Since September 11th, 2001, the world has witnessed a radical change in the world order. Fear, anxiety, sentiments of repugnancy and hate, and, mostly, a deep sentiment of great uncertainty took their place and dominated, and still dominate, problematic, issue. There has been much discussions and debates about the events that has taken place in the fatal date and consequent repercussion acts. The images of the two hi-jacked planes crashing into the Twin Towers, has a major part in producing all the sentiments that certainly all of us felt, and will continue to feel as of today.
That is what this research paper will explain. It is a very contemporary issue and, many believe it is interesting looking at it, studying, and analyzing it. In the next pages, this research paper will focus on the definition of terrorism, history of terrorism, and the effects it has on society. Defining Terrorism Terrorism beams into our homes through television screens, it assaults us in newspapers and magazines, and it sometimes touches our lives in more direct manners. People do not seem to worry about the definition of terrorism at such times. They simply feel terror when they see the violence.
Sometimes it seems as though the event itself defines terrorism. For example, when a plane is destroyed by a bomb, it is frequently called terrorism, but when military forces shoot down a civilian aircraft, it can be deemed an unfortunate mistake. The United States may launch missiles at a suspected terrorist base and claim it is defending national interests. Yet, it may condemn another country for doing the same thing in another part of the world. Dual standards and contradictions lead to confusion any time the term terrorism is employed. The term terrorism has spawned heated debate.
Instead of agreeing on the definition of terrorism, social scientists, policymakers, lawyers, and security specialists often argue about the meaning of the term. H. H. A. Cooper (1978, 2001), a renowned terrorist expert from the University of Texas at Dallas, aptly summarizes the problem. There is, Cooper says, “a problem in the problem definition. ” We can agree that terrorism is a problem, but we cannot agree on what terrorism is. There are several reasons for confusion. First, terrorism is difficult to define because it has a pejorative connotation. Pejorative means that it is emotionally charged.
A person is politically and socially degraded when labeled a terrorist, and the same thing happens when an organization is called a terrorist group. Routine crimes assume greater social importance when they are described as terrorism, and political movements can be hampered when their followers are believed to be terrorists. Further confusion arises when people intertwine the terms terror and terrorism. The object of military force, for example, is to strike terror into the heart of the enemy, and systematic terror has been a basic weapon in conflicts throughout history.
Some people argue that there is no difference between military force and terrorism. Many members of the antinuclear movement have extended this argument by claiming that maintaining ready-to-use nuclear weapons is an extension of terrorism. Others use the same logic when claiming that street gangs and criminals terrorize neighborhoods. If you think that anything that creates terror is terrorism, the scope of potential definitions becomes limitless. One of the primary reasons terrorism is difficult to define is that the meaning changes within social and historical contexts.
This is not to suggest that “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter,” but it does suggest the meaning fluctuates. Change in the meaning occurs because terrorism is not a solid entity. Like crime, it is socially defined, and the meaning changes with social change. History of Terrorism Terrorism has been around since the days of ancient Egypt. People have been killing leaders of countries to try and overthrow the government, and for the past one hundred and twenty years terrorists have had new weapons of mass destruction, such as bombs.
Many political figures in the past were assassinated: King Tut in Egypt, who was poisoned and hit in the back of the head by a political rival, the members of the Roman Senate and Brutus, his best friend, killed Caesar. John Wilkes Booth, a southerner who was angry about the way the Civil War turned out assassinated Abraham Lincoln; and Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy. But terrorism in revealing itself in new forms in this modern world, such as massacres, hijackings, attacks on U. S troops, and hostage taking.
But there is a difference between a criminal and a terrorist. A criminal is after money or drugs, while a terrorist is after the long-term disruption of life in a country, and to attempt to overthrow its leaders. There are many causes of terrorism, hate, religion, politics, and power. Modern terrorism originated from the French Revolution (1789–1795). It was used as a term to describe the actions of the French government. By 1848, the meaning of the term changed. It was employed to describe violent revolutionaries who revolted against governments.
By the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, terrorism was used to describe the violent activities of a number of groups including: labor organizations, anarchists, nationalist groups revolting against foreign powers, and ultranationalist political organizations. After World War II (1939–1945), the meaning changed again. As people revolted from European domination of the world, nationalistic groups were deemed to be terrorist groups. From about 1964 to the early 1980s, the term terrorism was also applied to violent left-wing groups, as well as nationalists.
In the mid-1980s, the meaning changed again. In the United States, some of the violent activity of the hate movement was defined as terrorism. Internationally, terrorism was viewed as sub national warfare. Terrorists were sponsored by rogue regimes. As the millennium changed, the definitions of terrorism also changed. Today terrorism also refers to large groups who are independent from a state, violent religious fanatics, and violent groups who terrorize for a particular cause such as the environment.
It is important to realize that any definition is influenced by the historical context of terrorism. Media Many times on TV after a terrorist-attack the news will announce that this person had terrorist connections in the past. Now if they had terrorist connections, why were they allowed to live freely, where they could plan terrorist attacks? If the government had a monitoring service to keep track of people with suspected histories of terrorism, or possible connections to terrorists, the FBI could make a careful watch of a person s communications.
This would help prevent terrorism from happening by not allowing correspondence between the suspect, and the organization. Many argue that the realm of politics has a particular and controversial way of broaching, analyzing and, thus, conceptualizing “terrorism”. In Murdock’s view and many certainly agree with him. Politicians always try to limit and simplify the definition of terrorism in the name of the state’s political interests. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former U. S. representative to the United Nations, simply identified and defined a “terrorist” as a person who “kills, maims, kidnaps and tortures.
His victims may be schoolchildren… industrialists returning home from work, political leaders or diplomats”. (Quoted in Graham Murdock, 1997: 1653). On the other hand, and mostly due to their special deontology and the specific rule of impartiality, journalists are said to broach and use the term terrorist “when civilians are attacked” (Murdock, 1997: 1653). David Paletz and Danielle Vinson, in “Terrorism and the Media”, analyze and describe the theme of terrorism in a very interesting way. Thus, they identify many forms of terrorism.
The ones they believe to have most renown and prominence are: State Terrorism, waged against inhabitants of a state; State Sponsored Terrorism, against the people of the other states; and Insurgent Terrorism, also called by Schmid and De Graaf as“Social-Revolutionary, Separatist and Single Issue Terrorism, aiming at the top of society”(Schmid & De Graaf, 1982: 1), where the “violence is mainly perpetrated for its effects on others rather than the immediate victims” (Schmid & De Graaf, 1982: 2).
Schmid and De Graaf also argue that because the word terrorism has, by nature, such profound negative connotations, maybe a more neutral term would be preferable. They suggest the word insurgent. As far as I’m concerned, my argument is clearly this: western society, most dominated and influenced by the North American Culture and North American International Policy, constructed the term “terrorist”. Many argue that such construction is merely the reflection of western’s strategic political interests versus the Eastern ones, and most particularly, the Middle East’s cultural power.
Impact of Terrorism on Society and Economy Terrorism poses a serious law and order problem and leads to disintegration of society. The incident of murder, torture, mutilation, kidnapping, arson and extortion create atmosphere of suspicion, fear and panic all around. Life becomes uncertain. The terrorists kill unarmed civilians including women and children. Organized crime and violence cause social disharmony. The inter relationship among various insurgent groups and their foreign linkages bring illegal money and encourages smuggling.
Many insurgent groups collect certain percentage of money from the employees and businessmen on regular basis. Economic development of the area comes to an end. Our government has to make heavy expenditure to meet the challenges of terrorism. Ways to Control Terrorism A way to prevent terrorism is gun control. Gun control will prevent terrorism by reducing the number of weapons accessible to terrorists. Violent crimes and urban terrorism has dropped over 33% since the introduction of the background check. (Philips, 15) Something as simple as having a waiting period at gun shows can help reduce terrorism.
It is possible for a group of people to go into the show separately, purchase three or four weapons, and then use them to rob a bank, or take hostages. Currently at gun shows, as long as you are 18, you can buy a variety of weapons, and ammunition. Although a full ban on guns would not stop weapons from coming into this country illegally, it would limit the guns accessible to criminals and possible terrorists. Many times on TV after a terrorist-attack, the news will announce that this person had terrorist connections in the past.
Now if they had terrorist connections why were they allowed to live freely, where they could plan terrorist attacks? If the government had a monitoring service to keep track of people with suspected histories of terrorism, or possible connections to terrorists, the FBI could make a careful watch of a person s communications. This would help prevent terrorism from happening by not allowing correspondence between the suspect, and the organization. Although the person would not be a prisoner, he would be on parole so to speak, so he could lead a normal, productive life.
However, if he made a large purchase of any possible bomb making materials his house would be searched. This can help prevent attacks because the person would not have any opportunities to plan any attacks. Some other preventive measures can be taken to stop bombings from occurring. One way is to put two-foot concrete pillars around federal buildings to prevent drive up bombings. Nevertheless, there are other ways to cause mass killings. Biological warfare is one of the most feared forms of terrorism in the world.
Capable of killing thousands within a few days, and constantly spreading, it is the most effective form of terrorism there is. (Gaines,15) All it takes is someone with a small flask of anthrax in a powdered form to get on a subway, spread the virus, and get off. In the powdered form, the dust would spread into a fine dust, and then would be breathed in by hundreds of passengers. (Snow, 15) Now some things like that cannot be prevented, but a way to keep the people from getting sick is to make sure everyone born has vaccinations for any disease that can be spread, such as anthrax, and Ebola.
However, there are not enough shots to go around. There is only one dose of anthrax vaccine per four people. The government needs to produce enough vaccine for everyone in the country. Terrorism against the United States in other countries continues to be a serious problem. The United States has not been able to effectively deal with terrorism directed at its embassies, personnel, or military installations. The United States has put up concrete barriers around its embassies to protect Americans from suicide bombers.
In many cultures, religion and politics are intertwined; it is a great honor to die for your country on a suicide mission. It happened during World War II with the Kamikaze pilots and it happened again most recently with the attack on the U. S. S. Cole. The suicide bomb is most often used in the Middle East. Terrorism can be reduced with prevention, detection, and action. The problem will not go away if people just sit there and not take any action against it. Society needs to create a team to counteract terrorism, have better gun control, and monitor high-risk people. With these simple steps we can reduce terrorism.