The concept of terrorism, while obvious at times has been a difficult concept to define, and debate has been more prevalent since the attacks of 9/11. According to Merriam-Webster, terrorism is defined as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion (terrorism).” This definition covers a broad range of possible scenarios that may constitute terrorism, since “terror” itself would only need to be specifically defined establish the act, making it too vague.
            A few factors need to be considered in order to better determine terrorism. The one factor would be the initial target. If a military group is engaged in combat with another militant group, its one thing, but if a target is unarmed and is no intent of engaging in warfare, whether self-defense is used or not, this may be considered as terrorism. Intent is also important, because since targeting a non-combatant is usually unwarranted, the intent would be to instill fear in a possibly innocent bystander.
            One last important, and sometimes overlooked, factor would be perspective. A terrorist may not see his/herself as a terrorist because they may feel that the attack is justified. In any time of war and combat, right and wrong becomes distorted and each side may consider themselves as the victim. Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin, and the definition of terrorism will remain in the hands of the definer and in a gray area for those watching from the sidelines.

                                                            Works Cited

“terrorism.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010.

Merriam-Webster Online. 11 March 2010
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism>