My apologies in advance for the length. OTOH, I only post every couple months so it evens out.
I don't see anything wrong with our current counter terrorist policy. Rather, I don't see any good way to improve it, and I fear what's likely to happen will end up making things worse. Our policy is (was):
- make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals
- bring terrorists to justice for their crimes
- isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior
- bolster the counterterrorism capabilities of those countries that work with th e U.S. and require assistance
Bush wants a "war against terrorism." What does that mean? Here are the 44 groups the US said in year 2000 are terrorists:
- Abu Nidal organization (ANO)
- Abu Sayyaf Group
- Armed Islamic Group
- Aum Supreme Truth
- Basque Fatherland and Liberty
- Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya
- HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
- Harakat ul-Mujahidin
- Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
- Japanese Red Army
- Kach and Kahane Chai
- Kurdistan Workers' Party
- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
- Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization
- National Liberation Army
- The Palestine Islamic Jihad
- Palestine Liberation Front
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command
- Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
- Revolutionary Organization 17 November
- Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front
- Revolutionary People's Struggle
- Sendero Luminoso
- Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
- Alex Boncayao Brigade
- Army for the Liberation of Rwanda
- Continuity Irish Republican Army
- First of October Antifascist Resistance Group
- Irish Republican Army
- Loyalist Volunteer Force
- New People's Army
- Orange Volunteers
- People Against Gangsterism and Drugs
- Real IRA
- Red Hand Defenders
- Revolutionary United Front
- United Self-Defense Forces/Group of Colombia
The geographic areas listed under the "external aid" section: Iraq, Libya, Syria, "Islamic extremists in the Middle East and South Asia," Sudan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Cuba, "reside in South America", Iran, Saudi Arabia, Western Europe, North America, "other Gulf and Islamic states", "Pakistanis and Kashmiris", "Central and South Asia", Europe, Asia, "Laurent Kabila regime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo", "sympathizers in the United States", Balkans, "Afghan Arabs and the Taliban", "Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom", "Islamic NGOs", "Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen", "Islamic extremists in the Middle East", "President Charles Taylor of Liberia", Gambia, and Burkina Faso. (elsewhere includes North Korea).
Take a look at the list of countries. Yep, people in the US help fund what the US calls terrorist organizations. Indeed, on May 16, 2001, Bush designated the Real IRA, 32 County Sovereignty Movement, and the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association as "foreign terrorist organisations." Before then it was completely legal for US citizens to give them money.
It is believed that American supporters send hundreds of thousands of dollars to the [Real IRA] each year and that these funds are used to purchase explosives and weapons- Foreign Policy Association
Think the US is going to attack US citizens who fund terrorist organizations in other countries? Think the US will go after terrorist organizations in South Africa? In Ireland?
Hmm, just scanned the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. (Went into law in 1996.) Specifically, "SEC. 324. FINDINGS":
- international terrorism is among the most serious transnational threats faced by the United States and its allies, far eclipsing the dangers posed by population growth or pollution;
- the President should continue to make efforts to counter international terrorism a national security priority;
- because the United Nations has been an inadequate forum for the discussion of cooperative, multilateral responses to the threat of i nternational terrorism, the President should undertake immediate efforts to develop effective multilateral responses to international terrorism as a complement to national counter terrorist efforts;
- the President should use all necessary means, including covert action and military force, to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy international infrastructure used by international terrorists, including overseas terrorist training facilities and safe havens;
- the Congress deplores decisions to ease, evade, or end international sanctions on state sponsors of terrorism, including the recent decision by the United Nations Sanctions Committee to allow airline flights to and from Libya despite Libya's noncompliance with United Nations resolutions; and
- the President should continue to undertake efforts to increase the international isolation of state sponsors of international terrorism, including efforts to strengthen international sanctions, and should oppose any future initiatives to ease sanctions on Libya or other state sponsors of terrorism.
Who has power to say that something is a terrorist organization? SEC. 219. DESIGNATION OF FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS says it's the Secretary of State, but the designation can be overriden by an Act of Congress.
Under Clinton, the designation was a very laborious and difficult process.
So pretty much Bush can declare any foreign group to be a terrorist group and, using some of the $40 ,000,000,000 requested from Congress, attack said group in any fashion whatsover.
What's a terrorist? Go to http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/8/1182.html and search for "''Terrorist activity'' defined".
Interesting - looks like carjackers are terrorists:
(I) The highjacking or sabotage of any conveyance (including an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle).
Scanning down further:
(V) The use of any - [...] (b) explosive or firearm (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property.
If matters in the US are going the way I think they are, then we need to be very, very careful not to do things that, were they turned about, could be construed in turn as terrorism. Yes, perhaps we are justified, but it wouldn't be American.
One American ideal - treat others as equals. ("Ideal" doesn't always mean reality, sadly ):
As the sole superpower, it's too easy to ignore treaties, policies, and agreements we don't like. If this is indeed a foreign terrorist attack on the US we have to wonder what was the cause for this. Perhaps by not following international rules we end up making things worse.
We've got a justice system which can extradite and prosecute criminals. (Again, assuming foreign terrorists.) If whoever was involve hasn't been extradited, round up the evidence showing who did it and present the result to the world. (I'm reminded of Adlai Stevenson at the U.N. during the Cuban Missile Crisis.) That puts a lot of pressure on the host country.
But could they receive a fair trial in the US? I don't think so. Unlike, say, the trials of the terrorists involved in the American embassy bombings in Kenya or Tanzania in 1998, it will be hard to find unbiased jurors.
(BTW, in that case, two men were found guilty of terrorism and of killing 213 people. Their sentence? Life emprisonment. The jurors said they didn't want to turn the two men into martyrs. Yes, at least one was a follower of Osama bin Laden.)
If there's no chance of getting a fair trial in the US, the only solution I can think of is to prosecute that person in international court, as this would likely be called a "Crime Against Humanity."
But the US doesn't like international courts. (BTW, I'm not all gung ho for a single, world-wide system myself, except for limited circumstances. This counts.)
That idea assumes everyone prosecuted is a foreign national. Question: If a US citizen is prosecuted, is it at all possible to get a fair trial? (The news is estimating 50+ people involved and some having been in the US or some time, so it's possible.) Who could be on the jury but wouldn't have heard or been affected somehow by this disgusting event?
Tell me how I'm wrong. Assuming this was done by foreign terrorists, how can we use our military might (or covert operations, as allowed by law) to get these people? The only way I see would be to use them as police, not as a military.
This all assumed things weren't state sponsored, so everything can be treated as a crime - a heinous crime, but a crime. If it was state sponsored, then it's an act of war, and different rules apply. I really hope it's state sponsored.
Sorry, only states can legitimize crimes through war. In that, all states (or at least those who signed the Geneva Convention) are agreed.
BTW, what ever happened to diversity in Congress? Who can forget Jeannet te Rankin's voting against the US involvement in WWI (1 of 56) and against US involvement in WWII (1 of 1).
In the true spirit of democracy, once war had been declared Rankin promoted Liberty Bonds, which were sold to support the war effort, and she voted for the draft. However, she voted against the Espionage Act, which targeted foreign residents of the United States and suppressed dissent. [...] In 1985 a bronze statue of Rankin was placed in the U.S. Capitol