Terrorism Essay, Research Paper
Terrorism vs. Terrorism
On an early Tuesday morning, many families arose for another typical day. Unaware of a nearing attack, they carried out their daily routine. Tragically, instead of taking their children to school and going to work, they would be cowering for their lives. Attacks carried out by terrorists destroyed their homes and places of work. These terrorists came from a foreign nation, and attacked from the sky. They did not attack in hopes of pleasing a god, or to have family members released from prison. Instead, they came with F-16 fighter jets representing the United States of America, in hopes for keeping a steady cash and oil flow to their nation. To many citizens across the Arab nations, the people of the United States are the terrorists. Their families have been killed, and their lives destroyed. In turn, they retaliate with suicide bombers and other fighters claiming revenge and praise from their god Allah. Who then, is the terrorist? The United States and its allies have seemingly been attacked repeatedly and unprovoked. From the 1980’s to present, the United States has dealt with the wrath of terrorism. From hijacked aircraft, to bombing of sovereign US buildings, terrorists have tried to get their message across to their “enemies” by wreaking havoc. One must look at why the United States is perceived as the “bad guy” and what motives the terrorists have for destroying it, and its allies.
In October and April of 1983, Americans were greeted by what would be a start of numerous terrorist acts against the United States. In Beirut, a car bomb exploded in front of the U.S. embassy killing seventeen Americans. Then, in a separate attack in Beirut, over 250 American soldiers were killed, and more than one hundred others were wounded. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for both, calling the bombing “part of the Islamic revolution” (Goodson, 52).
A Jihad, as defined by the Koran, is a holy war. According to terrorists, the holy war must be waged against the infidel, the United States of America. To some Arabs, the holy war is a farce, and is a travesty to all Arabs. To terrorists and people like Bin Laden, it is a justified war that will continue until their “mission is complete.” Their only motives are to kill their enemy. They do not need a justified reason, just an excuse for ridding their land of evil people.
Although the United States imposed some financial and social power in the Arab nations, is this carnage necessary? The Arabs, however, did not care. In June of 1985, Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 847 from Athens to Rome was hijacked by a group of men. Their mission, although failed, was once again in the name of an Islamic Jihad, or Holy War. This war would be an ever-lasting mission to rid the world of evil (the allies and citizens of the US).
Why the United States, many people ask? Leaders such as Moammar Gadhafi of Libya, and Usama Bin Laden of Saudi Arabia despise western influence in the Arab world. They feel and have stated that the United States tries to impose its culture, and its financial power in their land. With US oil, clothing, and food companies in the Arab nations, the Arab leaders believe that the US is soiling their great land (Beres, 15). They feel that their only way to expunge them is by killing.
Just the presence of the United States was not enough to anger the Arab extremists. The multiple attacks that have been targeted at the United States were in retaliation for the United States’ actions. In the hopes of keeping oil prices low, and maintaining diplomacy abroad, the United States has sent troops and planes abroad to keep control. These actions led to destruction of cities, and the loss of thousands of lives; both civilian and military.
In 1986 Libyan terrorists blew up a German discoth?que killing an American soldier. The United States could not stand idly by. Days later, America launched a series of air strikes in hopes of wiping out Gadhafi, and his followers. According to the Libyans, the strikes failed, and killed hundreds of civilians instead of militants. For three years, Libya was quiet; but in 1989 they would strike back with a punishing blow. Libyan terrorists blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killing all on board. The United States, in hopes of keeping peace, did not retaliate militarily. Instead, they peacefully asked for the terrorists to be handed over to await a trial in the United States. The Libyans declined.
“Tensions between Libya and the United States reached a peak during the Reagan administration, which tried to overthrow Gadhafi. The 1980’s were characterized by American air raids on Libya and alleged Libya-supported terrorist attacks on Western interests. In 1986, the U.S. bombing of Libyan sites allegedly killed Gadhafi’s infant daughter” (abcnews.go.com). From an American standpoint the Libyan’s and other Arab nations were the enemy. The Arab nations on the other hand, felt they were the victims, and found no fault in their actions. They were simply retaliating for attacks on their homeland. It was like the proverbial childhood conflict of “He started it first!” The United States was not at war with one man, but with a nation. Sanctions and a multitude of missile strikes were dealt out to the Arab nations in hopes of choking out terrorism. The strikes and sanctions were futile and only enraged the Arab nations more. Gadhafi spoke out by stating “We are capable of destroying America and breaking its nose” (terrorism.com). To Gadhafi and his allies, the United States would become the victim. As strongly as the terrorists came on in the 1980’s, they quickly slipped into the shadows and went silent, planning a new wave of attacks that would shock the United States.
In 1991, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait and ceased its oil production. A problem that only dealt with Iraq and Kuwait would soon involve the United States. The US had a large investment with Kuwaiti oil, and would not let their (the US’s) financial security be harmed. As in the Vietnam, and the Afghani – Russian war, the United States “interfered” with other people’s business. To a leader such as Usama Bin Laden, this interference was an outrage. The US was “trespassing” on sacred ground, and must be taught not to interfere.
Usama Bin Laden, and his terrorist cells finally brought terrorism home to US soil in December of 1993 when the World Trade Center was bombed. Usama Bin Laden proudly claimed responsibility for the terrorist acts. His goal was to bring down the heart of the United State’s financial world (abcnews.go.com), and to cripple its citizen’s sense of safety. His planned failed, but it did bring fear to all American citizens. As a result, the FBI’s top priority was now Bin Laden, yet in the coming years the United States would do little to strengthen its security at home and abroad. Airport security remained unchanged except for the baggage handling questions (which prevents little), and antiterrorist groups were not given the proper funding, and therefore did little to gain information about upcoming attacks (Beres, 74).
August of 1998 would send a shockwave through the US and its sense of security. “Near simultaneous bombings occurred at the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi 291 people were killed and over 5,000 wounded. Ten people were killed and 77 injured in the bombing at Dar Es Salaam” (usemb.se). US officials believed Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qaida organization was responsible for the bombings. In a haphazard retaliation, the US attacked rebel camps in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia where Bin Laden’s terrorist’s organizations were supposedly based. Little collateral damage was done, and Bin Laden became more outraged. The United States would rest easy for a couple more years before its security was once again rocked.
Terrorism would soon be upon the U.S. in October of 2000. The Destroyer USS Cole departed its home base Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a peaceful routine mission to Yemen. Upon entering the Port of Aden, an unknown boat approached the Cole and exploded ripping a sixty-foot hole in the side of the ship. The blast killed seventeen sailors, and wounded thirty-nine others (nscf.net). Never before had a US vessel been under attack in a time of peace. Once again the Bin Laden run terrorist cells were responsible for the attack. Again, the United States stayed at a state of peace, and continued its daily routine and the search for Bin Laden.
The United States had three attacks on its property and would let it go unanswered. The US hoped to gain a state of peace by not getting “the last laugh,” and would let the criminal investigation against Bin Laden stay a non-military one.
On an early Tuesday morning, many families arose for another typical day. Unaware of a nearing attack, they carried out their daily routine. This attack however was not by Americans. In current unfolding evidence, we have learned that Usama Bin Laden, along with other terrorist organizations and countries had planned an attack on the United States that would once and for all, shatter our state of well being, and crumble our economy. This planned attack would penetrate our aeronautical safety, and destroy our financial and political monuments.
Four aircraft belonging to American and United Airlines (two from each airline), were to be used in an attack that would forever change society as we knew it. Around 8 am, aircraft would depart from, Boston Logan, and Newark airport for the last time. Just under an hour later, each aircraft would be hijacked and flown by the hijackers towards Washington D.C. and New York City. The aftermath would be the loss of thousands of lives, and the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, damaging of the Pentagon, and an aircraft lost in a field outside of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Admittedly, there is a bias in the review of the war between the Arab terrorists and the United States. Not only am I partial as an American, but Americans wrote the articles from which my information was drawn. Although the information tried to cover both sides of the argument, “the winners have written history.” Americans since the early twentieth century have manipulated eastern society. Their military and political hand has stretched over many countries, enraging its citizens and causing them to fight for their rights. The United States is unfortunately blind to its actions, and continues to influence their society. From years of back and forth bombings (terrorist attacks, and US retaliation), the United States has become the “Lebanon,” and the Arab nations, the “Israel.” Although some may debate which role the United States may take on, one must look at why the United States is perceived as the “bad guy” and what motives the terrorists have had for destroying it, and its allies.