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Why does terrorism exist?

  1. Aug 31, 2007 #1
    I try again. What are the reasons that terrorism exist? What are the motives of the terrorists? And how can we put an end to it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2007 #2
    3...2...1...warning.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2007 #3
    Instead of the word "terrorism" substitute "war and violence". I think that the answers are the same.
     
  5. Sep 1, 2007 #4
    Wow! Congratulations on that one!
     
  6. Sep 1, 2007 #5

    Astronuc

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    Along the lines of Esnas's response, one might ask "why does aggression exist?"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggression

    How to mitigate anger/aggression - http://www.csulb.edu/~tstevens/b-anger.htm

    Underlying anger is caused by a perceived loss of control over factors affecting important values. One could substitute values for beliefs, and it's not just religious beliefs, but could be cultural or tribal beliefs.

    http://www.aboutourkids.org/aboutour/articles/aggression.html

    I read recently that more than 100,000 Americans have been murdered during the last 6 years, or slightly more than 16,000 homicides/yr.
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/homtrnd.htm

    Certainly homicide rates are higher in other countries, particular in zones where war and conflict are ongoing.

    And I heard some statistic that an estimated 4 million women in the US are subject to some form of abuse or violence each year, and "Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives."

    http://www.endabuse.org/resources/facts/
     
  7. Sep 1, 2007 #6
    They certainly are. According to this site, the US comes in 37th. There are caveats at the top of the page.
    List of countries by homicide rate
    Here's a page that shows the figures for US cities. It is way higher than the national average. There are obvious reasons why there would be a higher rate in the city, people are more crowded in there. But are people more aggressive in the city too? Are they angrier, are they more religious? Are they more typical Americans?
    murder
     
  8. Sep 1, 2007 #7

    russ_watters

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    That's off topic, jimmy, but the reason why there is more crime in the cities is simple: there is more poverty in the cities.
     
  9. Sep 1, 2007 #8
    But the correlation between poverty and homicide doesn't hold between countries. Only between city and non-city within a country. The poor in US cities are richer than the rich in countries where the homicide rate is low.
     
  10. Sep 1, 2007 #9

    Astronuc

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    Not so. It might be more accurate to say that the poor in US cities are richer than the poor in those countries where homicide rate is high.

    Looking at the table of ten safest countries for (from?) murder on benbest.com

    The richest people in these countries (particularly Hong Kong and Singapore which have a number of millionaires and billionaires) have wealth comparable to upper 20% in US.
    (1) Slovenia 0.7
    (2) Austria 0.9
    (3) Sweden 1.8
    (4) Switzerland 2.3
    (5) Israel 2.3
    (6) Hong Kong 2.4
    (7) Norway 2.5
    (8) Ireland 2.8
    (9) Finland 3.7
    (10) Singapore 4.3
     
  11. Sep 1, 2007 #10

    turbo

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    I'll try to put this in a bit of perspective. Let's say that country A has a well-financed, well-equipped military, and that they are using this military power against country B, which lacks the resources to confront country A on its terms. Country B then resorts to using an asymmetrical approach - it may target the military and civilians of country A using small-arms, explosives, etc. Often, in an asymmetrical conflict, the country without the resources to fight a conventional war is accused of using terrorism, as if blowing up a crowded market with a suicide bomb is somehow more terrible than blowing up a crowded market with a missile fired from a helicopter. It is important to note that the participants on both sides of an asymmetrical conflict consider themselves to be justified in their actions, or at least they have convinced enough of their countrymen to shut up and allow the conflict to proceed.

    If you want to stop terrorism, you have to put an end to the inequalities and oppression that breed terrorism, and you have to make it in the best interests of the parties in conflict to resolve their differences and work together cooperatively. Given the economic, social, and political pressures and the complex histories of some regions in which asymmetrical conflicts are fought, that's a tall order. Declaring a "War on Terror" makes a nice sound-bite for the unwashed masses, but any reduction in asymmetrical conflict will come not from applying more military force (which increases the impetus of the "terrorists" to ramp up their attacks and improve their tactics), but from diplomacy, partnership, trade, etc. When the leaders of political groups are unwilling or unable to bargain with one another, continued conflict is assured.
     
  12. Sep 1, 2007 #11
     
  13. Sep 1, 2007 #12

    Astronuc

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    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/worldhotnews/read.php?newsid=30038100
    303. Halim, Rachman and family, Indonesia, 55, $1.4, tobacco

    But then there are more billionaires in:
    28. Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong, 74, $7.8, diversified
    42. Kwok, Walter, Thomas and Raymond, Hong Kong, unknown, $6.6, real estate
    88. Lee Shau Kee, Hong Kong, 75, $3.7, real estate
    101. Kadoorie, Michael and family, Hong Kong, 62, $3.3, diversified
    123. Wang, Nina, Hong Kong, unknown, $2.8, real estate
    137. Wang, Patrick, Hong Kong, 52, $2.6, micromotors
    236. Cheng Yu-tung, Hong Kong, 77, $1.7, real estate
    303. Ho, Stanley, Hong Kong, 81, $1.4, gaming


    137. Khoo Teck Puat, Singapore, 86, $2.6, banking
    236. Kwek Leng Beng and family, Singapore, 62, $1.7, hotels
    256. Lee Seng Wee and family, Singapore, 78, $1.6, banking
    329. Wee Cho Yaw, Singapore, 74, $1.3, banking


    http://www.bestoftulsa.com/html/forbes_list_of_billionaires.shtml


    turbo hit upon a key point - that being a disparity between two groups and the perception of injustice which breeds resentment and contempt (or ill will).

    There is also the issue of control - and the use of violence to impose control. And violence begets violence.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  14. Sep 1, 2007 #13
    But there's one fundamental difference between aggression, conflicts and wars on one side, and suicide attacks on the other side: Suicide bombers actually want to die themselves. In a war setting, soldiers want to kill as many as possible, but also survive.

    I know that terrorists are mad at the US and European countries because of their way our way of life. But so are we, aren't we? I am - for one - mad at their stoning innocent people to death, power misuse, brainwashing in school etc etc. But we don't go down there committing suicide bombing. We try to conerse and convince them that democracy is a better way to run a society.
     
  15. Sep 1, 2007 #14
    Many good points here. However, it doesn't explain it all. Most inhabitants in these oppressed countries aren't likely to commit terrorism. They're friendly people who only want peace. The terrorists are the extreme ones; those who have blind faith in a holy book, and who learn in school that they'll go straight to paradice if they blow themselves up in the air and take as many civilians as possible with them.

    Off course this phenomena wouldn't exist without inequalities and poverty. But under the "right" circumstances, terrorism will show up when there is religious conviction that a supernatural power is on their side and that they're acting in the name of Allah.

    Putting an and to inequalities and American/European influence in the Islamic world is probably the only way to stop terrorism. War on terror is actually the same as ****ing for virginity.
     
  16. Sep 1, 2007 #15

    russ_watters

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    That's true, but it doesn't have anything to do with what I said.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  17. Sep 1, 2007 #16

    Astronuc

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    Does one mean coerce? If so, it's not working in Iraq or Afghanistan, which are institutionally and politically unstable. The Shii and Sunni have a political and social conflict, and even among Shii there are rival groups fighting each other. The Taliban are at odds with the central government which cannot control the regional warlords. And then throw in indiscriminant use of military force by the US, and the Iraqis are not endeared to democracy.

    Even looking within recent US history, even as late at the 1970's, African-Americans were harrassed by the white power structure, particularly in the southern states. The Southern Poverty Law center still tracks the KKK, Aryan Nation and other similar groups.

    http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2007/08/24/08242007wacwestfollow.html

    or
    Aryan Nation leader reaches out to al Qaeda
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/03/29/schuster.column/

    or how about Eric Rudolf
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/02/25/schuster.excerpt.01/index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Robert_Rudolph

    One can claim that examples from the US are exceptions, but then so are the terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere.
     
  18. Sep 1, 2007 #17

    turbo

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    You're making some assumptions here that are fundamentally wrong. You can find religious or political extremists willing to resort to terrorism anywhere in the world. For instance, there are people in this country that are willing to kill doctors, nurses, and social workers who are involved in arranging or providing abortions.

    There are people in our own government who are willing to kill and maim hundreds of thousands of people to get access to the natural resources of another country. The people of that country might justifiably accuse our troops of terrorism, though the media portrays the military actions as "peace-keeping", "stabilization", etc. Terrorism involves keeping people insecure and fearful to compel them to act in a way that will satisfy the aggressor's political or economic (usually) aims. Our government destroyed Iraq's infrastructure and dismantled its governmental and military organizations. People in Iraq fear being killed by our military, the paramilitary mercenary "contractors", and militias from rival sects or even rival clans within a sect. That's terrorism. So don't lay that label on others lightly. The difference between "military action" and "terrorist attack" often lies in the bias of the person doing the labeling.
     
  19. Sep 1, 2007 #18
    He who has the most bombs doesn't have to use terrorists tactics to kill their perceived enemy. Shock and awe seems to work quite well.

    Terrorism and the suicide issue has strong religious ties. I doubt that there are any atheists walking around wearing belts loaded with C4.
     
  20. Sep 1, 2007 #19
    I know there are people in the US willing to kill doctors who help women with abortions. Why is that? It's bacause they're fundamentalists, that is: they have blind belief in holy scriptures, which they read literally. I think fumdamentalism is the main reason why terrorism exists. It isn't enough with inequality and poverty. It also takes some madness. So, to fight terrorism, we must fight fundamentalism. We must encourage reason and rationality in those countries were terrorism has many of its roots.

    And yes, you're right: media makes us think that only the arab countries are terrorists. From their point of view, the western countries are the real terrorists, while THEY are fighting a war for freedom.
     
  21. Sep 1, 2007 #20

    turbo

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    The British probably viewed the American colonists as terrorists, too. To meet the British troops and their Hessian mercenaries in formation in empty fields would have been disastrous. A better tactic for the inferior force is to hide behind rocks, trees, and fences and ambush the enemy. Darned terrorists!
     
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