Terrorism is a form of violence that is difficult to define. The State Department defines terrorism as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." Terrorism is not a random, undirected, purposeless act of violence, it has definite goals and violence is the medium of attaining those goals. The most well-known, recent instance of terrorism were the attacks made on the World Trade Center on September 11th , but terrorism goes back to first-century Palestine, where Jewish Zealots would publicly slit the throats of Romans and their collaborators. Because the causes of terrorism are so deep-rooted and complex, the solutions must be multi-faceted and not focus solely on one country or issue. This is where I believe the current American policy towards terrorism is flawed.
Terrorist activities are pervasive in modern society. In 1920 TNT bomb exploded on Wall Street opposite House of Morgan, killing 35 people and injuring hundreds more. Bolshevist or anarchist terrorists were believed responsible. Then on January 24, 1975 in New York City, a bomb set off in historic Fraunces Tavern killed 4 and injured more than 50 people. A Puerto Rican nationalist group claimed responsibility, and police tied 13 other bombings to the group. Then in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon another terrorist attack was carried out against the United States. The U.S. embassy was destroyed in a suicide car-bomb attack. 63 were dead, including 17 Americans. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. In 1993 the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time. In a failed attempt to take down the towers, Al-Qaeda used a truck bomb in the basement of the complex. 6 were killed and over 1 thousand were injured. The second World Trade Center attacks came on September 11th 2001. The 911 attacks inflicted mass casualties by using commercial airliner as huge, jet- fuel laden missiles. In all, 3,030 Americans lost there lives on that day. Recently in a train station in Madrid , Spain. The reason Spain was attacked was to force Spanish troops to pull out of Iraq and stop helping American soldiers In all 190 people died in the March 2004 bombing. This attack perhaps made Europe more focused on the issue of terrorism.
These more recent attacks (September 11th and Madrid) solidified Western resolve to address terrorism. These attacks were bolder and carried out on western soil, joining all Americans (and many Europeans) in a new nationalist movement to stop terrorism. The group behind the attacks, Al-Qaeda, is an Afghanistan based group led by Osama Bin-Laden. Al-Qaeda seeks to rid Muslim countries of what it sees as the profane influence of the West and replace their governments with fundamentalist Islamic regimes.
What is the root cause of terrorism and what can be done about it? While no-one knows for sure, there...