This essay will argue that the global war on terror was unsuccessful, although many commentators would disagree, it is clear that the failures of the war on terror outweigh the successes...
The war on terror failed mostly due to the controversial human rights abuses that took place in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack. However, some may argue that the war on terror was justified, as it has led to many developments in preventing terrorist attacks. Since the events of 9/11, more security measures have been taken, therefore leading to more arrests, specifically over 660 suspects. The increase in arrests shows that due to this, more large-scale attacks may have been prevented. As shown, there have been multiple events in which suspects have tried to commit large-scale terror attacks or aid terror groups in planning their terrorist attacks. For example, Lyman Farris was arrested for giving away sensitive information away to Al-Qaeda, on areas in the United States (U.S.) which are easy targets to attack. Of course, due to the increased security precautions, Farris was caught and arrested, and one of the many people sent to prison, therefore preventing another large-scale attack.
However, these increase in arrests does not show the unjust arrests that have been made, human rights abuses, and the true convictions from the arrests. As a result of the war on terror, suspects were sent to Guantanamo Bay, resulting in the violation of basic human rights. Of course, this was one of the many results of the war on terror which was a failure, especially for the many innocents who were sent to the inhumane prison without an explanation or a trial at the least. From data collected, 7 men out of the 779 men who were taken to the prison were actually convicted. 5 of these 7 men only pleaded guilty due to being manipulated, getting told that they may get early release if they confess. Of course, it may be the case that they were tricked into a false confession. As a result, citizens' rights have been violated, with no regard to the American law and constitution being applied, as it is clear that Guantanamo Bay was opened outside of the U.S. so that torture could take place with no interference from the international community, such as the United Nations, (UN). This is indicated when the U.S. government referred to the Guantanamo Bay detainees as “unlawful combatants.” therefore implying that the geneva conventions and human rights laws do not apply to these detainees.
Many terrorists may also use this fact as ‘propaganda’ and a rationale to target America, and indoctrinate others into joining this ideological cause. Therefore, in a sense, it is clear that the use of Guantanamo Bay had indirectly made terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda more powerful, with ideology and propaganda. Therefore, despite the claims that the increase of arrests had hit Al-Qaeda negatively, it remained to indirectly contribute to the ideological cause of terrorism, enabling them, and other terrorist groups to grow in power. **Of course, due to the constant targets and arrests as well as the foreign wars, there was a sudden increase in Anti-Americanism. In the context of foreign wars, particularly in Iraq, it is considered a failure in many aspects. Firstly, the belief that America respects other countries’ sovereignty had rapidly disintegrated when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, introducing the law to legalize torture against Iraqi citizens. As well as affecting Iraq, it had also affected the US in the manner that they had gained a poor reputation, not only in the middle east but internationally, having broken the Geneva conventions of 1907 and 1949 which was to follow the laws of another country. This was very clearly not justified, especially as there was no real acceptable reason for which US could invade Iraq while also bringing in legalized methods of torture, against Iraqi citizens. It was brought to the attention of many people in power, particularly to Bush, that there was no evidence that Iraq was involved in the increase of terrorist attacks internationally, they should not have been held accountable and punished for a crime that they did not commit, especially since Al-Qaeda had already been named as responsible for the terrorist attacks. Yet evidence shows that the U.S. itself could not include a reason. In the United Nations security council (UNSC) letter, that the U.S. produced containing why they chose to invade Iraq, the word ‘terrorism’ was not mentioned. Instead, it was stated that Iraq breached a disarmament deal, under the security council resolutions. Therefore meaning that they had believed that Saddam Hussein, the past Iraqi president, was hiding weapons of mass destruction, which the US military did not find. This letter dated back to 20th March 2003, from the permanent representative member of the US, John Negroponte to the president of the UNSC. Having established that, outside of the middle east, in front of the west, the US painted themselves as incorruptible, particularly the Neo-Conservatives, who not only agreed with the invasion of Iraq but found it commendable and ‘an act of liberation. But indeed this was not true, as cited by Mcwilliams and Piotrowski, the only element of freedom that the US truly brought to the Iraqi citizens was “freedom of rape, freedom of nudity and the freedom of humiliation.”
Furthermore, the war in Iraq could be considered as an act of ‘recolonization’, particularly because of what the U.S.did to establish control in Iraq, such as setting a permanent military base, this emphasizes that although the slow process of decolonization happened, there are some elements left throughout the world, and clearly in Iraq.
However, despite the failure in the Iraq war, it could be argued that the Afghanistan war
Furthermore, it is clear that using a military to defeat the opponent does not always lead to success. Although these instances are not in the context of 9/11, it puts into perspective how military interventions against the enemy may worsen the situation, rather than achieving a triumphant result. For example, the Israeli military intervention in Lebanon in 1982 was predicted to be a success, for the “Operation of peace of Galilee.” However, it quickly resulted to become a failure. Another example is the event of World War One (WW1) in which 40 million people died. Thus it is very clear that military interventions will inevitably lead to adversity. This should have been considered when foreign wars was proposed, particularly in Iraq, to avoid a further disaster.