Why is a "war on terrorism" so difficult to fight?Why is a "war on terrorism" so difficult to fight?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Terrorism is not isolated, nor easy to locate. Sure, we have the "hot spots" where some of them universally operate, however, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

A truly hardcore terrorist-bound organization is very secretive. It is indeed an organization, whose operations are no different than the CIA, FBI and such.  Saying that- imagine how crazy it would be if the same rules of engagement given to OUR top secret groups is no different that those of the Taliban. And, the thing is, that they are.

This is why the war on terrorism is so hard to fight: Because it takes a lot of people to track the doings of a group just as strong and organized as our best military forces , yet, it takes also a separate group to understand their subcultural disdain for the American way of life. On top of that, who's to say what happens next? They are secretive and self-protective.

It will take a while (even much more so than now) to figure them out in full.

ako6777 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A war on terrorism is difficult to fight due to its nature. Terrorism by definition is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. It may also be seen as a state of fear and submission produced by terrorization. The fact that terrorism has such a psychological impact means it affects everyone differently. It is a subjective response to an event. Anything that is subjective will be difficult to overcome for a large group of people, because people's responses will be different. Another reason that a "war on terrorism" is difficult to fight is that the individuals perpetrating the acts are diverse and spread out across the globe. It is difficult for the government to pin down the core of the group to cut off power. This is because there are so many different cores.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The war on terrorism is so challenging because of its unconventional nature.  Unlike a traditional war that takes place on a definite battlefield, with clearly defined armies, and where the enemy is visible, the war on terror's difficulty is its elusive nature.  The "enemy" can strike at any time, with any means, and through any venue.  Traditionalism goes out the window in such a setting.  Even the weapons are non- traditional.  Bombs can be used, but cell phones could also be used as detonating devices.  Guns might be used, but more likely devices like razors or chemicals would be employed.  The terrorist has a distinct advantage in that they only have to be right once, while the opponent has to be right all the time in order to prevent disaster, loss of life, and public panic.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One reason that the war on terrorism is so difficult to fight is because many of the terrorist cells are hidden. In addition to being hidden they are spread all over the world. In fact, there are many terrorists right here in the United States at this very moment. The United States has very porous borders. This means that it is fairly easy for people to travel in and out of the country. Of course it has been harder since the attacks on 9/11 but it still is possible.

There are also groups of terrorists called "sleeper cells" which means that they are dormant or on standby. One of the purposes of these kinds of groups is to simply blend in and remain undetected until they are told to carry out the terrorist attack. These people are also difficult to find.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

War on terror is very hard to fight for multiple reasons. First, the global separation of terrorist cell are very difficult to pinpoint. They are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. For example, we are still looking for Osama bin Laden after all these years. Connected to this point, terrorist are usually invisible. This fact alone make fighting terrorist almost impossible. Second, terrorists are always in the context of civilians and live among them. So, the act of discerning who is and is not a terrorist is very hard. Third, we need to realize that terrorists are very smart and they have the advantage of observing their places of attack. They always have the element of surprise.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, this is because terrorism is not a country.  You can't just take over all the land of country X and that means terrorism is done.  In WWII, once we conquered Germany, the war in Europe was over.  But there's no place that we can conquer to end the war on terror.

Also, the war on terror is harder because we are trying to stop individuals or small groups of people from doing things that will hurt us.  It is hard to detect one individual trying to carry out an attack.

Finally, ending terrorism is as much about changing people's minds as it is about fighting.  We have to make people not hate us, and that's hard to do.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The War on Terror is hard to fight because instead of having one big enemy that we can name and find, we have many little ones. Additionally, our enemies are harbored in countries in the Middle East with which we have few positive relations. They also attack in small groups or alone and aren't afraid to die.