Motives For Terrorism Essay

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Terrorism is a type of violence used tactically in peace, conflict, and war. The threat of terrorism is ever present, and an attack is likely to occur when least expected. In trying to find out what factors can cause an individual to choose terrorism, it is first necessary to define what terrorism is. The Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” Per the definition, the terrorists are not giving into a whim of random acts, but these individuals are using calculated moves in order to achieve the purpose of the group. Simply…show more content…
This type of motivation is found to be a “faith” of the terrorist. The individual does not consider the actions taken to achieve the agenda wrong and may tend to project antisocial motivations onto others, creating a polarized “we versus they” outlook.(3) These members attribute only evil motives to anyone outside the group. The resulting clarity of purpose appeals to those who crave violence to relieve their constant anger.
The other common characteristic of the psychologically motivated terrorist is the pronounced need to belong to a group. With some terrorists, group acceptance is a stronger motivator than the stated political objectives of the organization. Such individuals define their social status by group acceptance.
More often than not the groups goal may be nearly impossible to achieve. A group that achieves its stated purpose is no longer needed; thus, success threatens the psychological well being of its members. When a terrorist group approaches a stated goal, there may be an inclination to redefine it. The group may reject the achievement as false or inadequate or the result of the duplicity of “them”. When a solution is close to being reached, objectives change.
One effective psychological defense against success is to define goals so broadly that they are impossible to achieve. Even if the world proclaims the success of a political movement, the
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