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Terrorism

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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 has been a lot of speculation as to these issues especially after 9/11. There are several key factors that seam to be prominent. The key reasons for the most recent of the attacks, especially 9/11, are due to deep seated hatred for American policies and actions around the world. Strong anti-American undercurrents breed tolerance for extremist terror networks, like those of Osama bin Laden in many Islamic countries. Although most Americans would not agree, many foreign countries view America as very arrogant, and say we had it coming on 9/11. However, much of terrorism is aimed at the western world, not only the United States. Much of these anti-western sentiments can be traced to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In that area of the world, terrorism is not a seldom occurrence, but rather a near daily occurrence where casualties are normal. Both countries are fighting a bloody war over religious turf, with no peace or solution in sight. The Islamic faction

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