“Terrorism and guerrilla warfare, whether justified as resistance to oppression or condemned as disrupting the rule of law, are as old as civilization itself. The power of the terrorist, however, has been magnified by modern weapons, including television, which he has learned to exploit. ” (Guerrillas and Terrorists) There are many definitions and forms of terrorism: biological and chemical, nuclear, international, cyber, criminal, environmental, and US Domestic terrorism are some examples. Usually, terrorists blackmail governments with hostages to reach their ultimate goals.
In the 1980’s, kidnapping was the preferred action of terrorists groups. ” (World History People and Nations) In some incidents, terrorists kill unsuspecting, innocent people and themselves as well. The Purpose of Terrorism: Why do people become terrorists and inflict terror? What is their true purpose? Why do they have to destroy the remaining peace in our world? Before this research, I realize that terrorism took so many forms. Since terror means fear, horror, and fright, terrorism was a just “horrible thing” to me.
Now, it is an issue that has a great impact on our society and world; it is not to be taken lightly. Many analysts, researchers, and professors have tried to define the purpose of terrorism. Some believe that that can only be achieved when we know how the mind of a terrorist works. Terrorists are like pests that one can not get rid of. Like a virus being exposed to anti-bodies, they just get stronger and “immune” to our defenses. “Terrorists are nothing if not adaptable. International terrorists have shifted tactics and targets many times over the years in response to changing circumstances.
Shifting political fortunes and new antiterrorism measures will continue to force existing terrorist groups to reinvent themselves and new groups to find new methods. ” (“The Rise of Terrorism”, Online) “Terrorism, the systematic use of violence or threat of violence by organized groups to achieve specific goals. Terrorist activities may be directed against individuals, organizations or governments. Terrorism is employed by radical groups to obtain concessions from established governments, such as a change in policies unfavorable to them or the release of imprisoned members of their organizations…” (“Terrorism”, N. S. Encyclopedia T-169)
“The FBI defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. Cyber-terrorism could thus be defined as the use of computing resources to intimidate or coerce others. An example of cyber-terrorism could be hacking into a hospital computer system and changing someone’s medicine prescription to a lethal dosage as an act of revenge. ” (Sproles and Byars, Online)
The terrorist’s mission is often hard to understand, especially when the terrorists in question are young, and have no real political motives. In the book The Terrorists: their Weapons, Leaders and Tactics, by Christopher Dobson and Ronald Payne, terrorists are said to live by two rules: “1. The use of violence is obligatory to induce fear and chaos, and 2. It must be aimed at the people and the institutions of the established order. ” (“Lisson”) Who can be identified as terrorists? The previous quote was applied to the Columbine High School shooting.
The victims were teenagers and adults, but the “terrorists” were two hateful teenage boys. “High School is four long years to a young person, and the repeated mocking of the so-called ‘Black Trench Coat Mafia’ drove hatred into the hearts of the taunted, hatred for those who mocked them. And, as we saw at Columbine High, the outsider’s anger at being excluded from their society often takes a dangerous turn. ” (“Lisson”) Children lose their innocence much due the fact that they are being exposed to sex and violence at a much earlier age. Television, the Internet, and video games easily manipulate the mind of a child.
And teenagers can be cruel, even the students of Brooklyn Tech. One can occasionally witness fights and gang initiations in high schools. Almost anyone with Internet access can read the Anarchist’s Cookbook, written by William Powell, and published in 1971. “The original written text provides both a historical overview of Anarchy, Marxism and Terrorism, detailed step by step instructions on how to classify and use drugs, and how to terrorize using both firearms and chemical weapons. ” (“Lisson”)
Stephan H. Leader is a security analyst and assistant programmer who tried to define the purpose of terrorism. For many years, to paraphrase terrorism expert Brian Jenkins, most international terrorists wanted a lot of people watching–not a lot of people dead. They wanted publicity for their causes and used hijackings and bombings to manipulate the American political system and other target governments to further their various agendas. Evidence increasingly suggests that religiously motivated terrorists are much less interested in drawing attention to themselves and their cause and more interested in punishing adversaries by killing large numbers of people.
Many recent incidents seem to underline this trend: the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings; the 1992 and 1994 Buenos Aires bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Community Center, respectively; various suicide bombings in Israel; and car bombings in Algeria all seem to be characterized by an apparent desire to kill large numbers of people. ” (“The Rise of Terrorism”) The Causes of Terrorism: After quoting the purposes and intentions of terrorism, the causes should be highlighted as well. A main cause of terror and violence is hate. For instance, doctors have been killed and clinics have been bombed.
Why? “Issue-group extremists are another growing source of terror violence. Recent escalations in attacks against medical staff, clinics and hospitals by anti-abortion campaigners in the USA, and against research scientists, laboratories and commercial premises by animal rights campaigners in the UK, are indications of the kinds of motivation involved. Although issue-group extremists aim at changing specific policies or practices rather than the whole socio-political system, their potential for endangering life and social and economic wellbeing should not be underestimated.
Issue-group motivated terrorism shows every sign of increasing in the heavily urbanized pluralist democracies, with their complex and vulnerable systems of communications, transportation, electronic funding transfers, etc. ” (“Commentary No. 53”, Online) About a decade ago, “six states were actively supporting and sponsoring terrorist acts. Today, seven states are still on the official U. S. list of supporters of international terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria), but only one, Iran, is believed to be sponsoring terrorism actively… Increasingly, terrorists are organized into ad hoc groups.
Such groups are fluid organizationally and tend to coalesce into task forces for specific missions. Yonah Alexander has called the new mode of operation “well organized disorganization. ” As a result, terrorist groups are harder to track and penetrate, and their targets are harder to predict. ” (“The Rise of Terrorism”) The causes of terrorism are different in each distinct nation. In Africa, especially Rwanda, the “ethnic cleansing” is the basis of terrorism. Africans flee from their enemy tribes or armed militias.
Their “weapon” of terrorism is rape, torture, and massacre. International spillover of such conflicts in the form of terrorist attacks in other countries will vary according to political and strategic circumstances. Where an ethnic group believes it may be in danger of being suppressed or driven out of its base area, and especially when it has militant supporters with access to weapons and explosives based in foreign countries, an international terrorist campaign is far more likely. ” (“No. 53”) In the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, terrorism originates from ethnic rivalries and hatreds.
Those causes were the results of removing Communist dictatorship. Where in region, does terrorism strike the most? Bosnia is often the target to terrorists. “Less well-known in the West are the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Georgia. The recent attempt by the Russian Army to suppress Chechen separatism is a dramatic reminder that the Russian Federation itself is full of ethnic groups that bitterly reject Moscow’s right to rule them. ” (“No. 53”) In the world, where is terrorism the most horrific and frequent? The Middle East has experienced the most violence since 1968.
If one defines the Middle East as including Algeria and Turkey, both of which have spawned conflicts involving considerable terrorist violence, including some international spillover, this region remains the most dangerous source of terrorist challenges to the wider international community, accounting for over 21% of all international terrorist incidents worldwide in 1992, and over 23% in 1993. ” (“No. 53”) “In Afghanistan itself, the forces set in motion by a decade of civil war and intervention continued to sustain internal oppression and instability and to breed global terrorism long afterward. ” (Milestones of the 20th Century 142)