In Search of Terrorism (My definition of terrorism)

            To begin my search for a definition of terrorism I first begin with specialists, the sages of a field who have devoted their life to researching the subject. Unfortunately, Walter Laqueur, after having written two books on the subject, gave up his quest for a definition, saying “No all-embracing definition will ever be found for the simple reason that there is not one terrorism, but there have been many terrorisms, greatly differing in time and space, in motivation, and in manifestations and aims.” (Laquer)

            Well then, maybe if there is a “War on Terror”, the the U.S. government would be the people to ask, as it would be safe to assume they know what they are fighting against. Yet, this terminology may be faulty in the first place. As proclaimed by Moeller in Packaging Terrorism, terror is a tactic, and therefore not a legitimate target for a war. This makes sense, especially when looking at the varying definitions offered by the U.S.; almost every branch has their own definition, DoD, Dept. of State, FBI, CIA, none can agree, which doesn’t really promote a unified front in their war…

            No scholarly definition, no government definition, so the last option is the source with every answer for all unofficial information; Wikipedia. Yet again I was to find only more of the same. The infallible source of all knowledge proclaimed; “studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”.” (Wikipedia)

            So, in response to this unanswered need for a single, unifying definition of terrorism I will submit mine for adoption. Terrorism: any action, perpetrated by a person or group of people that causes you to have fear. Terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder, so the definition should be broad enough to have a different meaning for each person who reads it. It may have been said before, and not everyone may like it, but it’s the best that I (or anyone else apparently) can do.

Laqueur, Walter. “Terrorism A Brief History.” Walter Laqueur. Web. 11 Mar. 2010. http://www.laqueur.net/index2.php?r=2&id=71