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23 Fletcher F. World Aff. 201 (1999)
Terrorism: The War of the Future

handle is hein.journals/forwa23 and id is 509 raw text is: TERRORISM: THE WAR OF THE FUTURE
Dov Waxman
B ill Clinton's presidency is likely to be chiefly remembered for two
things: the Lewinsky affair and terrorism. White the first may be more
memorable, the second is clearly of more importance and consequence for
the United States and the world at large. Overthe past six years, terrorist atrocities
have gripped public attention as their horrific images have filled our newspapers,
television sets and minds. Indeed, the specter of terrorism now hangs over our
public and political life as never before.
Just weeks after taking office, President Clinton had to respond to an
event that sent waves of shock and fear around the nation: the bombing of New
York's World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. Six people died and thousands
were injured in what was the worst act of international terrorism on American
soil. However, even then the authorities were to count themselves lucky. Inves-
tigators later revealed that the perpetrators, Mahmud Abouhatima and Ramzi
Yousef, disciples of the radical Egyptian Islamist preacher Sheik Abdet-Rahman,
had intended to kill up to 250,000 people. They had also planned to bomb the
Holland Tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey, as wet as other sites in
New York City.' Soon after, the nation was once again confronted with interna-
tional terrorism as an Iraqi attempt to assassinate former President Bush in
Kuwait was foiled. The President swiftly retaliated by ordering cruise missile
strikes on Baghdad. The message was clear: America would not be a passive
victim, it would fight fire with fire. Nonetheless, while air strikes were an option
in reacting to an act of state-sponsored terrorism such as Iraq's, they were of no
use in responding to what was to come.
On April 19, 1995, a massive explosion devastated the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 169 people, among them children
attending a day care center in the building. As Americans' shock and disbelief
turned to rage and anger, fingers quickly pointed to Islamic radicals who were
now becoming synonymous to terrorism. Yet when it later emerged that, contrary
to widespread suspicions, the attack had been carried out by an American Gulf
War veteran, Timothy McVeigh, the American public had to come to terms with
the fact that terrorism had not only transplanted itself onto American territory-
as in the case of the World Trade Center bombing-but it had actually grown up
Dov Waxman is a Ph.D. candidate in Intemational Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School
of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University. He also works
as a researcher at the CenterforStrategic and Intemational Studies (CSIS), an independent
public policy research institute based in Washington, DC. He has published a number of
monographs and articles on Middle Eastern affairs.

VoL 23: 2 Fall 1999

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