve the conflict by threatening the use of military force. With the most powerful military in the world, solving conflicts should not be a problem for the U.S. But, repeated misusage of funds, people and resources have kept this from happening.
The Pentagon wants to increase its $50 billion budget because of the war scares in eastern Asia. The proposed increase would come to an estimated $64 billion by the year 2003 (Crock 1). What this money should be used on is a debate that should not even be taking place among Pentagon officials. Megaprojects, such as the new F-22 fighter, the Sea Wolf submarine, and the upgrading of the entire carrier fleet, are too costly to be taken on all at once and possibly not needed at all (Crock 1). A major increase in the defense budget isn t what s needed. To take on the two main challenges of the post-Cold War era, nuclear proliferation by rogue states and terrorism, the military must simply adjust its funding, manpower, and resources.
Officials are wasting money on the outdated navy and Marine Corps. The navy and Marine Corps cost two to three times more than the air force and army to keep and procure. The air force can send a squadron anywhere in the world within 24 hours, whereas, a carrier would take a week to arrive and begin operations. No country in their right mind would put their air force up against ours. They will simply use ballistic missiles to strike our command centers and intelligence bases. In order to prevent this, money must be spent on missile-defense systems (Odom 1).
Many Pentagon officials want to spend more on the Marine Corps in the long run. Meanwhile, the army has more logistical long-range power than the marines and can have a mechanized force airlifted anywhere in the world in 24 hours (Odom 1). Yet, even with this power we cannot get terrorist leaders and rogue statesmen to back down. This is because of all the problems caused by large-scale attacks (Ledeen 220).
Large-scale attacks are always known or seen before they happen. We cannot just openly attack terrorist groups in countries they are known to hide in because of the implications by governments of the surrounding countries. There is a country in almost every part of the world that would make our attack more difficult to carry out (Maynes 1). They come to false conclusions about our reasoning for the attack and then the whole world, including our own citizens, morally condemns our action. This is precisely what happened when we attacked bin Laden s terrorist installations in Sudan and Afghanistan, after the American embassy bombings. If we turn against ourselves, then terrorists will be encouraged to strike again. We must be strong, steady, determined, and united in the face of terrorism (Shultz 203). It is not morally wrong to defend ourselves from terrorism (Ledeen 220).
Military missions are also plagued by society s expectation of a perfect mission with no American losses, which is what happened with the U.S. involvement in Somalia. According to CIA sources, the U.S. killed between 7,000 and 10,000 Somali rebels. The U.S. withdrew because of civilian pressure after only 34 American lives were lost (Maynes 1). That s close to a 99.6 % kill-to-loss ratio. These high standards come close to encouraging failure and do not aid in deterring terrorist groups (Ledeen 221). In order to defeat and deter terrorist groups, we must exhibit the one virtue that can combat fear: courage. Civil valor is a key part of this war. Citizens should be prepared to endure sacrifice and immeasurable pain (Netanyahu 189).
The answer to the problem of terrorism is the defensive use of small scale, covert action (Ledeen 220); an elite special forces team that specializes in counterterrorism (Clancy 1). The team would be composed of the best of the best; experts and commandos would come from the best agencies in the world. The CIA, SAS, M-5, FBI, and the DGSE would be just a few of the participating agencies. They would send their top-notch experts to fight terrorism on an international level. Training to the edge of their abilities with virtual reality training software and real-time hostage scenarios, taking out terrorists would become second nature to them. State-of-the-art equipment and weapons would be needed before they are to be released to the military community (Clancy 1). This would give them a profound edge over any group in the world.
Of course all of their training is wasted without secrecy (Ledeen 220). This international counterterrorist unit would have to be a black operation or classified as top secret. Only the most senior government officials would be privileged to its existence (Clancy 1). This secrecy is needed to protect those soldiers and their families who are involved in the operation and to those who order the operation. Secrecy can also add to the deterrence of terrorism because the terrorist doesn t know what he or she is up against. We want them to think twice because of an unknown force that sweeps down on its adversaries like the wrath of God.
The international aspect of the team members is another key to worldwide operation. The United Nations and NATO would control the team to ensure their neutrality and would allow the team to be accepted into almost any country. The restrictions of a large-scale attack do not apply to a team of commandos who are recognized by nearly every country as the best. They can attack swiftly and silently because they don t have to go through any bureaucratic processes in order to deploy. They would have the ability to attack terrorism wherever it flourishes (Clancy 1).
All over the globe, terrorism is flourishing. To stop it we need to get to the heart of the problem, the leaders. Terrorists are mostly just puppets, obeying the puppeteer s commands while he speaks for them. Leaders like Osama bin Laden always have an attack planned. We need to cut off the head of the viper before it strikes (Clancy 1).
An international counterterrorism team and restructuring of the military are solutions for the ever-growing problem of terrorism and nuclear proliferation by rogue states. A new breed of cold war has begun. No world wars will be fought. We will fight only to secure and protect our right to live without fear.
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