Obama’s War on Terror: a Critical Approach in Terms of Public Policies
Osama bin Laden, the biggest face of terror, having been killed on May 2, 2011, it’s a huge achievement for the Obama administration. It definitely generates the feel that the War on Terror that started with the attacks on the Twin Towers of World Trade Centre, reached a milestone. Though it started with George Bush, Obama continued with the mission. True, the world exults over the death of Osama, just as it did when Saddam Hussain was killed. However, there are many aspects of War on Terror, especially during the phase under the Presidency of Obama, which can be questioned from the viewpoints of Public Policies.
Now that the United States is getting prepared for its next Presidential election, an incident like this will go in favor of the party that Obama stands for. However, is it justified? Isn’t it necessary to look into certain factors so that it can be realized that it is not a case of all-fair-and-no-foul game. If we look into the matters, keeping in mind the public Policy factors, we find that Public Policies resorted to by Obama are not beyond questions. This is no new allegation. Many intellectuals, politicians and state personalities have pointed out follies in steps and decisions taken by Obama administration. Criticisms have been there all along.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the weaknesses and strengths of Obama administration for the Public Policy War on Terror. Before taking an approach to get into certain controversial issues it is better to know the issue first. Let us try to explore what these public policies are. Then the discussion can be done on the level of fulfillment of expectation that pulls up at the Inauguration day. Whether the President, in this case Obama, can write a new history is the dream that every American see. Now it is up to the critical study that can make a conclusion indicating how justified Obama has been in his Public Policies in relation to War on Terror. The time has come once again to analyze and this time Obama is on the judgment box, waiting for the verdict, not physically but from a hypothetical perspective, whether he has become a winner or not.
The President, holding a pen to give a stroke, can order anything but it needs to be justified to select once again the same person with another poling. Undoubtedly, the expectation is very high with Obama. The stern decision of the Nobel committee to shift the Peace prize into prize Anticipating Peace is an explicit method to support and recognize Obama’s steps against terror. His attempt to spread peace all over the world is recognized officially.
Introducing War on Terror
Terrorism does not have any restrictions or borders to be confided within. The forms of terror vary and the range is quite a wide in kind of. To define terrorism, this is better to say that anything by which “civilians are being targeted by violence during times of peace” (Lansford,T., Watson,R. P.,& Covarrubias, J., 2009) can be recognized as something like terrorism. “United States also classifies a terrorist group as… “any group practicing or that have significant sub groups that practice international terrorism..”.”(Lansford,T., Watson,R. P.,& Covarrubias, J., 2009). Among the many mistakes made by the Bush administration, the declaration of War on Terror can be recognized as an important one. Most of radical and grand terrorist attacks have been done by the Muslim terrorists-the Mujahedeen. Such religious extremists groups are the main focus for War on Terror during the era of Bush’s administration. After the devastating attack on 9/11, the focus was much shifted to the al-Qaeda. They are also dedicated to overthrow non-Muslim regime from the Middle East sector. This is declared serving as the umbrella of many terrorist groups. They have turned out to be the source of inspiration for the extremist Muslims. They take the responsibility to send fighters to the whole world and sponsor such activities all around the world. Bush‘s Administration has taken some concrete steps to minimize the power of this group and “Al-Qaeda was forced to become more decentralized to the point where it is composed of “self generating cells”.” (Lansford,T., Watson,R. P.,& Covarrubias, J., 2009). Bush made the mistake of abolishing Muslim countries rather trying to destroy the core platforms of terrorisms. He was accused of being pouring his own grudge with some personal issues in terms of his dealings with Saddam Hussain interpreting as mass destruction. Bush’ administration lacked proper planning but had enough destructive courage.
Less Martial but More Conciliatory:
In the very early days of Obama’s administration he was accused of being very polite in terms of continuing with War on Terror. He was attacked with such comment that he is making the nation too soft to attack on terrorism. He is lacking in courage as if his strategies are making the nation weak. Within a few years, it is again said that Obama is not only following Bush’s strategy in terms of war on terror rather he is strengthening the policy (web, 2011) more and more. Laden is killed with a sudden and secret attack with proper planning on 2nd May, 2011. This has made him more strong as against such discouraging accusation. Where Bush lacks, this can be said that Obama begins at that very point. Moreover, he not only makes such policies strong enough for future rather he has codified such policies within the Law to make and use them successfully in future to have control over terrorism. He is well aware of being a good politician that Osama Bin Laden may be the father of terrorism but there are some other people who have the power to continue the threat around the whole world. There are enough wings spread all over this globe that can continue with the terrorist threat. Having a good foresighted power, Obama has made such policies from right-wing dogma to harmonious bipartisan consensus (web, 2011). According to James Jay Carafano who is a homeland-security expert at the Heritage Foundation “there’s been a powerful continuity between the 43rd and the 44th president.” (Web, 2011). He continued that “I don’t think it’s even fair to call it Bush Lite. It’s Bush. It’s really, really hard to find a difference that’s meaningful and not atmospheric.” Even nation’s extreme conservatives have praised a lot how Obama has dealt with policies related with terrorism. Even Dick Cheney has praised Obama’s policy on War on Terror “He obviously has been through the fires of becoming President and having to make decisions and live with the consequences. And it’s different than being a candidate. When he was candidate he was all for closing Gitmo. He was very critical of what we’d done on the counterterrorism area to protect America from further attack and so forth. . . .I think he’s — in terms of a lot of the terrorism policies — the early talk, for example, about prosecuting people in the CIA who’ve been carrying out our policies — all of that’s fallen by the wayside. I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he’s learned from experience.” (Web, 2011). While talking about his early stand about Obama’s policy he said that “I was concerned that the counterterrorism policies that we’d put in place after 9/11 that had kept the nation safe for over seven years were being sort of rapidly discarded. Or he was going to attempt to discard them. . . . As I say, I think he’s found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did.”(Web, 2011). There is a stern affirmation is reflecting about the continuation of their policies in Obama era also but he praised a lot about the process by which Obama deals with such policies.
Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first president at the age of terrorism. It was clear at that time that he is inherited with two struggles (web, 2010) one is with Al-Qaeda and its allies. The other fight is against the division within his own home about the issues related with tortures, prosecutions security and some other complaints directed from the society. Obama is successful enough in terms of the first challenge though there are some complaints can be raised but initially the encounter of Osama bin laden has really made him a successful president who has the strategy and proper planning with his military force. He has killed with his power the father of terrorism while entering into some other nation.
Where Obama Stands:
On September 11, 2001, America’s sole power was challenged and threatened by another emerging world. Americans do not allow such a bleak world of terrorism for along and the shock turns into righteous anger (Gale,S.,Radu,M.,Sicherman, H.,2009). A few international campaigns for the responsible state responsible for the scourge of terrorism are not enough to give a good return for what the world has lost for the attack. To manage the post 9/11 situation, America needs to take a huge revision of its several national strategies and economic, energy and military policies. When Obama came into power, he either pursues a reversal approach of Bush’s strategies in very dangerous format or in other case he strengthens former President’s policies through his own planning and perspectives. This really makes him more secure as he is successful in splitting the difference on such tough and important issue and at the same time, he presents this in a way that he follows the reasonable judgment rather than following any kind of dogmatic ideologies. Many can have the complaint that he has just followed what his predecessor has done. This is true enough but no one can deny certain difference between Bush and Obama. Where Bush prefers white and black at that point Obama brings grey in the concept. When Bush gave his assurance on swaggering Obama adds a supple blend of intellect and force. Bush’s perspective shows his extremist thought about this existential threat equivalent to Nazism, Obama follows a wonderful attitude elevating their stature and at the same time, without attacking them allow them to alter American society. Mr Obama once said “Our long-term security will not come from our ability to instill fear in other peoples but through our capacity to speak to their hopes,”(web, 2010). Obama once has published a 52 page document in which he has outlined some broader set of priorities and methods that are more important in terms of tightly focused determination of Bush’s administration to eradicate Islamism at any cost with all possibilities. He promised that “We will always seek to delegitimize the use of terrorism and to isolate those who carry it out “and also “Yet this is not a global war against a tactic – terrorism – or a religion – Islam.” He made a stern difference between his and Bush’s administration about various methods of implications of national security even at the time of global economic crises and climate change. “We are at war with a specific network, al-Qaeda, and its terrorist affiliates who support efforts to attack the United States, our allies, and partners.”Obama actually did not try to focus on the War on Terror as his dominating agenda for presidency as Bush did. Rather Obama prefers to evoke and concentrate more issues like joblessness and health care. Even the freedom of the citizen was also on stake and Obama takes this as an issue. He focuses on such important issues more as the growing threat to the American society rather than highlighting terrorism as a challenge.
Obama always prefer to avoid the phase called “War on Terror” rather he prefers to call it as one of the vital struggling challenges that America is confronting in the recent decade. People love to see the world through prism. They prefer to take issues in terms of either for or against. To decide and draw any kind of foreign policy, such “for and against” issue is really matters a lot. While drawing up good foreign policies, it is important to know who are the friends supporting but there are certain factors that cannot be analyzed so easily. When America is on march of such a race for global war on terror, it must taken some considerations. Actually ““This president recognizes that there’s still a very serious terrorist threat that we face from organizations like Al Qaeda” and “But at the same time, what we have to do is make sure that we’re not pouring fuel on the flames by the things that we do.”(Web, 2010). Obama has made some outstanding changes like choice of language, outreach to Muslims, rhetorical fidelity to the rule of the law and a rustic shift to the several issues of the Bush administration. This is not true enough that he is not so active in the destruction process of terrorist cells. He himself address to the Islamic group of people about his aggression against terrorism but not against Islam. Obama banned coercive interrogation is really an executive order from his administration. Such an order came within forty-eight hours (Wittes, B., 2009) of his becoming the president or the inaugural oath. This is also a good fact that Obama’s diplomatic stance help to get into a new kind of friendship with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after the destructive attitude of Bush’s Administration which has nothing but to swap away all kinds of against opinion. If somebody says some different phase it is assured that Bush’s administration would have gone up to a long way against the opponent. The controversy can be raised how they can do that as they were completely unable to provide security to the nation itself. But they can go extreme level to revenge and juts because of this they had gone so far against Iraq and Afghanistan and have also ruined two countries.
Nuclear Terrorism on Focus:
During his election campaigning, Obama was very desperate about Bush’s strategies on nuclear terrorism. Obama raised his voiced against Bush that he is lacking to control nuclear terrorism that can find its way in two consecutive methods through plutonium or any other radioactive materials. After 9/11, the department of homeland security has focused a lot on the radioactive materials for crossing American borders. Even radioactive materials were used in United States. This is true that in Prague Obama cares a lot about the growing nuclear terrorism. He wants to “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” (Gates, R.M., 2010). This is very important to have more security for such countries that possesses nuclear weapons. U.S. task force has found that Pakistan needs to give some more conscious step and they request Obama administration to redouble the effort to improve nuclear security. In August, 2007 U.S. air force did not exercise much control over six-nuclear armed cruise missiles without proper authorization (Perry,W.J., Scowcroft,B., Ferguson, C.D., 2009). Moreover, there are some additional steps taken in this regard. “On April 13, 2005, the United Nations adopted Resolution 59/290, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The convention demands that state signatories criminalize “the unlawful and intentional possession, use, or threatened or attempted use of nuclear material or devices with intent to kill, injure, or cause substantial damage to property or the environment. The Convention is inteded to provide a legal basis for international cooperation in the investigation, prosecution, and extradition of persons who commit terrorist acts involving radioactive material or nuclear devices.”(Web, N.D.)
What about Guantanamo Bay:
Obama does not change the policy from his predecessor over the closing of the prison called Guantanamo Bay. There is nothing like political grudge or something like that but those policies are better and that is the reason Obama did not change them. Obama’s decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Guantanamo Bay, not in some civilian court just the continuation and agreement of the decision made by his predecessor. Obama has commented against Bush’s several policies but he has embraced the same policy in this regard. What can be the explanation for such an activity? An assertive congress or a lack of public support, a seductive bureaucracy or is it the change in Obama’s thinking from being a candidate to a president. The self proclaimed mastermind of Sept. 2001, and his four followers must have a trial not in any civilian court. This is no doubt a good decision with excellent intention but with an incompetent execution planning. Obama administration has thought of having the trial very close to the ground zero but this could be a magnet for further terrorism according to many. It is better to have the trail at some other place. Obama quit from his previous decision just because of the public and Congressional decision. Guantanamo is the most prominent promises that Obama made for his presidency. He signed an order with a few days of his new designation that the notorious detention centre should be closed down. He was sure about the fact that he wanted to restore “the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”(web, 2011). Unfortunately it remains and it is prepared for the trial of the mastermind of 9/11.
On September, 10 2001, America’s greatest concern was rising unemployment issue, a stock market that is slumping along with growing fears of recession (Ruschmann, P., 2005). The basic foundation of security has completely collapsed with the twin towers with a few minutes. The mastermind was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed about the attack planning by using America’s airlines. The national security force was a bit informed about such attack by a terrorist group but they were so convinced about their intelligence that nothing can be go wrong. Such an incident has proved that Americans were less secured rather no security at all. Reexamination had started before the Americans have found themselves out of such a shock. Al Qaeda witnessed the feast with a jet attack on World Trade Centre and Pentagon while killing more than 3000 people and at the same time, thousands of people faced such a traumatic situation in person. The event September 11 2001 brings out abundance of reactions. Many cultural and political consequences come out through that event. It cannot be exaggerated if the event is called as a discourse (Hodges,A. & Nilep, C.,2007). Some scholars are busy in finding the reason some are busy to look for several motivations Osama Bin Laden after that incident. Grief and outrage came out as a reaction from the civilians. Bush administration moved quickly to punish responsible. Even Bush warned the whole world, “either you are with us, or you are with terrorists. From this forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” (Ruschmann, P., 2005). Bush declared this but Obama made it. When Taliban refused to hand over all leaders Bush placed American military force to work against the Taliban. The coalition forces made Taliban out of the major cities. The term “War on Terror” has become an indispensable part of the human existence in the similar way of “ war on drugs” (Nanda, V.P., 2009). Similar Obama has entered into Pakistan with his secret mission to accomplish with Osama Bin Laden and the Pakistan authority was not informed at all. This discussion can made more clear in the next segment. This time the focus can be restored again on Guantanamo Bay, as an emblem of Obama’s unfulfilled promise. The congressional resistance can be a strong reason but to have a politically concrete base, Obama gave a pause in his attempt to close this down. He has changed his conviction. He recognized this place as a recruiting cell for Al-Qaeda. Signing for the closing this place was his finest one but he fails to keep it. With this issue, the fact of perpetuating Bush administration becomes more prominent. Just because of the disclosure of information about the abuses of War on Terror Bush administration appeals to prevent the doctrine but this is more weird when Obama administration emphasized on the same fact. Bush can make such appeal to keep the “states secret” but what about Obama and why? A stern similarity is very prominent with Bush administration.
The Cynicism Continues:
The cynicism comes with this piece of appreciation of making him a Nobel laureate for peace. Unfortunately enough, Obama played an important role in the prolonged and expanded war on Afghanistan that has begun during the days of George Bush. Even this icon of peace has taken the leading role in starting the leading role in Libya. The difference only lies in the interpretation of supporting the war. As Bush has mentioned that the war in Afghanistan was just an attempt to keep the weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. Maintaining the similarity, this president insists on the Libya attack as a preventing attempt of genocidal slaughter (web, 2011). French support is another weapon to exhibit in front of the mass that the president is doing nothing unethical and such a support is good to enhance the strength of America.
To be more precise, rationale behind the initiative of large-scale foreign policy comes through willful distortion. Intention is somehow important as the Bush’s decision to change the regime in Baghdad is inspired more by the intension rather than across the board agreement. The concept of mass destruction is nothing but a public rationale against war. The intention comes from a mixed reaction between an attempt of giving a lesson to the would-be-trouble makers and also trying to reassert U.S. hegemony over the world. Other alluring factor is to wash away Islamic terror completely with a process of democratization and transformation. But unfortunately, Bush’s attempt to show attack on Iraq as a weapon of mass destruction does not stand in his favour. Nobody is agreed to accept the attack as an attempt to liberate Iraqi people from such core oppression.
And at this point Obama and Bush stands on the same row. They are giving the same excuse on any question related with Islam for more than three decades. Washington gives answer to find out a perfect “for” against engaging the war. There is no doubt that Obama has also accepted Bush’s concept of war on Terror in spite of exhibiting an against-approach but with the same military power. The same logic is applicable with the strong condemnation of Pakistan about the secret and unauthorized operation on their soil for the secret Geronimo operation against Laden. This is something else to verify whether Pakistani’s are hurtful or helpful in this matter but it is unethical to attack secretly without informing the government either. May be this was an attempt to kill the person who himself is the other name of terrorism but what about some security matters of a nation, that may be Pakistan, hiding or not hiding the leader. Pakistani foreign ministry has claimed and announced this operation as something “unauthorized unilateral” action that can be another synonym of a threat to the international peace (web, 2011). A statement from the Pakistan Government says that the nation is deeply concern about the matter in which US government has taken the secret operation without any prior information and any kind of the authorization from the Pakistan Government. This is really something very threatening in kind. In a secular world nobody is allowed to cross the boundary of another nation to catch hold of a terrorist that can be Osama Bin Laden or anybody else. Even the CIA director has announced that they did not inform Islamabad as they have the fear of leaking the news to the Al-Qaeda chief. War on terror is not all about Osama bin laden only. Encountering Osama bin Laden can be recognized as the first victory of Barack Obama in terms of War on terror. This can be the strongest agenda for him in the coming election for the presidency. The end of Laden does mean an end to the war on Terror at all. There are some other things to be come.
Obama is also afraid of losing the power in the Middle-East Asia just like his predecessor and has placed a long list of his warriors in the board in front of whole world to show that every decision is negotiable and verified. Actually this is a fact that not only Obama but anybody in such a position could have bothered about the effect of such strategies. Once again the time has come when the question can be raised whether Americans win something or not? Obama is a powerful and calculating politician who speaks the language of ideals and he pursues less exalted purposes as well. Obama has confronted the same scheme in his dealings with Greater Middle East but to show courage with some exceptional planning. It can be said that the promised change is nothing but the talk only rather than the policy.
At The Conclusion:
It is a grim truth that terrorism is not the only force of the presidency of Obama and similarly this is not the only thing to consider for the Americans as well as it was in the year of 2001 when the twin towers collapsed ruining the strength of American security and traumatizing the whole world. The effect was not so high and Obama’s preference on other issues could have gained a good justification if the Christmas Day plot was not exposed. At that moment he understood that the chance can be very slow but there is a chance of attack in America. So, it is better to be strict in this regard emphasizing the importance of doing something in a very strict method against terrorism and the result comes at last in the form of ending Laden era on 2nd may,2011. But this does not mean anybody can enter into some other nation and run such secret operation. Osama Bin Laden was a despicable character and he was the culprit of bringing out tears from so many eyes but the way Obama precede the operation is it really worth of an action in case of peace of the world. This is really a kind of capitalist approach and threatening to the security of the whole world for each and every nation. This is just another way of what Bush has pursued in his era by the name of War on Terror, just with another different interpretation.
This is true that Obama supporters expected that he would be able to break down the worst part of Bush’s administration, specifically for the anti-terror activities have made them disappointed. But such similarities in the policies make them more disappointed. This is true that every president must one single route. The president can move completely different pitch from where he or she belongs to the trial period. The promises can be completely ignored. Many presidents prefer to deal with assertive congress sooner or later during his presidency. They are realities but they are not proved in case of Obama. He just embraces his predecessor in terms of national security, threaten privacy and while undermining several process of law.