Categories for Counterterrorism

What is counterterrorism? Essay

What is counterterrorism? Essay

Counter-terrorism can be referred to the various strategies, practices and tactics that the government or the military uses to fight and eliminate terrorism. Eliminating terrorism includes reducing the damage caused by terrorism as well as preventing it from gaining heights. It can be expressed as the complete removal of the enemy, to totally destroy the terrorist organization and to curb the enemy’s desire to commit terrorist activities which are against the state and its citizens. The controversial issue could to resolved as the motive behind is a political one and so the solution is to be a political one.

One of the goals of counter terrorism should be to minimize the damage done by terrorism. These include reducing the number of attacks and the prevention of certain types of attacks such as suicide attacks and mass killings etc. It is essential to see that the attacks do not gain momentum and that the attacks are stopped on time. The terrorist organization’s growth should be curbed, they should be stopped from gaining political achievement in the international arena and the support they get from foreign countries should either be locked or neutralized.

Terrorism can be defined from numerous points of view. A few of them are political, psychological, coercive, dynamic, and deliberate. A terrorist act is considered political when it is committed to cause a political effect; a psychological effect is produced when it produces terror. This is aimed at a targeted audience rather than the actual victims. The targeted audience can be the decision makers or the whole population as a whole. Moreover the terrorists use violence and destruction to produce the desired effect.

If they successfully kidnap a hostage, it results in the hostage being freed unharmed if the negotiations have gone in the terrorists’ favor. Terrorism demands change, revolution and political movement. It is also well planned to achieve the desired goals. For the terrorist the victim is of little importance for the target of terrorism is not the victim but psychological balance. People turn to terrorism for a number of reasons. “One reason why people become terrorists is because they have been deeply hurt, shamed, or humiliated.

The same can be said about communities that engage in terrorism. ” Joan Arehart-Treichel . Terrorism is used to instill fear and challenge the authority of the government, thus terrorism uses a lot of tactics to gain their means and end. According to John Alderdice, M. D. , a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, “Terrorism is not a structure, nor an organization, nor a belief system, but a tactic… ” Moreover terrorist do not consider their acts as wrong, instead they are justified in their thinking that they are putting right a grievous wrong.

In their view they are nothing less than heroes who have embarked on this dangerous mission or have died for a cause. If we consider the question, who are these people who turn towards terrorism , we observe that they are the ones who are emerging from poverty as John Alderdice states,” Bin Laden is not a poor man. ” Besides this people become terrorists for a number of other reasons. According to Alderdice, some become terrorists because their ancestors were terrorists, still others because they gain from joined organized crime.

Political factors may be responsible for people turning towards terrorism or even a desire for revenge because of some aspect in their life which has hurt them immensely. Sometimes even whole communities turn together towards terrorism as they are convinced that the government is against their beliefs and culture. The hurt the people feel can be carried on for years and centuries as Alderdice says, “Terrorism deployed by a community is usually a later stage in a hurt-humiliation process that may have been going on for many years.

The timeframe may even be centuries. ” Thus to counter terrorism the community as a whole should be taken through the healing process which is a long drawn out process and may even take longer than the number of years they spent as terrorists for a hurt is not forgotten easily. 2. Is counterterrorism a tactic of warfare or crime-fighting? What role does due process play in either context? What are the implications when terrorists can be characterized as the `enemy` rather than mere criminals?

Terrorists cannot be classified as just criminals for they selectively choose their targets not randomly. Counterterrorism can therefore be classified as a tactic of warfare rather than crime fighting. If a comparative study is done between a terrorist and a criminal we find that the terrorist has a political objective while fighting whereas a criminal looks for crimes of opportunity. Terrorism is motivated by religion or idealism but crime is uncommitted. The former is group focused and consumed with power but criminal tendencies are self centered and have no cause to fight for.

Terrorists are trained and motivated for the mission and are always on the attack whereas criminals are not trained and are more escape oriented. Nevertheless terrorism can be termed as a criminal act. If the terrorist identifies himself with either military terminology or civilian imagery, he can be termed a criminal in both cases. Violation of civil criminal laws is seen in activities like murder, kidnapping etc. If a terrorist uses violence saying it is military combatant, he becomes a ‘de facto war’ under international law.

When we regard the terrorists’ as the enemy we realize that the U. S. and its allies have enemies in many places. The greatest threat is the al Qaeba and its affiliates. They call themselves as the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders and their one aim is to bring an end to Western Civilization. Brian Jenkins, an expert on terrorism says that there is a lot of change between terrorism nowadays and terrorism which existed earlier. Earlier according to him, “Terrorists want a lot of people watching not a lot of people dead” (31)

In the 1980s, the terrorists had specific goals in order to change the specific behavior of a political body, but with religious extremism gaining momentum terrorism has changed drastically. Today terrorist groups are capable of killing more than ever before. The U. S. has been the target of terrorism for the last 35 years but more than three times as many people were killed on September 11, 2001. Since September 11, there have been many more attacks resulting in several deaths. In 2004 there were six attacks that claimed more than 100 lives each. The most deadly was the Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia when 344 people were killed.