Military Force Against Terrorism CSC 1993 SUBJECT AREA - Operations EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Title: Military Force Against Terrorism. Author: Major Kenneth E. Johnston, United States Air Force Thesis: America must call on its standing force, the United States military, to combat world-wide terrorism. Background: Terrorism is on the rise in America and around the world. Each year the devastating effects of terrorism costs hundreds of lives and billions of dollars. Domestic police forces are not trained or equipped to combat a threat of this size. The United States has a standing force, trained and equipped, standing by to combat the threat of terrorism. Recommendation: Employ United States military forces to combat terrorism. OUTLINE Thesis: We cannot rely on our domestic police forces, who are already overburdened, to counter a threat covering the entire globe. America must call on its standing force, the United States military, to combat world-wide terrorism. I. What is Terrorism? A. Definitions B. Locations C. Amount II. How is Terrorism a threat to U.S. National Security? A. Economic B. Social C. Law and Order III. What responsibility does the International Community have to combat Terrorism? A. International collective Self-defense B. United Nations sponsorship C. U.S. Leadership IV. How should military forces be prepared to combat Terrorism? A. Identified B. Equipped C. Trained V. When should military forces be used to combat Terrorism? A. Intelligence B. Evidence C. International law D. Jus ad bellum Military Force Against Terrorism. The bomber who blasted the World Trade Center and the gunman who murdered two motorists adjacent to CIA head- quarters brought international terrorism into the living rooms and into the minds of average Americans. In the past, as we watched and read the more newsworthy events that have filled the headlines, terrorists have been going about their deadly business. However, we can no longer turn a blind eye on terrorism. We cannot rely on our domestic police forces, who are already overburdened, to counter a threat covering the entire globe. America must call on its standing force, the United States military, to combat world-wide terrorism. Most incidents involving terrorism have occurred far removed from the everyday life of the typical American citizen. We have allowed this remoteness to temper our resolve to combat the bloodshed and destruction caused by international terrorism. According to State Department figures, "...the number of international terrorist incidents increased 22 percent, from 456 in 1990 to 557 last year." (2:iii) The sheer volume of incidents and the growing number of organizations involved in terrorist activity call for drastic measures to combat this international phenomenon. When the death and destruction occurs, just down the block or in the town just up the road, we see very clearly what effect terrorism has on people. However, to combat terrorism on an international scale, we need to understand the entire scope of terrorism. We must begin with a common definition of terrorism, where it takes place and how much has been taking place. Defining terrorism should be the starting point for any efforts to manage this threat to national security. Terrorism can manifest itself in many forms. It can be seen in the form of an assassination, such as the killing of Marine Corps LTC William R. Higgins in Lebanon, by the Islamic Revolutionary Brigade in 1988, or the taking of 54 American hostages by Iran in 1979. The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in the skies over of Lockerbie, Scotland, is perhaps the most well known act of terrorism to occur this century. A single common definition for terrorism eludes even the best minds in America. Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d), contains this definition of terrorism: "...premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." (3:iv) The Department of Defense further defines terrorism as the "unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property, with the intention of coercing or intimidating governments or societies, often for political or ideological purposes." (5:15) Terrorism can best be described as activities, actual or perceived, that cause fear. Terrorists use this fear to exaggerate their strength and the importance of their cause. People throughout the world understand the bloodshed and death that generate this fear, but are helpless in defending themselves against it. Terrorism currently takes place all over the world. Modern methods of transportation coupled with inadequate control of international borders has provided the vehicle necessary for terrorists to infiltrate all nations. Modern communications and the proliferation of television avail- ability world-wide has provided a theater for terrorists to bring their cause to the attention of millions of viewers. New weapons, smaller and more mobile, have increased the threat of terrorism by increasing the destructive capability of the weapons. "A U.S. Department of State report shows that in 1991 significant terrorist events took place in twenty-seven countries." (1) No country goes unaffected by international terrorism. In America terrorism attacks from two sides. First, attacks come from international sources, such as the bombing of the World Trade Center. "These international acts of violence may be perpetrated by one of the over 35 terrorist organizations recognized by the Department of State." (1) Secondly, America is attacked from sources within, such as Vernon Howell and his doomsday cult in Waco, Texas. Most domestic terrorism has resulted in relatively few lives being lost when compared to international incidents but domestic incidents have resulted in millions of dollars of economic damage. The immensity of terrorism cannot be fathomed by most individuals living in America. Our sanitized viewing of world events separate us from most of the violence and death. In reality terrorism exacts a great toll on society and the world economy. "In 1991, 233 people were wounded and eighty-seven people died in these attacks, world-wide, seven were Americans." (4:2) These figures are decep- tively low compared to previous years, but are expected to rise to traditional levels again as terrorism goes unchecked. Terrorism is a threat to American National Security. "The effects of terrorism are many and diverse, some of which can be determined in dollar terms, e.g., the loss of property and equipment, but the majority of which can not be assessed in concrete terms, e.g., the loss of lives, the destruction/lessing [sic] of government control, the emotional scars on the victims of terrorist acts, etc." (6:50) Terrorism seriously effects America in many ways, but perhaps most significantly considering current economic, in the pocketbook. It is difficult to calculate the estimate cost of terrorism, but it is necessary to determine a dollar figure to express the vastness of the problem. The most obvious cost of terrorism is the repair and replacement of destroyed assets. We cannot afford the destruction of cars, build- ings, and airplanes which are frequent targets of terror- ists. Other costs are more hidden, but are just as costly as direct demolition. "During the last decade, it is estimated that U.S. corporations, which have been a prime target of overseas terrorism have paid between $125 and $200 million dollars in ransom." (6:51) Most companies never report this type of terrorism. Other hidden costs are incurred when government organizations and private companies spend thousands of dollars to upgrade and maintain facilities that are resistant to terrorist attack. Each year billions of dollars are spent to train and equip government and private personnel to deter terrorism. One example of a privately financed counterterrorism effort is evident in the H. Ross Perot funded a successful 1978 raid on an Iranian prison to free two of his employees. Significantly here a civilian felt it necessary to take the law into his own hands to protect his interests. Each year the government spends millions of dollars to maintain civil and military counterterrorist forces. The impact of terrorism on the U.S. economy is stifling, we must find answers to lessen this burden. Terrorism strikes at the social fiber of a country. The people of a country cannot live in continuous fear and disparity. "The resilience and viability of the social fabric of a country facing terrorism will be determined by the intensity and extent of the terrorism and the govern- ment's ability to maintain legitimacy and suppress the terrorism." (8:57) The quality of life in a country, par- ticularly in America, will decline rapidly if subjected to the constant fear of terrorism without adequate government response. Crime has had this effect in the inner cities as people are afraid to walk the streets at night. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights according to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States insures domestic tranquility; such can not co- exist with a state of terrorism." (9:58) Life as we know it in America will cease to exist if we do not counter the threat of terrorism. We have looked at what terrorism is, where it takes place and how much is taking place. We have also determined what terrorism is costing international and American societies both economically and socially. Now, lets look at who has the responsibility to combat terrorism. International terrorism by definition is world-wide problem and therefore should be dealt with at an inter- national level. International cooperation could result in international courts and prisons where terrorists would be tried and incarcerated, relieving individual nations from retaliation. There is two schools of thought when dealing with terrorism at the international level. One school is based on terrorism being a law enforce- ment problem and primarily a civil police responsibility. This line of reasoning lends itself to the formation of a world court to try cases on aerial hijacking, letter bombs, and attacks on diplomats. The other school would contend that international terrorism falls in the realm on armed conflict and considers terrorism as primarily a military matter. "Terrorists are viewed as combatants operating in warlike activity. As such terrorists are arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned in ac- cordance with the 1949 Geneva conventions." (10:59) In both cases terrorists are criminals and must be dealt with severely. If their crimes are committed across international boundaries they should be dealt within the international community. Civilized nations must unite in efforts to eliminate safe havens for international terror- ists. One organization is in place and should be viewed as a platform to begin operations against terrorism. The forum established by the United Nations Charter provides a unique vehicle for organizing a counterterrorist force. The alliance of countries, which are represented in United Nations, can assemble the weight necessary to fight against organized terrorism. A force comprised of several nations working together, and separately, under U.N. guidance, can best meet the terrorist danger in individual nations and the world. Actions taken by single countries or a coalition of countries, without U.N. support, to thwart terrorism outside the boundaries of their countries face ridicule and scorn, even when working for the good of all nations. The umbrella of the United Nations sanctions is the only way efforts against terrorism can receive the legitimacy required to defeat this enemy. The enemy, terrorists and those who support inter- national terrorism, must be identified and their identities made public. The crimes they commit must be publicized for the entire world to view. Whether, these actions are committed by one individual or an organization, the nations who are united against terrorism must act decisively. Countries who commit or support terrorism should be dealt with within the United Nations community. Increasing U.S. involvement in international affairs, both United Nations sanctioned and unilateral actions, has escalated the probability of terrorist incidents against the U.S. and those who choose to support our efforts. The United States must assume a leadership role in developing efforts to combat international terrorism. Past and current efforts to thwart terrorism have made substantial progress and the U.S. currently has the best counterterrorist capability in the world. It is becoming obvious that combatting world terrorism is the responsibility of the entire world community and that America should lead the way. Preparing forces to combat terrorism is not something to be taken lightly. Civilian police are far to involved in domestic criminal activities to be burdened further with international terrorism. A force should be tasked to fight terrorism and developed with this end specifically in mind. The U.S. has established a solid foundation for train- ing, equipping and employing forces to counter terrorism. This infrastructure, currently operational, can be the example for adoption by other nations, alliances of nations and worldwide organizations such as the United Nations. General Carl W. Stiner, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command states, "We have the best counter- terrotist capability in the world. We have a close relationship with many of our allies that have developed very creditable counterterrorist forces, and I think those things have made a difference." (11:26-31) General Stiner's forces are the best equipped of all American fighting forces. They have the latest technological equipment on the market. Counterterrorist forces are hand picked from all four services to serve in specially trained units. The training of counterterrorist forces is currently successful because of the focus of their mission. While civilian police units are tasked with other non-terrorist missions the military counterterrorist forces can train to a high standard due to their focus. The U.S. has identified a force to combat terrorism, they are not only the best equipped forces in the world, but they are trained to a razor's edge. When we have decided to use military forces against terrorists we must decide when, where and how to deploy these forces. Their use must be rapid, creditable and legal. Forces must be employed against acts of terrorism as rapidly as possible. Not only is a rapid response required to facilitate the capture or destruction of the terrorist element, but a rapid response is required to maintain world community support, as fresh events soon displace even the most heinous crimes. The 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, is a prime example; time and other world events have diluted the resolve of the world even though those responsible have been identified and their locations known. Preemptive or punitive action against foreign terrorist groups might be considered in extreme cases, for example, where there is a clear and present threat of mass destruction or where mass destruction has been carried out. Forces must be trained and on alert to respond to a crisis as it develops. Many times the rapid evolvement of counterterrorist forces can preempt the terrorist before lives are lost and property damaged. The United Nations must have pre-designated triggers that allow the use of counterterrorist forces without the diplomatic committee vote currently required to deploy United Nations forces. Finally, the forces to be employed must be determined by capability and timeliness of action--not from what nation they originate. The major benefit in having a multi-national force or a national force sanctioned by the U.N. is the force's ability to have credibility around the globe. Terrorists have found sanctuary or have operated in many countries around the world. They have the ability to strike in any country where it promotes their cause. The counterterrorist forces must have the backing of the world community to ferret out terrorists in all countries. If nations balk at the use of a U.N.-sanctioned counterterrorist forces being used within their borders, other more drastic measures, including the use of conventional forces, must be used to insure compliance in counterterrorist operations. Only by developing collective international synergy can an international counterterrorist force be effective. Counterterrorist forces must not only be trained and standing-by to respond to world crises; they must be proactive, constantly pursuing known terrorists. They must also be pursuing information on known terrorists. The lack of intelligence gathering organizations has left America flat-footed against terrorist organizations. The President, Congressmen and Congresswomen must support active world-wide intelligence gathering by U.S. agencies. Without such an effort America will continue to lead the world with a blindfold covering one eye. We must address the legality of using military for abroad and domestically to tie all the loose ends of this question together. " Civil authorities should develop a clear, publicly declared policy on the calling out and employment of military forces in the event of an emergency situation involving civil disorder, terrorism, or other acts of extraordinary violence." (12) American military forces remain under the control of civilian authority. The military remains subservient to the civil authority the constitution places on the military. Therefore, the military will not act without orders from the proper civil authorities. Many laws deal with the use of military force abroad. Throughout discussion on laws administering use of force in the international arena, common threads make up the agenda. The following paragraph outlines these common fibers: There is ample legal authority under international law and in the United Nations Charter, for a state to act to protect lives....humanitarian intervention must be for a specific limited purpose...duration and mission must be strictly limited to what is required.... measures must be limited...proportionally...There must no other recourse. (13) These laws governing the use of military forces are inter- nationally recognized by members of the United Nations. They also mirror the concepts of Jus ad bellum. The need for use of military force against terrorism within the confines of U.S. borders becomes more evident each day. As the standoff with the Branch Davidians nears one month in length in Waco, Texas, it seems obvious that a professional military counterterrorist organization is needed to resolve this crisis. Even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents realized they were out-gunned and needed military support as they called in armored vehicles from local military bases. "The growing threat of international terrorism and its domestic imitators, and the need for a response beyond the capabilities of the civil authority raises serious questions that need to be faced with realism." (12) Using military force to combat terrorism requires American leaders to ask some hard questions. We know terrorism is on the rise, not only in frequency but in it's ferociousness. We know it causes millions of dollars in destruction each year and takes the lives of many innocent people. We know it is a world-wide problem and that as world leaders America must pilot resistance against terrorism. Most importantly we have had the foresight to develop a crack world-wide counterterrorist force. Now, we must have the resolve to employ this force. We must continue to finance military programs to train and equip these elite forces. We must develop an intelligence information base on known terrorists and those who support them. We must allow the U.S. military to take an active role against counterterrorism. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Burleigh, A. Peter, Patterns Of Global Terrorism: 1991 (Washington: Office of the Coordinator for Counter- terrorism, Department of State, April 92). 2. Ibid., pp. iii. 3. Ibid., pp. iv. 4. Ibid., pp. 2. 5. DOD Directive 2000.12, Protection of DOD Personnel and Resources against Terrorist Acts, 16 June 1986, pp. 15. 6. Elson, Stephen J., Terrorism: Some Answers to Some Difficult Problems, (Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, March 1982) pp. 50. 7. Ibid., pp. 51. 8. Ibid., pp. 57. 9. Ibid., pp. 58. 10. Erickson, Lt Col Richard J., Legitimate Use of Military Force Against State-Sponsored International Terrorism, (Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.: Air University Press, July 1989.) pp. 59. 11. Hyde, James C., "An Exclusive AFJI Interview With: General Carl W. Stiner, USA," Armed Forces Journal International, December 1992, pp. 26-31. 12. Report of the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism, National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, 1976. 13. U.S. Preparation for Future Low-Level Conflict, Report of discussion held at the RAND Corporation, Washington D.C., 19-20 October 1976.
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