The Elusive Definition Of Terrorism Essay

The Elusive Definition Of Terrorism Essay

Length: 1066 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Finding the Elusive Definition of Terrorism
Certainly over the past dozen years or so, few words have been used as frequently as terrorism. But despite all of its usage, a precise—or even agreed upon—definition of the term still remains elusive to most people. It is important to create a definition of terrorism that everyone can understand due to its high usage in news media and the United States Government.
In the 21st century, especially after the seismic effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks, terrorism 's meaning, interestingly changes. In fact, the United States stop using the term terrorism instead we talk about a War on Terror. Now this can be seen as huge mistake because the "ism" in terrorism is enormously important. It is that I-S-M that means that terrorism is fundamentally political in character, that it is fundamentally about political change. When one starts talking about something like terror and leave off the "ism," one is talking about an emotion and after all, that is what terrorists want. They want one to respond emotionally, irrationally to their violence in hopes that they can capitalize on those responses to coerce or to intimidate. Now one has a muddying of the term where terrorism becomes terror. And one also has a phenomena where at times in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the United States has discussions of how firstly, to wage war against a tactic or else one has discussions about how terrorism, this political phenomena, can be eliminated. Discussions at almost the highest levels of government in Washington talking about the elimination of terrorism as slavery and piracy were once eliminated as well in the 19th century. The problem, of course, is firstly, one cannot wage war ...


... middle of paper ...


...of these same protected categories, and there are no boundaries to their violence. In essence, the world is their battlefield. And then finally, terrorism is conducted either by an organization or by individuals directly influenced, motivated, inspired, or animated to engage in acts of violence by an identifiable organization or movement. In other words, the individuals that perpetrate this violence see themselves as part of a larger cause. And that, is also inherent to understanding what terrorism is and what one of its core characteristics are.
Basically, taking those ten different elements, one can arrive at a rather succinct, perhaps not entirely complete, but workable, definition of terrorism, where terrorism becomes the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or, equally importantly, the threat of violence, in pursuit of political change.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Universal Definition Of Terrorism Essay

- ... The current definition of terrorism would be found in Section 1, Terrorism Act 2000, and it’s the least broad and vague definition of terrorism. To indicate and justify the components for a strong terrorism definition, it seems appropriate to define the term terrorism. Within terrorism lies the word terror. Terror comes from the Latin terrere, which means “frighten” or “tremble.” When coupled with the French suffix isme (referencing “to practice”), it becomes akin to “practicing the trembling” or “causing the frightening”....   [tags: Terrorism, Definition of terrorism]

Better Essays
705 words (2 pages)

Essay on Terrorism : An Definition Of Terrorism

- ... More broadly, if the number of Americans killed during the September 11 attack is taken into account, the totals fatalities tallies at 3,066 (START, 2015). Overview of the San Bernardino Shooting On 2nd December, 2015, a married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino (New York Times, 2016; USA Today, 2015). According to eyewitnesses, Farook had attended a holiday party held at the center, but left suddenly and in anger, only to return with Malik before proc3eeding to open fire at innocent civilians....   [tags: Terrorism, Federal Bureau of Investigation]

Better Essays
1204 words (3.4 pages)

We Need a Precise Definition of Terrorism Essay

- We Need a Precise Definition of Terrorism In early 1974, the Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant, invited the Palestinian Liberation Organization to attend the General Assembly gathering on November 13, 1974, and in doing so gave legitimacy to the Palestinian Liberation Organization as a governing body. In Yasser Arafat’s speech to the General Assembly, he thanked the United Nations for recognizing his organization and its legitimacy. When Arafat addressed the General Assembly, he made the argument that the actions taken by his government were not acts of terrorism, but these were acts of revolution and their purpose was to regain control of Palestine’s occupied original territ...   [tags: Terrorism]

Better Essays
1559 words (4.5 pages)

The Definition Of Domestic Terrorism Essay

- The definition of domestic terrorism can be described as actions by individuals or a group that can be dangerous and that are intended to harm, intimidate or influence either an individual or entire group most often within areas that covered by U.S. law and government. Certain groups, more than others, are targeted in order to make a statement and get attention through multiple injuries or deaths, extreme destruction, and/or the taking of influential persons. The FBI uses three main characteristics to determine if an activity is actually an act of “domestic terrorism”....   [tags: Terrorism, Federal Bureau of Investigation]

Better Essays
2344 words (6.7 pages)

Controversies on the Definition of Terrorism Essay

- Since the beginning of its existence terrorism itself, as well as its application had been arousing many controversies. The definition of terrorism has not been clearly established since the times this expression was used for the first time in the eighteenth century. Furthermore, its meaning has been transforming through the decades together with new ideologies, technologies, such as invention of dynamite, nuclear weapons and appearance of new terrorist techniques – blackmail and bloody suicides’ attacks....   [tags: what is terrorism, analysis, nature of duality]

Better Essays
1606 words (4.6 pages)

Essay about Religious Terrorism Is Not Unworthy Of Critique

- At present, terrorism has become the subject of great debate, study and controversy (Lacquer 2003). This is perhaps due to the current declared war on terror after the events of 9/11 and the subsequent events that have followed since then (Hoffman 2006). From this, it has resulted in the popular belief that religion is the root of all terrorism (Gunning and Jackson 2011), and seemingly it is believed that religion is connected to violence virtually anywhere (Juergensmeyer 2003). Similarly, Jones (2008) claims that religious terrorism has become the scourge of the modern world....   [tags: Terrorism, Definition of terrorism]

Better Essays
1121 words (3.2 pages)

The World Crisis Of Terrorism Essay examples

- The world crisis of terrorism demands firms be prepared to resiliently adapt and withstand the escalating threat. Statistics from the United States Department of State not only reveal businesses are the 4th highest type of terrorist target, but the lethality of terrorism on business has substantially increased in recent years (Global Terrorism Database, 2015). Likewise, a Gallup Survey, following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, named terrorism as the top problem confronting Americans (Gallup News Service, 2015)....   [tags: Terrorism, Definition of terrorism]

Better Essays
1533 words (4.4 pages)

My Definition of Terrorism Essay

- To me, terrorism is the use of violent actions to provoke fear or terror in a population for the purpose of spreading a message. I agree with Moeller in that terrorism is distinguished from other forms of violence in that “The victims and the intended audience of a terrorist act are not the same,”1 and “the psychological impact of a terrorist act is intended to be greater than the physical damage caused. The goal of terrorism is to send a message, not defeat the enemy.”2 Additionally, in regards to Moeller’s questions of whether terrorism is a tactic or ideology, terrorism is purely a tactic among many others, not an ideology at all....   [tags: Terrorism, Terrorists, 2015]

Free Essays
329 words (0.9 pages)

What is the Definition of Terrorism? Essay

- The concept of terrorism is exceedingly difficult to define. Author Gerald Seymour first said in his book Harry’s Game that, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. Each individual may view terrorism in a different light. Because of this, there is currently no universal definition of terrorism. However in recent years, it has become increasingly more important to form a definition of terrorism, especially while working in the media. The word terror dates back to the French Revolution....   [tags: Terrorist vs Freedom Fighter]

Free Essays
420 words (1.2 pages)

The True Meaning of Terrorism Essay examples

- The True Meaning of Terrorism Think of the word terrorism. What is the first thing that comes to mind. One might think of kidnapping, assassination, bombing, or even genocide and guerrilla warfare. Because it is such a broad and complex issue, an all-encompassing definition is hard to formulate. The United States Department of Defence defines terrorism as… The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological....   [tags: Terrorism Terrorist Definition Criminology Essays]

Better Essays
811 words (2.3 pages)