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Armed Services

Foreign Policy After September 11 Terrorist Attacks

The terrorist attacks perpetrated on the United States on September 11, 2001, required the country to reevaluate its military policies. President George W. Bush announced immediately that the U.S. would wage an unprecedented WAR ON TERRORISM and focused his attention initially on the Taliban regime of Afghanistan for allegedly harboring Osama bin Laden, who led the terrorist organization al Qaida. Within months, the military began an aggressive operation in Afghanistan, which led quickly to the dismantling of the Taliban regime.

Members of the Army, one of the branches of the armed services, train for urban warfare before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Military operations against terrorist groups differ from those against foreign nations because the terrorist groups are, by their nature, mobile "armies." The United States has focused much of its attention on the use of military intelligence, as well as intelligence from such civil agencies as the Central Intelligence Agency. Accordingly, much of the deployment of military personnel in this war was covert in specific regions.

Another military target in the war on TERRORISM is any country that has harbored or supported terrorists. When George W. Bush took office in January 2001, his foreign policy goals included restraint in military intervention in overseas conflicts, rather than expansion. However, the new foreign policy in the aftermath of the SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS included preemptive strikes on countries that deploy weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Under the socalled "Bush Doctrine," the United States would strike such countries proven to deploy such weapons and would also supply aid to countries that joined in the fight against terrorists. In 2003, the United States built up significant forces in the Middle East to prepare for a potential conflict with Iraq, which the Bush administration maintained continued a program to develop these types of weapons. On March 19, 2003, the United States attacked Iraq in the second major armed conflict between the countries in twelve years.

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