The History of Terrorism and Special Forces
Terrorism can be defined as a strategic and deliberate use of violence and force towards an identified target in order to disrupt the political atmosphere (Mitchell, 2010). On many occasions I discovered that threats are commonly used by the terrorists to achieve their goal of influencing political decisions. These deeds of terror I believe have no noble interest in them since they lead to hasty attacks and killings. The United States of America has encountered several terrorist attacks throughout its history. The country deployed Special Forces during attacks to counter the adversities associated with terrorism. An extensive investigation on terrorism has to be carried out especially on the historical background of the US in order to gather a broader perspective about terrorists’ intentions. I strongly believe the research will assist government agencies and legal systems to make timely decisions on how to tackle the deadly threats.
The historical background on terrorism dates back to the French revolution (Mitchell, 2010). For the last ten years, however, a dramatic increase in this barbaric act has been observed. To pursue their political agenda they use hijacking, murdering, kidnapping and bombing. Armstrong indicated that modern suicide terror was first noted at an American embassy in Lebanon in 1983 near Beirut (Simpson & Robert, 2004). The group behind the attack was known as Hezbollah, meaning an army of God. The group later led another attack against the French multinational force and the Marine headquarters resulting in the death of 300 people (Bernstein, 2002). The terror attack made western forces to leave Lebanon. A suicide terror attack is presumed to be the most devastating form of terrorism. The terrorists usually use religion to justify their awful acts though the assaults are politically motivated.
Hezbollah as I noted uses suicide terror attacks against Israel as a retaliatory apparatus. For example, after their secretary general Abas Musavi was assassinated by Israeli military personnel in 1992, the Hezbollah bombed an Israeli embassy stationed in Buenos Ares (Mann, 2004). Twenty-nine people died while two hundred and fifty people were seriously injured. I also noted that whenever a terror group achieved a political goal their terror activities were observed to reduce. This was a clear indication that the perpetrators were politically motivated rather than being religiously influenced. Islam is also the most dominant religion in the Middle East and terrorists use this opportunity to their advantage. The objective of publicizing their course is achieved through the use of a religious approach and tone. Due to the common culture and religion of their environment, the method of communicating turns out to be very effective. I believe Scholars were blinded into believing that terrorism was motivated by religion (Simpson, 2004). This could have been as a result of the famous picture of Arab Muslims shouting “God is great” in the Middle East, especially in the middle of bloody terror attacks.
Armstrong, a famous political scholar, argues that the new form of terrorism could be because of the collapsing of the Soviet Union (Simpson & Robert, 2004). The fall marked the end of colonial stations in most sections of the Middle East. An anti -colonial terrorism vacuum, however, was created; this led to suicide terror attacks based on religion. Most of the terrorist attacks occurring across the world are religious-based. Different types of religion try to eliminate others so that they can control the world region. Anti-imperialism is the major issue causing terror attacks in the Middle East. Their perception is that western culture is corrupt suppressive and wants a government that will preserve their culture. Citizens of imperialized countries feel oppressed; this makes them to seek ways of eliminating imperialism. One of the ways that has been used throughout the human history is terrorism.
The Special Forces
America uses military power to curb terrorism. Military power is made up of the armed force that protects the citizens from external aggression. Unique strategies have been set by the military forces to tackle the problem of terrorism (Bush, 2011). First a philosophy establishing the need to protect the lives of civilians known as a counterinsurgency or (COIN) was implemented. Others include the use of drones, covert operations and investigative work. American air strikes have been curtailed to reduce the number of innocent casualties. The Special Forces unit is a branch of the army given the mega task of handling terrorism threats. The unit was initially formed to boost psychological warfare on May 1952 (Bush, 2011). In 1954 its existence was disclosed to the public. Over the years various lethal and highly trained elite units have been developed from the unit for example the delta force, green berets, airborne division and the rangers (Bernstein, 2002). The women and men in the units are highly trained and their main duty is to free the oppressed and ensure there is maximum safety. The Special Forces roles evolved from normal combat to counter terrorism roles (Mitchell, 2010).
The Special Forces have five crucial missions: direct action, foreign internal defense, counter- terrorism, special reconnaissance and finally the most important and the original mission is the unconventional warfare (Mitchell, 2010). They have the capability to be virtually anywhere where the environment is very hostile and in a major crisis. Special Forces have other duties such as manhunts, security assistance, peacekeeping, hostage rescue, counter- proliferation, counter-narcotics, information operations, security assistance, psychological operations and humanitarian assistance (Simpson, 2004). The soldiers learn foreign languages and culture. They are also experts especially in matters involving organizing surrogate fighters and foreign armies.
The unit traces its history way back to the World War 2 involving the strategic services (Mitchell, 2010). The OSS was developed to collect intelligence and carry out missions behind enemy lines in Burma and Europe. The team has assisted in ousting the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, which was a move to combat terrorism globally. The group is known to accomplish missions that are perceived to be almost impossible. For example, in northern Iraq the squad cleared the whole western desert that was full of scud missiles (Bernstein, 2002). They are uniquely identified as the “quiet professionals” and are deployed all over the world showcasing their expertise in unconventional warfare. Their motto is to” free the oppressed” citizens.
The severity of terrorism activities as I have observed has increased alarmingly for the past few years and incidences experienced are more violent as compared to recent years. The terror groups have also advanced by having branches in different countries (Mann, 2004). I believe the guerilla tactic is the most common form of warfare that the terrorists practice since they cannot match the sophisticated conventional Special Forces capabilities. Counter terrorism has become the biggest concern among countries all over the world since terrorism is inevitable and very secretive (Mann, 2004).
New terror groups are emerging everywhere in the world; therefore, most countries have designated special units to handle the threats. They range from security agencies to elite tactical units. They are involved in responsive operations and immediate response to ongoing attacks (Simpson, 2004). In the USA most operations to curb terrorism are at the tactical stage and are conducted by the either the intelligence agencies or the national law enforcing agencies. These include the FBI and the CIA, agencies that gather classified information about the intentions of the terrorists in order to avert terrorist threats.
Attaining reliable secret intelligence I believe is very vital for the both the intelligence agencies and the Special Forces since terrorists are very secretive and hide in remote geographical locations. Although secret intelligence is very important, at times it can be very costly and unreliable. For instance some intelligence was gathered claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was secretly funding terror groups. The information was false and because of that the USA is at war with Iraq (Bernstein, 2002). This in my view has resulted to using up billions of tax payers’ money in funding the war and massive loss of lives.
The head of the Al-Qaida group Osama bin laden was totally against imperialism. He demanded that the USA should withdraw its operations from the Middle East. His goal was to introduce a government that had no influence from the west. Some people argue that USA operations in Iraq stimulate more anger among the Islamic community. The invasion and deployment of the elite forces in Iraq proves the propaganda of the terrorists to be true. The propaganda has it that American is an evil country that suppresses Muslims globally and invades Arab countries (Richard 2002). Though, the USA aims at protecting the liberty and freedom of all the people regardless of their religious affiliation.
On 11 September, 2001 I was the people who witnessed the most striking form of attack on American soil occurred.Where nineteen Al-Qaida extremists seized a total of four airplanes from the commercial sector crashing one into the famous pentagon in Washington (Mann, 2004). The other two targeted the twin towers in New York. The fourth commercial airliner was deliberately crashed in the country side of Pennsylvania. For the first time, the Special Forces were caught off guard. Neither I nor the air force could have imagined a commercial airliner could be turned into a weapon of mass destruction. Communication breakdowns also hindered any attempts of trying to handle the situation.
Operations carried out by the Special Forces
Immediately after the 9/11 attack, the first counter terrorism operation was conducted which was known as “operation resolute eagle” (Mann, 2004). Astonishingly, the operation was not done in the Middle East or Afghanistan, but in Europe. The extremists involved in the terror attack also took part in an ethnic conflict in Bosnia –Herzegovina. On September 2001 USA received an intelligence report indicating that the terror group associated with Osama Bin Laden was in Bosnia. The Special Forces team was given the task of carrying out operation resolute eagle to capture the extremists (Mann, 2004). The operation was very successful since after the capturing and detaining one of groups they were able to capture all the suspects after a massive gun battle.
“Operation Anaconda” as code named by the Special Forces was another operation aimed at driving out all Taliban’s from Afghanistan. Their duty involved locating enemy networks that were located underground. The intelligence of the elite forces shifted to the Gardez triangle that was believed to be the hiding place of the Taliban. Paktia province too had a huge concentration of enemy troops. The Operation Anaconda aimed at destroying all its enemies. This was among the many operations carried out by the Special Forces in Afghanistan after the deadly terror attack on American soil.
The Taliban regime fell in November 2001 (Mann, 2004). Factions originating from Afghanistan met in Germany to establish an interim government. Immediately the new government took over the Special Forces started training the Afghanistan national army. In 2003, the task was handed over to the TF Phoenix and seven ANA soldiers had undergone through superb training. The relationship between the terrorists and the Special Forces has always been rough with massive gun battles characterizing their encounter (Robert, 2004).
The United States has found itself in the middle of terror attacks throughout its historical development. Counteracting terrorism has always involved deployment of Special Forces and other forms of military power to protect its citizens from external attacks. The main causes of terrorism in my point of view are believed to constitute differences in religious beliefs and imperialism. Any type of terrorism however, is unacceptable due to the massive destruction of property and loss of life witnessed. Propagandists invalidate any moral argument they intend to air by carrying out a terror attacks. I believe people should follow ethical deeds used by Martin Luther king and Mohammad Gandhi in proving that violence is not a problem solver. All citizens must join hands to fight terrorism. Leaders should not bow down or run away from the problem but should continue to combat terror by gaining alliances with other nations. I also strongly believe no holy book or Bible indicates that human beings can take a life just because of a belief. No form of terrorism should be allowed to prevail.
Bernstein, R. (2002). Out of the Blue: The story of September 11, 2001, from Jihad to Ground Zero. New York: Times Books.
Bush, G. W. (2011).” Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Terrorist Attacks. “American RhetoricOnlineSpeechBank. Retrieved from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gwbush911jointsessionspeech.htm.
Mann, J. (2004). Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. New York: Viking books.
Mitchell, L.E. (2010) .Journal of Homeland Security. Answer Institute for Homeland Security. Retrieved from http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/
Simpson III & Robert B. R. (2004). Inside the Green Berets: he First Thirty Years, a History of the U.S. Army Special Forces. New York: Presidio publishing limited agency.