Terrorism has become an integral component of political and social debates, particularly, since the tragic events of 9/11. There is no denying that the possibility of terrorism by foreign elements in the U.S. continues to persist. The inability of the foreign terrorist elements to wage another attack on the scale of 9/11 doesn’t indicate a diminishing desire on the part of America’s enemies to hurt America but rather speaks volume about the capabilities of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. But there is also a danger that an intense focus on foreign enemies may blind us to the real danger of domestic terrorism, especially, when the domestic terrorists do not fit the general idea of terrorists in the public minds. If facts are any indication, domestic terrorism poses greater threats to the country. We should devote more attention and resources as well as change our attitudes about domestic terrorism because our current approach does not reflect the magnitude of the problem, especially, as compared to our focus on terrorism by foreign elements.
We should focus more on domestic terrorism than terrorism from other countries because domestic terrorism has claimed more lives since the tragedy of 9/11. Real world problems require logical solutions and not emotional solutions based on instincts. CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen pointed out white supremacist and far-right ideologists have killed more innocent people than the Islamic fundamentalists since 9/11. New Yorker’s Steve Coll pointed out that all of the greatest threats involving chemical, biological, and radiological materials from more than 300 cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11 came from right-wing extremists and none from Islamic fundamentalists . It is clear our obsession from threat of foreign terrorism may be blinding us to the real dangers of domestic terrorism.
The greater focus on domestic terrorism is long overdue because problems left unchecked only grow in magnitude. Terrorism expert and director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project Heidi Beirich claims the government’s lack of focus on domestic terrorism due to greater focus on foreign terrorism after 9/11 allowed hate groups and anti-government groups to grow, resulting in an increase in domestic terrorism as well . An increased focus on domestic terrorism will not only help reduce domestic terrorism in the present but also in the future by curtailing the rise of hate and anti-government groups.
We should also focus more on domestic terrorism because it will further improve our ability to counter foreign terrorism. It may be reasonable to argue that a significant percentage of Americans think of Islamic terrorism when they hear about foreign terrorism. This perception has the potential to alienate Muslims in America and make them an easy recruit for terrorism elements. If we start treating all forms of terrorism in the same manner irrespective of the religious background of the offender, it will improve the relationship between the security agencies and the Muslim community and make it harder for Islamic fundamentalists to harm Americans.
America has been intensely focused on foreign terrorism since the tragedy of 9/11. While security agencies deserve all the praise for protecting the country against foreign terrorism, they should also focus more on domestic terrorism that has claimed more lives than foreign terrorism since 9/11. The increased focus on domestic terrorism will also improve future security of Americans by curtailing the rise of hate groups and anti-American groups. Moreover, it may further improve cooperation between the Muslims and security agencies if Muslims feels they are being treated fairly by the security agencies that make no distinction between terrorists from Islamic background and terrorists from non-Islamic background.
- Chuck, E. (2014, June 15). Domestic Terrorism Task Force ‘More Than Overdue,’ Experts Say. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/domestic-terrorism-task-force-more-overdue-experts-say-n128541
- Tharoor, I. (2012, August 10). Have We Turned A Blind Eye To Domestic Terrorism? Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://ideas.time.com/2012/08/10/why-domestic-terrorism-is-the-real-threat-facing-america/