Organization in a tangled world
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Organization in a tangled world book
In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, President George W Bush decided to invade Afghanistan to eliminate the al-Qaeda organization and root out Osama Bin Laden, the presumed leader of the al-Qaeda organization. There was much talk of eliminating what they called the ‘terrorist organization’ led by Bin Laden. When the forces moved into Afghanistan they found no organizations. It seems that they were looking for something that resembled a formal organization with infrastructure, staff and technology. Had that been the case, whatever was the al-Qaeda organization could probably have been eliminated. Foran (2004) suggests that their error in judgement was rooted in what he calls ‘state-centric assumptions’ that view al-Qaeda as an organization (a solid target, like a state), rather than the transnational social movement it is. Shortly after the forces arrived, however, spokespersons were quick to point out that al-Qaeda could not be understood as an organization, that it resembled more a network. Worse, it resembled a loosely coupled network, with cells in many countries. Worse still, it seemed that many of its cells could not be traced through their activities because they had the capacity to lie dormant for years until springing into action again. A network of local cells is evidently much more difﬁcult to eliminate than an army organization because no domino effect exists, owing to the fact that interdependence between the cells is weak and changing.