Terror And War Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Terrorism Type: Essay Paper: #21384356 Related Topics: Ku Klux Klan, Ottoman Empire, War, Funeral Home
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … War on Terror

Terrorism has always been with society, but since 2001 the elements of how it is handled have changed to some extent. In order to understand how that has taken place, it is vital to look carefully at the historical events of terrorism. These events were significant in that they caused serious harm to a number of people and structures, but they also matter because they provide a timeline of how things have changed and how terrorism -- and the responses to it -- has evolved over the years (Coaty, 12). As the terrorists have focused on doing different things, the people who are trained to respond to terror have also changed their focus. It is both of these sides of the terrorist issue that have to be examined to provide a proper understanding of what terrorism does and how those who combat it and fight against it have made adjustments to what works when going up against terrorists. Terrorists of the past and those in the present have used similar tactics, even though their methods have changed (Coaty, 13).

The similarity of terrorist tactics throughout history is worthy of mentioning, because it implies that there are only certain ways that terrorists plan and carry out their activities, no matter what those activities may be. With only specific ways these issues are handled, there are specific ways in which they can be addressed and potentially avoided or stopped before they have the opportunity to become more serious (Coaty, 28). In short, terrorism follows a pattern. Once that pattern is better understood, there is an opportunity to use that pattern against the terrorists and focus on ways in which they can be defeated. The patterns of these terrorists go all the way back to 1865, when "home-grown" terrorists such as the KKK engaged in terrorists activities and murders as a way to retaliate against desegregation discussions (Coaty, 39). While many people only think of terrorism as coming from afar, anyone can commit a terroristic act, whether part of a particular country (or group) or not.

The United States is not immune to terrorism, but it is also certainly not the only country where these kinds of atrocities have been committed. Every country is susceptible to terrorist activities from the people who live there and people who travel to the country looking to harm the citizens. Often, there are deep-seated reasons these people attempt to cause harm to others. Most notably, they focus on religious and political difference (Coaty, 48). The tensions between the Muslim and the Christian worlds, for example, have been going on since nearly the beginning of time. The fighting between the two groups is nothing new, and the terrorism that has been committed by both groups is ongoing. Most people do not think of Christian groups as being terrorists of any kind, and see them as the victims, instead. However, that had not always been the case. Many terrible acts have been committed throughout history in the name of Christianity, and Groups Like Westborough Baptist Church claim to be Christian but still show up to taunt and terrorize guests at military funerals and other events.

A person or group does not have to be committed to killing others to engage in activity that can be considered terroristic (Coaty, 50). The main goal of terrorists is to create feelings of terror in others, and that can be done in a number of ways. The threat of death is often used, but is not required for a person to experience terror. Throughout history, from the Ottoman Empire to September 11th, 2001, terrorism has been a part of the world. Every time a terrorist act has been undertaken, an element of surprise had been used to make sure the victims were caught off guard. That increases the fear the person feels, and -- when done to large groups -- can cause people to harm one another in stampedes and other fear-based choices. It is as though the terrorists find it amusing, to see their victims running around in fear and turmoil (Coaty, 73). Another thing to note about terrorism is that it has been...


These people have seen the risk of terrorism as a real threat, and have taken it seriously. By doing that, they have reduced the chance of harm coming to them and others around them. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to catch terrorists before they commit their acts. When this occurs, there are pieces to be picked up -- but there are also lessons to be learned and patterns to be studied. Those lessons can help stop future terrorist activities, which has the potential to save hundreds or even thousands of lives. All too often, though, people do not realize who the actual terrorists are or, rather, they do not expand their definition of terrorist far enough (Coaty, 14). When one country or group is an enemy, any of the countries or groups who are friends with them should also be considered to be enemies (Coaty, 14).

This is where many people (and even entire governments) make their mistake. They see a particular group or country as being dangerous, and they may be right, but they do not take enough of a careful look at the people, countries, and groups those people associate with (Coaty, 30). As a result of that, they fail to act appropriately when it comes to these "friends of enemies" groups, and that can keep them from stopping terrorists before they can do any harm. That is not to imply that no one in a particular country can be trusted, of course, because there are many thoughts and beliefs that are seen in such a large melting pot of an area. Still, governments that work with other governments generally speak for their countries, and what they find acceptable and will allow in those countries. It is these governments whose actions need to be watched closely, as they can conspire with other countries to either advocate terrorism or simply look the other way when it occurs.

A true understanding of the war on terror takes considerable time. Patterns of activity must be monitored, associations between groups, people, and countries must be studied, and the definition of what a terrorist is often changes and requires adaptation (Coaty, 49). While it is clear that those who terrorize others can and should be called terrorists, it is also clear that people can be terrorized in a number of different ways. Additionally, there are not many deterrents to which most terrorists readily respond. They can be locked up in jail or even killed, but the understanding that these things could happen generally does not faze them. Instead, they are focused on the idea that these "problems" will make them martyrs for their cause. They will be applauded, appreciated, and remembered by others in their group and those who are sympathetic to their cause. Because they understand and even welcome the opportunity to be a martyr, it is not possible to threaten them with death or imprisonment. They only see it as furthering the cause they believe in.

Terrorists can hide their thoughts and beliefs well. They have to, or they would be too easily found out and their plot would fail. As such, they are careful who they talk to and choosy about whom they trust. To some extent, that can be used against them (Coaty, 54). Getting an agent or informant into the terrorists' inner circle is one of the ways that terrorism can be better understood. It allows knowledge to be imparted and helps a foreign government better understand the inner workings of terrorist cells. Even though these groups are not all the same, they all do have things in common that can be used against them, as long as they are discovered in time (Coaty, 148). Sometimes, it is easier to get into the groups or countries that are "friends" with these terrorist organizations first, and then work one's way into the organization itself. When done that way, there is a certain level of trust that is already established and that can be used to infiltrate a terrorist group.

Gaining the trust of a terrorist group is not the only way to foil much of what these groups plan. Another way governments are getting a handle on terrorism is through spying. The more informants a government or country has, the more likely they will be to find ways to determine what terrorists have planned. Then those plans can be stopped, and the terrorists arrested. While many terrorists are not fearful of arrest or even death, removing them from their group and keeping…

Sources Used in Documents:


Coaty, P. (2012). Understanding the war on terror (3rd ed.). IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Cite this Document:

"Terror And War" (2014, November 21) Retrieved August 14, 2022, from

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