US War on Terror inspires more terror
As the US prepares to mark 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, the results of the huge backlash it triggered are under scrutiny. A decade of military campaigns overseas has been accompanied by headlines of torture, secret prisons and civilian deaths.
One of the deadliest terrorist attacks in history has ushered in a decade of anti-terror campaigns across the globe. But are America and the world now a safer place 10 years on?The most recent 9/11 Commission Report Card gives aviation security in the US the worst grade – an F. As for terrorists, experts say the methods used to fight them have spawned even more extremism.“Torture and the abuses, which weren’t just in Abu Ghraib or in Guantanamo, which were sanctioned at the highest level, occurred in all theaters, and that has significantly set us back since 9/11 in trying to defeat terrorism,” says Matthew Alexander, an interrogator in Iraq and author of Kill or Capture.Following 9/11, America did not just go after the perpetrators. It unleashed a campaign on a nation that had nothing to do with the attack.Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died since the US invasion in 2003. America’s decade-long campaign on terror has created a new phenomenon: war without borders. And, as many say, without rules.The torture, rape and murder that took place at the US-run prison in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, as well as other US prisons overseas, brought global condemnation. But key decision-makers in the Bush administration say what they did was in the best interest of their country and they would do the same again.In his recent interview, Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States in George W. Bush’s administration from 2001-2009, did not hesitate to confirm this stance.NBC News:Even though people call it torture, you think it should still be a tool?Cheney:Yes.NBC:Rendition?Cheney:Yes.NBC:Secret prisons?Cheney:Yes.NBC:Wiretapping?Cheney:Well, with the right approval…Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson was Colin Powell’s chief of staff when the latter was secretary of state under George W. Bush. He says some of the Bush administration members deserve to be put on trial, and he would be ready to testify against them.“George Tenet [the head of the CIA] told Dick Cheney what Dick Cheney wanted to hear: ‘Oh, yes! It’s working, Mr. Vice President! We’re getting great information and we are stopping terrorism.’ That is utter BS!” Wilkerson said.The fact that there has not been a single successful terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 is often attributed to the harsh methods used in the last decade of war on terror. But counterterrorism experts say the fact that terrorists are recruiting thousands of new members these days does not add to security in the US, nor the whole world for that matter.“We’ve also seen other extremist networks rising [other than Al-Qaeda], like Al-Gani network, swelling rings, in response to things like US drone attacks in Pakistan. So in some ways, there’s also been a diversification of recruits into other extreme organizations,” Matthew Alexander explains.In Pakistan, US drone strikes have killed thousands of civilians and netted only a handful of actual terrorists. Many of the victims’ loved ones seek revenge by joining radical groups. Others gather in protests. But experts say those pleas mean nothing when Washington needs the chase to go on.“We have made a cut-edge industry, if not much more than a cut-edge industry, out of what my former boss Colin Powell called ‘the terrorist industrial complex.’ Lots of people are making lots of money off of this so-called ‘War on Terror’,” Wilkerson added.“Our War on Terror begins with Al-Qaeda, but it does not end there,” George W. Bush once said.Listening to his declaration of War on Terror from 10 years ago, one is left wondering whether it was the beginning of a vicious circle, where the revenge would take more innocent lives and would start a new wave of terror.