It is the 21st century and terrorism has replaced the fear of nuclear devastation of the Cold War as the talk of the town…..no longer are we worried about some unknown Russian with his finger on the red button of a nuke warhead……now it is some unknown extremist with his finger on a red button of a suicide vest…….
Since the US has taken it upon itself to engage ISIS there has been lots of chatter on what terrorism is and who decides to use it…..most of it is not professional but rather to incite an emotional response…..and to be used as a propaganda tool to instill fear and in doing so makes the population open to all sorts of tactics that they would not approve of under normal thinking.
Since 9/11 we Americans have been told about terror and its use against a population……most of it was an orchestrated program to insight fear by the people…..after those many years since 9/11 we Americans believe we have a good grasp on what terrorism is all about…..but do we?
What is terrorism?
1.–the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2.–the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization
Those are the clinical definitions of terrorism…..but then we have the definition that DHS will use…….Acts of violence committed by groups that view themselves as victimized by some notable historical wrong. Although these groups have no formal connection with governments, they usually have the financial and moral backing of sympathetic governments. Typically, they stage unexpected attacks on civilian targets, including embassies and airliners, with the aim of sowing fear and confusion.
There is a definition by DoD………The United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful 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.”
Within this definition, there are three key elements—violence, fear, and intimidation—and each element produces terror in its victims. The FBI
uses this definition: “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and 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.”
The U.S. Department of State defines terrorism to be “premeditated politically-motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience”
Now let’s ask….is the term “terrorism:” a relative new term?
1795, in specific sense of “government intimidation during the Reign of Terror in France” (March 1793-July 1794), from French terrorisme, from Latin terror………...
If the basis of a popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror — virtue, without which terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent. [Robespierre, speech in French National Convention, 1794]
General sense of “systematic use of terror as a policy” is first recorded in English 1798. At one time, a word for a certain kind of mass-destruction terrorism was dynamitism (1883); and during World War I frightfulness was used in Britain for “deliberate policy of terrorizing enemy non-combatants.”
While the use of terror as a weapon goes back to the beginning of written history….the term terrorism is only a couple hundred years old. In the early days atrocities were committed against civilians as a psychological form of warfare……and was employed by many…..Romans, Turks, Crusaders, The Khans, Huns…….on and on….NO civilization is above the use of terror against civilians. Even the US is not above the use of this tactic.
Right about now….I can hear eyes rolling and people sitting on their couch insulting me in several languages. So let my clarify……the US government has used terror as a weapon…..think the massacre of the buffalo in the 19th century……or the “shock and awe” of the Iraq War….and today, the use of drones and the threat of an attack…….. used to influence a population. Have I redeemed myself? (Doubtful)
Terror is not an isolated tactic…….According to International terrorism & Security Research………….Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public’s or government’s reaction to the act.
Keep in mind terrorism is a tactic not an enemy……it is difficult to wage war on a tactic and damn near impossible to win said war. The tactics being employed today by Western countries will not win the war…….it is a waste of resources but as they say…..”something must be done”.
Slogans are good and wishful thinking is better….but sadly it will not accomplish an end to the violence……..it does however keep the Terror-Industrial Complex in rent money……..and that should keep this war going for several generations.