Terrorism and Intelligence Failures
Terrorism by dictionary definition is described as the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. Terrorism comes from decades of histories of deep national pride, religious disputes and what is seen as an intrusion upon Islamic holy grounds. Terrorist groups try to gain influence and power in order to affect political change on either a local or an international level. They make this possible through the publicity and fear that is generated by their violent acts. Throughout history terrorist groups have caused much devastation and damage, leaving a huge impact on the world. Terrorism is one of the leading problems in today’s society. The terrorist attack against the United States, on September 11th, 2011, clearly demonstrated the power and strength that terrorist groups possess. The causes of these acts come from the instability, oppression, poverty and political alienation that the citizens of many Islamic-Arab nations face. As a result, the people of Afghanistan and many other Arab nations have generated a deep hatred for the United States going back over a hundred years. The American government and intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, now work harder than ever to prevent such horrifying acts of terrorism from re occurring, since they failed in the prevention of 9/11. “Terrorism is a complex problem: Its origins are diverse; and those who engage in it, even more so” (Reich, 1). The actions of terrorist groups, as well as terrorists as individuals, are complex. One must recognize that there is not only a single explanation for the act of terrorism. The subject is very intricate and involves a huge diversity of causes and reasons that aid in the explanation and understanding of terrorism. In the book, Origins of Terrorism, Walter Reich examines the psychologies, ideologies, theologies, and the states of mind of terrorists in an attempt to better understand the realms of terrorism. Reich does not only work with terrorism studies itself but instead works within the realms of political science, Islam, history and social psychology to gain a more well rounded understanding of terrorism. Through recognizing the knowledge of these realms, Reich and other scholar’s state this information can contribute to the understanding of the ways in which terrorists view the world and behave in it. Terrorism can be explained as an expression of political strategy. Meaning that terrorist behavior is a willing choice made by an organization for specific strategic reasons. These organizations are very radical political groups that determine that terrorism is the best course of action in accomplishing their political goals. “The practitioners of terrorism often claim that they had no choice but terrorism, and it is indeed true that terrorism often follows the failure of other methods” (Reich, 10). Failure to mobilize support from masses, lacking of utilization of military power, time constraints and unrealistic expectations cause radical political organizations to turn to terrorism. By choosing terrorism, group members and leaders, willingly accept the risks of challenging the government. The origin of terrorism is as old as humans’ willingness to affect politics through the use of violent acts. Terrorism dates back to first-century Palestine when a Jewish group fought and murdered the Romans and their collaborators who ruled over them. Terrorism went on to be classified as a modern phenomenon. In the twentieth century terrorism was associated with the Italian Red Brigades, the Irish Republican army, the Palestine Liberation Organization and Perv’s shining paths among many others. Terrorism moved away from being based on state action and moved further into a larger aspect of attack against...
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