The War and the Intelligence Community The dramatic scope of the 2001 attacks heightened fears that additional attacks might follow, and quickly helped transform U. intelligence agencies into agencies aimed overwhelmingly at preventing another September 11.
Analysts dedicated to a wide range of specialty areas were put on terrorism detail; and, fueled by a budget expansion, the intelligence workforce grew rapidly through direct hiring and outsourcing.
Much of the legal and ideological infrastructure that would later constitute the war on terror was introduced onto the U. The global war on terror acted as what, in the language of semiotics, is called a "floating signifier," able to be attached at will to a wide range of actions and policies.
Osama bin Laden was on President Clinton's intelligence and law enforcement radar screens; antiterrorism legislation that would significantly expand presidential and police powers was debated in Congress; and conservative advocacy groups such as the Project for a New American Century urged a more assertive projection of American power, including forcible regime change in Iraq. Bush administration that provided these diverse events with a holistic superstructure in the form of the "global war on terror." Almost overnight, following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this narrative became the prevailing organizing principle of U. foreign policy, taking the attacks as its starting point and scripting the final act as an American victory in some undetermined future.
Although Bush presented military action as only one thrust of the new war, which also entailed diplomacy, intelligence, and law enforcement efforts, the war would nonetheless be most deeply associated with the military for both of the administration's terms.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld helped support the tendency to conflate the symbolic war with actual warfare.
And we conclude that, if we are to develop a new conceptual framework that is both operationally effective and consistent with democratic values and ideals, we must first revisit the assumptions of the war on terror narrative.
The Clinton Administration: The Prequel The bombing of the U. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 brought Osama bin Laden into the U. line of sight, after which Clinton proved willing to employ a range of tools, including military strikes, against this self-declared enemy of the United States.
A principal reason for the durability of the global war on terror is that it represents an extraordinarily powerful narrative, which Obama will need to rewrite if he is to change the policy dynamics in this area.
At the time of this writing, liberal commentators are expressing concern—and conservatives expressing satisfaction—that despite his initial moves Obama is basically adhering to Bush-era policies.