Terrorism within our borders was not something that people thought of daily if ever. Radio advertisements that instructed us on how to talk to our children about terrorist attacks, as though it were similar to a tornado warning, is not something that I anticipated in my lifetime. The atrocity that occurred on 9/11 is not something that is supposed to happen here, but it did. We are challenged by the infiltration of immigrants to our country, whether legal or illegal. Our citizens are fearful of the future attacks that are threatened and at times the very presence of the Arab population within our communities.
International terrorism threatens the United States, its allies, and the world community. Defeating the terrorist enemy requires sound policies, united government effort, and international cooperation. In light of that, it is difficult to remember as you board an airplane with six Arab passengers, that we live in the “melting pot. ” America was founded on freedoms, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to name a few. How do we, as a country, monitor and measure our safety, while ensuring the freedoms that are afforded our citizens? How do we deal with the threat of terrorism within our own borders?
Can we provide safety by simply following the laws of our country? As a senior counter-terrorism official, it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of our communities. Local law enforcement plays a critical role in enhancing the safety in communities. Communication links between local law enforcement and state and federal government will further the effectiveness of this program. It will be my responsibility to encourage local law enforcement in their fight against terrorism. We do not have the right to intrude on the religious activities of Arabs or anyone else within our communities without just cause.
Defining terrorism in a country based on freedoms is a difficult task. Our country’s downfall is we have still not attempted to deal with or identify the causes of terrorism. We must identify the cause and the potential activities which threaten our society. The problem of terrorism–the problem of a relatively small number of violent lawbreakers who have set out to undermine our democratic way of life and seek either to blackmail the government through violence or the threat of violence to comply with their demands, or to overthrow the government entirely. We should all think about what kind of country we want to live in.
To be truly patriotic means recognizing our responsibilities to uphold the democratic principles which make this the freest nation on Earth. It is important to remember that the opening words of the Constitution are `We the People’ not `I the People. ‘ Being a citizen in a democracy means that you can’t organize your own private army because you disagree with the actions of the democratically elected government. We need to focus on restorative justice. Restorative justice is grounded in the focus on the harm created, not simply on the breach of law. This means that the first priority is
understanding and responding to the needs of victims and the healing of victims. The direct victims are the primary focus, but everyone else who has been touched by the crime is also involved, including the community as a whole. To address the harm to victims, restorative justice believes that we must affirm moral responsibility and the need for accountability on the part of those who have done the harm. Restorative justice sees the past in the context of the present and the future, looking at: * what accountability is needed to address the harm to the victims; * what accountability would provide the offender the opportunity to do
restitution or reparation or whatever needs to be done to address the harm created; and * what accountability is needed for the restoration of community, including the restoration of the victim and the offender into community. Such accountability assumes the need for safety. This involves the whole community taking responsibility for the victims as well as the offender, including seeing everyone in a human context that is broader than just the moment of the crime. Finally, restorative justice is about the engagement of all parties, including the larger community, in working towards healing
the harm and the creation of community, a community that includes both the victims and the offenders. Within our communities, it is critical that we appropriately monitor the business of individuals who have been associated or are believed to be associated with known terrorists. There are already procedures in place to monitor the actions of these individuals. It would not be appropriate to infiltrate communities on the basis of race, unless there are specific ties to known terrorists. Ethically, homeland security is responsible for the safety of all individuals within our
borders and cannot pick and choose based on race. Known terrorists, whether American born or a foreign national, once captured should all receive the same treatment and rights. Recent actions of military in Iraq and elsewhere, if interpreted by the Iraqi people, may give rise to the belief that Americans are in fact the terrorists. The torture of Iraqi captives and the outright murder of innocent Iraqi civilians could lead one to believe that we are no better than Al Queda. We do not have the right to torture terrorists in order to gain information. Effective counterterrorism should take the form of prevention.
We need to neutralize the terrorist organization by weakening it or making potential targets more difficult to attack. After the attacks of 9/11, an important distinction was drawn between the U. S. argument that an attack on Afghan soil was legitimate because of the Taliban’s close and supportive relationship with al Qaeda and the more extended claim, that one nation could launch an attack within another nation’s sovereign territory, even if there was no state support for terrorists acting within the borders.
If evidence is present that a particular state has intentionally supported global terrorism and continues to do so, the case can be made for armed force to avoid future terrorist attacks within the framework of the just war tradition. A state linked to support of terrorism against another nation is engaged in a war of aggression. Any country that is the object of terrorist attacks has a right to defend itself. In effect, the case against the Taliban was not intervention for regime change but a war of self-defense against a government that was directly complicit in terrorist attacks. (Himes, 2004) The attack on Iraq does not meet the criteria of Just War.
President Bush and his advisors presented a case for armed intervention in order to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Concern that enemies might use such weapons has fueled the new debate. The United States declared its willingness to initiate attacks upon adversaries it considers to be threatening. Anti-Americanism is alive and well in all parts of the world. Within our own borders, Anti-Americanism is not as widespread as is the disillusionment with our own government. It is not the foundations of America that are at issue, but the interpretation and thus application of our ability to affect the rest of the world.