Mercurial Essays

Free Essays & Assignment Examples

Terrorism (2398 words)

1Terrorism, use of violence, or the threat of violence, to create a climate of fear in a given population. Terrorist violence targets ethnic or religious groups, governments, political parties, corporations, and media enterprises. Organizations that engage in acts of terror are almost always small in size and limited in resources compared to the populations and institutions they oppose. Through publicity and fear generated by their violence, they seek to magnify their influence and power to effect political change on either a local or an international scale.

2In their struggle to bring an end to British rule over Palestine and to reclaim it for the Jewish people, radical Jewish groups such as the Stern Gang and the Irgun resorted to terrorist acts in the late 1940s. The most notorious of these attacks was the bombing of British government offices at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, which killed more than 100 people. Acts of terrorism by Israel’s Arab adversaries accelerated in the 1960s, especially following the Six-Day War in 1967, which led to the Israeli occupation of territory populated by Palestinians. A succession of terrorist groups such as Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, loosely organized under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), conducted commando and terrorist operations both within Israel and in other countries. In 1972 a Palestinian splinter group called Black September took hostage and then killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. Although the PLO renounced terrorism in 1988, radical Palestinian groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad have continued to wage a campaign of terror against Israel and its allies. In 1996 a series of suicide bomb attacks in Israel by supporters of Hamas killed more than 60 Israelis and imperiled the fragile peace between Israel and the PLO. Hostility to the support of the United States for Israel led to numerous acts of terrorism against American citizens by Palestinian radicals or their sympathizers. In 1983 attacks by Shiite Moslem suicide bombers on the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, and on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut killed nearly 300 people, most of whom were Americans. In 1988 a bomb destroyed Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board, including 189 United States citizens. In 1991 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency charged two Libyan terrorists with the crime. In 1996 a truck bomb exploded outside an apartment building housing U.S. military personnel in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American servicemen.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

3One of the most spectacular terrorist episodes in U.S. history was the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1993 by Islamic radicals. This incident aroused anxiety about the threat posed by foreign residents from nations hostile to the United States. Six people died in the blast, which caused an estimated $600 million in property and other economic damage. Trials that followed convicted six people of carrying out the attack.
4 In addition to concerns about foreign-sponsored terrorism, the United States has an ample history of domestic terrorism. Early in the 20th century, labor leaders such as William Dudley (Big Bill) Haywood openly espoused a philosophy of revolutionary violence and a commitment to the destruction of government power. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, during the latter stages of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, left-wing groups such as the Weather Underground bombed buildings on university campuses throughout the country and at corporation headquarters and government buildings in New York City. Between 1978 and 1995, an anarchist and terrorist known as the Unabomber planted or mailed homemade bombs that killed 3 people and wounded 23 others in 16 separate incidents throughout the United States. The Unabomber, who claimed an allegiance with radical environmentalists and others opposed to the effects of industrialization and technology, targeted university professors, corporate executives, and computer merchants. In April 1996 federal agents arrested Theodore Kaczynski, a suspect they thought to be the Unabomber. Kaczynski, a Harvard-educated former math professor who became a recluse, pled guilty to 13 federal charges in 1998 in exchange for agreement that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty during sentencing. The court sentenced Kaczynski to four life terms plus 30 years and ordered him to pay $15 million in restitution.
1In April 1995 a truck bomb exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people and injuring more than 500, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in United States history. Federal agents arrested two men for the crime, Timothy J. McVeigh and Terry L. Nichols. Both McVeigh and Nichols identified with the “patriot movement,” a loose alliance of extremist groups advocating resistance to national laws and political institutions. In June 1997 McVeigh was found guilty of murder in connection with the bombing and sentenced to death. Later in the year Nichols was convicted of the less severe charges of manslaughter and conspiracy, and he was sentenced to life in prison in June 1998.

2In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed antiterrorism legislation to strengthen the power of the federal government to anticipate and respond to both international and domestic terrorism. The law bars fundraising by foreign terrorist groups and provides for the death penalty in cases of international terrorism and for killing any federal employee because of the employee’s association with the federal government. The law also allows for the deportation of alien terrorists without the need to disclose classified evidence against them, and it authorizes expenditures of up to $1 billion on state and local antiterrorism efforts. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association opposed portions of the legislation that they claimed would provide the federal government with too much power, including an enhanced ability to wiretap and in other ways encroach upon the rights of citizens. Features of terrorism. Terrorist acts are committed for various reasons. Some individuals and groups that use terrorism support a particular political philosophy. Others represent minority groups seeking liberation from governments in power. Dictators and totalitarian governments also use violence to frighten or eliminate their opponents. Most terrorist groups are small. They believe the threat or use of violence to create fear is the best way to gain publicity and support for their causes. Generally, terrorists attack people who oppose their cause or objects that symbolize such opposition. Common victims of kidnappings and assassinations include diplomats, business executives, political leaders, police, and judges. Terrorists also attack churches, mosques, and synagogues, as well as oil refineries and government offices. At other times, terrorists choose any target certain to attract media coverage. Some terrorists hijack airplanes. Then they hold the passengers hostage and make demands to further their cause. They often threaten to kill the hostages if their demands are not met. Bombings make up about half of all terrorist acts.
3Terrorism may cross national boundaries. A quarrel in one nation may produce terrorist attacks in several other countries. Some governments secretly support certain terrorist groups by providing weapons, training, and money for attacks in other countries. Most terrorist groups fail to achieve their long-range political goals. Governments fight terrorism by refusing to accept terrorist demands and by increasing security at airports and other likely targets. Some countries train special military units to rescue hostages. All terrorist acts are crimes under international law.
4History of terrorism. Terrorist tactics have been used for centuries. An American group, the Ku Klux Klan, used violence to terrorize blacks and their sympathizers in the late 1800’s and the 1900’s. In the 1930’s, the dictators Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union used terrorism to discourage opposition to their governments.
5Another wave of terrorism began in the 1960’s. Terrorist groups included the Red Brigades in Italy, which was active until the late 1980’s, and the Red Army Faction in West Germany, which was active until the early 1990’s. Both groups sought the destruction of the political and economic systems in their home countries and the development of new systems. Before the independence of Israel in 1948, a Jewish group used terror to speed the end of British rule in Palestine and create a Jewish homeland. Since 1960, Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, have carried out campaigns of terrorism aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state.
6In Northern Ireland, Roman Catholic and Protestant extremists have used violence to push for, respectively, the end of, or the continuation of, British rule. Terrorists from other parts of the world, especially the Middle East, continue to set off bombs and commit other crimes. In 1993, a bomb exploded in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. The next year, a federal court convicted four men, including two Palestinians, of planning the bombing (see NEW YORK CITY [Recent developments]). Another major terrorist bombing occurred in Oklahoma City in 1995. Two Americans were convicted for their role in the attack
In my opinion terrorism is a growing form of violence in which a party tries to achieve a political goal and it must be fought against. The U.S. must decipher a clear cut way to deal with terrorist acts instead of acting on individual situations in an unorganized way by either using military force or ignoring terrorist demands all together. This approach obviously does not work, as shown in the above in my Summary and Evaluation, and it is in the U.S. best interest to change the non-negotiation system, which includes violent revenge, into a system of peaceful negotiation. This change may seem drastic and complicated but it is actually very simple, the U.S. only has to follow a few short and concise rules when dealing with a terrorist event whether it is a hostage situation or a horrific bombing. To begin, one must first fully understand what terrorist negotiation means before they can attempt to apply it. When negotiating with a terrorist it is not like negotiating for a used car that is you are negotiating against your interests. To better explain the U.S. would rather there weren’t terrorists at all even if we have a good way to deal with them. This form of negotiation is known as negotiation under duress. Now that the difference between negotiating and terrorist negotiating has been established three questions must now be answered. They are as follows: What do the terrorist parties say they want, what do they really want, and what are they willing to settle for. These questions must be answered in order for the negotiation process to move forward in an objective manner. Although individual terrorist cases require their own examination there are six flexible rules that must be followed in every case. The first rule states that a dialogue must be established and maintained with the terrorists. This keeps communication constant, open and honest. The second rule says that the U.S. must respond to routine demands, such as food, water and supplies. This keeps the terrorist content for the time being and makes them increasingly willing to settle for less. The third rules projects that the U.S. must always show strength and maintain the upper hand. If this is lost the terrorist may not be willing to settle for anything less than what they demand. The fourth rule states that the U.S. must be patient. Negotiation takes time and patience so the only way to ensure a fair and peaceful negotiation is to move slowly. The fifth rule is avoiding discussions of demands you do not want to meet. This rule helps the terrorist lessen his focus on that demand and onto something the U.S. can grant. The sixth and final rule states that the U.S. must negotiate with terrorist to win. This essentially means that we must get hostages back and prevent further attacks with out making any unexcitable concessions. In all, a system of negotiation would work to the U.S. advantage by making terrorist situations more manageable and easier to solve in a peaceful manner. It was difficult doing research on this subject for me. I was a victim of the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist act in Dhahran Saudi Arabia. When you experience something like that, you can’t begin to understand why anyone would be so cruel to do such an act. I will never forget what I experienced @ 2200 hrs, on June 25th 1996. The American public will never know the truth about what really happened that night, because the media left out the many horrors I saw with my own eyes that night. The many disfigured and burnt victims I looked hopelessly upon. I was in a state of shock for many months after. I couldn’t function as I had before the incident. Even today there are deep buried scars from that terrorist act. I have to continuously remind myself of the truth of what really happened that night. Because if I don’t, I will be twice the victim, once from the terrorist act on that night, and twice from the American media who would want me to believe that only one bomb, only 19 dead, and only a few wounded were victims that night. But I know differently.
Laqueur, Walter. The Age of Terrorism. Little, 1988. Terrorism within a historical perspective.

Long, David E. The Anatomy of Terrorism. Free, 1990. Analysis of the different types of terrorism,
“support for terrorism,” “strategy, tactics and victims,” “meeting the threat” (contents page).

Wright, Joanne. Terrorist Propaganda: The Red Army Faction and the Provisional IRA. St. Martin’s, 1991. Case study analysis of the Baader-Meinhof Gang and the IRA.

Terrorism, international.Microsoft? Encarta? Encyclopedia 2001. ? 1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Anderson, Sean, and Sloan, Stephen. Historical Dictionary of Terrorism. Scarecrow, 1995.
Seymour-Jones, Carole. Terrorism. New Discovery Bks., 1992.
World Book CD-ROM 2001
Emerson, Steve, and Brian Duffy. Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation. Putnam,1990. The terrorist bombing of a passenger jet.
Constantinides, George C. Intelligence and Espionage On Terrorism: An Analytical View. Boulder,CO: Westview Press, 1983. [Constantinides
Wilcox, Laird, comp. Political Psychology, Propaganda, Espionage, Intelligence Operations, Terrorism, and Assassination. Kansas City, MO: Laird Wilcox, 1980.

Sociology Essays


I'm Belinda!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out