User login

Join The Debate

Cast your vote and join the conversation.

Membership is free.

Get Started

You are here

It's Time To End The War On Terror

It's Time To End The War On Terror

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Days after 9/11, President Bush declared a War on Terror that would '€œnot end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.'€ Is America in a state of perpetual war, or has the threat of terrorism justified its position as the organizing principle behind our foreign policy? In 10 years we'€™ve been in 2 wars, witnessed the Arab Spring and the death of Osama bin Laden'€“is it finally time to end the War on Terror?

For the Motion

Terrorism does not represent the greatest threat to American security; debt does, and our anti-terror efforts are exacerbating the problem.

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Peter Beinart

The marginalization of al Qaeda will not bring an end to the terrorist threat or free the United States from the need for constant vigilance. But the revolutionary vanguard that Osama bin Laden envisioned leading, with its inexhaustible legions of recruits bent on endless jihad against the West, has been extinguished.

Friday, May 6, 2011
James Kitfield

Terrorism is not an enemy that threatens the existence of our nation; our response should not undermine the very values that define America for ourselves and the rest of the world.

Monday, May 2, 2011
Katrina Vanden Heuvel

The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world.

Sunday, March 25, 2007
Zbigniew Brzezinski

An attack that kills 3,000 citizens—even if only once every 10 years—is nothing to ignore. But is it worth spending $1 trillion on two ongoing wars and $1 trillion on enhanced homeland security—America’s post-9-11 terrorism expenditure?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Shikha Dalmia

What was once the war against terror should not be ignored, but it should be redefined as a police and intelligence operation. It still demands considerable resources, and vigilance, but it can no longer be seen as central to American foreign and military policy.

Monday, June 5, 2006
John Judis
Against the Motion

The bin Laden operation is the perfect vindication of the war on terror.

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Charles Krauthammer
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Michael Rubin

The greatest threat to American security today is from Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations. Seeing the war as over will not help this nation to keep vigilant as it must to stay secure.

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Moshe Phillips

We cannot let our guard down. While a 9/11-type attack is less likely today, Al Qaeda and its affiliates are persistent and their associations and tactics are diverse.

Monday, May 9, 2011
Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton

Those sincerely concerned with America’s security should reject the notion that bin Laden’s death will allow us to declare “mission accomplished” and withdraw from the Middle East, and the world.

Monday, May 16, 2011
Frederick Kagan

We now have the opportunity to turn a symbolic victory into a material victory in the war on terror. Bin Laden's death presents the U.S. with a real opportunity to shift the momentum on the ground back in our favor.

Monday, May 2, 2011
Charlie Szrom

America's war with al Qaeda will not stop with the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, Hillary Clinton has warned, telling the terrorist network: "You cannot wait us out; you cannot defeat us."

Monday, May 2, 2011
Esther Addley
Defining the War on Terror

Days after the September 11th terrorist attacks, President Bush declared a war on terror that would begin with al Qaeda and “not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

Thursday, September 20, 2001
President George W. Bush

In the war on terror, there's no specific battlefield and the enemy isn't an army. It is, in theory, an endless war –- a war that approaches something closer to a way of life.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Guy Raz

The War on Terror is at war with itself.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Nancy Gibbs
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Mark N. Katz
Al Qaeda

Al Qaeda was founded by bin Laden in the late 1980’s after the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan to continue the “holy war” against the West and install fundamentalist Islamic regimes across the world. Since then, the group has committed numerous acts of terrorism in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Southern Asia, and the United States.

Friday, June 17, 2011
Jayshree Bajoira Greg Bruno

Al Qaeda has changed from a core cadre of veterans of the Afghan insurgency against the Soviets to a diffuse global network with thousands of members and associates. While the nature of the group has changed, its mission remains the same: establishing a global caliphate under extremist Islamic law through violent revolution.

Friday, February 5, 2010
John Rollins

What the death of the movement’s figurehead means for al Qaeda, Pakistan, Afghanistan—and the West.

Thursday, May 5, 2011
The Economist

Al Qaeda may be dealt a crippling blow by bin Laden’s loss, but the larger Islamist terrorist network will likely survive his death.

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Max Boot

Al Qaeda is likely to survive bin Laden’s killing for one simple reason: the group had already largely passed him by.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Brynjar Lia

A number of senior al Qaeda operatives fled to Iran after 9/11, remaining under Tehran’s loose control until their return to Pakistan, under mysterious circumstances, late last year.

Sunday, May 29, 2011
Bruce Riedel
Bin Laden Documents

A trove of digital communications and hand-written notes show how bin Laden ran his weakened network from his solitary hideout in a garrison town in Pakistan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Sebastian Rotella

Over the past year, bin Laden fielded e-mails from followers lamenting the toll being taken by CIA drone “explosions” as well as the network’s financial plight.

Friday, July 1, 2011
Greg Miller
National Defense Authorization Act & AUMF

On September 14, 2001, Congress authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons….” This report provides a legislative history of this statute, the “Authorization for Use of Military Force” (AUMF).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Richard F. Grimmett

A bi-partisan package authorizing the use of military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, which includes the power to detain members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Charlie Savage

The House on Thursday approved the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill 322-96 after Republicans successfully fought off Democrats' attempts to strip divisive language on detainees and the use of military force.

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Megan Scully

Congress is set to engage in a debate over whether to extend the war on terror indefinitely or leave in place legislation that could eventually wind it down.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Josh Gerstein

Two presidents from opposing parties have made it clear that the United States would not stand idly by when other countries are unwilling or unable to ferret out the terrorists among them. The presidents were bolstered in their conclusions by the original Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and by international law, which recognizes a country’s inherent right to self-defense.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Editorial Board

A new bill, approved last week by the House Armed Services Committee would, in essence, make the War on Terror permanent and limitless, along with its huge potential for abuse.

Monday, May 16, 2011
Legal Framework

Barack Obama is operating with war powers granted George W. Bush three days after the 9/11 attacks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Eli Lake

Examining the legal issues surrounding the detention, interrogation and surveillance of suspect terrorists, experts offer a legal counterterrorism framework that both authorizes and regulates the difficult actions American forces make when confronting terrorists.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Foreign Policy and the New America Foundation’s twice weekly brief on the legal war on terror.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The emergence of a new technology has changed the debate over the legal nature of war and counterterrorism.

Friday, April 1, 2011
Kenneth Anderson
Afghanistan and Pakistan

As President Obama prepares to announce his policy for drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the percentage of Americans who favor removing the troops as soon as possible has reached an all-time high according to Pew Research Center surveys.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Pew Research Center

President Obama's decision to pull 33,000 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next summer—10,000 of them by the end of this year—reflects a scaling back of U.S. goals and strategy in the war.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Fred Kaplan

Failure to adequately deal with the terrorist threat in Pakistan will not only prolong this struggle, but it will severely undermine on-going U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, risk the further destabilization of a nuclear Pakistan, and ultimately threaten the U.S. homeland.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Seth G. Jones

The conditions that allowed Afghanistan to serve as a terrorist home base in the 1990’s have changed permanently. The U.S. doesn’t need a strong Afghan state to prevent jihadis from building a safe haven there or to keep Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal out of the hands of terrorists.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Joshua Rovner and Austin Long

Even with bin Laden out of the picture there is still a strong and dangerous contingent of terrorist networks in Pakistan. The worst thing we could do now would be to take bin Laden's death or the progress made in Afghanistan as an excuse to withdraw forces prematurely, thereby easing the pressure on militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Frederick Kagan
Related Links

In 10 years the U.S. has launched 2 major wars and engaged in the largest reorganization of its government since the Great Depression. An estimated 225,000 people – men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians—have been killed and $3.2-4 trillion has been spent and obligated to date.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Eisenhower Study Group

The Obama administration spent its first year in office trying to find its balance in the fight against terrorism.

Monday, January 4, 2010
Peter Baker
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Davis S. Cloud & Ned Parker