A Look at Terrorism: The New War

Essay by sqkr69University, Bachelor's April 2005

download word file, 6 pages 3.0

Downloaded 149 times

Terrorism is the issue on everyone's mind these days. It is a global disorder that we have been fighting, and probably will be fighting for many years to come. What is terrorism? There is no exact definition for the word. The word means different things to different people at different times in history. Violent activity at one point in time may be called terrorism, while the same action may be deemed war, liberation, or crime at another time in history. The most accepted definition of terrorism is the illegitimate use of force on innocent people to achieve a political objective. The State Department's official definition is the "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." These inflictions cannot be performed directly by any government, but they can be funded by a government. If these actions were inflicted directly by a government, this is known as terror, not terrorism.

However, with these definitions you can see how difficult it is to define terrorism.

In order to have good understanding of terrorism we have to talk about the historical context of terrorism. In times of war, armies use guerrilla tactics that resemble terrorism. In the American Civil War, the Union Army hired people to destroy Confederate railroads. They did not wear uniforms; they did not use normal tactics to fight. Was this terrorism?

There are several definitions of terrorism, and new types of terrorism have evolved. However, there are three basic types of terrorism: international, intranational, and transnational. Since the definition of terrorism changes with the nature of the conflict, I will not define terrorism; I will describe it in its different forms.

Some terrorist groups get public support and financing from a variety of different governments. They inflict terror...