Enemy Without A Face Essay

3011 words - 12 pages

Whit Richardson AN ENEMY WITHOUT A FACE In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton claimed that the globe had become the United States? theater, and that in the ideological realm there was no longer an adversary capable of challenging the moral authority claimed by democracy. This claim was challenged on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States on its own soil. The subsequent response on the international stage poses the question whether this assertion made by the former President was accurate. Is democracy the pinnacle of morality on the political evolutionary highway? If so, why does the intense sense of redemption exist in some parts of the Middle East, why were American citizens shown clips of Palestinians and Egyptians celebrating in the streets following the horrific attack upon our innocent civilians? The question begs for a much deeper explanation of this tragedy than the simple moral implications of democracy and the United States? advocation and defense of it on a global scale.There was no question that the United States would be forced to make some sort of response to this attack. There is no greater threat to a state?s sovereignty than an attack upon its own soil and citizens. The real debate was over what form the expected response would take. For the first time the United States was faced with an enemy without a face. There was no belligerent state to take responsibility for the attack, no immediate government to target, no immediate declarations of war or sanctions; but there was a competing ideology that announced itself, one of virulent anti-Americanism and extremist behavior. Policy makers in Washington and the rest of the world were well aware that this ideology existed long before the World Trade Center bombing last September. This attack however was on an unprecedented scale that shocked everyone and sent a message to the Western world that these terrorists were not amateurs, they were well financed, well trained, and more importantly, they had the fatal devotion to their beliefs. These extremist individuals and their dogma would have to be the target of the U.S. response; unfortunately they are spread throughout the world, from the streets of our own cities to the depths of the jungles in South-East Asia to a basement dwelling in Cairo. Thus, we have an unwieldy war against a global network of loosely organized, Muslim extremists.This ideology that threatens the United States and all it has fought to produce is not new. Beginning with the World Trade Center bombing in February of 1993, the subsequent bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, and the attack of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, Muslim extremists have made it known that they wage a jihad, or holy war, against the West. From Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group to the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah; terrorism is becoming an increasingly well-worn tactic of the weak against the powerful. But, in the case of Hamas and Hezbollah, or the Irish Republican Army in...

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