Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 2 in Martin (2016).
Over the last 20 years terrorism has touched everyone in one way or another. If you have not been directly impacted by a terrorist event, you have been touched by the security measures put in place to help secure us from terrorism. In Chapter 2 of his text, Martin lays out the complexities of defining terrorism. He states:
The effort to formally define terrorism is a critical one because government antiterrorist policy calculations must be based on criteria that determine whether a violent incident is an act of terrorism. Governments and policy makers must piece together the elements of terrorist behavior and demarcate the factors that distinguish terrorism from other forms of conflict (2016, p. 27).
Interestingly, there is no universal definition of terrorism; The UN has no internationally-agreed upon definition of terrorism. Even within our government there is no one definition. In fact, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations have distinct definitions. (See “Defining Terrorism in the United States” in Martin.)
When we look at an event such as the 2015 Paris attacks, we can all say it was terrorism. However, we have to ask ourselves why it is so difficult to define terrorism. Review the definitions of terrorism from various U.S. agencies as set forth in Martin’s text as you address the following in your initial post:
- What are the critical elements (such as politically motivated, or violence, or type of target) that are included in this definition on terrorism?
- Why was this definition crafted with these specific elements?
- How does it impact current policy from the perspective of these distinct U.S. agencies?
- What are the benefits to having a narrow definition versus a broad definition?
Your initial post must be a minimum of 400 words in length. Support your post with examples from required materials, scholarly sources, or official government sources. Use APA formatting to cite your sources in-text as well as at the end of your post.