Terrorism Terrorism and Conceptual Problems International terrorism is the use of political violence to gain specific goals by force.

These acts of terrorism may be practiced on individuals, governments, and religious groups. The purpose of terrorism is to promote terror, in that case, the population is force into fear and the delusions of death (Terrorism, International Microsoft (R) Encarta 1994.). United States has been maintaining the ominous terrorism acts by increasing security, high-tech devices detecting characteristics of a terrorist, and preventing fewer menacing attacks against the United States. International terrorism has been recurrent during the periods of political and social upheaval.The distinctive wave of international terrorism, that developed after the mid-1960’s diversed from earlier ones in its comprehensive greater impacts.

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Numerous elements associated to make international terrorism uncomplicated and more effective: technological advances, resulting in both greater destructiveness and smaller sized weapons leading mass destruction (U.S. asserts n. pag.

). Such groups may use terrorism tactics in extortion attempts like those used to shake down the neighborhood.The scope and magnitude of future potential terrorist organizations will be improved by the impetuous changes in technology will provide a next generation of terrorists. The resort to terrorism could be an effort to dramatize a cause and provoke the to the extent of a more extreme hazardness. As the United States tries to redefine the formation and execution of foreign policy humanitarian assistance, which will be objects of an effort might resent it (Domestic Reports n. pag.). Today, the U.

S.alone spends roughly a $billion a year combating terrorism and hoping to decrease the catastrophesity of terrorism. Statistically, few of will ever be killed by the deeds of a terrorist; kill one and terrorize thousands says Chinese leader chairman Mao (Domestic Reports n. pag.). Yet our, and other governments spend vast amounts of money fighting terrorism, and to secure the peace in our nations cities.

Terrorists find it easier and more productive to plant a big bomb to wipe out an entire neighborhood, rather pin pointing the targets.Because of this, about every nation now has at least a rudimentary counter-terrorism team. Because of these ghastly acts, the United States and other nations have created the Anti-terrorism tactics. Anti-terrorism refers to the prevention of terrorism, while counter-terrorism takes the opponents out (In the Senate n.

pag.). If there is a fog of war, there is probably a more dense smog of terrorism, for the small nature of terrorism groups, their close interpersonal communications, and their predilection for soft targets of opportunity make it difficult to predict their future operations. Counter-terrorism analysts must therefore peer through a very cloudy ball when assessing the intentions, capabilities, and targets of existing and future terrorist groups. Life would be easier if, as when assessing a conventional army, analysts could pour over communications intercepts to discern orders of battle and make predictions based on the enemys known doctrine and strategy, says Strategic Intelligence for American National Security, Allen E.

Goodman (Patterns of Global n. pag.). The potential spillover effect may be intensified by the domestic, political, and economic environment. The capability of ethnic-based politics, with the tendentious debates over immigration policy, may provide abundant ground by which ethics conflicts may be transported to the United States. The existence of large immigrant communities may provide the human Jungle in which the external terrorist groups can operate. The United States has been insuring the safety of the United States public and calculating the steps of terrorists.

The focus is the vulnerabilities in the United States by international linkage(Patterns of Global n.pag.). Finally, one might contemplate the existing radical operations to issue-oriented movements such as radical environmentalism, fringe elements of the pro-life movements, and radical animal rights groups, there will emerge new groups willing to use terrorism to advance grievances both real and imaginary. As lawmakers debated what steps to take to prevent future attacks, many Americans ponder what sacrifice are they willing to take to counter the terrorist threat. The questions are to be asked if the travelers are willing to wait in longer lines, so that sensitive equipment can inspect their bags for explosives or unusual items? Are they willing to pay more for the airline tickets to finance the new detection equipment? Are Americans willing to submit to increase security measures at the expense of their freedom of movement as well as privacy(Patterns of Global n.

pag.).In 1996, Anti-terrorism act was passed through congress and president Clinton signed into law, which granted $one billion to combat terrorism. The new law was unduly expands the federal governments power and violates citizens constitutional rights. The Anti-terrorism act, gave an earlier provision to federal governments powers to wiretap suspected terrorist groups phones without warrant was removed from the final bill. Such tragedies such as the Oklahoma City bombing argued lawmakers to make essential that the federal government be allowed to monitor militia groups more closely. In addition, President Clinton authorized computer passenger profiling systems, expanding an informal identification system now in place.The system will determine a closely profile match on whether of a terrorist profile.

The plans advocates were repelled as the advanced bomb detection equipment, but they were generally acknowledged resulting in safer travel (How Vulnerable n. pag.).

Lawmakers have challenge themselves, trying to respond to the fear that has been invading Americans that the United States are becoming more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. But, many experts believe that the American public and lawmakers need to think about whether they are responding to fear or to the facts.For these many experts, the responses to the explosion of TWA flight 800, is a perfect example of overreaction. Investigators are pondering the cause of what the explosion resulted from, and yet, this explosion has promoted a revival of the Anti-Terrorism act and President Clinton has requested the expansion of federal governments wiretapping rights once again. The question that has been said many of times is that, should Americans give up a measure of freedom for the increased safety it will likely provide (CNN Domestic n. pag.

)? Similarly, terrorists must be made to realize that they cannot strike at the United States and its citizens with impunity. While Soviet embassies and legations have escaped all but incidental violence in recent years. U.S. embassies have been attacked in dozens of countries, the most serious incidents involving the seizure of the U.S.embassy in Tehran, and the sacking and burning of our embassies in Libya and Pakistan, and the bombing of the U.

S. embassy in Beirut. It is time that policies that ensure swift and sure retribution against those who attack our citizens and property. If it is our destiny as a nation not to be loved, then surely it behooves us to be feared, at least by the purveyors of violence, says Stephen Sloan (How Vulnerable n. pag.

). Bibliography (pass) Governmental Issues.


Terrorism is a type of violence used tactically in peace, conflict, and war. The threat of terrorism is ever present, and an attack is likely to occur when least expected. In trying to find out what factors can cause an individual to choose terrorism, it is first necessary to define what terrorism is. The Department of Defense defines terrorism as the calculated use of violence or 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. Per the definition, the terrorists are not giving into a whim of random acts, but these individuals are using calculated moves in order to achieve the purpose of the group. Simply put, this suggests that these individuals are making a conscious choice for violence. What motivates these groups to choose terrorism as a means to achieve a particular agenda? The majority of the motives can be broken down into three broad areas: rational, psychological, and cultural.(1) Although some motives are difficult for the majority of the World to comprehend; given a motive, a terrorist group has a purpose for violence.

The rational terrorist thinks through the options and goals that are to be achieved, making a cost-benefit breakdown. This individual seeks to determine whether there are less costly and more effective ways to achieve the objective than terrorism. Risks and capabilities are assessed to determine whether terrorism should be used or not. This type of thought is similar to that of a military commander choosing which course of action should be taken to achieve the missions objectives. The rational terrorist is more of a strategist, which uses terrorism to achieve an outcome. Sinn Fein can be interpreted as a rational terrorist. In the roots of this organization, terrorism may have seemed to be the only alternative to achieve an audience.

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Although currently the political party is not directly affiliated with the IRA (Irish Republican Army), past ties gave the appearance of one entity; dealing with Sinn Fein meant dealing with the IRA as well. Now that Sinn Fein has the ability to achieve objectives through political means, it is no longer part of the IRA; although, some still view them to be the political wing of the IRA.(2) This strategy can easily change once again, should the objectives become more difficult to achieve, thus shifting from peaceful means to the need for more abrupt measures.Psychological motivation for terrorism derives from terrorists personal dissatisfaction with life and accomplishments. This type of motivation is found to be a faith of the terrorist.

The individual does not consider the actions taken to achieve the agenda wrong and may tend to project antisocial motivations onto others, creating a polarized we versus they outlook.(3) These members attribute only evil motives to anyone outside the group. The resulting clarity of purpose appeals to those who crave violence to relieve their constant anger. The other common characteristic of the psychologically motivated terrorist is the pronounced need to belong to a group. With some terrorists, group acceptance is a stronger motivator than the stated political objectives of the organization. Such individuals define their social status by group acceptance. More often than not the groups goal may be nearly impossible to achieve. A group that achieves its stated purpose is no longer needed; thus, success threatens the psychological well being of its members.

When a terrorist group approaches a stated goal, there may be an inclination to redefine it. The group may reject the achievement as false or inadequate or the result of the duplicity of them. When a solution is close to being reached, objectives change.One effective psychological defense against success is to define goals so broadly that they are impossible to achieve. Even if the world proclaims the success of a political movement, the terrorists can deny it and fight on. The Basque ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) apparently suffers from the fear of success. No matter how much autonomy is granted to the Basques, the ETA will not be satisfied until they have achieved total independence as a separate nation, this is something that Madrid is not about to do; thus, the goal of independence is keeping the ETA in business.

(4) Cultures shape values and motivate people to actions that seem unreasonable to foreign observers. Americans are reluctant to appreciate the intense effect of culture on behavior, and choose to accept the myth that rational behavior guides all human actions. Such things as vendetta, martyrdom, and self-destructive group behaviors are rejected as irrational belief. Some nations take to ethnic cleansing based on cultural motivations. When the Soviet Union collapsed ending the cold war, it only spiked the opportunity for the ministates to finally rid each other of ethnic impurities.

Examples of these are found in Bosnia and Georgia. These terrorists would rather see the dissolution of a viable state for the sake of ethnic purity rather than heal their own starving economy.Religion may be the most volatile of cultural identifiers because it encompasses values deeply held. A threat to ones religion puts not only the present at risk but also ones cultural past and the future. Terrorism in the name of religion can be especially violent.

Like all terrorists, those who are religiously motivated view their acts with moral certainty and even divine sanctions. What would otherwise be extraordinary acts of desperation becomes a religious duty in the mind of the religiously motivated terrorist. This helps explain the high level of commitment and willingness to risk death among religious extremist groups. The Hezbollah view the West as the Great Satan and the foremost corrupting influence on the Islamic world today. This militant group does not view the suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut as an insane act,(5) but as martyrdom against the evil ways of the West.

With this underlying holy war against the world, they are forced to use these extreme measures.With the motives of rational, psychology, and cultural reasoning, the different terrorist groups make a stand for what is believed to be right. The calculation for the next move that a terrorist will make is hard to decipher, but all terrorist do have motives. Although some motives are difficult for the majority of the World to comprehend; given a motive, a terrorist group has a purpose for violence.Words/ Pages : 1,124 / 24


After watching both Battle of Algiers and Bloody Sunday I have come to have a better understanding of the motivations behind these two very important revolutions. It is important to understand why the FLN and IRA decided to engage in “terrorist” activities, because analysis of the motivations behind their actions will allow us to see how “terrorists” are labeled and who is labeling them. The ways in which these groups are labeled and characterized has a large impact on the actions taken and the ramifications of these actions.

In the cases of the FLN and IRA, both groups had been labeled “terrorists” and both took two very different courses of action. These actions are directly related to how they are labeled and looked upon within a society. In this paper, I will depict the ways in which the representation of “terrorist” groups constructs a particular understanding of the causes of their actions. I will also illustrate the ramifications of this construction process.In Battle of Algiers the lifestyle of Algerians seemed to be depicted accurately and realistically. In the film, the Algerians were seen as second class citizens, if that. They were segregated from the rest of society and ostracized for their appearance and lower class status.

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Often, Algerian citizens could be walking down the street and would get yelled at or chased by French citizens of Algeria. Algerians did not seem to be welcome in their own country and had fewer rights and privileges than the French citizens. The Algerian people and the FLN were driven to violence because the French made that the last option for them. The society the Algerian people were living in was dilapidated, highly crowded, and dirty. People were made fun of daily and did not have the same opportunities as the French citizens. The government would place sanctions on Algerians and the FLN to keep them from opportunities of advancement or uprising.

In this film, the FLN is seen as a group of brutal people who are willing to kill and be killed for their right to freedom and self-determination. However, the film is quick to show the brutalities they had to endure, but more importantly the societal segregation they encountered on a daily basis. For the FLN, the people of Algeria had so little choice in their future and everyday activities, they it seemed as thought they felt they had nothing to lose. Why not rise up and fight for civil rights and equality in our own country. Men, women, and children all played integral roles in the revolution. These people still led normal and productive lives, but felt they had no opportunity for advancement or betterment of themselves or their families.

So, they resorted to violence and the only means they knew how, to get attention. All these people wanted, was to be heard, and they felt this could only be accomplished through violence.The Algerian people and the FLN came off as desperate people who badly want control over their country and their futures and their children’s futures. The French citizens seemed not to care that these people were being treated cruelly, and the government seemed to be on a mission to eradicate all FLN members no matter what the cost. The French government’s main concern was losing control, even if relinquishing control was for a good cause and was the right thing to do.

Also, in Bloody Sunday, the Irish members of the IRA were also desperate and willing to take extreme measures to accomplish their goals. However, the IRA vowed to not use violent tactics, as they knew it would discredit their cause. In Bloody Sunday the IRA seemed organized and comprised of intelligent people who just wanted a radical change in the way they were allowed to interact in society and the opportunities available to them. Men, women, and children of all ages were IRA members who marched down the streets of Ireland to bring attention to their plight. Any international attention that could be brought to their situation was beneficial for the IRA.

The more people that could see the Irish population as segregated, less educated, given less opportunities and subjected to the worst living conditions, the better. The concerns and demands of the Irish people and the IRA were not being listened to by the British government and were seen as a joke by British citizens. The IRA was fighting for the right to self-determination and the restoration of their civil rights. These Irish people saw no future for themselves in a country that once belonged to them. The British rule was oppressive and uncaring and wanted more than nothing to eradicate the IRA, even though they did not use violence as a tactic. The British labeled the IRA “terrorists” and then made it seem as though there was use of violence against British forces. This was obviously not the case and the IRA never resorted to violence.

All the IRA wanted was to get attention so they could create change in a seemingly hopeless society. When the FLN or the IRA decided to rise up and take action against their oppressive governments, they were rationalizing the use of “terrorism.” Both groups could easily rationalize “terrorism” as a tactic. Both groups endured unfit living conditions, a lack of education, a lack of respect from other community members, oppression and limited opportunities due to the reigning government, and segregation from society. Neither the FLN nor the IRA saw a future for their children or themselves and wanted a choice in how their lives would unfold. Civil rights and self-determination were key concerns for both groups. When all hope is lost, people will resort to desperate measures.Sociologists can also rationalize the “terrorist” tactics used by both the FLN and IRA.

Referencing Oliverio’s article, terrorists are people who are young, not American (in this case not the norm or majority), angry, irrational, out of society, and concentrated in urban areas (6). This easily characterizes the FLN and the IRA and the people that were involved in the organizations. Many sociologists, including Oliverio, believe it is who is doing the labeling and how you label a group of people.

The FLN just wanted to freedom and restoration of their civil rights. The IRA was not even violent and just wanted to be heard so change could occur. Both groups were labeled and depicted as “terrorists” in the media and by the governments. This label was all anyone knew about either group.According to a sociologist by the name of Black, “terrorists” will never take action against an equal. Both the FLN and the IRA were oppressed and less respected than their respective governments. They were not seen as equals and they knew they were not.

Also, there needs to be social distance, but also physical proximity between a “terrorist” group and their government (21). This was definitely the case for Algerian and the Irish.Also, Black focuses on the structure of a society and its’ perpetuation. The structure in both the Algerian society and the Irish society had been in place for quite some time.

Both structures limited opportunities for education, which limited opportunities to make money, and eventually limited the collective power of the people (25).There are numerous other theories that apply to “terrorists” and “terrorist” groups, but the above two seemed to apply the most. Both the FLN and the IRA had similar goals.

They wanted their civil rights and the right to determine their own futures. They wanted their children to have opportunities and they wanted equality in all areas of society, so no one, or group, was seen as better than the other. The Algerian people and the members of the IRA lost hope. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not start a revolution.

Raising the eyebrows of their respective governments and government around the world could only help their causes and better their conditions. Both groups were at the end of the line and saw no other choice but to try and create a radical change in any way possible. Desperate times call for desperate measures.Of course all revolutions and uprisings have common threads and underlying, or obvious, themes, but still have their individual goals and unique tactics. Between the FLN and the IRA, violence was the only difference in strategy. The FLN used violence in the form of bombs and weapons. They targeted civilians, even their own people, to get their point across and gain attention. They had the mentality that if a person was not with the FLN they were against them.

This created a much more hostile environment, conducive to violence from both sides (Battle of Algiers, movie).The IRA, however, was adamant about their use of non-violent tactics. The IRA used rallies and marches to educate and make people aware of their situation and the changes they wished to make. Members of the IRA fought to gain membership into the Parliament. The IRA discouraged the use of violence, as it was seen as though it would discredit them.

The IRA also seemed much more organized than the FLN, employing the help of anyone who would listen to them. Even though the IRA was eventually subjected to violence by the British government, their point had been clearly made and that bloody Sunday was seen more as a victory for the IRA, than anything else. Even though lives were lost, it proved the inhumane treatment inflicted by the British government, and the unwillingness to listen to IRA demands and relinquish control (Bloody Sunday, movie). Because both of these groups were depicted as “terrorists,” it drove them to take drastic measures they would have preferred not the resort to.

The label that was placed on these people, and the segregation and belittlement they endured, created a structure in which they could no longer thrive or advance in society. These people were oppressed and had no other option, other than to use their last resort. For the FLN it was violence, and for the IRA it was marches and rallies. Both means of change sparked violence from each group’s respective governments, but eventually led to their liberation. The ways in which these two groups are seen, are directly derived from their label as “terrorist.” A structure that creates hostility, violence, inequality, and inhumanity has severe ramifications, as we have seen. The structures that both of these groups developed in were created by oppression, a lack of understanding, and a desire to remain control.

Labeling people or groups as “terrorists” and creating a structure in which these people feel trapped and immobile, is the quickest and easiest way for a country or society to suffer severe ramifications, often resulting in violence. This was the case in both Algeria and Ireland. So, in the end, both the FLN and the IRA attained what they ultimately wanted, but not without some sacrifices and unseen loss of lives. The price for freedom is steep, but it is even steeper when one group oppresses another. The ramifications for creating a structure in which people hate their government and have limited options concerning the betterment of their life, are often unseen initially.

However, eventually a group will rise up, a sense of urgency will set in, and violence will ensue, one way or another. A lack of care and understanding will only bring violence, and for me, if these two films did anything, it was reinforce the fact that communication is key, no matter who or where you are.


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