The attacks on America, which happened on September 11, have had a
profound impact on the American administration and civilians yearsafter. Immediately after the bombing, the US government settled onreacting through military action, and started to prepare the armedforces to engage in a war to defeat the Taliban regime. The 9/11event transformed US. Most Americans liken the attack to a modernPearl Harbour, a terror act in their country, which made themexperience vulnerability sixty years later.1It altered a government with quasi-isolationist trends to onededicated to forceful interventions in a foreign country. Theaftermath was an emergent approach in dealing with internationalterrorism, specifically al-Qaida. Everyone, surprised andapprehensive of the September 11 events, felt the need to revenge,through military attacks on the terror group. This resonated to astrong support for war in the immediate years after, however, adecade after, many Americans feel that the war was a move in thewrong direction. It has resulted in the replacement of personalfreedom with alleged safety by politicians.
Many American people are passionate and sometimes reckless even toa fault, as proved by the responses of much of the public followingthe terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, with jingoisticnationalism evidenced in seeking revenge. Yet in the years followingthe attack, many became demoralized from the war in Afghanistan andIraq questioning why US soldiers remained there.
Moments after the bombing of the Twin Towers, America started tomourn, and all over the nation, civilians venerated the victims, aswell as depicted their patriotism. Citizens flew the country’s flagfrom their car antennas or front porches, while others attached theflag to their collars, or t-shirts.2Sports groups reschedule their competitions, icons arranged benefitconcerts, and individual attended candlelight vigils and took part inmoments of silence. There was a widespread feeling of unity aseveryone agreed the need to unite and support each other. The feelingof patriotism was widespread all over the nation. Americansendeavored to strengthen their rescue endeavors in all manners.Cities dispatched firefighters and emergency response teams to GroundZero. People willingly showed up at places set aside for donatingblood to victims. Charities, both newly created and alreadyoperational ones, raised money for victims and rescue work. Politicalrepresentatives asked civilians to remain calm and pushed forsignificant action against prospect terror attacks.3
Many Americans felt the need to retaliate as a move towardsprotecting the nation from any similar future attacks. In themeantime, the then president George Bush successfully won the mandateto react in the country’s defense. In a public address, nine daysafter the attack, he urged civilians to maintain calmness andresolute, despite the threats.4The president assured that America could win over terrorism, bystopping it, eliminating and destroying its basis. Soon after,military operations commenced in Afghanistan from October, as the USsent troops to fight terror groups. Congressional leaders reacted aswell by passing bills like the disaster aid bill and USA Patriot Act.The US bombing was a graphic depiction of the disadvantages ofglobalization. Terrorists employed tools widespread in modernsociety, “the internet, open borders and hi-tech aeroplanes, toattack the west at home”.5Luckily, they were not triumphant in provoking the closure ofborders, and in place, Americans responded via global engagementagainst terrorism. The attack resulted in an unparalleled worldwidecoalition of revenge over those held accountable.
September 11 was unparalleled in its level of damage, as well as thepropinquity of its visual effect. US civilians were aware ofdifferent historical calamities, yet it was a first-time event formany who witnessed the happenings. The effect on US policy wasequally vivid and lasting. The impromptu impulse involved identifyingand ensuring the perpetrators were accountable for the attacks. Inaddition, was further determination to guarantee such a disaster wasnever repeated. However, the impulse and determination, a decadeafter have demonstrated to be more expensive and questionable.6It is not astounding, considering the effects of 9/11 that USlawmakers missed in the calculation of their reaction. Immediatelyafter the fall of Kabul, President George Bush made threats ofattacking Iraq, North Korea and Iran, if they failed to stop theirnuclear arms plans. The military planning for the initial attacks wasinitiated following the president’s orders, six weeks before,whereas the first wars towards ousting the Taliban were rampant. US’sreaction to 9/11 was as well unilateral. In the previous century, thecountry’s military actions were allied movements to defend others.For instance, US military was involved in war in Kuwait, Korea,Western Europe and Vietnam to back allies, to free subjugatedpopulations, or to ensure international order.7Hence, sharing burdens as well as alliances were important aspects ofAmerican policy.
Contrary, after 9/11, America’s move to revenge mainly alone markedthe start of a new policy, which would last for years. Washingtonrejected numerous offers towards military help in Afghanistan. Itrestricted global peacekeeping forces in the region to Kabul. USattacked Iraq despite counsel from its most influential allies andagainst the wishes of most of its surrounding states, which it arguedto be protecting from possible Iraqi attack.8The Bush government at first endeavored to reduce United Nationsengagement in postwar Iraq, employing in place a nominallybi-national regime with United Kingdom. However, despite thecoalition, London had no actual power and was rarely consulted by USon main decisions. All through 2002, the US government concentratedon attacking Iraq and not reconstruction Afghanistan. The number ofmilitary men in Afghanistan was almost 10,000 whereas Pentagon’sagenda for Iraq mandated for troop levels to be minimized.9Afghanistan was one of America’s least funded interventions, yetthe government was convincing civilians of a self-funding Iraqireconstruction.
The underestimates depicted an overstated self-assurance in theeffectiveness of high-tech combat in dealing with low-techadversaries, in addition to a dislike towards the entire idea ofnation building. In Afghanistan, the US government did not merelyemphasize on restricting global peacekeeping forces to Kabul andsurroundings, disregarding the appeals of United Nations and theAfghan administration of extending security to the entire nation. USalso refuted having troops contribute in any public safety function,emphasizing that interior security ought to be an entirely Afghanrole, which at the time had neither military nor a police force. Itis not right to assert that the Bush government starved Afghanistanin feeding Iraq. Instead, in both scenarios, the main US policy wasto reduce the US military as well as economic resources dedicated topost-conflict stability or rebuilding.
The then American Defense Secretary defended the approach throughsuggesting that both nations could become self-reliant at a fasterpace through avoidance of excessive reliance on America and differentglobal aid.10In actuality, the opposite happened. Coupled with the inability ofstabilizing both nations, America was forced to largely enhance itsobligations of personnel and capital. Due to America’s resolutionto deal with terrorism on their own, and with disregard to counselfrom allies, the attacks on Iraq have raised more questions thananswers. US previous involvement in Afghanistan was not itselfsuccessful and demonstrates the challenges the country encountered,while at the same time endeavoring to deal with fighting terrorism.This depicts that the invade approach in countering terrorism was toocostly following 9/11.
Following 9/11, it was easier for the US government to convincecivilians to support the war on terror. Many individuals viewed thewar as a strategy in ensuring that such an incident would not repeatitself. This is explained in the “National Strategy for CombatingTerrorism”, which declares that US involvement in war is atransnational movement inspired by the fundamental philosophy ofrevulsion, domination and murder.11The strategy, initially published in 2003, declares that America isat war and safeguarding the Homeland, civilians, as well as theirlivelihoods progresses to be the most important obligation. Inaddition, the strategy realizes that the terror war is unique. Fromthe start, involving weapons and ideas, the country does not merelyfight terrorist enemies, but enhance autonomy and human self-respectas substitutes to terrorists’ wicked aspiration of coercion. Theapproach to dealing with terrorism currently entails the use of allaspects of national authority and influence. The country does notmerely use military authority, but democratic, monetary, lawenactment action and intelligence in safeguarding America. Theobjective is to extend defenses, interrupt terrorist actions anddispossess terrorists what they require to advance their operations.
The strategy sets the way for triumphing in fighting terrorists. Itbecomes possible to comprehend that the war against terror groupsentails more than just arresting and trial of those that organizedand executed terrorist attacks on 9/11. The strategy entailed thedestruction of the superior al-Qaida network, as well as facing thedeep-seated dogma, which encourages the support of terroristactivities.12Since, the attacks, there have been significant development indestroying al-Qaida operations, through the murder and capture ofmain lieutenants. The American strategy to its involvement in warconvinces civilians of the need for US to fight terror groups. Thisis supported by the successes, which were achieved in fightingterrorism. However, the challenges arising from this war cannot beignored. The erosion of personal freedoms slowly replaced the strongsupport for war in the immediate years after 9/11. In addition,returning veterans were seen by the administration as probablehomegrown terrorists. As a result, Americans support for the war isdeclining as they question the real reasons for invading Iraq andpossibility of ending the war.
The signing of the Patriot Act is an illustration of the diminishingpersonal freedoms of American civilians. October 2001, The PatriotAct became law, signed by President George Bush six weeks following9/11.13The act was largely accepted by congress during the period becausemany supposed that it was a move towards enhancing protection forcivilians against prospect terror actions. The Patriot Act enhancescounter-terrorism acts in various manners. It makes it possible forinvestigators to employ the tools, already in existence ininvestigating planned offences.14This becomes possible through employing close watch against moreterror offences. Prior to the act, courts could allow law officialsto carry out electronic investigation to inspect most wrongdoings. Itwas also probable for agents to get wiretaps in the investigation ofoffences, frequently committed by terror groups. The act makes iteasy for federal agents to track terrorists skilled on how to avoiddetection.15Since global terrorists are complex and properly trained to escapesurveillance through altering locations, the act makes it possible toobtain information, which makes capturing terrorists probable. ThePatriot Act does away with the main legal restrictions, which impedelaw enforcers and national defense from accessing any information, asa manner of protecting US civilians.
Immediately after the Patriot Act became law, civil rights advocateswere against it, arguing that it comprises of excessive authoritythat does not merely apply to endeavors to fighting terrorism.16The act allows the seizure of documents, which comprise any sort ofprivate information, regardless of the presence of ample proof todemonstrate that the owner of the information, is a terror suspect.Another aspect of the act is wiretapping, greatly supported byPresident George Bush.17Notably, the lack of oversight implies that the sensitive documentsdo not have to be linked to terrorism. The act does not guaranteethat law enforcers will act responsibly when accessing privateinformation. Thus, civilians’ right to privacy is not guaranteed.When there are individuals who have the freedom to access personalinformation without consent from the owner, it means that the ownerhas no right, or is deprived the right to their information. In ahighly democratic nation like America, it is impossible to believethat such endeavors as denying individuals their right to privacy ofinformation is possible. This questions the very essence of ademocratic state. It also questions the measures, which have beenadopted by government under the disguise of safeguarding the nationfrom possible terrorist actions. Civilians that previously supportedstrategies used in the years following 9/11, feel that most of thestrategies like the Patriot Act are no longer in the public’sinterest.18Instead, it becomes a tactic by government to exercise some form ofdictatorship, by having control over all information possessed andexchanged by its civilians.19
There is an enhancing militarization of domestic police groups, whichis partly intended at tackling returning veterans currently viewed asdomestic terror threat. This is happening using vehicles used incombat to patrol towns. The FBI described veterans from Afghanistanand Iraq as a main domestic terror threat.20It appears to have totally been disregarded by police organization,American civilians and the media, that the use of military-techniquepatrolling the streets symbolizes the rise of an authoritarian rule.21The veterans are treated as a threat because of warning against suchact, which go against the nation’s democratic ideal. It is alsopossible that government is apprehensive of the very individuals thatit sent to war to protect America. Having first-hand experience ofthe war, the veterans are better placed to fight for what is rightwithin society. This explains why government will go to the extremesof ensuring that the operations of the veterans are suppressed. Suchacts as stopping and searching veterans alleged to have firearmsdemonstrate and increasing decline in freedom. An illustration is the“story of a man who found himself on the receiving end if someaggressive and heavy-handed police tactics, apparently for nothingmore than being under suspicion of owning a firearm”.22Engaging in the war is not always an easy decision, because theveterans face numerous challenges, not forgetting the possibility ofpassing away in war. Veterans need to be treated with more respectand held with high regard in society for their commitment to servingUS.
In the wake of the unending war on terror, Americans are beginning toquestion if it was initially the best reaction for engaging in thebattle. Despite numerous years of engagement and attempts to suppressthe operations of al-Qaida, the government progresses to facechallenges. Currently, terrorist groups have become distributed,depending more on small cells encourages by a universal dogma with aless central power system. Whereas the American administration hasmanaged to avoid numerous attacks, it has not been probable to avoidall. There has been progress in protecting America. However, ifactions like the reinforcement of support for “UN Arms TradeTreaty” and suppressing of the Second Amendment progress, there isminimal hope of ending America’s involvement in the war againstterrorism.23The ATT is supposed to ensure terrorist are incapable of accessingweapons, yet the main nations supporting the treaty are among theglobe’s supporters of terror acts. Most supporters of the SecondAmendment view the formation of a countrywide database of legal gunowners, as well as a catalog of each firearm they possess anthreatening extension of administrative authority.
Foreign Policy Bulletin.Bush Defends Domestic Wiretapping Program Congress Reauthorizes Patriot Act. vol.16 no.4 (2006). doi:10.1017/s105270360600044x.
History.com Staff. Reaction to 9/11. 2010.http://www.history.com/topics/reaction-to-9-11
Hopkins, Alexander E. Diverging Discontent: Examining the PATRIOTAct’s passage in Congress under the bush administration. StudentPulse vol. 4 no. 10 (2012): 1/1.
Jenkins Brian M and Godges John P. The long shadow of 9/11.New York: The RAND Corporation, 2011.
Jenkins Simon, Powell Jonathan, Hanif Mohammed, Crowley Pj, AshrafOrzala N, Galloway George and Chakrabortty Aditya. What impact did9/11 have on the world? The Guardian. September 5, 2011. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/05/9-11-impact-world-al-qaida
Olsen, Stefanie. Patriot Act draws privacy concerns. CNET News.October 26, 2001. http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-275026.html
Pavlich, Katie. Obama administration partners with the UN to attackthe Second Amendment. Townhall. November 8, 2012. http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2012/11/08/obama_administration_partners_wit h_the_un_to_attack_the_second_amendment
Preserving Life and Liberty. The USA PATRIOT Act: PreservingLife and Liberty. http://www.justice.gov/archive/ll/highlights.htm
Strategic Comments. The aftermath of 11 September vol.7 no.8(2001): 1-2. 10.1080/1356788010781
U.S. Department of State. National Strategy for CombatingTerrorism. January 20, 2001. http://2001-2009.state.gov/s/ct/rls/wh/71803.htm#successes
Watson, Paul J. Police now armed for war against returning veterans.Inforwars.com. May 19, 2014.http://www.infowars.com/police-now-armed-for-war-against-returning-veterans/
WND Exclusive. NRA warning issued over attack on 2ndamendment. January 17, 2014. http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/nra-warning-issued-over-attack-on-2nd-amendment/
1 Simon Jenkins, Jonathan Powell, Mohammed Hanif, Pj Crowley, Orzala Ashraf N, George Galloway and Aditya Chakrabortty. What impact did 9/11 have on the world? The Guardian. September 5, 2011.
2 History.com Staff. Reaction to 9/11. 2010. http://www.history.com/topics/reaction-to-9-11
3 History.com Staff.
4 History.com Staff.
5 Simon Jenkins, Jonathan Powell, Mohammed Hanif, Pj Crowley, Orzala Ashraf N, George Galloway and Aditya Chakrabortty.
6 Jenkins Brian M and Godges John P. The long shadow of 9/11. (New York: The RAND Corporation, 2011), p.15.
7 Jenkins Brian M and Godges John P, 16.
8 Jenkins Brian M and Godges John P, 16.
9 Jenkins Brian M and Godges John P, 16.
10 Jenkins Brian M and Godges John P 17.
11 U.S. Department of State. National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. January 20, 2001.
12 U.S. Department of State.
13 Alexander, Hopkins. Diverging Discontent: Examining the PATRIOT Act’s passage in Congress under the bush administration. Student Pulse vol. 4 no. 10 (2012): 1/1.
14 Preserving Life and Liberty.
15 Preserving Life and Liberty.
16 Stefanie, Olsen. Patriot Act draws privacy concerns. CNET News. October 26, 2001.
17 Foreign Policy Bulletin. Bush Defends Domestic Wiretapping Program Congress Reauthorizes Patriot Act. vol.16 no. 4 (2006), p11.
18 Strategic Comments. The aftermath of 11 September vol.7 no.8 (2001): 1-2.
19 Stefanie, Olsen 1.
20 Paul J Watson. Police now armed for war against returning veterans. Inforwars.com. May 19, 2014.
21 Paul J Watson 1.
22 WND Exclusive. NRA warning issued over attack on 2nd amendment. January 17, 2014.
23 Katie, Palvich. Obama administration partners with the UN to attack the Second Amendment. Townhall. November 8, 2012.