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The U.N. Is Unfit to Deal With Terrorism

By Bradley A. Blakeman   |   Wednesday, 04 Mar 2009 12:43 PM

How can the United Nations adequately work to prevent and fight terrorism when they don’t even have the will to define it?

Is there any doubt that terrorism is real? We experienced it on our own shores and we have witnessed it take place in every corner of the globe, unfortunately, on an all-to-frequent basis.

The United Nations has neither the will nor the leadership to take the lead to defeat terrorism, and it is only a matter of time when terrorists carry out a catastrophic attack that the world will no longer be able to ignore.

The only question is where and when it will occur.

The first step to dealing with a problem is defining it and properly acknowledging it. The following are some widely recognized definitions of terrorism:

  • League of Nations Convention (1937): “All criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public.”

  • U.S. Code: “terrorism means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

  • Columbia Encyclopedia: “The threat or use of violence, often against a civilian population, to achieve political or social ends, to intimidate opponents, or to publicize public grievances.”

  • The Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism (1998): “Any act or threat of violence, whatever its motives or purposes, that occurs in the advancement of an individual or collective criminal agenda and seeking to sow panic among people, causing fear by harming them, or placing their lives, liberty or security in danger, or seeking to cause damage to the environment or to public or private installations or property or to occupying or seizing them, or seeking to jeopardize a national resource.”

    If other diverse groups and nations can define terrorism, why then can’t the United Nations settle on a definition?

    The answer is clear: They do not want to.

    The United States and other freedom-loving nations must now demand that the United Nations define terrorism once and for all. They must also vow to aggressively thwart it and condemn it wherever and whenever it occurs, not with mere words but with meaningful actions.

    The United Nations stands for nothing if it cannot face up to and defeat a scourge that will be the undoing of civilized society unless it is defeated.

    President Obama needs to lead on this issue.

    To date he and his administration seem to have banned even the mention of “terrorism” from their public speak. They believe it is inflammatory and insulting. To whom? The terrorists?

    There will be another major attack by terrorists. When that occurs, the world will respond with shock and horror and condolence. The question is what did we do to confront it and prevent it in the first place.

    Bradley A. Blakeman is former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, 2001-2004.

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