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Terrorism

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What is Terrorism?

By:
James Morris

Terrorism Terrorism is political phenomenon by which offenders threaten or use violence on civilians with the intent of exploiting fear. It can be defined as substitute classification of political violence. A quote by Sloan (2006) states “Terrorism is intentional violent acts carried out by nonstate actors against noncombatants with the purpose of effecting a political response.” In our society, the term terrorism is a method or strategy to effect political change in an area. Terrorism can be seen as crime, exploitation of fear, and a form of warfare (Lutz, 2005). Since the 1700’s, history has always kept record of the different types of violence our world has faced. And with terrorism it comes with consequences. (Sloan, 2006). A quote by Moghaddam & Marsella (2004) says “It is usually perpetrated by groups utilizing warfare, due to the fact that they are unable to gain advantage while using conventional methods.”
Terrorism as Crime The relationship between the terrorism and crime are both equally considered as wrong doing. Traditionally, within the legal system of the United States, domestic terrorism is treated as a criminal act (Bender & Leone, 1986). It is directed toward civilians for the purpose of inducing fear, dread, and terror. Lutz states (2005) “The focus would be on collection of evidence that would be used in court to prosecute those accused of threats or acts of terrorism.” In a sense, all terrorism can be described as the thought to ordinary crimes of violence such as murder, theft, kidnapping, and extortion. A quote from Lindsay & Lowther (2009) states “The seamless nature of terrorism is creating other challenges in regard to the role of intelligence. Any person or group willing to commit a crime to back up it’s political position can be terroristic. This includes governments as well as guerillas (Sloan, 2006). A quote by Moghaddam & Marsella (2004) says “It’s all about an act of violence against an existing legal order.”
Terrorism being used to hide fear Terrorists groups seek to harness that primeval emotion in order to affect or control others. The terrorist’s attitude calls into question the lifelong habits and values of those whom they attack (Lutz, 2005). Every terrorist act essentially intends to question those who rule and their right to do so. Terrorists not only consider themselves to be outside the structure of the society they challenge, they have no desire to enter (Bender & Leone, 1986). A quote from Lindsay & Lowther (2009) says “Such an attitude is predictably threatening to those in power, who are accustomed to dealing with people who want very much to be accepted, successful within the system.” They are frightened because they are free of the constraints that most people take for granted, constraints of order, conformity and morality. Terrorism feeds off the fear it creates (Sloan, 2006). Moghaddam & Marsella (2004) talk about in their book that Terrorists shows a lot of fear and lets us know how afraid they are:
In reality, the world of the terrorists is not at all as we imagine it. The behavior of the terrorist is not merely bizarre and willfully antisocial; it is a reflection of deep-seated personal and cultural pathologies.
Terrorism as a Form of Warfare It is common for the political leadership and the media to discuss policies in the context of war on terrorism, but by no means is it clear whether it is a war and if so, what kind of war is it (Bender & Leone, 1986). Sloan (2006) states “In this context, terrorism is primarily viewed as an unconventional tactic in a territorial conflict waged by a weak organization against a strong adversary, most commonly the government in power.” Those engage in this type or terrorism seek to wear down their adversary psychologically through an extended campaign of conflict. This is often a tactic used a part of the revolutionary strategy. A quote from Moghaddam & Marsella (2004) says “These types of terrorist campaigns are sometimes referred to as ‘the war of the flea’, so aptly named in the honor of the exceedingly small insect that is very difficult to eradicate.” One form of terrorism is international. International terrorism may become one of the dominant tools of unconventional warfare. When terrorists plot on something, they are creating harm to others. When you think about terrorists, you tend to consider that they are trying to create war and bring destruction to people and want them to believe that terrorism is right. (Lutz, 2006).
Terrorism and it’s Past History Terrorism emerged when individuals and groups consciously exploited fear to influence the values and behaviors of others. From the origins of religious belief to the Crusades of the Holy Terror of contemporary fundamentalism, fear and terror have often driven both victims and perpetrators of terrorism (Moghaddam & Marsella, 2004). The threat of fear and the use of violence were accepted as central aspects of control. A quote from Bender & Leone (1986) states “A reputation for violence by the Tartars, the Huns, the Romans and barbarians a legitimate aspect of warfare and the political life of the time.” Great leaders, both famous and infamous, practiced their own forms of terrorism from above with a spear, ax, and sword. But the evolution of modern terrorism can be seen particularly in the tactics of the following groups from the history of terrorism (Lindsay & Lowther, 2009). Sloan (2006) states “While there were numerous groups that laid the foundation for contemporary terrorism, one of the earliest revolutionary groups was the Narodnya Volya and in English it means people’s will.” They engaged in a wide variety of terrorists acts which included assassinations and suicide bombing.

Terrorism in the Twenty First Century There have been plenty of terrorist’s attacks in the world during this century. But the most memorable attack that the world will always know about is the September 11 attack. The September 11, 2001 attack on the United States was an act of terrorism (Bender & Leone, 1986). It was a crime and an undeclared war by non-state terrorists. Lindsay & Lowther (2009) states that “The tragic events of September 11, 200, have bought a new American awareness of the implications of terrorism for daily life.” The United States had never been the target of a very destructive and damaging attack. The main purpose for there attack was to instill fear, uncertainty, and terror into civilians (Moghaddam & Marsella, 2004). A quote by Sloan (2006) says “This was an unsaid war by subnationals scattered across a number of countries and sharing a common hatred and resentment toward the United States as hegemonic military.”
Terrorism in our Society Terrorism will now and forever be an issue that our society will have to deal with. There are so many ways that you can define terrorism. Terrorism itself is a very long broad term that people can define in many ways (Lutz, 2005). Terrorism can be a crime, exploitation of fear, and a form of warfare. Terrorism has a long history of wrongful acts among people and it brought harm to them as well. Terrorism has become today’s hot topic since the attacks of September 11. A quote from Bender & Leone (1986) says “Terrorism itself has been a detailed and lengthy topic that can be addressed and defined by one word, crime.” Understanding can help negate the fear that comes with the sense of dread. And it can also help us to avoid terrorizing ourselves (Sloan, 2006).
References
Bender, David & Leone, Bruno. Opposing viewpoints of Terrorism. Greenhaven Press, Inc. St. Paul, Minnesota. 1986. P. 11-25
Lindsay, Beverly & Lowther, Adam. Terrorism’s Unanswered Questions. Greenwood Publishing Group. Westport, Connecticut. 2009. P 16- 60.
Lutz, James. Terrorism: Orgins and Evolutions. Palgrave Macmillan Publisher. New York, New York. 2005. P 6-16.
Moghaddam, Fathali & Marsella, Anthony. Understanding Terrorism. American Psychological Association. 2004 .Washington, D.C. P 49-70.
Sloan, Stephen. Terrorism: The Present Threat in Context. Berg Publisher. Oxford, New York. 2006. P 19-50.…...

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