Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Problem We All Share.... Terrorism

In June 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States issued a report that quickly became a best-seller. On Dec. 5, 2005, the Commission issued a follow-up assessment of the US government’s response to the series of recommendations made in its earlier report and the overall preparedness of the US in facing possible future terrorist attacks. The grade was dismal with failure highlighted in most areas. In Emergency Preparedness, Transportation Security, Civil Liberties, Intelligence, Congressional Reform, Foreign Policy, Nonproliferation, and Public Diplomacy, the US response leaves much to be desired.

In my view, the greatest single weakness both in the 9/11 report and in the US’s general approach, is that it views terrorism primarily as a US problem. Not only is it not a US problem, but even if it were, it will not be defeated with US action alone; this is not a matter for chest-thumping nationalist bravado, it is one for sober nationalist realism. Terrorism exists everywhere and throughout history. The particular international reach of the recent Extremist Terrorist Moslem groups has the Western world sitting up and taking notice. This is both a cause for immediate action and an opportunity; acting as an international community, terrorism needs to be perceived both in the short term and the medium to long term through an array of international instruments of which military action is only one, and perhaps not even the most effective instrument against it. Furthermore, until “it” is defined, “it” can not be defeated even with concerted international cooperation. The Geneva Conventions put to rest all unnecessary nuances concerning the freedom-fighter versus terrorist debate. Civilian noncombatants should never be a target of hostilities, whether by state or non-state actors. Nor is it valid to argue that a definition is not necessary since “we know it when we see” and by defining “it” we are limiting our options. Even the International Bar Association’s Task Force on International Terrorism felt that a definition was in order.

Accordingly, and despite the international community’s failure to define “it”, I, despite the element of individual hubris involved in such an endeavor, suggest the following immediate international actions:
1. A convention is entered into defining terrorism as a crime against humanity and relegating any and all who engage in it to the International Criminal Court for criminal proceedings that are based on respect for due process. This, in turn, means that the US must become a signatory to (again) and ratify the ICC.
2. The definition of terrorism to be adopted by this international convention (and further adopted by the UN Security Council) is: Terrorism is any threat or act of violence against civilian noncombatants, as defined by the Geneva Conventions, by a non-state actor for the furthering of political objectives.
3. In the short term, vigilance is the best mode of prevention. This means that more concerted international cooperation is needed in the area of travel, goods transportation, intelligence gathering and sharing and, finally, mobility of financial resources.
4. For the medium to long term, the international community, through the United Nations and special initiatives, should address the root causes of terrorism, namely, government corruption and lack of accountability, economic stagnation, unemplyment and poverty, cultural imperialism, and, last but not least, political and self-determination injustices.

While this may look like wishful thinking, it is actually the only way to seriously and honestly address terrorism. Terrorism will not be defeated through military conquest and occupation. If anything, that only creates a whole new generation of terrorist soldiers.



Blogger politiques USA said...

The US ,whether they are Republicans or Democrats, want to be exhonerated of warcrimes for many reasons and the main suggested reason would be they only mean good to nations contained by people in the name of american exceptionalism so they can spread freedom that is after all only an inherent value far from the democratic concept. In reality exceptionalism via implementation of democracies abroad are a distorted public vision because in the absolute there is no value in a war and people particularly the ones from the western world - they are the ones that are waging wars since the collapse of the ottoman empire - do not realize the socio-economic effects on other people: wars are always one-sided in any society through the medias' informative point of view and do not respect the objectivity of a balanced opinion and tend to demonize terrorism in order to reach a goal.

After WW2 we tried to emancipate international standards that are universally acceptable and it would seem that the US *although it is supposed to be a democratic country* do not even respect the declaration of the universal rights from the UN and flushed down to the toilets their own constitution. I don't see why another country should accept the values of another country that do not even respect its own value and own rules.

Terrorism does not happen "just like that" out of the blue. Most of terrorism is rationnal because it usually obey to a secular logic at 90% or because terrorism is in some cases the censorship of a majority of opinions that are not politically represented by the voice of the people.
Is the "war on terror" the denial of people's right abroad? Like Churchill stated once "you don't die for your nation, you die for the corporations": I don't see any freedom in the middle-east, I only see economic interests.

I am aware there are lots of problems in this world, I followed the events in Egypt lately out of curiosity, but if the US cannot impose itself the standards of legitimate innocent reason as a leader, then this whole world will keep seeing better things than the american model.

I will try to pursue further this post later on.

10:33 PM  

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