• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is "the war against terrorism" really a war? Applying the reasoning behind your answer, comment on the status of the Guantanamo Bay detainees who were transferred there following action in Afghanistan.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Royal Military College of Science Shrivenham Student number: 044179 Module F3 - International Law Is "the war against terrorism" really a war? Applying the reasoning behind your answer, comment on the status of the Guantanamo Bay detainees who were transferred there following action in Afghanistan. (2.700) "Our war on terror will be much broader than the battlefields and beachheads of the past. The war will be fought wherever terrorists hide, or run, or plan." US President George W. Bush, September 29, 2001 Within 24 hours after the planes with terrorists on board hit the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 the US President George W. Bush announced that the attacks were "more than acts of terror. They were acts of war". The US response was to declare 'a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy', a world-wide "war on terror"1. This language extends the meaning of the word "war". "War," of course, has been invoked rhetorically to illustrate campaigns against unlawful groups such as drug cartels or the Mafia. However, such campaigns in fact are generally coordinated efforts at law enforcement, even where military means are employed. In the meantime, Mr. Bush, seems to consider "the war on terror" quite literally, as a traditional war, thus creating serious troublesome implications. For instance, in G.W. Bush's view, the US administration's argument that there is a state of war between al Qaeda and the USA is fairly justified because of the magnitude of al Qaeda's attacks on September 11, 2001, its terror campaign against the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, its attack on the U.S.S. ...read more.

Middle

the status of both al Qaeda and the Taliban, which appear to be the most controversial actors within so-called "war against terror". Given the above-mentioned arguments concerning the scope of application of the law of war to "war on terror", it is reasonable to argue that neither Taliban nor al Qaeda reserve the right to be treated as legitimate subjects within the legal framework of International law and particularly jus in bello. Although al Qaeda had its headquarters in Afghanistan, and was supported by the Taliban "government", the latter had not achieved the necessary recognition as the government of the country. The fact that the Taliban's administration was recognised by only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cannot clarify the Taliban's international status. In addition, such recognition had symbolic and temporary character, because these countries have ceased their diplomatic relations shortly after the events of 9/11. The only administration of Afghanistan legitimately recognised by the UN was the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, widely known as the Northern Alliance. Therefore, the Taliban was not the legitimate authority of Afghanistan but instead was a group in possession of much of its territory. As soon as the Taliban administration rejected a demand that they imprison Osama bin Laden and hand him over to the United States for trial and punishment, the American authorities decided to engage in self-help, invading Afghanistan on 7 October 2001.8 The attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre were clear threats to the sovereignty and national security of the USA. ...read more.

Conclusion

By contrast, al Qaeda detainees constituted irregular forces16 who failed to wear uniforms and who did not respect the jus in bello. Some evidences also available concerning Taliban's failure to respect the laws of war, even before the beginning of counter-terrorist military operation. The Taliban fighters were involved in massive crimes against humanity by beheading and killing prisoners and massacring thousands of civilians in different parts of the country. In 1998 and 1999 the International Red Cross reported that the Taliban and their non-Afghan army killed thousands of civilians in Bamiyan and set fire to 8.000 houses and shops.17 As it was in the case of counter-terrorist military operations there is no formal legal category for the status of Guantanamo Bay detainees as well. Given the uncertainties regarding the proper status and treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees who were involved in hostile activities in various ways, but also failed to meet the criteria for POW status, they are more likely to be called "unlawful combatants".18 They could be defined as individuals who are either members of the armed forces or persons who take an active part in hostilities, but not conducting their operations in accordance with laws and customs of war. However, in this case in order to better define the status of these detainees, a competent tribunal should be established, which could find a form of a military commission.19 Status, though is only part of controversy. Whatever the status of the Guantanamo Bay detainees, they always reserve a right to humane treatment under customary international law.20 Thus, accepting that there are difficulties in applying international regulations in the special circumstances of "the war on terror", the attempt should nevertheless be made to apply the law to the maximum extent possible. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. The Bay of Pigs Invasion

    According to Davidson and Lytle's definition of history in their book, After the Fact, history is "the act of selecting, analyzing, and writing about the past. It is something that is done, that is constructed, rather than an inert body of data that lies scattered through the archives" (Davidson and Lytle xxi).

  2. Which of the following problems do you consider to have been the most serious ...

    This showed that America was a corrupt country full of crime and death. This threatened the world view of America being the land of opportunity and a place of freedom as people involved in crime had ridden people of the freedom to chose for themselves and not agree with them if they didn't want to.

  1. Must a defensible theory of the morality of war must integrate moral reasoning with ...

    is a criminal act * Aggression justifies two kinds of violent response: a war of self-defence by the victim and a war of law enforcement by the victim or any other member of international society * Nothing but aggression can justify war * Once the aggressor state has been military

  2. Examine the main premises behind Eisenhower's concept of containment

    Foster-Dulles was in favour of this approach commenting on the need to give the Chinese "one hell of a licking"4. Ike soon changed his favour to what was to become a staple tactic of his, a public warning to the Chinese and Russians that America was prepared to move "decisively without inhibition" in their use of "weapons".

  1. While surfing the channels on TV you might hear a lot of news about ...

    Blackmailing because we never know what will happen. Governments should be in alert and should take the threats seriously. But yet they stand inefficiently with the problem of terrorism. Well that brings us back to the question, what is terrorism?

  2. "Justice and War are incompatible". Discuss War is defined ...

    And this is our testimony to the whole world." Many Christians believe war and justice are incompatible because of the commandment "Thou shalt not kill". This is clear instruction to Christians that taking another person's life is wrong and this intentional killing can never be justified. Other Christian pacifists say violence leads to more violence.

  1. Cold War

    Capable of delivering explosives to 150 miles in just five minutes, the V-2 proved its worth as an effective weapon of terror. Nearly 3,000 V-2s were launched against England, France and Belgium during World War II . For decades, each side developed powerful weapons to keep up with the other side and try to dominate militarily.

  2. History of the United States

    Their party regarded industrial growth and capitalist leadership with approval, believing that they led to an ever-widening opening of opportunity for all. Grover CLEVELAND rose from obscurity to become Democratic governor of New York in the early 1880s and then U.S.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work