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Defining terrorism - Essay Example

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Terrorism is intimidating activity around the world and governments have been on alert since the beginning of this hostile phenomenon. Terrorism can be described by various terms, such as tactic and strategy, crime and a holy duty, subjection to oppression and abomination that cannot be forgiven. Different terrorist organizations are pursuing intimidating goals around the world…
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Defining terrorism
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Download file to see previous pages The simplest definition of terrorism is the following one: “Terrorism is the use of violence or force, or the threat of such, directed upon innocents, civilians, or noncombatants, in order to achieve political objectives” (Thackrah 2004, p. 18). There is a vivid discussion about the fact whether to justify terrorism or not. Some academicians and scientists underline that it is impossible to justify the essence of terrorism. In the very essence terrorism is unjust and illegitimate. Nevertheless, this assumption is rather emotional and it is relevant to consider this phenomenon from moral perspective. Thus, there is no moral background for the governments to sponsor terrorists, but they really do that. There is nothing more than intimidation of people in the name of reaching the goals of a group of people or the whole nation–this is the way terrorists are perceived by many states. Media positions terrorist acts as if they stem from political grievances, though the essence of these actions can be rooted not in political concerns, but rather in religious or social issues. The US Department of Defence defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological” (Thackrah 2004, p. 32). Intimidation, fear and violence are three basic pillars of terrorism. The government’s reaction to terrorist acts has been always developed in accordance with the essence of the main goals of terrorists. For example, one of the most scaring acts of terrorism committed by the Black September Organization in October 1983, when 241 U.S. military personnel were killed and many people were wounded. In reality, the main target of their terrorist actions was the whole American nation and the Congress. The government withdrew the Marines from Beirut and this factor was rather impressive for terrorists and they considered it to be success. First ad foremost concern for different governments should be focused on the fact that terrorists position themselves not as the servants of the Devil or evil, but they position themselves as fighters for freedom and their rights. They are interested in promoting liberating images or images, “supporting” public interests. In other words, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter (Burkoff 2005, p.49). In accordance with modern researches and studies, definitions of terrorism are developed in different terms. Thus, Schmidt and Youngman refer to 109 different definitions of terrorism, where three equal words were present: violence, force; political; fear (Boaz). Generally speaking, terrorism is considered at international level, because the targets of terrorist attacks can be found in different countries. There is a very thin boundary between terrorism and crime. Thus, for example, political motivation of terrorism cannot be denied and it is often positioned as the first and foremost underpinning for terrorist acts commitment. It can be defined as “politically motivated attacks on non-combatant targets” (Fields, 2001). The activities of terrorist organizations are often described with the use of such concepts, as “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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