US alters anti-terrorism strategy

Updated: 2011-09-13 10:34

By Ma Liyao and Cui Haipei (China Daily)

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 US alters anti-terrorism strategy

A man is searched before entering the World Trade Center site in New York on Sunday on the 10th anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The attacks, in which two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and one into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. Spencer Platt / Getty Images via Agence France-Presse

BEIJING - US President Barack Obama's speech on the 10th anniversary of Sept 11, 2001, attacks reflected a change in the country's counter-terrorism strategy, analysts said.

Obama used his speech to "paint a picture of overseas military losses", reported the Daily Caller, a Washington-based news website.

"Two million Americans have gone to war since Sept 11 Too many will never come home. Those that do carry dark memories from distant places, and the legacy of fallen friends," Obama said in his commemorative speech at the "Concert for Hope" on Sunday evening at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

"It's clear that the US government has now acknowledged the huge costs of its global counter-terrorism battles, which are unbearable," said Shi Yinhong, an expert on US studies with Renmin University of China in Beijing.

Since 2001, more than 6,240 US soldiers have been killed from combat and accidental causes in US military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the website

Research conducted by Brown University in June showed that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars could cost the United States between $3.7 trillion and $4.4 trillion, which far exceeded the estimates made by Congress and the US government.

Meanwhile, the wars have directly resulted in the deaths of between 224,000 and 258,000 people, according to the US university's research.

"The US also took some measures, including the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, which added substantially to the federal debt, though not directly," said Fan Jishe, a researcher from the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Though the US government can not be expected to give up its counter-terrorism stance, the huge costs have indeed resulted in some changes, said Shi.

Administration officials announced plans to leave only 3,000 US troops as military trainers in Iraq after this year.

"The United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion," said Obama, who promised in his 2008 presidential election campaign to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his speech, Obama did not identify the attackers as Islamists or al-Qaida members, but labeled them vaguely as "hateful killers".

Obama's decision to downplay the religious motivations of the Sept 11 attacks reflected his current policy of downplaying al-Qaida, and of downplaying tensions between Americans, immigrant Muslims and some of their US-based advocacy groups, said the Daily Caller report.

Fan from the CASS said that Obama's diplomatic strategy was markedly different from that of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"Washington's attitude to Libya shows that it would be more cautious in military interference in the future, and depart from the aggressiveness in Bill Clinton's and George W. Bush's era," Fan added.

"Obama was against the Iraq war during his election campaign, and now he is implementing a comprehensive diplomatic strategy instead of using military force," said Ni Feng, another researcher from Institute of American Studies at the CASS.

The current US anti-terrorism strategy relies more on global cooperation than sending troops overseas.

Dong Manyuan, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of International Studies, said efficient counter-terrorism cooperation between China and the US would be beneficial for both sides.

Ouyang Yuanhua and He Mengying contributed to this story.

China Daily

(China Daily 09/13/2011 page11)