Discuss counter-terrorism as warfare or crime control.
How does the war on terrorism differ from other wars?
What does better safe than sorry mean?
Should individuals be willing to give up some rights in order for their government to have the necessary tools to fight terrorism?
Counter-terrorism in the twenty-first century includes components of both warfare and crime control. Traditionally, countries have battled each other over land, colonies or independence. The “enemy” was clearly defined and the battlefield was easily identifiable. However, modern terrorism has changed the landscape of security. Terrorists are not specific to a country, although some countries have been identified as breeding grounds of terrorist organizations. These individuals bond together over a specific ideology, often religious or political, and declare any who do not support their cause as enemies.
Terrorist organizations bring together individuals from various countries and backgrounds. Members of the organizations are often hard to identify. Because these individuals may often live in the country they are at war against, counter-terrorism also becomes crime control. The term “home grown terrorism” is often used in reference to terrorist groups who gather and fight against the community they are currently living in.
When discussing terrorism, the better safe than sorry approach may be suggested by some individuals. In regards to terrorism, this means nations should have stricter policies, take every precaution against terrorism, and consider all threats to avoid any harm. However, individual rights often become entangled in the government’s war on terrorism. For example, individuals flying on commercial planes have given up their right to transport items that can be used as weapons. Travelers are subjected to searches meant to preserve the safety of other passengers. Government surveillance methods have also been scrutinized. Society will need to find a balance between the rights individuals are willing to give up for their safety and the measures that are necessary to protect the public from an attack. This balance is different for each individual and will continue to be a debate in years to come.