Terrorism by Daniel Cooper Presented to Prof. George Johnson CJ290: Terrorism Today, June 2011 The definition on Terrorism and its actors, objectives and methods have changed over the last 150 years. In its most simple form, terrorism involves only three parts; use of force, against innocent people, for political purposes. (White, 2009) Other official definitions used by the FBI, State Department, United Nations and scholars only add detail for the purpose of law, prosecution and study.
The current incarnation of terrorism dominated by radical religious and socially conservative groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban employ the classic terroristic tactics of guerilla warfare, kidnappings and bombings all designed to instill fear into the local population while gaining a worldwide audience with the use of force multipliers for their demands. These groups differ from previous terrorist groups like the I. R. A. , Klu Klux Klan and the All Tripura Tiger Force because they use multi-national resources to attack both domestic and international targets.
The Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives. ” This definition most completely applies to all forms of terrorism by individuals, groups and governments. Terrorism originally was a term used to describe the oppression of people by its government; it changed after the French Revolution to resemble the general definition of individuals versus society that we see today.
The case is still made today that governments commit acts of terrorism on its own citizens. “Various examples of genocide and mass killing can be regarded as forms of state terrorism, violence by the state against a particular group of citizens in genocide, and either against a particular group or against less clearly defined groups of citizens in mass killing. ” (Staub, 2002) Many definitions of terrorism exist and the meaning will continue to evolve with the violence and tactics used.
Additional analysis methods like topologies and the spectrum of conflict help gain insight into acts that cannot be summed up in a simple definition. Fear inducing violent acts aimed at civilian populations for the purpose of religious, political or social change will never cease to exist because power can never be equally distributed. References White, J. R. (2009). Terrorism and homeland security: an introduction. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. Staub, E. (2002). Notes on Terrorism: Origins and Prevention. Peace & Conflict, 8(3), 207-214. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.