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 ...
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...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.
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