In her analysis of the US response to terrorism, Louise Shelley argues that the US does not pay enough attention to the crime-terror nexus, significantly undermining American efforts to counter terrorism. Since US policy makers conceptualize crime and terrorism as two separate issues, after 9/11, many resources previously devoted to fighting organized crime were shifted to fighting terrorism. Ultimately, the failure to ask the right questions has led to policy failure in Iraq, a failure to go after terror support structures in the US, and major violations of human rights. Moreover, Shelley argues that the 9/11 Commission report was flawed because it failed to address the crime-terror nexus. The problem is bipartisan since major critiques of the Bush administration have also failed to make this point. The failure to understand the nexus is particularly intense in the military, which pays little attention to crime issues and non-state actors. The US failure, for example, to crack down on weapons markets that appeared in Iraq right after the US invasion laid the foundation for many of the problems that the administration now faces in the occupation.
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