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Terrorism in United Kingdom

What is Terrorism? Terrorism as a Political Act

Introduction to Terrorism

Terrorism is by nature political because it involves the acquisition and use of power for the purpose of forcing others to submit, or agree, to terrorist demands. A terrorist attack, by generating publicity and focusing attention on the organization behind the attack, is designed to create this power. It also fosters an environment of fear and intimidation that the terrorists can manipulate. As a result terrorism’s success is best measured by its ability to attract attention to the terrorists and their cause and by the psychological impact it exerts over a nation and its citizenry. It differs in this respect from conventional warfare, where success is measured by the amount of military assets destroyed, the amount of territory seized, and the number of enemy dead.

Terrorists typically attempt to justify their use of violence by arguing that they have been excluded from, or frustrated by, the accepted processes of bringing about political change. They maintain that terrorism is the only option available to them, although their choice is a reluctant-even a regrettable-one. Whether someone agrees with this argument or not often depends on whether the person sympathizes with the terrorists’ cause or with the victims of the terrorist attack. The aphorism “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” underscores how use of the label terrorism can be highly subjective depending upon one’s sympathies.

At the same time terrorist acts-including murder, kidnapping, bombing, and arson-have long been defined in both national and international law as crimes. Even in time of war, violence deliberately directed against innocent civilians is considered a crime. Similarly, violence that spreads beyond an acknowledged geographical theater of war to violate the territory of neutral or noncombatant states is also deemed a war crime.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about Terrorism in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Terrorism

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    (2014, 08). Terrorism lawi.org.uk Retrieved 01, 2021, from https://lawi.org.uk/terrorism/

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Terrorism
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: What is Terrorism? Terrorism as a Political Act Introduction to Terrorism Terrorism is by nature political because it [...]

    This entry was last updated: August 24, 2014


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