Crises and Power
Civil War
   Progressive Era
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U.S. Foreign Policy

Quotes on Power

About the book Crisis and Leviathan

Center on Peace & Liberty Terrorist



On September 11, 2001, two commercial airliners slammed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan and another struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Approximately 3,000 people were killed. In succeeding days, Americans heard two names: al Qaeda, an organization, and its leader, Osama bin Laden, a devotee of a radical form of Islam. Americans further learned that bin Laden was no stranger to the American political and military establishment. This Saudi-born Arab had been a recipient of American support when he was helping to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which began in 1979. When the Soviets were finally driven out a decade later, bin Laden and his dedicated followers turned to the other secular foreign presence in the Middle East and southwest Asia: the United States.

Bin Laden’s grievances against the United States mounted through the 1980s and 1990s, especially regarding the U.S.-led intervention against Iraq. But in recruitment tapes, he repeatedly indicted the United States for defiling the holy places in Saudi Arabia with the U.S. military presence there, for imposing immense suffering on the Iraqi people through the embargo, and for supporting the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. These three grievances were also expressed by the mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center when he was sentenced for his crime three years later.

Understandably, these facts were of minor interest after 9/11, when justice and vengeance were the order of the day. Unfortunately, U.S. policymakers had objectives in mind that surpassed the mere execution of justice against the perpetrators. Abroad, the George W. Bush administration took the opportunity to step up its presence in southwest Asia with its invasion of Afghanistan (and installation of a client as president) and its closer relationship with Pakistan and several former Soviet republics. The U.S. interest in new oil sources in this area did not escape some observers. Moreover, the American political leadership exploited the terrorism crisis to escalate its campaign against Saddam Hussein of Iraq, although he could not be tied to the 9/11 attack, al Qaeda, or the mysterious anthrax mailings that occurred in October 2001. Some advocates of U.S. power went further, urging that a military attack on Iraq be merely the prelude to direct U.S. control of the Mideast oil fields and the subjugation of Iran, Syria, Libya, and other countries.

Domestically, the U.S. government danced an old dance: it imposed limits on civil liberties in the name of protecting the American people from terrorism. The executive branch claimed the authority to detain indefinitely even American citizens branded “enemy combatants” without charge or judicial review--an assault on habeas corpus. It announced that it would try terrorist suspects before military tribunals, where the traditional protections for criminal defendants would not apply. It pressured Congress to rush into law the USA PATRIOT Act, which, among other things, makes it easier for federal law-enforcement to eavesdrop electronically on American citizens and conduct secret searches of their homes. The FBI dropped old guidelines forbidding agents from snooping at lawful gatherings. Unsurprisingly, many of these proposals had long been sought, but were shelved for lack of support. The events of 9/11 changed that.

The legislative frenzy following the terrorist attacks also boosted government spending, turning projected budget surpluses into deficits. Much of the spending either was “feel good” legislation or lacked even the remotest connection to defense—with massive new corporate welfare, pork, and protectionist measures. The military-industrial complex received the largest infusion of new funding in a generation.

Also, click here for Bibliography for Crisis and Leviathan.

Causes of Terrorism:

Bandow, Doug. “Review of the book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson,” The Independent Review, Vol. V, No. 4 (Spring 2001), pp. 611-614.

Bergen, Peter L. Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden. New York: Free Press, 2001.

Cobane, Craig T. “Review of the book For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush, by Christopher Andrew,” The Independent Review, Vol. I, No. 3 (Winter 1997), pp. 456-459.

Dobbs, Michael. “U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup: Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds,” Washington Post (December 30, 2002), p. A01.

Eland, Ivan. “The Terrorist Retaliation U.S. Risks in Attacking Saddam,” Sacramento Bee, February 1998.

Higgs, Robert. “The Cold War is Over, but U.S. Preparation for It Continues,” The Independent Review, Vol. VI, No. 2 (Fall 2001), pp. 287-305.

—. “The Cold War: Too Good a Deal to Give Up.” Oakland, Calif,: The Independent Institute, 2002.

—. “Collateral Damage: Two Venues, One Logic,” San Francisco Examiner, April 15, 2002.

—. “Some Other Costs of War,” The Free Market, March 1991.

Johnson, Chalmers. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. Owl Books, 2001.

Kepel, Gilles. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Kuran, Timur. “The Vulnerability of the Arab State: Reflections on the Ayubi Thesis,” The Independent Review, Vol. III, No. 1 (Summer 1998), pp. 111-123.

Lapham, Lewis H., Alan W. Bock, Jonathan V. Marshall, Seth Rosenfeld, David J. Theroux, and Paul H. Weaver. “The U.S. War on Terrorism: Myths and Realities,” Independent Policy Forum, The Independent Institute, September 24, 2002. [Forum Announcement, Forum Audio, Forum Transcript, Order Tapes and Transcripts]

MacArthur, John R. “Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War: How Government Can Mold Public Opinion,” Independent Policy Forum, The Independent Institute, October 7, 1993 [Forum Audio, Forum Transcript]

Rashid, Ahmed. “Osama bin Laden: How the U.S. Helped Midwife a Terrorist,” Institute for Public Integrity, September 13, 2001.

Stephens, Joe and David B. Ottaway. “From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad,” Washington Post, Marsh 22, 2002.

Toft, Monica Duffy. Geography of Ethnic Violence: Identity, Interests and Indivisibility of Territory. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Vidal, Gore, Lewis Lapham, Barton Bernstein, Robert Higgs, and Thomas Gale Moore. “Understanding America’s Terrorist Crisis: What Should Be Done,” Independent Policy Forum, The Independent Institute, April 18, 2002. [Forum Announcement, Forum Audio, Forum Transcript, Order Tapes and Transcripts]

Weaver, Mary Anne. “Blowback,” The Atlantic Monthly, May 1996.

Homeland Security:

Eland, Ivan. “Protecting the Homeland: The Best Defense Is to Give No Offense,” Policy Analysis No. 306. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, May 5, 1998.

—. “Resist Giving FBI More Authority in Cyberspace,” Oregonian, February 17, 2000.

—. “U.S. Ignores Bio-Threat at Its Peril,” Newsday, October 5, 2001.

Higgs, Robert. “Defending the Homeland,” The Free Market, May 2002.

—. “Don’t Federalize Airport Security,” San Francisco Business Times, October 22, 2001.

McElroy, Wendy. “Defending Yourself Against Terror,” Fox News.com, October 10, 2001.


Carlton, Jim. “Of Microbes and Mock Attacks: Years Ago, The Military Sprayed Germs on U.S. Cities,” Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2001.

Cockburn, Alexander and Jonathan Marshall and Peter Dale Scott. “The War on Drugs: Who Is Winning? Who Is Losing?”, Independent Policy Forum, The Independent Institute, June 21, 2000. [Forum Announcement, Forum Transcript, Forum Audio]

Marshall, Jonathan, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter. The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era. Boston: South End Press, 1987. Focus on Central America and Iran. Deals with military, private and Israeli intelligence operations as well as CIA.

Peterson, Sarah. “People and Ecosystems in Colombia: Casualties of the Drug War,” The Independent Review, Vol. VI, No. 3 (Winter 2002), pp. 427-440.

Scott, Peter Dale, and Jonathan Marshall V. Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Smith, Peter, ed. Drug Policy in the Americas: Strategies for Supply Reductions. Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.

Nature of Terrorism:

Bock, Alan W. “Critiquing U.S. Foreign Policy.” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, March 5, 2003.

Carpenter, Ted Galen. A Search for Enemies: America's Alliances after the Cold War. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1992.

Carr, Caleb. The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians: Why It Has Always Failed and Why It Will Fail Again. New York: Random House, 2002.

Eland, Ivan. “A Not-So-Global War on Terrorism?” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, September 24, 2001.

—. “U.S. Arrogance, Intervention Fuel Anti-American Terrorist Attacks,” Greenburg (PA) Tribune, September 28, 1999.

Grosscup, Beau. The Newest Explosions of Terrorism: Latest Sites of Terrorism in the ’90s and Beyond. Fair Hills, N.J.: New Horizon Press, 1998.

Husain, Khurram. “Neocons: The Men Behind the Curtain,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 59, No. 6 (November/December 2003), pp. 62–71.

Mizell, Jr., Louis R. Target U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the New Terrorist War. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Smith, James M. and William C. Thomas. The Terrorism Threat and U.S. Government Responses: Operational and Organizational Factors. Colorado Springs, Colo.: U.S. Air Force Academy, 2001.

Thompson, Leroy. Ragged War: the Story of Unconventional and Counter-Revolutionary Warfare. London: Arms and Armour, 1996.

Vlahos, Michael. Terror’s Mask: Insurgency Within Islam. Laurel, MD: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 2002.

Wechsler, William F. and Lee S. Walosky. Terrorist Financing: Independent Task Force. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2002.

Response to Terrorism:

Bovard, James. Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Calhoun, Laurie. “Just War? Moral Soldiers?”, The Independent Review, Vol. IV, No. 3 (Winter 2000), pp. 325-345.

Cole, David D. Enemy Aliens. New York: New Press, 2003.

—. Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security. New York: New Press, 2002.

Eland, Ivan. “The American Taxpayer Is Paying Dearly to Be Attacked by Terrorists.” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, May 13, 2003.

—. “Arabs, Americans and bin Laden,” New York Times, January 25, 2002.

—. “Attack Somalia If We Must, But Not Iraq,” Charlotte Post, December 20, 2001.

—. “Bush Foreign Policy Makes Clinton Look Good,” Daily Mail (Hagerstown, MD), August 2, 2002.

—. “Bush Plan Is Just ‘Do Something,’” Newsday, June 10, 2002.

—. “Bush’s Department of Homeland Security: Enhanced Protection or Bureaucratic Bloat?” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

—. “Bush’s Renewed Push for Middle East Peace: A Siren’s Song.” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, May 30, 2003.

—. “Catastrophic Terrorism: Clinton is Missing the Point,” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, July 13, 1998.

—. “Containing and Deterring Saddam: If the U.S. Invades Iraq, the CIA Fears that Saddam Would Be More Likely to Carry Out Chemical and Biological Attacks,” St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press, October 13, 2002.

—. “Death by a Thousand Cuts: Small Operations Such as East Timor Can Tax U.S. Forces,” USA Today, September 22, 1999.

—. “Defending Forward: Going After Terrorists Threatens to Spread U.S. Military Forces Too Thin,” Orange County Register, February 3, 2002.

—. “Don’t Give Bin Laden Total Victory,” New Journal & Guide (Norfolk, VA), September 19, 2001.

—. “Global Cop Role Carries Risk,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, March 9, 1999.

—. “Insufficient Response to Terrorism.” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

—. “Lessons from Israel: Bush Must War,” Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, PA), May 10, 2002.

—. “A Military Strike Against Iraq: Merely Saving Face.” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

—. “President in Denial on Solution to Catastrophic Terrorism.” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

—. “Recommendations from Terrorism Commission Belong in the Circular File,” Manchester Union-Leader, June 26, 2000.

—. “Saudis Offer Easy Way Out, So Let’s Take It: We Should Withdraw Our Forces Gracefully,” Chicago Sun-Times, January 27, 2002.

—. “Smallpox: U.S. Government Is Endangering Americans to Run Risky Foreign Policy,” News-Herald (Hartford City, IN), November 12, 2002.

—. “Top 10 Reasons Not to ‘Do’ Iraq,” Miami Herald, August 15, 2002.

—. “Terrorism: Cohen’s Terrifying Trade-Off.” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, September 2, 1998.

—. “Turn the War on Terrorism Into a War by Proxy.” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, January 23, 2002.

—. “The United States as Global Cop: Arresting Consequences,” El Mundo, May 11, 1999.

—. “The U.S. Government Is Endangering,” Journal of Commerce, October 7, 1998.

—. “Wanted: New Player for the ‘Axis of Evil’ Team.” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, April 20, 2003.

—. “War on Terrorism Gets Too Excessive,” Charlotte Post, January 31, 2002.

—. “Year 2000 Warning from Uncle Sam: ‘Duck and Cover.’” Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, December 22, 1999.

Gregory, Anthony. “Unbelievable Reasons for War.” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, February 28, 2003.

Hage, Jr., James F. and Gideon Rose, ed. How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.

Hentoff, Nat. The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003.

Herold, Marc W. “A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting,” March 2002.

Higgs, Robert. “If We’re Really in Danger, Why Doesn’t the Government Act as if We’re in Danger?”, The Independent Institute, October 28, 2002.

—. “Military Precision versus Moral Precision.” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, March 23, 2003.

—. “Not Exactly an Eye for an Eye,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 23, 2003.

—. “Some Are Weeping, Some Are Not,” Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, April 26, 2003.

—. “Suppose You Wanted to Have a Permanent War.” Oakland, Calif: The Independent Institute, June 12, 2003.

Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

Holms, John Pynchon. Terrorism: Today’s Biggest Threat to Freedom. New York: Pinnacle Books, 1994.

Johnson, Chalmers. “Responding to Terrorism Without Committing Terrorism,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2001.

Laquer, Walter. The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Lesser, Ian O., Bruce Hoffman, John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt and Michele Zanin. Countering the New Terrorism. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 1999.

MacCallum, Spencer Heath. “A Peaceful Ferment in Somalia,” The Freeman, June 1998.

McElroy, Wendy. “Is the Constitution Antiquated?”, The Freeman, November 1999.

Roots, Roger, “Terrorized into Absurdity: The Creation of the Transportation Security Administration,” The Independent Review, Vol. VII, No. 4 (Spring 2003), pp. 503-517.

Schwarz, Benjamin and Christopher Layne. “A New Grand Strategy,” The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 289, No. 1 (January 2002), pp. 36-42.

Sechrest, Larry J. “Let Privateers Troll for Bin Laden.” Oakland, Calif,: The Independent Institute, September 30, 2001.

Theroux, David J., ed. The War on Terrorism Archive. Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute. Articles on the war on terrorism and U.S. interventionism.

Turner, Stansfield. Stansfield Turner on Terrorism and Democracy: Ten Steps to Fight Terrorism Without Endangering Democracy. College Park, MD: University of Maryland Press, 2001.

Watkins, Jr., William J. “Combating Terrorism and the Lessons of 1798.” Oakland, Calif,: The Independent Institute, December 6, 2001.