What is terrorism

G the 1941 japanese bombing of pearl harbor the 1986

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Unformatted text preview: ants will be killed (e.g., the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor; the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya). This third criterion should to be addressed more fully. Notwithstanding the importance of the subnational quality of terrorist perpetrators, the crux of this criterion is the clandestine nature of terrorism. Victims of terrorism cannot anticipate the attack because of this clandestine feature. On the other hand, in situations of declared war or announced conflict, such as in England during World War II or more recently in Iraq in the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990s, the citizens of those countries had some expectation of an attack. Also, there is an expectation that attacks will focus on industrial or military complexes. Theoretically, then, noncombatants could avoid those target areas, even though many times they cannot, and even though those waging these conventional forms of war are willing to accept such collateral killing of noncombatants. This open nature of conventional conflict is the antithesis of terrorism and is what makes terrorism so unpredictable and alarming. However, national entities can operate in a clandestine manner just as subnational entities do. Certainly, if a nation-state sent special forces into another country and bombed a restaurant full of civilian patrons in order to convince that country’s government to change policies, it would not meet the “subnational” part of this criterion but would most likely still be considered terrorism under the “clandestine” part. So the more important component of this definition criterion is that terrorists act in a clandestine manner. In addition to the political motivation of the acts, the targeting of noncombatants, and the subnational/clandestine nature of the perpetrators, two other important definition criteria have been stressed in the psychology of terrorism literature. Kaplan (1981) said that terrorism is intended to create an extremely fearful state of mind. Furthermore, this fearful state is not intended for the terrorist victim; rather, it is intended for an audience who may, in fact, have no relationship to the victims. Oots (1990, p. 145) similarly emphasized that terrorism was intended to “create extreme fear and/or anxiety-inducing effects in a target audience larger than the immediate victims.” Likewise, the definition of terrorism in the U.S. Army’s textbook on military medicine echoes that terrorism is partly defined by its creation of fear in an audience beyond the immediate victim (Jones & Fong, 1994). Taylor (1988) went to great lengths in trying to define terrorism. His discussion elaborated on three perspectives that people use in determining whether or not an act is terrorism. He presented these differing perspectives to emphasize that even with a firm set of definition criteria, as delineated above, different people can interpret an act differently depending on their perspective....
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This document was uploaded on 03/20/2014 for the course SOCIAL SCI 020 at UWO.

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