Cole USS Cole and Anti-Terrorism Essay

Total Length: 802 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 4

Page 1 of 3

Discouraging is not the same as stopping, and this initiative has little stopping power.


According to the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism published in February of 2003, the first major objective in the nation's antiterrorism strategy is simply to defeat the terrorists and their organizations. This seems almost laughably simple, but victory against terrorism is difficult to define; the report itself acknowledges this and includes in its strategy efforts to "compress the scope and capability of terrorist organizations, isolate them regionally, and destroy them within state borders." Even defining when these disparate features have been met is difficult, and thus the strategy itself is somewhat ill-defined in many places. There are two primary objectives that carry more concrete meaning -- and more in-depth explanation -- in the report, but these are grand projects that themselves have ill-defined boundaries and murky understandings of true possibilities. Attempts to deny support to terrorists, through financial and material means as well as through the provision of sanctuary or even simple encouragement, are certainly warranted, but defining which organizations are terrorists is something that cannot be accomplished unilaterally if it is to have any meaning, yet multilateral agreement is often highly difficult to reach.
The same can be said of the objective to diminish the conditions that terrorists exploit -- at some point, the level of control needed for this (regardless of the practical difficulties) becomes tyrannical and dictatorial, removed from terrorism only for its level of organization and official sanction.


Especially in the beginning of this report, notably in the first figure presented, the increasing need for homeland security looks suspiciously like the increasing militarization of United States' society. This does indeed seem to be the almost overt stance of the authors of this report at times, though it is never explicitly stated as such. The level of civilian "support" it has been deemed necessary for the Department of Defense to involve itself in, however, is disconcerting. That being said, it is also clear that national security awareness needs to be raised, and that certain situations can increase the risk of a terrorist attack, and thus some extra military involvement in at least an informational manner is definitely warranted. A balance needs to be found between the provision of security and the presence of the military, however, and this report seems highly reactionary and extreme in….....

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