“It’s Either a Terrorist Act, or He’s Crazy,” Says Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi

The United States has announced it is working with Germany to investigate the recent attack on a U.S. military bus at Frankfurt Airport, Germany. On Wednesday, March 1, a gunman opened fire on a bus at the airport, killing two U.S. airmen and seriously injuring two others on their way to serve in Afghanistan. The suspect, Arid Uka, is from the town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, and has passports from both Germany and Yugoslavia. Officials are running background checks on Uka to determine if this shooting is terrorist-linked. Füllhardt, a German police spokesman, said Uka was engaged in conversation with some of the airmen before shooting one who was standing in the open door, and then shooting into the bus. German officials have only charged Uka with murder and attempted murder. Officials are running background checks on Uka to determine if this shooting is terrorist-linked. Do you think this was a terrorist attack, and if so, should the U.S. increase its forces in Germany or pull out? Germany’s Frankfurt Airport has been referred to as a gateway to the Middle East. Even if this recent shooting cannot be tied to terrorist plots, will more attacks be on the way?

5 comments

  1. This example illustrates the fact that terrorist, or terrorist-like, acts can happen at any time and in any place against the US despite the surveillance activities that our nation currently has in place. Unfortunately, these acts will occur despite our nations’ best efforts. Consequently, I do not believe it is good policy to retro-actively assign troops based off such an unfortunate situation. I think a better policy is for our security agencies to proactively scan for and identify potential terrorist plots in order to eliminate known threats. In an era where financial resources are scarce and the majority of the citizenship wants to bring the troops home, we need to be specific in our anti-terrorist efforts to get the biggest return on our investment.

  2. An increased military presence in Germany is certainly not the solution. Our military is over-extended and spread too thin. Germany – a first-world nation with ample military capability – is well-equipped to handle internal terrorist threats without the assistance of the U.S.

    Additionally, this incident does not warrant a ratcheting-up of U.S. military presence for other reasons. While tragic, the attack is not nearly severe enough to justify increased military presence. And the more we spread our troops across the globe, the more targets we provide for individuals like Uka. While one may argue that downsizing U.S. military presence abroad weakens the U.S. in the eyes of the international community, I would counter that unnecessarily placing our country’s young men and women in harm’s way for the purpose of grandstanding is foolhardy. Rather, as Ms. Baker Rodriguez so aptly points out, the U.S. Government, in these times of fiscal frugality, has far more to gain from focusing counter-terrorist military efforts where they are most urgently needed.

  3. I agree that the United States should not increase its forces in Germany as a result of this attack, albeit horrible and tragic. The war on terror is more asymmetrical than symmetrical, and as Christine previously pointed out, it cannot be won by deploying troops to many corners of the globe whenever there are alleged hostilities towards the United States. Intelligence agencies must be used to the greatest extent in order to find connections with smaller acts of violence (i.e. the shooting in Frankfurt) and larger terrorist organizations before the United States military acts. Lastly, if the United States were to increase its military presence in Germany so prematurely, it would certainly add to the negative view amongst some members of the international community that the United States is a nation that will deploy troops to any sovereign country where a terrorist threat is possible, but not substantiated.

  4. To increase the U.S. military presence in Germany as a result of this killing and shooting would be impulsive, premature, and possibly counter intuitive. The background check of the shooter still need to be performed and a determination needs to be made as to whether or not a terrorist motive fueled the shooting. Should it be determined that the shooting was a terrorist act, the U.S. should consider the potential risks to the serviceman potentially deployed in response to this occurrence. The individuals targeted in this shooting were U.S. airmen and there is a considerable possibility that they were target for their affiliation with the U.S. When tragedy strikes it is imperative that we respond with thoughtful and appropriate methods of preventing similar tragedies in the future. Additionally, as mentioned by Christopher, the U.S. continues to find itself with a reputation for impulsive and unsubstantiated responses to even the most remote terrorist activities.

  5. I must point out that there is a difference between increasing U.S. military forces in Germany and that of increasing U.S governmental attention there. As my colleagues have already pointed out, increasing the U.S. troops may not be the solution. But, I do see a need for the Executive Branch to send the U.S. teams and departments that were set up to specialize in preventing terrorist attacks that threaten the U.S. security. So, if this man does have a terrorist-link closing our eyes contradicts our stance on terrorism. Do we sit back and wait until it has been proven by German authorities that there is no link to terrorism or do we send a team of our specialized individuals to help with that determination? Regardless of the feelings that some Americans have on the “war on terror” such as manpower being wasted or money, the team is already set up working everyday to combat terrorism. Why can’t we let them do their job?

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