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Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: Annotated Bibliography

Deflem, M., & McDonough, S. (2015). The fear of counterterrorism: Surveillance and civil liberties since 9/11. Society, 52(1), 70-79. doi: 10.1007/s12115-014-9855-1

Summary

This article examined the undermining of civil liberties in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that saw counterterrorism policies take a higher priority than the protection of civil liberties like privacy and free speech among other things. The authors, however, established that after more than ten years, less than 0.5% of Americans fear terrorism as much as they did in 2001 (Deflem & McDonough, 2015, p. 77). In this work, the authors contended that there was an increasing fear for the extent and capabilities of surveillance as a counterterrorism practice. The reason for this was also established within the study. People no longer consider terrorism as a major problem, and thus, they do not regard surveillance and other counterterrorism measures as a priority.

Critical Analysis

This article provided an explanation for the prevailing social disapproval of counterterrorism surveillance and its extent as well as capabilities. The authors were largely effective is discovering why the legitimacy of surveillance in post 9/11 America continues to face disapproval (Deflem & McDonough, 2015). Thus, the authors explained why the American public is currently not too enthusiastic about the current surveillance practices conducted by the US government both at home and abroad. They also unfolded why people like Edward Snowden managed to get the support of the American people despite the gravity of their actions and the negative implications that these actions had with respect to national security and counterterrorism on the US soil. The article highlighted the current attitudes of the American citizens with respect to NSA and their surveillance practices that meant to violate the liberties of a large number of people in too many locations within and outside the US.

Value of the Article

This article is intended for security agencies such as the CIA and FIB. It provides information that can help strengthen counterterrorism efforts in the United States. In addition, the authors shed light on the current realities that make counterterrorism surveillance a problem in American society (Deflem & McDonough, 2015). While counterterrorism surveillance violates some civil liberties, its need is justifiable within the context of 9/11. Therefore, the above information can also be crucial to US citizens, as it helps appreciate the importance of counterterrorism surveillance.

Das, S.P., & Chowdhury, P.R. (2008). Deterrence, preemption, and panic: A common-enemy problem of terrorism. Economic Inquiry, 52(1), 219-238. doi: 10.1111/ecin.12034

Summary

In the given article, the authors wrote about how countries need to respond to terrorism in order to contain it effectively. The primary notion was basically that ‘offense is the best defense’ considering that counterterrorism policies and practices in most parts of the world have not been too effective so far. In this article, the authors discovered that the magnitude of fear resulting from a terror attack is often directly related to the amount of ‘terror input’ invested by the terrorist group in question (Das & Chowdhury, 2008). Moreover, in most cases, the authors also contended, preemption is the best course of action as it will weaken the marginal fear effected upon the country by acts of terrorism. In some cases, countries that are prepared to fight terrorism are more likely to suffer less if they are attacked. Preemption is exposed in the article as the most effective solution for the nation under discussion.

Critical Analysis

This article applied a thorough analytical methodology to explain how terrorism works. The information provided, though complex in some angles, is effective in painting a clear picture on how terror attacks affect a given country and how the various countermeasures are likely to help (Das & Chowdhury, 2008). The article provided information that can help civilians understand the intricacies of the fight against terrorism as well as guide counterterrorism efforts in most parts of the world for a more effective war on terrorism.

Value Of The Article

By stating that preemption is the best method to fight terrorism, this article provided critical information and evaluation of counterterrorism measures. Therefore, the work is intended for various government institutions responsible for counterterrorism strategies. This means that it is particularly important to global organizations that fight terror. These organizations may include combined intergovernmental military forces such as NATO.

Keenan, D. (2014).Vulnerable bodies: Rethinking global violence in the sirens of Baghdad. Peace & Change, 39(3), 289-312. doi: 10.1111/pech.12075

Summary

The article under discussion explored the definition of terrorism as well as questioned the actual science of global violence. Keenan (2014) used the novel Sirens of Baghdad as a tool to explore what terrorism meant in post 9/11 America. The general argument presented by this author was that the American people are effective in dissociating the war narrative from their daily lives such that they are unable to look at terrorism and global violence from a rational point of view. To the Americans, it is just another story that seems to have no direct bearing on their current life. The fear or anxiety and the death tolls are all beyond their reach.

Critical Analysis

The author examined the concept of global violence from the human rights angle in order to establish whether ‘terrorism’ was always perceived by society in such a way (Keenan, 2014). Thus, the article highlighted antiterror deficiencies in the war on terrorism with respect to encouraging global peace. With examples like the US invasion in Iraq, the authors elaborated the implications of efforts directed towards fighting terrorism where more lives have actually had to be sacrificed. Global violence affects the entire world, and this means conflict resolution within a peaceful context may be a better solution. The article stated that global violence and terrorism were created with a purpose to benefit or drive the agenda of some in society. The end result is a significant amount of information that can help in fighting terror without going to war.

Value of the Article

Usually, counterterrorism is considered from the point of force where war is generally inevitable. In reality, though, this may not be the case considering that war does not always eliminate the underlying causes of the terror attacks in the first place. The US Army, for example, spent so many years in the Gulf trying to end terrorism only to leave without making much headway (Keenan, 2014). Thus, this article is most useful to government officials who have the responsibility to formulate counterterrorism that can help countries combat terror without necessarily waging a war.

Celso, A.N. (2014). Al Qaeda’s post-Bin Laden resurgence: The paradox of resilience and failure. Mediterranean Quarterly, 25(2), 33-47. doi: 0.1215/10474552-2685749

Summary

The article analyzed the apparent weakening of al-Qaeda after drone strikes destroyed a significant portion of the terrorist group’s leadership. The author of the work noted that contrary to popular or delusional beliefs, the terrorist group was not as badly affected by the death of its leaders (Celso, 2014). Instead, they seemed to have been strengthened in their faith and resolve to destroy the US homeland. This article highlighted that while al-Qaeda’s jihadist organization might have been weakened, al-Qaeda activism had significantly grown, and thus, the group was not about to cease its existence any time soon (Celso). In fact, the authors found that there seemed to be more support for al-Qaeda in more parts of the world than before. However, while the author agreed that the group had faced a lot of weaknesses and dysfunctions owing to the recent challenges and leadership wrangles, it continued to be a major challenge in the war on terror.

Critical Analysis

This author was particularly keen on analyzing the al-Qaeda and their various changes in leadership and membership over the past years (Celso, 2014). He cited that while the weaknesses of the al-Qaeda seemed very deep, the group continued to restructure and adapt to the new circumstances, and thus, might return to being a major problem in the future. This kind of information provides an insight into the current status of the al-Qaeda terrorist group giving a better understanding of how such groups work and possibly how they can be destroyed if it is possible at all.

Value of the Article

This article focused on the situation of the al-Qaeda as a terrorist group that might weaken but not disappears. The work provided critical information to understand that while the US government might focus on other threats to international peace and security, it could not afford to forget about al-Qaeda. The material is, thus, particularly interesting to the security policymakers within the American government in order to ensure that they do not underestimate al-Qaeda in policymaking. Also, other countries that see al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups as a threat may benefit from this article, especially information on al-Qaeda’s activities, strengths as well as weaknesses.

Dragu, T., & Polborn, M. (2014). The rule of law in the fight against terrorism. American Journal of Political Science, 58(2), 511-525. Doi: 10.1111/ajps.12061

Summary

Since the start of terrorism, it can be noted that more lives have been taken in the war on terrorism than in terrorist acts themselves. This creates a problem with the validity and legitimacy of the war on terror. This article questioned the effects of the law in the fight against terrorism, considering that the number of lives lost often seems unjustifiable and thus illegal (Dragu & Polborn 2014). Executive powers often focus on meeting public demand, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism. This may explain why some anti-terrorism policies are too aggressive and end in significantly ghastly results like the US occupation in the Gulf.

Critical Analysis

The given work emphasized that laws are often meant to moderate power and guarantee security to citizens; however, most laws have failed nations in the war on terror. The author stated that when the citizens of a particular country need their leaders to act fast and protect them from terrorists, the leaders do not often have to go through complicated processes and regulations. The authors argued that in some cases, authorities break existing laws in order to offer security to citizens. Therefore, the article provided a different angle for understanding counterterrorism practices that people often regard as illegal.

Value of the Article

This work provided justification for a number of illegal and illegitimate counterterrorism acts in order to help the reader understand how these policies appeared. For example, the article gave information that explained why it was necessary for the US to send troops in Iraq AND Afghanistan. This article is particularly useful to American citizens interested in appreciating the concept of counterterrorism, especially in terms of growing conflict between counterterrorism and global violence. The material would provide a deeper understanding of how counterterrorism has grown over the decades.

Conclusion

The five articles in this paper gave an insight into the counterterrorism efforts embraced in the post 9/11 US, with their strengths, weaknesses, and successes as well as failures. With a particular interest in how these counterterrorism measures have impacted the world with respect to terrorism, the various measures taken have not been too fruitful. Regarding the violation of civil liberties and the undermining of peace in some countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the global war on terror seems to have caused more deaths and sufferings than the acts of terrorism that they seek to prevent. The above scenario means that there is a good reason to question the legitimacy of counterterrorism as an actual pursuit in the current global arena. Therefore, counterterrorism policymakers have to consider the effects of the counterterrorism measures that they seek to propose and implement. If policymakers find that global violence is an inevitable component in their proposals, Keenan (2014) urges to conduct a keener analysis of the situation since violence cannot be the only available solution. The whole point of counterterrorism efforts is to alleviate violence and the ensuing death and suffering. Without these considerations, it is possible that the war on terror will take more lives than terrorism can ever do, thus generating the question of what the actual crime is: terrorism or fighting terrorism?