Posted: September 3rd, 2013
Comparison of Actions Taken by American Government after 9 – 11 with Covert Operations during Cold war
It is has been more than a decade since the September 11 attacks and the memories are still fresh in minds of the American citizens. September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States soil were the most grueling to have ever been done. In this case, the United States government needed to heighten their policy towards internal security so that they can be able to prevent terrorist attacks in United States (Rubin and Tanali 2001). The government decided to change their actions on how they handle terror suspects and other terrorist cases. Additionally, the government changed their policy towards certain countries that were supporting terror suspects. In this case, the actions taken by the American government could be compared to the covert operations and proxy wars that took place during the cold war.
In covert operations and proxy wars during the cold war, were extremely secretive. This was mainly because the American government was helping personalities in different countries to overthrow their government so that they can be able to control operations in that country. These covert operations were successful thus gaining the country a lot of fame (History of war 2012). The strategies used in this covert operations and proxy are the ones which are deemed to be similar in a way if they are compared with the actions taken by the American government after the September 11 terrorist attacks. On the other hand, new strategies emerged in the actions taken by the American government after the September 11 attacks signifying that it was a completely new era of operations.
The first similarity between the two operations was how the American government started to overthrow some of the governments. After the September 11 attacks, the American government sent military troops in the affairs of Afghanistan since they were deemed to be promoting terrorism. In this case, they overthrew the government and replaced it with another of their own choice. This showed that the American government was not messing with terrorist governments. This strategy is almost similar to the covert operations during the cold war. For example, the American CIA helped the Guatemalan Colonel Carlos C. Armas to enter back to the country and take over power (History of war 2012). They did this with a small army and in extreme secrecy. The two strategies are similar because in the two actions the American government wanted to overthrow the governments that were not helping them.
Another similarity in the two strategies is befriending a regime so that they can weaken it and defeat it in the end. For example, after the September 11 attacks the American government saw the need of befriending some of the terrorist nations for the purposes of weakening them and gaining control over them. In Iraq, the American government came in as a friend promising to overthrow the dictatorial government of Saddam Hussein. This was a success because they overthrew Saddam and later they put in place a government they would control at their own digression. This is similar to the covert operations that were taking place during the cold war. For example, the Shah of Iran was befriended and in the end, he weakened and later fell (Cardwell 46). This shows that the strategy of befriending different regimes was being used in the past during the cold and currently after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
However, the covert operations and the actions of the American government after the September 11 attacks have certain differences. What happens is that a country learns through the mistakes they have committed in the past thus coming up with new fresh strategies that will help prevent the mistakes. In the covert operations, the American government was using a lot of secrecy and small armies to defeat their enemies. The small armies seemed to be succeeding but after a while, they started failing. This was because many countries had changed their tactical strategies. On the other hand, after the September 11 attacks America was not ready to perform the same mistakes they made decades ago, this time they were ready for anything. In this case, they did not use secret missions. Instead, they went direct and openly to their enemy. As a result, they have been able to attain success.
Secondly, the American government has not been using secret government agencies to go for their enemies; they are using the military and the Department of Homeland Security to get their attackers and enemies (Rubin and Tanali 2001). For instance, they vigorously went for the Alqaeda leader Osama bin Laden using the military. It is believed that he strategically planned for the attacks against the US on September 11. This is very different from what happened in the covert operations. The covert operations were in extreme secrecy where neither the governments nor the enemies knew about them. In all their attacks, they used secret agencies, which were not known to the people. Additionally, they gave them code names so that the enemy could not know what they were. Therefore, actions taken after September 11 are open as opposed to covert operations that were secret.
There are certain similarities between the American actions after September 11 and covert operations during the world war. In the two operations, the American government tries to overthrow the rebellious government and put in place a government of their own choice, which they will be able to control at their own free will. This has been among their first top priorities. However, the methods used to enhance these priorities have changed signifying the new era. In the past, a lot of secrecy was maintained. Secret agencies were created with code names and secret missions. Presently, the government is going in the open using military forces as their enforcer.
Cardwell, Curt. Nsc 68 and the Political Economy of the Early Cold War. New York, NY: Cambridge Press, 2011.
History of war. Covert Operations, Cold War and Beyond. March 13, 2012. Web. March 13, 2012.
Rubin, C. B. and Tanali, I. R. The Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Immediate Impact and their Ramifications for the Federal Emergency Management. University of Colorado. December 31, 2001. Web. March 13, 2012.
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