Essay on “Terrorism” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary Examinations

This is an essay on “Terrorism” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary examinations. Terrorism is called the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. in this essay you will learn about Terrorism, its types, terrorist incidents, and the causes of terrorism. In this essay, you will learn about terrorism, its types, and the causes of terrorism. So here is a complete essay on the topic of Terrorism for CSS, PMS, and All other Judiciary Examinations.

Essay on “Terrorism”

Terrorism is the willful destruction of people or property by people not acting on behalf of an established government to redress a real or imaginary injustice attributed to an established government.
Terrorism has become a part of modern life. Hijackings, bombings, and assassinations on different continents of the world may seem like isolated attacks, but they reflect an easy reliance on violence as a way to promote social, political, and religious change. They are elements of a pervasive end that justify the means philosophy being followed to its most perverse conclusions.

International terrorism has become the scourge of all democratic governments. This democratic government is accustomed to dealing within a legal structure, often finds it difficult to deal with criminals and terrorists that routinely operate outside of the law. However, deterrence is just as much a part of justice as proper enforcement of the laws.

Democratic governments that do not deter criminals inevitably spawn vigilantism as normally law-abiding citizens who have lost confidence in the criminal justice system take the law into their own hands.

A similar backlash is beginning to emerge as a result of the inability of western democracies to defend themselves against terrorists. However, a lack of governmental resolve is only part of the problem.

Terrorism is not new, and even though it has been used since the beginning of recorded history it can be relatively hard to define. Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. Obviously, a lot depends on whose point of view is being represented. Terrorism has often been an effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict.

As an asymmetric form of conflict, it confers coercive power with many of the advantages of military force at a fraction of the cost. Due to the secretive nature and small size of terrorist organizations, they often offer opponents no clear organization to defend against or to deter.

That is why preemption is being considered to be so important. In some cases, terrorism has been a means to carry on a conflict without the adversary realizing the nature of the threat, mistaking terrorism for criminal activity. Because of these characteristics, terrorism has become increasingly common among those pursuing extreme goals throughout the world. But despite its popularity, terrorism can be a nebulous concept. Even within the U.S. Government, agencies responsible for different functions in the ongoing fight against terrorism use different definitions.

Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond· the immediate victim. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that .draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public’s or government’s reaction to the act.

There are three perspectives of terrorism: the terrorists, the victims, and the general public. The phrase “one man’s terrorist is another. man’s freedom fighter” is a view terrorists themselves would accept. Terrorists do not see themselves as evil. They believe they are legitimate combatants, fighting for what they believe in, by whatever means possible. A victim of a terrorist act .sees the terrorist as a criminal with no regard for human life. The general public’s view is the most unstable.

The terrorists take great pains to foster a “Robin Hood” image in hope of swaying the general public’s point of view toward their cause. This sympathetic view of terrorism has become· an integral part of their psychological warfare and needs to be countered vigorously.

Terrorist acts or the threat of such action have been in existence for millennia. Despite having a history longer than the modern nation-state, the use of terror by governments and those that contest their power remains poorly understood. While the meaning of the word terror itself is clear, when it is applied to acts and actors in the real world it becomes confused. Part of this is due to the use of terror tactics by actors at all levels in the social and political environment. Is the Unabomber, with his solo campaign of terror, a criminal, terrorist, or revolutionary?

Differences between Terrorism and Insurgency

If no single definition of terrorism produces a precise. unambiguous description. we can approach the question by eliminating similar activities that are not terrorism, but that appear to overlap. For the U.S. military, two such related concepts probably lead to more confusion than others. Guerilla warfare and insurgencies are often assumed to be synonymous with terrorism. One reason for this is that insurgencies and terrorism often have similar goals.

However, if we examine insurgency and guerilla warfare, specific differences emerge. A key difference is that an insurgency is a movement – a political effort with a specific aim. This sets it apart from both guerilla warfare and terrorism, as they are both methods available to pursue the goals of the political movement.

Goals and Motivations of Terrorists

Ideology and motivation will influence the objectives of terrorist operations, especially regarding the casualty rate. Groups with secular ideologies and non-religious goals will often attempt highly selective and discriminate acts of violence to achieve a specific political aim.

This often requires them to keep casualties at the minimum amount necessary to attain the objective. This is both to avoid a backlash that might severely damage the organization, and also maintain the appearance of a rational group that has legitimate grievances. By limiting their attacks they reduce the risk of undermining external political and economic support. Groups that comprise a “wing” of an insurgency, or are affiliated with aboveground, sometimes legitimate, political organizations often operate under these constraints.

The tensions caused by balancing these considerations are often a prime factor in the development of splinter groups and internal factions within these organizations.

In contrast, religiously oriented and millenarian groups typically attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible. Because of the apocalyptic frame f reference they use, loss of life is irrelevant, and fore casualties are better. Losses among their co-religionists are of little account because such casualties will reap the benefits of the afterlife. Likewise,· non-believers, Whether they are the intended target or collateral damage, deserve death, and killing them may be considered a moral duty.

The type of target selected will often reflect motivations and ideologies. For groups professing secular political or social motivations, their targets are highly symbolic of authority; government offices, banks, national airlines, and multinational corporations with direct relation to the established order.

Likewise, they conduct attacks on representative individuals whom they associate with economic exploitation, social injustice, or political repression. While religious groups also use much of this symbolism, there is a trend to connect it to greater physical devastation. There also is. a tendency to add religiously affiliated individuals, such as missionaries, and religious activities, such as worship services, to the targeting equation.

Types of Terrorist Incidents

The most common types of terrorist incidents include:


Bombings are the most common type of terrorist act. Typically, improvised explosive devices are inexpensive and easy to make. Modern devices are smaller and are harder to detect.

Kidnappings and Hostage-Takings

Terrorists use kidnapping and hostage-taking to establish a bargaining position and to elicit publicity. Kidnapping is one of the most difficult acts fr a terrorist group to accomplish, but, if a kidnapping is successful, it can gain terrorists money, the release of jailed comrades, and publicity for an extended period. Hostage-taking involves the seizure of a facility or location and the taking of hostages. Unlike a kidnapping, hostage-taking provokes a confrontation with authorities. It forces authorities to either make dramatic decisions or comply with the terrorist’s demands.

Armed Attacks and Assassinations

Armed attacks include raids and ambushes. Assassinations are the killing of a selected victim, usually by bombings or small arms. Drive-by shootings are a common technique employed by unsophisticated or loosely organized terrorist groups. Historically, terrorists have assassinated specific individuals for psychological effects.

Arsons and Firebombings

Incendiary devices are cheap and easy to hide. Arson and firebombings are easily conducted by terrorist groups that may not be as well-organized, equipped, or trained as a major terrorist organization. An arson or firebombing against a utility, hotel, government building, or industrial center portrays an image that the ruling government is incapable of maintaining order.

Other Types of Terrorist Incidents

In addition to the acts of violence discussed above, there are also numerous other types of violence that can exist under the framework of terrorism. Terrorist groups conduct maimings against their own people as a form of punishment for security violations, defections, or informing.

Terrorist organizations also conduct robberies and extortion when they need to finance their acts and they don’t have sponsorship from sympathetic nations. Cyber terrorism is a new form of terrorism that is ever-increasing as we rely on computer networks to relay information and provide connectivity to today’s modern and fast-paced world. Cyber terrorism allows terrorists to conduct their operations with little or no risk to themselves.

It also provides terrorists an opportunity to disrupt or destroy networks and computers. The result is interruption of key government or business-related activities. This type of terrorism isn’t as high profile as other types of terrorist attacks, but its impact is just as destructive.

Historically, terrorist attacks using nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons have been rare. Due to the extremely high number of casualties that NBC weapons produce, they are also referred to as weapons of mass destruction (WMO). However, a number of nations are involved in arms races with neighboring countries because they” view the development of WMD as a key deterrent of attack by hostile neighbors.

The increased development of WMD also increases the potential for terrorist groups to gain .access to WMD. It is believed that in the future terrorists will have greater access to WMD because unstable nations or states may fail to safeguard their stockpiles of WMD from accidental losses, illicit sales, or outright theft or seizure. Determined terrorist groups can also gain access to WMD through covert independent research effors or by hiring technically skilled professionals to construct the WMD.

Terrorism is continually changing. While at the surface it remains “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear…” it is rapidly becoming the predominant strategic tool of our adversaries. As terrorism evolves into the principal irregular warfare strategy of the 21st century, it is adapting to changes in the world’s socio-political environment.

Some of these changes facilitate the abilities of terrorists to operate, procure funding, and develop new capabilities. Other changes are gradually moving terrorism into a different relationship with the world at large.

Types of Terrorism

The Task Force classified terrorism into six categories.

Civil Disorders

A form of collective violence interfering with the peace, security, and normal functioning of the community.

Political Terrorism

Violent criminal behavior is designed primarily to generate fear in the community, or a substantial segment of it, for political purposes.

 Non-Political Terrorism

Terrorism that is not aimed at political purposes but which exhibits “conscious design to create and maintain a high degree of fear for coercive purposes but the  end is individual or collective gain rather fan the achievement of a political objective.”


The activities incidental to the commission of crimes of violence that are similar in form and method to genuine terrorism but which nevertheless lack its essential ingredient. It is not the main purpose of the quasi-terrorists to induce terror in the immediate victim as in the case of genuine terrorism, but the quasi-terrorist uses the modalities and techniques of the genuine terrorist and produces similar consequences and reactions.

For example, the fleeing felon who takes hostages is a quasi-terrorist, whose methods are similar to those of the genuine terrorist but whose purposes are quite different.

Limited Political Terrorism

Genuine political terrorism is characterized by a revolutionary approach; limited political terrorism refers to “acts of terrorism which are committed for ideological or political motives but which are not part of a concerted campaign to capture control of the State.

Official or State Terrorism

Referring to nations whose rule is based upon fear and oppression that reach similar to terrorism or such proportions.


The context in which terrorist tactics are used is often a large-scale, unresolved political conflict.

The type of conflict varies widely historical examples include:

  • the secession of a territory to form a new sovereign state
  • The dominance of territory or resources by various ethnic groups
  •  Imposition of a particular form of government, such as democracy, theocracy, or anarchy
  • Economic deprivation of a population
  • Opposition to a domestic government or occupying army

Terrorism is a form of asymmetric warfare. and is more. common when direct conventional warfare either cannot be (due to differentials in available forces) or is not being used to resolve
the underlying conflict.

Responses to terrorism

Responses to terrorism are broad in scope. They can include re-alignments of the political spectrum and reassessments of fundamental values. The term counterterrorism has a narrower connotation, implying that it is directed at terrorist actors.

Specific types of responses include

  • Targeted laws, criminal procedures, deportations, and enhanced police powers
  • Target hardening, such as locking doors or adding traffic barriers
  • Preemptive or reactive military action
  • Increased intelligence and surveillance activities
  • Preemptive humanitarian activities
  • More permissive interrogation and detention policies
  • Official acceptance of torture as a valid tool

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