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Our response to terrorism must be rigorously constrained by a framework of morality and international law that rules out torture, extrajudicial detentions or executions, and the use of or threat to use nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction. We believe that the “war” on terrorism as it is now conceived by U.S. authorities is inadequate and dangerous. It has unleashed a new spiral of violence, greatly expanded military expenditures, undermined the international disarmament agenda and failed to address the root causes of terrorism.
A much more fruitful route would be to contribute energetically to an international consensus in response to terrorism, committing ourselves as a nation to pursuing the global common good in full cooperation with the family of nations and to an unwavering respect for civil and political human rights at home and abroad.

Implications of the "war on terror"

The war on terror has had two major economic impacts so far: an increase in overall military assistance to countries experiencing conflict, and elimination of sanctions on arms exports to those countries. This increased military assistance from the U.S. comes primarily in two forms:

  • Foreign Military Financing (FMF) – Congressionally-appropriated grants to foreign governments to help finance the purchase of U.S. weapons, services and training;
  • International Military Education and Training (IMET) grants, given to foreign governments to pay for training by U.S. military personnel on U.S. weapons systems. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the focus of IMET has been on counter-terrorism training.
The campaign against terrorism has had political, as well as economic, repercussions. There has been a concerted effort to link conflicts to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and to reclassify opposition and rebel groups as “terrorists.” Once rebel groups are classified as terrorists, governments feel less pressure to negotiate and become less willing to enter into a peace process. In addition, once a group is labeled “terrorists,” its grievances – legitimate or not – are usually viewed as invalid, reducing international pressure on governments to work towards a negotiated settlement. Identifying an opposition group as “terrorists” also helps a country obtain funding more easily from the U.S. as part of the war on terror. (See “The impact of the ‘war on terrorism’ on internal conflict” in The Ploughshares Monitor Spring 2005.)



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