Acts of Terrorism Essay

Acts of Terrorism Essay

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What is terrorism, and what constitutes an act of terror? Certainly, the history of terrorism is as old as war itself. Some might say that the strategy of causing fear in the enemy, to make him overestimate your forces while simultaneously doubting his own, make up the very essence of warfare. But mention the word “terrorism” to somebody, and chances are that the first thing that comes to mind is a mental image: The Oklahoma City bombing, dead Marines in Beirut, the Unabomber, or Lockerbie. The events of September 11, which have become synonymous with the idea of terrorism in America, would certainly be at the top of that list. But even these events, which best illustrate the phenomenon for us, fail to define it. This is because of the different circumstances behind each occurrence. The sum cannot simply be broken down into its antecedents. So how do we define a term as broad as terrorism? Before you can destroy your enemy, you must understand your enemy. Keeping this in mind, we’ll look at the many different classifications that terrorism can be separated into, before moving into tactics and mentality.
The different types of terrorism are as varied as the individual terrorist’s motives and desires. The difference between international and domestic terrorism is probably the most noticeable split. To put it simply, international terrorism is an attack by foreign agents on another country or its interests, and domestic terrorism is an attack upon a country by its own citizens. Also important to take into consideration is whether the terrorist is acting as part of a larger group or cell, or whether he is a “lone-wolf” and is acting with no outside aid. The general idea of a terrorist ring is best represented by organizations lik...


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...ernet. The internet allows the terrorist to spread propaganda and video, recruit potential new members, and communicate with other terrorists the world over. This is why terror tactics have become so prominent. He knows that a savage attack, especially on a civilian target, guarantees him front-page news coverage. This is how these groups incubate fear in the general public, who will then begin to demand that their leaders take action, up to and including a complete pull-out. By this same token, the best way to tackle this extra-national threat is with information. This is why a good counter-insurgency strategy is the best method for defeating terrorists. Win the hearts and minds of the local people for yourself, and you will strip the support of the enemy camp. Defeat the terrorist by defeating his ideology. Making the proper classification is just the first step.

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