Liquidation of Terrorism is not Possible Only Through Force
In 1998, Kenya and Tanzania were stifled with the explosion of bombs by terrorists on the US embassies. The then President of US, Bill Clinton, was outraged and declared war on terrorism and sent American planes to bomb terrorist Camps in Afghanistan and a factory in Sudan. But the consequence of this retaliation was fatal. The retaliation spurred them to plan for full two years to mount an unprecedented attack on the US. The planes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. President Bush, then, took the lead and declared war against terrorism, in terms for more aggressive than those used by Clinton in 1998. President Bush said that he would not rest content with a few bombing raids; that he would send in his ground troops if necessary to liquidate the enemy; that he would risk heavy casualties and not just bomb targets from the safety of high-altitude planes, that he would hit not only terrorists but any state that harbours or aids them; that he will destroy the very roots of terrorism and make the world safe again for civilisation, for freedom and democracy; even if this means curtailing civil liberties. In trying to eradicate terrorism, USA has created even more terrorists. Crushing terrorism needs more than brute force.
Terrorists are often a small group of people claiming to speak, without justification, for an entire set of people; like Naxalites claim to speak for all Bengal peasantry or Sikh terrorists claim to speak for all the sikhs. Just as the usage of force on the part of US against terrorists has failed; similarly, India’s attempt to put down the insurrection in Kashmir has failed. In trying to catch the terrorists, Indian forces have beaten up and killed so many innocents; they create more terrorists constantly than they liquidate. Brute force intends to end terrorism quickly but terrorism cannot be ended so quickly.
During the 1990s, many of the groups which had kept governments busy during the 1970s and 1980s had decided to abandon violence. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation recognised Israel and renounced the use of terrorism. The Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland called a permanent ceasefire and entered government. And in April 1998, even the Germany Red Army Faction finally declared its campaign to be over, announcing that the urban Guerrilla in the form of the Red Army Faction is now history. But the Scenario of today has given terrorism a new face.
The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon confirmed this trend. ‘Old’ terrorists did kill civilians and occasionally, their operations were aimed at producing large numbers of casualties. But killing people, especially civilians, was secondary to the communicative effects that could be achieved through a particular form of violence. In the mid-1970s, the American analyst Brian Jenkins coined the well-known expression that ‘terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead’. In the era of the ‘new terrorism’, the two considerations-violence and symbolic value, seem to have merged, with mass-casualty attacks against civilian populations being routine and intentional.
Regardless of whether governments are dealing with ‘old’ or ‘new’, the aim must be to prevent terrorism but act within the law and law of any country does not permit use of brutal force to retaliate. Legitimate grievances should be addressed and one should convey a sense of calm and determination when communicating with the public.
Terrorism is used by extremists to scare the public into meeting their demands. If the government starts using force to combat terrorism, the public will be even more alienated from the government, especially in a democracy that gives space to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
Osama bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Central Intelligence Agency operatives in a covert operation ordered by United States President Barack Obama, people thought that this is it, no more Al-Qaeda now. This was not an end of the war against terrorism; it was just now someone else was in command of the operations. Most of the terrorists are either unemployed or uneducated. The terrorist organisations either lure them with money or they brainwash them completely. Killing the terrorists won’t end terrorism, it will only help ignite it even more. Armies of the world can keep striking the valleys of Afghanistan and Pakistan in search of the terrorists. But the ideology won’t be killed by bombs. Major reasons for people becoming terrorists are the lack of education, unemployment, social injustice and social inequality. Those minds are then brainwashed and then forced to indulge in these kinds of threatening activities. They begin to feel that they are marginalised because they feel they belong to a particular religion or class. They develop a grudge against society and therefore they commit such crimes in order to take revenge. Over trillions of dollars are spent against the fight against terrorism. The large amount of money the government is spending to provide security against terrorism can be used to provide basic security to common people.
An interesting case happened in Jammu & Kashmir where an NGO decided to provide education to children in a terror hit district. Surprisingly, many terrorists surrendered after they saw their children getting good education and their families getting support from the government. Most of the people in India chose Maoism because their source of employment was taken from them. Terrorism is like a tree. You keep cutting its branches, but it will continue to grow. To eradicate it completely, you have to see the roots of the tree. Power of word is much greater than that of a weapon. As is rightly said, “Pen is mightier than the sword.” We breed terrorism and then intend to root it out. The political parties in India constantly take on the tactics of communal polarisation to keep their vote bank full. Effective coordination is required between the different organisations within the country. In 1983, colonel John Boyd of American army explained why America lost the Vietnam war; he said that it was because they did not follow the first principle of anti-guerrilla warfare, which is to provide the people with a genuinely better form of life than the enemy offers. Our own society needs to be reconstructed into a place that is genuinely good to live and cares about each citizen. Public confidence is one of the society’s most important social assets and terrorism erodes it significantly.
Military responses have, generally, not been effective in combating terrorism. The full force of the Soviet army was unable to defeat the guerrillas bunkered down in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Each day getting up in the morning and catching a glimpse of the current events occurring world wide, brings with it the harsh reality of the violent acts which are intended to create and enhance the level of terror in the society and the country. In today’s scenario terrorism has become a colossal problem all over the world. It is a global issue which has affected almost all the nations throughout the world directly or indirectly.
The history of terrorism can be traced back to first century A.D. Given this mind blowing fact it causes dismay that even today the illness has not been expunged, but is continuing to grow day-by-day. In spite of the many efforts conducted to root out terrorism it still remains on the table. Series of events like Hijacking of planes, murder of eminent personalities, shooting down of innocent people indiscriminately are various devices used by terrorists in order to achieve their political ends. Such an unwanted destruction causes irreparable damage to the world. Terrorism should therefore be dealt with an undaunted courage and determination. The world must respond and fight this evil that is intent on threatening and destroying our basic freedoms and way of life.
Terrorism’s effects are not limited to a specific individual or identifiable group; its impact goes beyond to include the entire community. So, in the 21st century when terrorism is at its peak and has caught an unstoppable pace in the whole world, it is now time for a counter blow by combining all the forces of the world. Since terrorists do not recognize borders, they must be confronted at both national and international level. The governing bodies of all the countries should come together to combat terrorism by taking immediate action.
At first what needs to be done is to stop the supply of money. It plays a dominant role in catalysing terrorism. Each terrorist group necessarily is in need of possessing a lot of money resources to maintain and grow its operations. The government should know from where terrorists are getting money to buy explosives and they should be made financially weak. So far the military approach has been defensive and not offensive against terrorists. Defeating terrorism has become every country’s primary and immediate priority. But it is not a country’s challenge alone. Liquidation of terrorism will not come by always acting alone, but through a powerful coalition of nations maintaining a strong, united international front against terrorism. The war on terrorism is a worldwide struggle and we must move forward with a worldwide offensive attack to tackle it.
The 14th Dalai Lama quotes “forgiveness doesn’t mean forget what happened. If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures.” Terrorists can only be dissuaded from attacking by using police and military force to fight against them. The answer to terrorist attacks of 9/11 by US government is a striking example. The killing of Osama-bin-Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda and a terrorist who was responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children provides us with a blatant truth that adherence to strictness only will bring back a stable environment free of terrorism. It is only by the operations like Neptune by US in the killing of Bin Laden will help discourage terrorism. The 2016 Pathankot attacks in India where suspected militants disguised as soldiers attacked the air base was seen as an attempt to undermine the India-Pakistan peace process, whereby Indian PM Narendra Modi tried to touch the peace chord with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif is yet another illustration that it is now time to act tough.
Organisations like NATO who have made the fight against terrorism a high priority and consensus has been built around the nature of the problem have untapped potential which give the scope of terrorist threat, would be wiser to use better and more often. As the global counter-terrorism effort requires a holistic approach, NATO allies have resolved to strengthen outreach and cooperation with partner countries and international actors. Hence, institutions like NATO play a support role in leading the counter-terrorism campaign.
There is an area of population that believes that terrorism can also be destroyed through means like education, creating employment, social equality and peaceful negotiations but the fact that these means require patience and many years’ worth of resources makes it a dream. The international community does not hold enough resources to address all of the underlying causes of terrorism. Meanwhile we remain vulnerable to more terrorist attacks. Besides, if we focus our efforts on long term solutions, we will be allowing terrorists to commit horrible crimes without immediate consequences. For that reason we have to act now to stop these attacks at their source. Also, what should necessarily be remembered is that if stringent measures are not taken the terrorists will move along their path to take control over the world. As they exploit the benefits of the global environment around the world our approach should be global as well. Thus, in this scenario it becomes utmost priority that military actions are taken for ending terrorism. We cannot tolerate the actions of terrorists who seek to combine the powers of modern technology to threaten the very notion of civilized society. And defeat of terrorist organisations is possible through a relentless action.
Benjamin Netanyahu the PM of Israel says, “It is most important to start the war on terror. We must condemn terrorism everywhere and fight it everywhere. Have no doubt, we will beat terrorism. If the nations of the world join hands, we will beat it much faster.” Yes ! Terrorism today can be seen as a virus in the world body. Therefore it becomes indispensable to fight it back with force because. “If the other side declares war, then you are at war, whether you like it or not.”