September 11, 2001 ruptures

De Baripedia

September 11,2001 is a major event of the beginning of the 21st century, thought in a logic of absolute rupture to the point that the 11/09 or 9/11 in English can be qualified as an event consecrating the end of the 20th century or an event consecrating the beginning of the 21st century.

« The tragedy of 11 September marks the end of a period that began in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire. We already knew that our traditional enemies had become partners and our allies had become fierce competitors. We have entered the era of terrorist and criminal warfare brutally. »

— Daniel Martin, Special Adviser to the OECD Executive Director.

These are words that suggest the closing of a parenthesis, namely the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 11 September as a period of imagination of a new international era and suddenly there is the discovery that the 19th century is not going to be the expected century of peace and perhaps even a century of war to come.

Continuities of the 11/09[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

World Trade Center as target[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

World Trade Center, New York City - aerial view (March 2001)

The Twin Towers have been a potential target since the 1980s, because the challenge is to destroy the very places of American power. There is a symbolic dimension of strong destruction, because the Wolrd Trade Center is the heart of global capitalism and international affairs.

Throughout the history of Manhattan's construction, the architectural history of Manhattan is that of the man who will always build the most. The Twin Towers meant the triumphalism of the American liberal economic model. It is an iconic image with a sum of representations conveyed.

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The first attack took place on 26 February 1993, when a truck loaded with 680 kg of nitrate explosives disintegrated in an underground car park in the North Tower, killing six people and wounding 1042. The extension of the damage, a 30 x 60 metre crater across 5 basement levels, and the uncertainty about the damage to the central load-bearing columns (but only one was slightly affected) meant that the two towers remained closed for several months. According to the architect of the World Trade Center, the tower would have collapsed if the truck had been placed closer to the foundations. Six Islamic extremists, including Ramzi Yousef, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Nidal Ayyad, an Islamist activist, proclaimed at his 1993 trial in the United States that "the World Trade Center will continue to be one of our targets in the United States if our demands are not met.

Ramzi Yousef sent a letter to the New York Times after the bombing that expressed his motive:

"We are, the fifth battalion in the Liberation Army, declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel, the state of terrorism, and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region.

Our Demands Are: 1 – Stop all military, economical, and political aid to Israel. 2 – All diplomatic relations with Israel must stop. 3 – Not to interfere with any of the Middle East countries interior affairs.

If our demands are not met, all of our functional groups in the army will continue to execute our missions against the military and civilian targets in and out the United States. For your own information, our army has more than hundred and fifty suicidal soldiers ready to go ahead. The terrorism that Israel practices (which is supported by America) must be faced with a similar one. The dictatorship and terrorism (also supported by America) that some countries are practicing against their own people must also be faced with terrorism.

The American people must know that their civilians who got killed are not better than those who are getting killed by the American weapons and support.

The American people are responsible for the actions of their government and they must question all of the crimes that their government is committing against other people. Or they — Americans — will be the targets of our operations that could diminish them."

Airliner Attacks[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The use of civil aircraft to destroy is already recorded. The best-known case is a 1995 project by Ramzi Youssef, who designed the first attack on the World Trade Center with the aim of exploding 11 American Airlines' airliners linking Asia and California. The expected number of victims was 4,000 in 48 hours.

The use of knives to hijack airliners was already known by the Japanese Red Army with swords.

Avion détourné Paris-Alger, intervention GIGN. Décembre 1994. - © Thierry Orban/CORBIS SYGMA/Thierry Orban

Using a civil aircraft to destroy civilian populations was implemented in December 1994 with GIA mujahedin who hijacked an Air France Airbus in Algiers. They are neutralized in Marseille by the GIGN Objectif. Their idea was to blow up the plane over the capital or throw it onto a symbolic monument.

The diagnosis is that the attacks of 11/09 do not differ in any way from all forms of terrorism analysed in the course of history. They are rooted in a well-known geopolitics and geostrategy of the end of the Cold War. Although they have revealed to the general public the existence of Al Qaida Al Sulbah, in no way have they historically created it.

The major contribution of the events of 11 September is the revelation of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda existed prior to 11 September, but it is a tragic event that suddenly raises the power of an organization when the whole history of terrorism was the thought of an overall violence of low intensity, giving rise to an inversion.

The breakdowns of 09/11[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The "asymmetrical war"[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The attacks of 09/11 took place in an extremely short period of time. Between the initial impact on the North Tower and its collapse it takes 2 hours. 08.

Boeing 767 d'American Airlines similaire à l'un des quatre avions détournés.

Four airliners are being hijacked simultaneously by 19 commando members:

  • 0800 hours 46: American Airlines hijacked Boeing 767 Flight 11 struck the upper section of the North Tower of the WTC. Bursting between the 93rd and 99th floors, the kerosene explosion ignited several lower floors, including the West Street lobby.
  • 0903: The hijacked Boeing 767, United Airlines flight 175, is encased between 77th and 85th floors of the South Tower. Fifteen minutes later, a thick, smothering smoke reaches the 90th floor and the upper floors.
  • 0937 hours: American Airlines' Boeing 757 on hijacked Flight 77 crashed on the west wall of the Pentagon in Washington D. C. The full evacuation order for the impact zone was given at 9:55 a. m., three minutes later the building collapsed.
  • 0958 am: The South Tower of the WTC collapses in ten seconds causing the instantaneous death of all employees and rescue personnel inside.
  • 1000: A United Airlines Boeing 757 crashes near the town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, following the passengers' intervention against the terrorist commando.
  • 1028: The North Tower also collapses. The official number of people killed in the World Trade Center is 2985:265 passengers of the four hijacked planes, 125 civilians and military personnel at the Pentagon, 343 firefighters in New York, 23 police officers. The remainder are mainly employees and visitors in the towers. In total, it is the representatives of more than 62 nationalities who are killed in a rigorously planned terrorist action.

Time is extremely short with a contraction of history. Something emerges in the unthinkable with the attempt to understand the clash of political issues. Fiction becomes reality. This is very important to understand the American society that truly functions on the image making the iconic image and having sacredized it so that the virtual has a dimension of reality. In America, Jean Baudrillard shows that American society is a society that works a lot on images.

The concept of world-events[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The events of September 11 cannot be understood without reference to the media effects. It's an absolute media event because we have the first amateur images. These are images that are captured and will be broadcast immediately causing fear. The first images of the amateurs show the embedding of the planes in the towers and are broadcast with a very slight delay on all the television channels. The media at the scene grabbed the first survivors standing at the foot of the towers and the movements and calls of the arms of all those who found themselves blocked by fire on the floors.

Even more so than in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, one of the first truly high-profile terrorist events, it is the spectacle of live death that frightens the viewer. The panic effect goes beyond rationality.

In the minutes that follow, it is the near collapse of the two towers that bears witness to the irremediable death of thousands of victims trapped in the ruins, while the cameras also film the desperate escape of passers-by in the adjacent streets. Death becomes a spectacle with all the tragedy and pathos.

Media coverage of the attacks immediately boosted their status as a global event[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The event is observable without a soundtrack or rather with background noise with clearly audible pleas, screams and cries. Before, the feelings of rebellion and injustice are marked by incomprehension, fear, stupor and terror. The form of denial of "I can't believe it" is first and foremost the most obvious expression of New Yorkers, but also helpless viewers in front of their television sets.

It's a full-scale disaster movie. The event is in line with the culture of the disaster films of Hollywood productions, irresistibly evoking fiction in that it transcends reality and our imagination. The "This is bigger than life" reflects the real nightmare that everyone has to face and tame in order to continue living.

The journalistic and television procedure is that of looping. Repetition makes the icon. Iconic images have social functions that are not only complacent, but can be subversive. Continuously and obsessively looped through, these images directly refer to other iconic images of the tragic history of the American nation that, as they only refer to pure emotion.

The images recall those of the attempt to escape by air of the last Vietnamese men hoisted on the roof of the American embassy when the Vietminh entered Saigon, those of the naked girl burned with napalm running away from the fighting zone, or those of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy also broadcast compulsively on the channels. The entrance of the two planes into the facades and the immense explosions and debris flights that followed are reminiscent of the movement image on the presidential limousine.

The individual crushed by the weight of the event[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

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The abrupt onset of death without any obvious explanation crushes each one of its own evidence and makes more bitter the sensation to use Albert Camus' expression of "the absurdity of human existence". The event is incomprehensible at the moment without meaning. There is no one who can explain that, on the one hand, it is terrorism and, on the other hand, it is the work of Al Qaeda. The events of 11/09 to quote Baudrillard refer to "the absolute event, the mother of events, to the pure event that concentrates in it, all the events that never took place".

The dramaturgy of the event has become stronger over time as the coverage has been unprecedented, evacuating all other news from the news, occupying CNN's entire media space in a kind of visual pornography that exerts a sort of morbid fascination with images that never lose their fulgurance, emotion or violence. For many months, the written press remained in unison with television in dealing with the events of 11/09.

Once the event cannot be understood, it cannot be processed. In the towers, the call center was not able to manage the event. The event in its cover has such a tragic dimension that it has a traumatic dimension.

The deconstruction of the concept of terrorism[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The first feelings of horror were exacerbated by the heart-wrenching revisions that the attacks of 11 September caused on the spot in the field of the usual perception of terrorism and the terrorist act at the end of the twentieth century.

Basically, there will be a deconstruction of the concept of terrorism. The first loss of meaning is the comfortable question of terrorism as an "act of civilized barbarity". There's the concept of innocence. In a bin Laden fatwa, there are no innocent people. Elementary representations of terrorism first commonly support the assumption that victims are never really chosen at random. In the righteous, Albert Camus describes a terrorism that has authority and seeks to spare the innocent.

Through some of its targeted and spectacular actions, the modus operandi of international terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s reinforced this interpretation. The assassination of an anti-terrorist judge, police officer, bodyguard, boss or high-ranking official refers to the notion of an elite and a sphere at the top of the social hierarchy holding the norms and values of legitimate violence.

Terrorism is then referred back to a class relationship from which one is excluded and distanced by belonging to the middle class. According to the very circumstances and ideological claims of terrorist groups, any commonality with terrorists, however small their religion, social and cultural origins, as well as the sharing of part of their analyses until they express empathy towards them, contributes to a logic of the psyche to a feeling of estrangement from the threat.

If terrorism is selective, terrorism itself is seen as empathic. Each individual can see acts of violence, but without sympathy there is a detachment. Once terrorism is no longer selective, the individual is directly concerned.

Terrorism: A Traditional Affair of "Optimism Bias"[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

In the areas of threat, risk and disaster, individuals confronted with terrorism use a "bias of optimism". We are in technological societies, the "optimistic bias" is that the individual has to deal with situations in which he or she does not have managerial competence. Optimistic bias is to trust in a situation that is delegated to ensure a bias that allows things to be done. This guarantees them the means to act in objective situations of anguish and fear and to build their existence more generally in all affective tranquillity and psychological security.

These basic representations of terrorism suggest that everyone has intellectual capacities to control and avoid any situation that is so dangerous as to allow them to escape all forms of terrorist violence.

This initial representation justifies the second, which consists in believing that the terrorists themselves incorporate, paradoxically, a sort of code of honour: like the Mafia, he would urge them not to go beyond certain limits and to ban certain forms of violence, as do the bandits on the main roads who protect widows, the elderly and orphans in Épinal's books. Common definitions of terrorism in the 1970s implicitly inferred this imagination from common definitions of terrorism.

They situate the terrorist act on the side of pure rationality linked to accumulate psychological, economic, political and cultural frustrations. Any terrorism that adopts a touch of value and honour places terrorism on the side of rationality. The "terrorist act" would not imply any nihilism. It would be part of a reasoned management of the act of destruction. Even if the terrorist risk death, it is not an end in itself, because with his own death, the capacity for nuisance and action disappear.

September 11 reverses this analysis. Individuals thought the act of violence to the end, including death. Nihilism is extremely disturbing for the reassured vision of classical terrorism. Consecrated notions of "asymmetry" or "weak weapons" have reinforced this view of a limited ability to harm terrorist action as such.

09/11: Questioning all bias of optimism? The unthinkable terrorist violence in the city[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The modern West, since Descartes, has made technology both the means of domesticating our immediate environment and the mode for mankind to act on matter and his universe in the name of his own skill and intelligence. The image of the city that the Cold War left to our collective unconscious until 9/11 is that of a territory secured by a no-man's-land of barbed wire, minefields and missiles.

Public opinion in Western countries has been characterized by a refoulement of the city as a specific territory of strategic threats. The feeling of belonging to a protected world because it is civilized has justified in public opinion the relegation of terrorism to the status of epiphenomenon, described as the ransom necessary and obliged to modernity.

The American territory by means of anti-terrorist arrangements could only be lived as an island particularly protected from any major terrorist act. In the United States, the feeling of collective security was all the stronger since the United Kingdom's intervention in Washington in 1812, when the Americans had never been directly affected on continental territory.

The end of the status of "innocence" in the face of an absolute threat[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The 11 September attacks shattered all the representations that reassured us about our own destiny. For the philosopher Jacques Derrida, this is a "major event in history", for it is the first sign of absolute terror in which the modern world is projected by "anonymous, absolutely unpredictable and incalculable forces". We are now all projected into a world of insecurity as part of the deconstruction of the concept of terrorism.

11/09 comes from the deconstruction of the concept of terrorism claimed by the philosopher. The large number of victims seals the revision of the terrorist interpretation. The 11/09 reached far beyond Pearl Harbor, whose loss of life was three times less than that of Pearl Harbor.

Asymmetry of means is no longer the guarantee of limited damage. The notion of "weapons of the weak" is not contradictory to the notion of unlimited violence. Victims are no longer defined politically, they can be from all walks of life, all ages, all faiths and all walks of life.

Bin Laden, in his interview with ABC in May 1998, reminds us that he does not have to make a distinction between military and civilian as far as the Americans are concerned, since they are all targets. In Islam there is a ban on killing, especially Muslims. Calls by Bin Laden's lieutenants for Muslims to leave U.S. city centers to avoid Al-Qaida's retaliation added to the sense of permanent and global threat.

De nouveaux concepts stratégiques[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The war on terror[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The transformation of Al-Qaeda's political discourse and September 11 is a real rupture. The semantic study of the vocabulary now used bears witness to the earthquake of 11/09.

From the Offut airbase on which Air Force One landed, President George W. Bush sets the tone by launching the famous "We're at war" in his 15-hour press conference. The use of this term is very dangerous because war is regulated by treaties in a system of international relations, since it has been the privilege of nation-states since the Treaty of Westphalia. By saying "we are at war", George Bush will create a rupture between the vision of terrorism and war. It upgrades Bin Laden to the level of a military partner.

This statement blurs forever the theoretical distinction between war and terrorism. Since the 19th century, terrorism has always been defined as a substitute for war, but never as an act of war. War as opposed to terrorism exists, as Clausewitz meant, only in the relationship and adequacy between the political end[Der Zweck] and the goal of war[Das Ziel]. It is the continuation of diplomacy and politics by other means. It presupposes intervention in space within the time frame of conflict and post-war situations.

In legal terms, it is codified by the international law of war and the humanitarian law of the Geneva and Hague Conventions.

The emergence of a war discourse[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

12/09 George W. Bush states that "yesterday's deliberate and murderous attacks on our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war. Bush is shifting the boundaries between terrorism and war. It undermines both the usual definition of war and terrorism. George Bush will engage the nation-state against terrorism, locating terrorism as an international affair that enshrines Bin Laden as a military interlocutor.

The paradox is the basis of the terrorist act, which is a surprise attack without a declaration of war on mainly civilian targets that become by force of words a military act in the form of a declaration of war.

Powell security council.jpg

The use of the word "war" establishes Bin Laden as the adversary and paradoxically legitimizes Bin Laden's fight, even though it embodies the evil against the struggle for good that the American nation must engage in the war against terrorism. It's a redefinition of American war policy.

Bin Laden and Bush become two metonymies to refer to war indiscriminately. The "bin Laden strategy" therefore announces a military response.

This is confirmed by Secretary of State Colin Powell when he proclaimed as early as 13 September that "in some cases, war can be a military action, but it can also be an economic, political, diplomatic or financial one". September 11 reversed the geopolitical situation. The United States, which was in an imperial autistic vision, will suddenly become again an aggressive or proactive power in terms of international relations and also in terms of action. We'll reuse the very instruments of American power.

War exists only because it will stop. It is part of international relations. To wage war is to be aware of a certain form of force that will force the enemy to return to a certain form of diplomatic relations. What is important when starting a war is to be able to get out of the war. George Bush is going to erase the war line. The declaration of war will project him away from American territory.

A war discourse taken up in extenso by the media[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The aggression described as the first "terrorist Pearl Harbor" of the 21st century allows the media to indicate that suicide bombings, by their scale of destruction, can no longer be described as terrorist acts, but as warlike acts. The famous "War on Terror" blooms at the bottom of CNN's screens.

Cnn war on terror.png

For Edward W. Said, the absence of a willingness to differentiate by the vast majority of the public has justified indiscriminate patriotic mobilization. The media will incorporate George Bush's words, but without being able to challenge them.

In Germany, Jürgen Habermas was alarmed by the decision to declare war on terrorism, insofar as this gave him de facto political legitimacy. It expressed concern about the possible loss of legitimacy of democratic governments due to the struggle against an unknown adversary.

The attacks of 11 September forced us to rethink the concept of terrorism, which raises a paradox: they have facilitated its reconstruction, even though its redefinition is still questionable, since it seems to be determined by a set of certainties that deny the notion of the indetermining of the risk, which is in fact the very essence of terrorism. There is a refocusing of the issue of terrorism through war, which no longer requires the means to fight terrorism.

A theory of new terrorism[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

International terrorism has definitely disappeared and we would have entered a new era of terrorism which would be a globalised era, because the discourse of Al Qaeda is first and foremost a discourse of globalisation of terrorism. There is a new terrorism that requires military responses.

11/09 challenged the idea of the only muscular grouping action circumscribed in space and time because of limited nuisance capabilities and the territorial stakes of the struggle to be waged. These are meticulously prepared interventions that use time and space to target goals and strike vigorously. The asymmetry of the means of terrorism, hitherto experienced as a weakness, is now a matter of force, for its ability to trick all the barriers set up against it.

Terrorism specialists have devoted the notion of "Low Tech" as opposed to "High Tech" terrorism to characterize the 11/09 operating mode. The "Low Tech" also recovers the high "productivity" of this type of attack, i. e. a low "investment" cost in terms of infrastructure and logistics, approaching the hundreds of thousands of dollars for an overall amount of damage estimated today at more than seven billion dollars.

Terrorism that is effectively played out in the "spectacle society"[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Situationism is a current which says that the world has entered into such a modernity that we cannot question it because we have entered a society of spectacle[2][3].

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Al-Qaida plays on the media impact of its terror. He has a very good command of the media. Al Qaeda will very quickly understand the importance of the media in disseminating its ideas and spreading terror. This will help to keep the media in check. The strategy is one of communication through the media. Bin Laden is portrayed as a hero who connects him to the prophetic dimension of Muhammad. There is the emergence of a symbolic power that is built against the West and American imperialism.

Mediatisation is based on semantic opposition. There is no immediate claim of Al Qaeda on September 11. There is a vacuum that makes things even more terrible because we don't understand and Al Qaeda is gradually entering the scene. A major strategic shift is taking place at the expense of the purely military act in favour of the destruction of targets with a strong symbolic dimension. Everything that is at the level of representation made sense and symbol of Westernization as a technical, social, cultural and political process can be elevated to the level of target the city has become a bastille to occupy or strike in its organization and production.

New methods of control[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

According to the[unconfirmed] confessions of an Al Qaeda fighter captured in Afghanistan, the hijacking of a civilian plane to rush it to a nuclear reactor had already been considered. This will force Western states to think about new ways of securing air transport.

On the other hand, my production from radioactive waste of a "radiological bomb" still called "dirty bomb" is judged by experts in the field to be possible. Al-Qaida has already attempted to obtain technical data on the manufacture of nuclear and chemical weapons. New threats are emerging.

A new organisation of terrorist action[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The traumatic threat is that a new form of terrorism is emerging in a new structural form. The redefinition of terrorism at the time of Al-Qaida incorporates the new forms that it has built in the organization of terror.

The resistance networks formed by the French under German occupation or those of the FLN during the "Algerian War" were pyramid-like, hierarchical organisations operating on a centre-periphery model intended to cover all potential territories of punch and potential conflicts. The identification of the members of each cell and the contacts between the groups, most often obtained through the regular use of torture, made it possible to trace back to those responsible. The arrest of military and political leaders was defined as a priority to better decapitate the entire subversive network.

There is a mimicry of today's modernity through today's terrorism. The multinational will create autonomous cells on their territory. A pyramid system is too cumbersome and inefficient. The multinational operates on a model of horizontality that wants to have a point that understands how it works and then is made fall each productive cell to be adapted to the territory it operates. We need to empower the structure that will fit in and adapt to development conditions. The system of horizontality makes there is an autonomous functioning.

The Al-Qaida network, which has an international dimension, although it includes a nerve centre - that of its political and military leaders - exists, first of all, through a system of a-centrality which is conferred by the structuring of the different branches divided for each of them into autonomous cells called "anqud"[grapes of grapes]. The contacts between cells and superiors are strictly limited to the point where no one can comprehend the entire space of his network and its ramifications.

It is the same thing for the structure of Al Qaeda which was thought to be a very modern structure since it is a system that is not central. Behind it, there is an absolute empowerment of the cells. Al Qaeda will sell itself as a brand. A structure issues orders, but at the same time does not pretend to structure a field of absolute vertical violence. When a terrorist group wants to carry out an attack, all it has to do is claim to be Al Qaeda is Al Qaeda. In the fight against Al Qaeda, new difficulties are emerging. These are potentialities of violence that can appear in any context, anywhere, and under any conditions. In Al Qaeda, there is a modern dimension of structure that refers to our western society.

The strategic gains of the nebula[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Triangulum Emission Garren Nebula NGC 604.

Al Qaeda's structure is a nebulous design. Opting for the expression "nebula" rather than "network" about Al-Qaida reflects the complexity of the systems of action, decision making and funding. Beyond a very general doctrine fixed in the form of fatwas and incessant calls for jihad, there is therefore no real organic chain of responsibility or authority to act.

The action initiative remains decentralized, autonomous and interwoven with both the superior motivations of fatwas and more local and contextualized geostrategic issues. There is no more room for hierarchical responsibility. Things are very complex, it's not just a globalized violence, but there are global demands that may meet the concept of globalization or that may oppose it. Extremely violent movements will refute Al Qaeda because Al Qaeda can be dangerous to themselves.

The Madrid bombings show that we're in a new pattern. There is no direct relationship between space and time of action. The preparation of an attack can mobilize energies far removed from the real theatre of operations." Operational personnel "may be local or from a foreign territory. The absence of immediate demand for terrorist acts by the movement adds to this feeling of insecurity perceived by an opponent more hidden and buried than directly visible, recognized and even accredited.

Preemptive warfare[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

As one enters the war, military concepts are going to be formed, starting a new modern war. This means studying international jihad and waging war on terrorism in countries that are carriers of terrorism. This will allow the emergence of pre-emptive wars.

Continuing the war in Afghanistan, Operation Anaconda launched in 2002 the attack on Al-Qaida and the Taliban in a valley, but without reaching Bin Laden.

By the scale of the material destruction and the number of victims, the attacks of 11/09 defied conventional representations of terrorist action. The present struggle of both new terrorism and anti-terrorism is described more as a real modern warfare. For the American power, the merciless struggle to promote against the networks of an internationalized jihad justifies the struggle against the backbones installed in accommodating states. This will redefine geopolitics in the Middle East to contain the Rogue States and bring them down.

The war on terrorism may apply not only against states that support terrorism, but also against those that possess weapons of mass destruction or are likely to transfer some or all of these assets to terrorist groups. Preemptive war is deeply rooted in the individualistic and libertarian ideology of American democracy. It is the idea that pre-emptive action is self-defence in terms of potential conflict, the history of the world's leading power.

The concept of self-defence is posed as a moral right based on the defence of human rights as well as on the social and cultural effectiveness of the democratic model. Appears the concept of the capacity to intervene which applied against wars of subversion or rebellion, it has justified the use of military force on many continents, in many regional areas such as Central America, South-East Asia or Central Africa. The bombardment of Libyan cities in 1986 by US forces underlined the permanence of this vision of pre-emptive warfare. The post-11/09 era began as an era of renewal of this war principle reinforced by the military supremacy of the hyperpower of the United States.

The application of pre-emptive warfare after 9/11[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The dispute with Iraq has offered the American government the opportunity to enshrine the notion of a "travel-state",[Rogue States], a nation outside the law which, through its domestic and foreign policy, represents a real threat to its neighbours and the rest of the world. In the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein must be forced to do so. With the Second Gulf War, we decided to bring down the regime. The denunciation of weapons of mass destruction such as the asserted links between Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime and international terrorism were the arguments used to justify the use of military force in a pre-emptive war of self-defence.

The pattern of diplomatic action is reversed. It is no longer a necessary precondition for seeking peaceful solutions. On the other hand, the United States' use of force is legitimate and cannot be challenged in multilateral diplomatic relations. There is no diplomacy.

A permanent state of war[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The question to be asked is whether or not we would have gone back to this model of saying that terrorism is a war, in a permanent war. The evolutions of contemporary terrorism and the upheavals of its operating modes in relation to the geostrategic evolutions of the American hyperpower make it possible to understand the permanent state of war in which the world has entered today.

From the status of the exception, the anti-subversive war is perceived as a banal phenomenon, or to put it another way, is similar to an ordinary risk of modernity as defined by the sociologist Antony Giddens. What was exceptional becomes normal.

The concept of post-modern warfare[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Some authors have theorized the concept of post-modern warfare. It is modern in the sense that it is a state of war that attempts to account for this paradigm shift that brings together in one category of thought, on the one hand, war and terrorism; and on the other "democratic pacification" and geoeconomic redeployment. These are paradoxical wars waged in the name of human rights in the form of a flash conflict designed to spare civilian populations and limit military casualties.

The first pre-emptive war since the attacks of 11/09 is the Iraqi conflict, which confirms the changes brought about by the post-modern war. Systematic destruction of communication networks and technical infrastructure, which is a prerequisite before any advance of the ground forces. It is a technological war that consists of destroying the enemy's information system. The "disorganization of the territory" aims to "fix" the opponent on defensive positions to facilitate the rapid advance of the troops on the ground. However, immediate strategic successes cannot mask the company's political failure. Since the establishment of the pax americana, the democratic solution has never seemed so far away. Iraq is the scene of a group of guerrillas claiming power and denouncing the lack of legitimacy of the public authorities and administrations set up by the coalition. Over time, liberation troops were perceived as occupation troops.

The use of force in the pre-emptive war has weakened international and diplomatic rules established since the creation of the United Nations. The abandonment of the global governance rules implemented in the Security Council has paved the way for a proliferation of conflicts. There is a generally worrisome mechanism for weakening global governance instruments. The first 21st century is the time of lasting wars. Since September 11, we have been living with the strange feeling that there is no longer any real sanctuary safe from human barbarism.

Annexes[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  • Weinstein, N. (1989) Optimistic biases about personal risks. Science. [Online] 246 (4935), 1232–1233.
  • Weinstein, N. D. (1980) Unrealistic optimism about future life events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [Online] 39 (5), 806–820.
  • ARTE. “Terrorisme, Raison D'État (1/2) | ARTE.” YouTube, Arte, 12 Mar. 2019,
  • ARTE. “Terrorisme, Raison D'État (2/2) | ARTE.” YouTube, YouTube, 12 Mar. 2019,

Bibliographie[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  • Gilbert Achcar, Le choc des barbaries. Terrorismes et désordre mondial, Bruxelle, 2002
  • Pascal Boniface, Les leçons du 11 septembre, Paris, Puf, 2001
  • Jacques Derrida et Jürgen Habermas, Le « concept » du 11 septembre, Paris, Galilée, 2003
  • Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, New-York, The Free Press, 1992
  • Eric de La Maisonneuve, Jean Guellec (coordonné par), Un monde à repenser, 11 septembre 2001, Paris, Economica, 2001
  • Sous La direction de Sylvie Kaufmann), 11 septembre un an après, L’aube, Le Monde ;
  • Bernard Lewis, Que s’est-il passé ? , Paris, Gallimard, 2002
  • Bernard Lewis, L’Islam en crise, Paris, Gallimard, 2003
  • Olivier Roy, L’échec de l’Islam politique, Paris, Seuil, 1992 ; L’Islam mondialisé, Paris, Seuil, 2002 ;
  • « Le terrorisme entre stratégie, psychiatrie et mise en scène », Critique, avril 2004.
  • J. Richards. 2010. The Art and Science of Intelligence Analysis. ‘Ch 3: From the Third Reich to Al Qaeda: Changing Intelligence Targets, Evolving Challenge’, pp. 49-71.
  • ‘9/11 Commission Report. Ch 11: Foresight - and Hindsight’, pp. 339-360.
  • A. Zegart. ‘September 11 and the Adaptation Failure of U.S. Intelligence Agencies.’ International Security 29, no. 4 (Spring 2005), pp 78-111.
  • P.R. Pillar. ‘A Scapegoat is not a Solution.’ New York Times. 4 June 2004.
  • J. Rovner. ‘Why Intelligence Isn’t to Blame for 9/11.’ MIT Security Studies Program. Nov. 2005, pp. 1-3.
  • P.R. Pillar. ‘Good Literature and Bad History: The 9/11 Commission’s Tale of Strategic Intelligence.’ INS 21/6. (2006), pp. 1022-1044.
  • D. Byman. ‘Strategic Surprise and the Sept 11 Attacks.’ Annual Review of Political Science. 2005, pp. 145-170.

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