What Is Terrorism

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PSC 441
2-13-13

The multitude of differentiating definitions of terrorism through out the world’s governments, agencies, and international community has led to a confusing and bleak understanding of the true nature of terrorism. Now I do not believe that my definition of terrorism will be any better in helping understand this matter but it does help define my personal view of terrorism, terrorists, and their tactics. My definition of terrorism is any deliberate, planed use of force or violence, or the threat of such actions, against innocent people, with the aim of inducing fear or intimidating some other group of people into a specific course of action for political, religious, philosophical, or ideological aims. In my paper I want to examine the implications of my definition with regard to my assertion that terrorism is only carried out against innocent people.

In my definition I define terrorism as actions or threats of actions against innocent people. To me this is a very important idea. I feel that terrorism works because it induces fear in the general public and people become afraid because they are faced with the fact that even though they have done nothing wrong they could be attacked. I feel that violence is never legitimate when used on innocent people and thus a terrorist is never legitimate because they are attacking innocent people and that can never be seen as a justified act. The idea that the victim of terrorism has to be innocent has many implications. I think the biggest implication is that, through my definition, some forms of terrorism can be justified. This is a tricky issue though and it reminds me of the discussion we had in class on whether violence could ever be justified. Many students believed that violence against a tyrant or unjust leader could be justified when the leader had engaged in acts against humanity. As seen through my definition the assassination of such a person would not be seen as an act of terror. This idea of...
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