International Peacemaking After September 11: No Military Solution

President George Bush called for a ‘war’ against terror after September 11. But is war the right way to deal with the likes of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda?

The World Today Updated 23 October 2020 Published 1 August 2002 5 minute READ

Marrack Goulding

Warden of St Antony's College, Oxford

Here a self-confessed ‘bleeding heart’ answers no to that. It’s an assessment based on years in charge of the UN’s peacekeeping operations.

The attacks on September 11 were unparalleled in their ingenuity, in their planning and in the political, material and psychological impact they had on the terrorist’s enemy. They revealed that a clandestine group could set up a worldwide network and that that network, using modern communications and other technology, could, out of the blue, launch simultaneous and devastating attacks on two cities in the most powerful country in the world. The resources used by the terrorist network – estimated at less than $100,000 – amounted to only a tiny proportion of the costs of more than $400 billion faced by the victim.

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