New Terrorism


There is a general consensus in the public that terrorism has changed in the last decades. Specifically, just prior to 9/11, there was a change in tactics and motivations behind most of the acts we see today. Before this change, the traditional terrorist had a specific goal in mind and made attacks against, more or less, those impeding their goals. These attacks were implemented to cause destruction of property or personal violence upon those with whom they had the grievance. Since the change, the motivations of terrorists have become much more general in who they consider a target, and much larger in scale, so as to involve even those who do not have a personal stake in the alleged grievances—innocents. On the other hand, there are those that say that the change is not actually due to a change in tactics, but due to a change in reporting and perceptions. We will explore both sides of this debate.

Suppose that as captain of the local police municipality, you are continuing your study into terrorism and the history of the related motives, methods, and desired results. Last week, you submitted your historical framework memo to your chief, and, in doing so, came across an intriguing concept, new terrorism. As you studied the history of terrorism, you began to wonder how, or what, caused this change to come about. As you began to look into the term, new terrorism, you found that there is debate in the scholarly world as to the existence, or at least the extent, of this concept.

At your department, you have established a discussion chatroom with other senior staff. It was set up so that senior staff could interject their knowledge and suggestions as your project for the chief develops. You have elected to introduce the idea of a new terrorism for their discussion and input.

For your initial discussion post:

  • Explain the concept, new terrorism.
  • Summarize the shift in terrorist tactics that gave rise to the term, new terrorism.
  • Analyze the motivations and tactics of the new terrorist, as compared to the historical terrorist.
  • Debate the arguments of those who support the concept of new terrorism and those who do not.