Course Packs: The war on Terrorism

The War on Terrorism


The War on Terrorism

The readings below examine U.S. iniatives against terrorism post September 11, 2001. The positions of U.S. allies are analyzed, as are potential sources of conflict and possible opportunities for further cooperation. Military and non-military options are considered, as well as the strategies, capabilities, and nature of terrorists groups. With maps and other outside resources.

How We Talk about the "War on Terrorism"
Daniel Heradstveit, G. Matthew Bonham, Michiko Nakano, Victor M.Sergeev
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, January 2008
Looks at how the "war on terror" is defined in Western politics and how it compares to former ideological enemies of the U.S. such as communism. The authors conclude that the "war on terrorism" metaphor is counterproductive, doing little to elucidate the very complex nature of this pressing issue.

America's Priorities in the War on Terror: Islamists, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan
Michael D. Huckabee
Foreign Affairs, January/February 2008
The former governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate critiques the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and articulates his own policies for fighting terrorism.

Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond
Jameel Jaffer, Amrit Singh
BOOK (full-text)
Columbia University Press, November 2007
Looks at how the Bush administration defined torture in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal arguing that the abuse was aberrational and not sanctioned at any level by the U.S. military.

Turkey's War on Terror
Bülent Aras
SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, November 2007
Examines Turkey's war against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and how the dynamics of that conflict have shaped Ankara's relationship with Washington with respect to the U.S. war on terror.

Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism
Daniel Byman
Columbia International Affairs Online, July 2007
Argues that al Qa'ida and its allies were on the decline following the 9/11 terrorist attacks but that the U.S. invasion of Iraq "breathed new life into the organization" allowing it to spawn a global terrorist network.

On Suicide Bombing
Talal Asad
BOOK (full-text)
Columbia University Press, May 2007
Asad challenges Western assertions that "Islamic jihadism" is the essence of modern terror, and deconstructs Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations theory.

Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of the US War on Terror
David Gold
Graduate Program in International Affairs: The New School, April 2007
The author uses a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the U.S. is winning or losing the war on terror in Iraq.

Future War: The War on Terror after Iraq
Adam Elkus
Athena Intelligence Journal, March 2007
This article looks at the war in Iraq, which has come to be seen as America's major front on the struggle against Islamic terrorism, and speculates about the direction the war on terror will take after the U.S. withdraws from Iraq.

Interview with Brian Urquhart
Robert Sedgwick
Columbia International Affairs Online, November 2006
In an exclusive interview with CIAO, former United Nations Undersecretary-General Sir Brian Urquhart talks about the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its consequences, and what role the UN might play in a phased withdrawal.

Tragic Choices in the War on Terrorism: Should We Try to Regulate and Control Torture?
Jerome Slater
Poltical Science Quarterly, Summer 2006
Argues that in certain circumstances in the war on terrorism, the coercion or perhaps even the torture of captured terrorists may be both necessary for national security and morally a lesser evil than the preventable mass murder of innocents.

The War on Terror and the Cold War: They're Not the Same
John Tirman
MIT Center for International Studies, April 2006
This article points out the fundamental differences between the current war in Iraq and the 20th century wars against communism and fascism.

The War on Terror - Security Sector Governance and Military Implications
Karl-Heinz Rambke
Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), June 2005
Raises questions about the nature of modern terrorism and its impact on the security of the nation state and the international community as a whole.

$400 Billion Defense Budget Unnecessary to Fight War on Terrorism
Charles V. Peña
Cato Institute, March 2005
Argues that large, conventional military operations are not only expensive but ill suited to fight the war on terrorism, a war unlike any other. Hence an increasingly large defense budget is a waste of tax payers' money.

Assessing America's War on Terror: Confronting Insurgency, Cementing Primacy
Ashley J. Tellis
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December 2004
This study analyzes the relevance of terrorist groups as sub-state actors in international politics, their influence on deeper dynamics of the international system, and the challenges facing the United States posed by transnational terrorist organizations. It argues that international terrorism, although currently salient, does not necessarily replace or even alter the traditional concerns of international politics, but rather subsists among them.

Apocalyptic Terrorism: The Case for Preventive Action
Joseph McMillan
Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Forum, November 2004
This article discusses the ways in which the United States and its allies can create a body of customary international law around which global consensus in support of a right of antiterrorist intervention can coalesce.

America After 9/11: Public Opinion on the War on Terrorism, the War with Iraq, and America's Place in the World
Karlyn H. Bowman
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, September 2004
This report is a summary of the findings of several different polls determining the range of American public opinion on many aspects of the "War on Terror."

9-11 Commission Final Report
U.S. Government, July 2004
We present the narrative of this report and the recommendations that flow from it to the President of the United States, the United States Congress, and the American people for their consideration. Ten Commissioners-five Republicans and five Democrats chosen by elected leaders from our nation's capital at a time of great partisan division-have come together to present this report without dissent.
We have come together with a unity of purpose because our nation demands it. September 11, 2001, was a day of unprecedented shock and suffering in the history of the United States. The nation was unprepared. How did this happen, and how can we avoid such tragedy again?

Update on the Global Campaign Against Terrorist Financing
Maurice R. Greenberg, Mallory Factor, William F. Wechsler and Lee S. Wolosky
The Council on Foreign Relations, June 2004
This detailed report by the Independent Task Force on Terrorist Financing discusses many of the methods used by terrorist groups to procure financing, and how to combat them. The report also contains proposals for reform of current US and Saudi anti-terrorist financing policies.

CIAO Case Study: Economics of Terrorism
David Gold
Columbia International Affairs Online, May 2004
This case study discusses some of the economic aspects of terrorism, including the costs of terror attacks, the costs of anti-terrorism measures, and the economic motivations of terrorism.

Guns, Butter, and the War on Terror
Christopher DeMuth
On The Issues, April 2004
This policy brief argues that war mobilization can lead to incontinent government growth, jeopardizing the economic dynamism upon which a successful war effort ultimately depends. This is a gathering threat to our ability to sustain a "generational commitment" to defeating terrorism.

The Transformation of Terrorism
Doron Zimmermann and Andreas Wenger
International Relations and Security Network, January 2003
This book argues that the "New Terrorism" is more dangerous than generally suggested due to the almost limitless "impact scalability" given to political violence movements through the development of precision delivery systems for conventional and unconventional weapons. Moreover, "the reciprocal dynamic of threat perception" - the pressure felt by terrorist organizations to realize the worst fears of Western societies and governments - makes the threat of a mass casualty terrorist attack more real than abstract.

Dislocating Alcyoneus: How to Combat al-Qaeda and the New Terrorism
Carl Conetta
The Project on Defense Alternatives, June 2002
A strategic analysis of Al-Qaeda, with suggestions for combatting its particular brand of terrorism.

Interview with Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside Al-Qaeda
Stephanie Walker and Sean Costigan
Columbia International Affairs Online, June 2002
Questions ranging from current to future U.S. strategy.