Journal Entry: Defining Terrorism

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Question Description

Each journal entry should contain several paragraphs, written in your own words, and should conform to the format below.

Journal Format

Author ______________________ Reading Title ________________________

Your Name ___________________ Date ______________________________

  1. Summary
    • Write from memory, noting what you recall as the main ideas of the reading.
  1. Integration
  • In your own words, how does this reading “connect” (amplify, contradict, substantiate, etc.) to other information about this topic? The other information may be in the form of other readings, news stories, or images of the police portrayed in popular culture.
  • What do you see as the implications of the ideas covered in the reading?
  1. Application
    • How can you use the information in this reading?
    • Does the reading change your view of some aspect of terrorism? Explain.
    • If you think there is no application for the material, say so. However, provide a rationale for your position.
  1. Evaluation
    • Describe your reaction to the reading (like, dislike, etc.). Why?
    • Who is the appropriate audience for this reading? Why?
    • What would make the reading more useful?

5. Essay question

    • Create an essay question based on the reading that requires critical thinking (comparing, analyzing, evaluating, critiquing, justifying, etc.). The question should be capable of being answered by someone who has read this and earlier readings in our class.

Other assignments will require Internet research or written responses to a series of questions. I will use the responses to written assignments and journal entries as catalysts for reflection, making connections among ideas and topics, and as a means of demonstrating knowledge of concepts, ideas and important points.


I will collect, review, and score the journal entries and other writing assignments after the class meeting when the journal or assignment is due. The journal scoring rubric is included on page 9 of this syllabus. There is no credit for submitting late written work.

Pleas make sure that the style is direct and, simple word , see the attachment

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Chapter 2 The Nature of the Beast Defining Terrorism Opening Viewpoint: Are Hate Crimes Acts of Terrorism? Hate crimes refers to behaviors that are considered to be bias-motivated crimes but that at times seem to fit the definition of acts of terrorism. Hate crimes are a legalistic concept in Western democracies that embody (in the law) a criminological approach to a specific kind of deviant behavior. These laws focus on a specific motive for criminal behavior—crimes that are directed against protected classes of people because of their membership in these protected classes. Thus, hate crimes are officially considered to be a law enforcement issue rather than one of national security. The separation between hate crimes and terrorism is not always clear because “hate groups at times in their life cycles might resemble gangs and at other times paramilitary organizations or terrorist groups.”a They represent “another example of small, intense groups that sometimes resort to violence to achieve their goals by committing . . . vigilante terrorism.”b Among experts, the debate about what is or is not “terrorism” has resulted in a large number of official and unofficial definitions. A similar debate has arisen about how to define hate crimes because “it is difficult to construct an exhaustive definition of the term. . . . Crime—hate crime included—is relative.”c In fact, there is no agreement on what label to use for behaviors that many people commonly refer to as “hate crimes.” For example, in the United States, attacks by White neo-Nazi youths against African Americans, gays, and religious institutions have been referred to with such diverse terms as hate crime, hate-motivated crime, bias crime, biasmotivated crime, and ethno-violence.d Are hate crimes acts of terrorism? The answer is that not all acts of terrorism are hate crimes, and not all hate crimes are acts of terrorism. For example, dissident terrorists frequently target a state or system with little or no animus against a particular race, religion, or other group. Likewise, state terrorism is often motivated by a perceived need to preserve or reestablish the state’s defined vision of social order without targeting a race, religion, or other group. On the other hand, criminal behavior fitting federal or state definitions of hate crimes in the United States can have little or no identifiable political agenda, other than hatred toward a protected class of people. It is when political violence is directed against a particular group—such as a race, religion, nationality, or generalized “undesirable”—that these acts possibly fit the definitions of both hate crimes and terrorism. Terrorists often launch attacks against people who symbolize the cause that they oppose. In the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere, many individuals and groups act out violently to promote an agenda that seeks to “purify” society. These crimes are committed by groups or individuals who are “dealing in the artificial currency of . . . ‘imagined communities’—utopian pipe dreams and idealizations of ethnically cleansed communities.”e For example, after German reunification, “street renegades [demanded] a new Lebensraum of a purified Germany whose national essence and coherence will not be weakened and ‘contaminated’ by ethnic and racial minorities.”f Their targeted enemies were Turkish, Slavic, and southern European immigrants and “guest workers.” This chapter concludes with a Case in Point discussing the 2016 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the United States, within the context of incidents that can be defined as both an act of terrorism and a hate crime. Notes a. Barkan, Steven E., and Lynne L. Snowden. Collective Violence. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001, p. 105. b. Ibid., p. 106. c. Perry, Barbara. In the Name of Hate: Understanding Hate Crimes. New York: Routledge, 2001, p. 8. d. Hamm, Mark S. “Conceptualizing Hate Crime in a Global Context.” In Hate Crime: International Perspectives on Causes and Control, edited by Mark S. Hamm. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson, 1994, p. 174. e. Kelly, Robert J., and Jess Maghan. Hate Crime: The Global Politics of Polarization. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998, p. 6. Citing Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: New Left, 1983. f. Ibid., p. 5. This chapter investigates definitional issues in the study of terrorism. Readers will probe the nuances of these issues and will learn that the truism “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is a significant factor in the definitional debate. It must be remembered that this debate occurs within a practical and “real-life” framework—in other words, a nontheoretical reality that some political, religious, or ethnonationalist beliefs and behaviors are so reprehensible that they cannot be considered to be mere differences in opinion. Some violent incidents are mala in se acts of terrorist violence. For example, the New Terrorism is characterized by the threat of weapons of mass destruction, indiscriminate targeting, and intentionally high casualty rates—as occurred in the attacks of September 11, 2001, in the United States; March 11, 2004, in Spain; July 7, 2005, in Great Britain; November 26–29, 2008, in India; January and November 2015 in France; March 22, 2016, in Belgium; and repeated attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria. The use of these weapons and tactics against civilians is indefensible, no matter what cause is championed by those who use them. Photo 2.1 A new fascist generation? Youthful racist skinheads in London give the fascist salute. Leon Morris/Hulton Archive/Getty Images The definitional debate is evident in the following examples drawn from state-sponsored and dissident terrorist environments: • State-Sponsored Terrorist Environments. The Régime de la Terreur during the French Revolution was an instrument of revolutionary justice, such that terrorism was considered a positive medium used by the defenders of order and liberty. From their perspective, state-sponsored domestic terrorism was both necessary and acceptable to consolidate power and protect liberties won during the revolution. Modern examples of state terrorism such as Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia also sought to consolidate an ideological vision through internal political violence—a racial new order in Germany and • an egalitarian workers’ state in the Soviet Union. The methods they used to build the ideological vision resulted in the deaths of many millions of noncombatant civilians, and both the Nazi and Stalinist regimes were by definition quintessential terrorist states. Dissident Terrorist Environments. The anticolonial and nationalist wars after World War II often pitted indigenous rebels against European colonial powers or ruling local elites. Many of these wars involved the use of terrorism as an instrument of war by both state and dissident forces. During these wars, as well as in subsequent domestic rebellions, the rebels were referred to as freedom fighters by those who favored their cause.1 The counterpoints to these freedom fighters were the European and American “colonial and imperialist oppressors.” Thus, for example, indiscriminate attacks against civilians by rebels in French Indochina and French Algeria were rationalized by many of their supporters as acceptable tactics during wars of liberation by freedom fighters against a colonial oppressor. The discussion in this chapter will review the following: • • • • Understanding Extremism: The Foundation of Terrorism Defining Terrorism: An Ongoing Debate A Definitional Problem: Perspectives on Terrorism The Political Violence Matrix Understanding Extremism: The Foundation of Terrorism An important step toward defining terrorism is to develop an understanding of the sources of terrorism. To identify them, one must first understand the important role of extremism as a primary feature of all terrorist behavior. Behind each incident of terrorist violence is some deeply held belief system that has motivated the perpetrators. Such systems are, at their core, extremist systems characterized by intolerance. One must keep in mind, however, that though terrorism is a violent expression of these beliefs, it is by no means the only possible manifestation of extremism. On a scale of activist behavior, extremists can engage in such benign expressions as sponsoring debates or publishing newspapers. They might also engage in vandalism and other disruptions of the normal routines of their enemies. Though intrusive and often illegal, these are examples of political expression that cannot be construed as terrorist acts. Our focus in this and subsequent chapters will be on violent extremist behavior that many people would define as acts of terrorism. First, we must briefly investigate the general characteristics of the extremist foundations of terrorism. Defining Extremism Political extremism refers to taking a political idea to its limits, regardless of unfortunate repercussions, impracticalities, arguments, and feelings to the contrary, and with the intention not only to confront, but to eliminate opposition. . . . Intolerance toward all views other than one’s own.2 Extremism is a precursor to terrorism—it is an overarching belief system that is used by terrorists to justify their violent behavior. Extremism is characterized by what a person’s beliefs are as well as how a person expresses his or her beliefs. Thus, no matter how offensive or reprehensible one’s thoughts or words are, they are not by themselves acts of terrorism. Only persons who violently act out their extremist beliefs are labeled terrorists. Two examples illustrate this point: First, an example of extremist behavior. Daniel and Philip Berrigan were well-known members of the Roman Catholic pacifist left and were leaders in the antiwar and antinuclear movements in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. What they believed in was an uncompromising commitment to pacifism. How they expressed their beliefs was by committing a series of symbolic, and often illegal, protest actions. During one such action on May 17, 1968, they and seven other Catholic men and women entered the Baltimore Selective Service Board, stole Selective Service classification forms, took them outside to a parking lot, and burned several hundred of the documents with a homemade, napalm-like gelled mixture of gasoline and soap flakes. This was certainly extremist behavior, but it falls short of terrorism.3 Second, an example of extremist speech. The American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (AKKKK) were an activist faction of the KKK that operated mostly in the Midwest and East during the 1990s. What they believed in was racial supremacy. How they expressed their beliefs was by holding a series of rallies at government sites, often county courthouses. They were known for their vitriolic rhetoric. The following remarks were reportedly taken from a speech delivered by the Imperial Wizard of the AK-KKK in March 1998 at a rally held at the county courthouse in Butler, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh: Take a stand. . . . Join the Klan, stick up for your rights. . . . Only God has the right to create a race—not no black and white, not no nigger, not no Jew. . . . Yes, I will use the word nigger, because it is not illegal. . . . We are sick and tired of the government taking your money, and giving food and jobs to the niggers when the white race has to go without! Wake up America.4 This language is intentionally racist, hateful, and inflammatory, yet it falls short of advocating violence or revolution. A sympathetic listener might certainly act out against one of the enemy groups identified in the speech, but it reads more like a racist diatribe than a revolutionary manifesto. Common Characteristics of Violent Extremists Scholars and other experts have identified common characteristics exhibited by violent extremists. These characteristics are expressed in different ways, depending on a movement’s particular belief system. The following commonalities are summaries of traits identified by these experts and are by no means an exhaustive inventory.5 Intolerance Intolerance is the hallmark of extremist belief systems and terrorist behavior. The cause is considered to be absolutely just and good, and those who disagree with the cause (or some aspect of the cause) are cast into the category of the opposition. Terrorists affix their opponents with certain negative or derisive labels to set them apart from the extremists’ movement. These characterizations are often highly personalized so that specific individuals are identified who symbolize the opposing belief system or cause. Thus, during the Cold War, the American president was labeled by the pro–United States camp as the “leader of the free world” and by Latin American Marxists as the embodiment of “Yankee imperialism.”6 Moral Absolutes Extremists adopt moral absolutes so that the distinction between good and evil is clear, as are the lines between the extremists and their opponents. The extremists’ belief or cause is a morally correct vision of the world and is used to establish moral superiority over others. Violent extremists thus become morally and ethically pure elites who lead the oppressed masses to freedom. For example, religious terrorists generally believe that their one true faith is superior to all others and that any behavior committed in defense of the faith is fully justifiable. Broad Conclusions Extremist conclusions are made to simplify the goals of the cause and the nature of the extremist’s opponents. These generalizations are not debatable and allow for no exceptions. Evidence for these conclusions is rooted in one’s belief system rather than based on objective data. Terrorists often believe these generalizations because in their minds, they simply must be true. For example, ethnonationalists frequently categorize all members of their opponent group as having certain broadly negative traits. New Language and Conspiratorial Beliefs Language and conspiracies are created to demonize the enemy and set the terrorists apart from those not part of their belief system. Extremists thus become an elite with a hidden agenda and targets of that agenda. For example, some American far- and fringe-right conspiracy proponents express their anti-Semitic beliefs by using coded references to international bankers or a Zionistoccupied government (ZOG). Neo-Nazi rightists degrade members of non-European races by referring to them as mud people. The World of the Extremist Extremists have a very different—and, at times, fantastic—worldview compared with nonextremists. They set themselves apart as protectors of some truth or as the true heirs of some legacy. For example, racial extremists within the American Patriot movement have argued that non-Whites are “Fourteenth Amendment citizens,” and that only “whites are sovereign citizens whose rights are delineated, not by the government, but rather by a cobbled assortment of historical writings whose meaning is often subject to their fanciful interpretation.”7 Extremists frequently believe that secret and quasi-mystical forces are arrayed against them and that these forces are the cause of worldwide calamities. For example, some bigoted conspiracy believers argue that the Illuminati or international Judaism mysteriously control world banking and the media or that they run the governments of France and the United States. One conspiracy theory that was widely believed among Islamist extremists in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks was that Israeli agents were behind the attacks; that 4,000 Jews received telephone calls to evacuate the World Trade Center in New York; and therefore that no Jews were among the victims of the attack. As in the past, religion is often an underlying impetus for extremist activity. When extremists adopt a religious belief system, their worldview becomes one of a struggle between supernatural forces of good and evil. They view themselves as living a righteous life in a manner that fits with their interpretation of God’s will. According to religious extremists, those who do not conform to their belief system are opposed to the one true faith. Those who live according to the accepted belief system are a chosen people, and those who do not are not chosen. These interpretations of how one should behave include elements of the social or political environment that underlies the belief system. For example, Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, is a fundamentalist Christian university founded in 1927. It once justified its prohibition against interracial dating and marriage as an application of God-mandated truths found in Holy Scripture. Similarly, one student at a Pakistani religious school explained that “Osama [bin Laden] wants to keep Islam pure from the pollution of the infidels. . . . He believes Islam is the way for all the world. He wants to bring Islam to all the world.”8 Photo 2.2 Members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, including a young boy, march in Washington, D.C., from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol building. David S. Holloway/Getty Images News/Getty Images Extremists have a very clear sense of mission, purpose, and righteousness. They create a worldview that sets them apart from the rest of society. Thus, extremist beliefs and terrorist behaviors are very logical from the perspective of those who accept the extremists’ belief system but illogical from the point of view of those who reject the system. Defining Terrorism: An Ongoing Debate The effort to formally define terrorism is a critical one because government antiterrorist policy calculations must be based on criteria that determine whether a violent incident is an act of terrorism. Governments and policy makers must piece together the elements of terrorist behavior and demarcate the factors that distinguish terrorism from other forms of conflict. There is some consensus among experts—but no unanimity—on what kind of violence constitutes an act of terrorism. Governments have developed definitions of terrorism, individual agencies within governments have adopted definitions, private agencies have designed their own definitions, and academic experts have proposed and analyzed dozens of definitional constructs. This lack of unanimity, which exists throughout the public and private sectors, is an accepted reality in the study of political violence. A significant amount of intellectual energy has been devoted to identifying formal elements of terrorism, as illustrated by Alex Schmid’s surveys, which identified more than 100 definitions.9 Establishing formal definitions can, of course, be complicated by the perspectives of the participants in a terrorist incident, who instinctively differentiate freedom fighters from terrorists, regardless of formal definitions. Another complication is that most definitions focus on political violence perpetrated by dissident groups, even though many governments have practiced terrorism as both domestic and foreign policy. Guerrilla Warfare One important distinction must be kept in mind and understood at the outset: Terrorism is not synonymous with guerrilla warfare. The term guerrilla (“little war”) was developed during the early 19th century, when Napoleon’s army fought a long, brutal, and ultimately unsuccessful war in Spain. Unlike the Napoleonic campaigns elsewhere in Europe, which involved conventional armies fighting set-piece battles in accordance with rules of engagement, the war in Spain was a classic unconventional conflict. The Spanish people, as opposed to the Spanish army, rose in rebellio ...
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