Terrorism has been said to be difficult to define, however, according to James and Brenda Lutz, it consist of six parts: (1) terrorism has a political objective, (2) it relies on violence or the threat of it, (3) it has a target audience beyond the immediate victims, (4) it involves an organization and is not the actions of isolated individuals, (5) it involves a non-state actor as the perpetrator or the target or both, (6) and it is a weapon of weakness of the weak designed to change the distribution of power. The targeted audience is vital: they are the ones that should be stricken with fear. Terrorism is ultimately a form of psychological warfare that is directed against this target audience (Lutz). The “terrorists” often times see themselves as soldiers or freedom-fighter. They do not believe that their actions are wrong as long as they ultimately achieve their means. In order to understand terrorism and the problems that follow it, one must first understand the history and the terrorist and why terrorism seems to prevail.
The history of terrorism can be dated back to at least 1500 years (66-72 A.D), according to the Delaware Criminal Justice Council Terrorism Research Page. 1500 years ago, Jewish resistance groups, Zealots, killed Roman soldiers and Roman property. Terrorism has evolved a lot since then, yet it continues to be used to achieve political goals. Some examples of this tool being utilized are: The French Revolution (their goal was to eliminate opposition and consolidate power), Anarchists (their goal was to bring down a government), Russian Revolution (their goal was to maintain power and control their population), Irish Rebellion (their goal was to gain independence) (Delaware Criminal Justice Council Terrorism Research Page). The early objective of terrorism was to resist occupation or kill religious enemies. “The new terrorism”, as referred to by Arthur H. Garrison, is an Israeli-Arab conflict. Terrorism in the middle and late 1960’s transformed from ending colonial rule to drawing attention to the Palestinian cause. Garrison further explains that terrorism started to involves, in1968 they began to highjack planes to in order to bring attention to the Palestinian cause and the acts of terrorism began to slowly evolve: bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate killing and mass casualties.
Terrorists are thought to be uneducated and impoverished as Kim Dae-jung (2000 Nobel-prize winner), President of South Korea stated, "At the bottom of terrorism is poverty. That is the main cause.” Jodi Williams (1997 Nobel-prize winner), founder of International Campaign to Ban Landmines, adds that not only does poverty cause terrorism, but also a lack of an education. Though this is an appealing answer to the question of “Why there is terrorism?”, there is not strong evidence to support the previously states claims. The reasoning that those claims are so popular has to do with the fact they are referred to as “common-sense”. Something must be wrong emotionally, cognitively, or economically with an individual for them to resort to such measures: terrorism. However, “In the late 1990s and 2000, when terrorism reached new heights against Israeli citizens, the typical Palestinian was reporting a rosier economic forecast and unemployment was declining,” Alan Kruegar and David Laiti continues to explain that there is little correlation between economic condition in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the number of terrorist incidents against Israel. On the contrary, those who participate in terrorism tend to descend from the “ranks of the better off in society” (Krueger, and Laitin).
Terrorists are not poor, uneducated, depressed individuals as previously stated or believed by many. They are instead educated, skilled adults. They are not thoughtless or reckless young men facing severe economic conditions and dim prospects, instead, these terrorist are middle-aged men enjoying middle-class lives...
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