Having just remembered the terrorist attacks that occurred (World Trade Center, Pentagon, Shanksville, Pa) on September 11, 2001, I thought it would be worth our time to see where we are today, ten years later.
9/11 An Act of War or Terrorism?
In November, 2009, Pat Buchanan asked, “Are we at war – or not?” Good question. Most Americans consider the 9/11 attacks both an act of war and an act of terror. But are there other terrorist acts that can be considered acts of war? Are there acts of war that can also be considered terrorism?
The Obama administration‘s plan was to send terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who (with others) plotted the 9/11 attack on New York City, back to NYC for trial. There he was to stand trial in a civilian court, where he was to be accorded the same constitutional rights as any other common criminal. AG Eric Holder justified this act of insanity by saying it is was chance to show the world that we don’t put enemy combatants before star chamber proceedings and then send them to the firing squad. We cannot give them the military trial normally accorded enemy combatants because we’re better than that. But NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the 9/11 attack was not a “crime,” but an “act of war,” and therefore, the perpetrators should be tried in a military court. Enemy soldiers who commit atrocities are not sent to the United States for trial. Under the Geneva Conventions, soldiers who commit atrocities are shot when caught. When and where did Khalid Sheikh Mohammed acquire his right to a trial by a jury of his peers in a U.S. court?
BTW, here is what the Department of Defense (DoD) has to say on the subject. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were watershed events that altered the American military’s philosophy and role in regard to terrorism. The U.S. military now looks upon terrorism as an act of war, as well as a crime. That’s what’s allowing the military to go look for al Qaeda, to operate against terrorist organizations, because we’ve basically classified them as enemy combatants.
Here is what the United Nations (UN) has to say about terrorism. “… there is no excuse for terrorism and that all terrorism is unacceptable.” “The United Nations should project a clear, principled and immutable message that terrorism is unacceptable. Terrorists must never be allowed to create a pretext for their actions. Whatever the causes they claim to be advancing, whatever grievances they claim to be responding to, terrorism cannot be justified. The United Nations must maintain the moral high ground in this regard.”
Here is what Muslims and imams had to say about the 9/11 terrorist attack. “The undersigned, leaders of Islamic movements, are horrified by the events of Tuesday 11 September 2001 in the United States which resulted in massive killing, destruction and attack on innocent lives. We express our deepest sympathies and sorrow. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the incidents, which are against all human and Islamic norms. This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’.” “All Muslims ought to be united against all those who terrorize the innocents, and those who permit the killing of non-combatants without a justifiable reason. Islam has declared the spilling of blood and the destruction of property as absolute prohibitions until the Day of Judgment. … [It is] necessary to apprehend the true perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, financing or other support. They must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law and [punished] appropriately. … [It is] a duty of Muslims to participate in this effort with all possible means.”
Refusing to Condemn Terrorism
In a statement released on Sunday (September 11, 2011) a bloc of Islamic states reiterated their position that has hindered efforts by the UN to develop a global convention against terrorism. The Islamic states insist that any definition of terrorism should make an exception for “resistance” against foreign occupation. As long as that view exists, it promotes attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, by jihadists fighting in India, by groups who portray the US and coalition military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as “occupation,” or any other jihad they wish to “justify.”
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Convention on Combating Terrorism includes a definition of terrorism, in Article 1, “… any act of violence or threat thereof notwithstanding its motives or intentions perpetrated to carry out an individual or collective criminal plan with the aim of terrorizing people or threatening to harm them or imperiling their lives, honor, freedoms, security or rights …” It continues in Article 2, “Peoples’ struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination in accordance with the principles of international law shall not be considered a terrorist crime.” [emphasis mine]
In April 2002, OIC foreign ministers met in Malaysia, aiming to define terrorism, and with dissociating it from Islam, as a direct response to al-Qaeda’s attack in the name of Islam. The meeting ended with the statement: “We reject any attempt to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people in the exercise of their inalienable right to establish their independent state with al-Quds al-Sharif [Jerusalem] as its capital.”
Terrorism and War
But… terrorism will always beget more terrorism, regardless of whether we call it “war” or not. All future policies and actions should be predicated upon that fact.
But that’s just my opinion.