"Kill one, strike fear into the hearts of ten thousand." - Mao
A definition of terrorism is: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level.
A military course involving terrorism that I used to teach began with this image of Julius Caesar, subtitled 'The History of Terrorism'
It was explained that the Romans systematically used lethal force to subjugate the populations of the lands they conquered. A standard operating procedure of the Romans at every town or village they entered, was to round up the people, select three of the leaders and crucify them at the entrance of the village or at the busiest crossroads. This was a message to everybody in the neighborhood: the Romans are in charge, do what they say.
The Roman technique is an early form of State Sponsored Terrorism. This was extremely effective in controlling the populations of their empire over a thousand years. Modern examples of State Sponsored Terrorism include North Korea and Iran. Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq through a brutal regime of State Sponsored Terrorism. Things have not changed much since the Roman days; ISIS, so far as it is a nation-state, maintains control over the territory it has conquered through beheadings and mass executions, widely publicized via modern mass media.
However, when most people think of terrorism, they think of this:
What's in a Name?
In 2003 I attended a briefing given by a Central Intelligence Agency analyst. His opening statement was "We call it the 'Global War on Terrorism' but this is a misnomer. Terror is a tactic and we don't make war against tactics. A more correct name for the conflict that we are in is "The War on Islamic Fundamentalism," because that is what it is."
And herein lies the problem. We have constrained ourselves from the truth, and yesterday's attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris vividly illustrates this. The editors at Charlie were targeted and killed for mocking Islam - as they mocked all religions, and for refusing to buckle to the threat of reprisal from Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, or as the French call them: "Islamistes". And yet when referring to the attack, western media outlets have delicately avoided mentioning 'Islamic Fundamentalism'. Even the Whitehouse initially hesitated to refer to the attack as terrorism, only using this terminology after becoming aware that the French themselves were describing the attack as an act of terrorism.
Subsequent demonstrations in Paris express sympathy for the victims, of course, and for freedom of the press, symbolized by pens being held up, or piled in little stacks on the pavement. Look again at the opening line of this post: twelve are killed in Paris, and more than ten thousand media outlets are afraid of labeling the killers for what they are: Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists. They categorically avoid reference to Islam, out of political correctness, which is in itself a form of fear.
I was raised in Asia, have lived in several Muslim countries, and was taught by my parents and my teachers to respect all religions. This includes Islam. However, as I have stated before: It is a fact that I owe my life to a Muslim. I cannot be against my fellow man because of his religion, but I can say that the Muslim religion has been hijacked by a pack of psychotic homicidal maniacs.
Here is a link for a rather large-scale Inspector General complaint focused on the Intel community and "terrorism studies".
This document is the narrative for a United States Office of the Inspector General complaint focused on the waste and mismanagement of funds for terrorism studies. Terrorism studies is defined as the research and development of doctrine, classes, courseware, and other educational products for irregular threats, irregular warfare, anti-terrorism, counterterrorism, combatting terrorism, counterinsurgency, stability operations, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, and counterterrorism financing. The complaint involves two Intelligence Programs, several offices, bureaus, and departments, and the Armed Forces. The hybrid nature of terrorism, the size of the Intelligence Community, and the fact that no single entity is responsible for terrorism studies are the reasons for the mismanagement and waste.
16 million members on the site and the paper is still with the TOP 3% after 2 months.
BOTTOM LINE: Until we get serious about identifying the enemy for what they really are, we will never gain any momentum against the terrorist enemy.