The 21st century was treated to a rare start with a 9/11 terror attack in the American soil. By the fact the attack occurred in the world’s most powerful nation, the whole world was thrown into dismay as far as the war against terror is concerned. Washington immediately responded by declaring total war against all terrorist groupings with the Al Qaeda being at the forefront. The United States military was dispatched to Afghanistan to fish out the then leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden. Despite the milestone the army covered in the war against terror, it is undeniable that there is little information regarding the mindset and motivation of these terror groupings. In his article, “Understanding the Terrorist Mind-Set,” Randy Borum asserts that it is by understanding the mind-set of the terrorist that the war against terror can effectively be won. This study will analyze whether or not understanding the terrorist mind-set help to exploit weaknesses in terrorist organizations.
Terrorist are the enemy as far as war against terrorism is concerned. The behaviors and general nature of terrorist vary from one grouping to the other. In a broader perspective, terrorism depends on the motivation and special interest of the groups. Borum suggests that law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies should not only concentrate on the ideologies of that motivate the actions of terrorism, but should also seek to gain knowledge of the process of how these ideologies or doctrines are developed, as well as different factors that contribute to the characteristic nature of extremist groups and individuals. He further agrees with Sun Tzu assertion that knowing an enemy and self is the surest way of defeating him/her hundred times in war (Borum, 2003).
Terrorists attacks are based on some ideologies developed over time. Understanding the development of such ideologies is the basis of dismantling terrorist organization. For instance, terror groups begin by framing some unsatisfying event as being unjust, blame the injustice on a policy, individual, or a group of persons, then vilifying by demonizing, before finally facilitating aggression. Basing on these stages, prior comprehension can boost the effort to dislodge the negative ideologies that the terror group could be trying to impart into people’s mind-set. For instance, terrorist attacks targeting U.S. are based on the ideologies that U.S. is a general enemy to the Islam community. The objective of such propaganda is to unite the Islam community solidly behind their leaders in vilifying United States. However, the U.S. government’s response to denounce the ideologies and insist that the war is against terrorists and not Muslim has been crucial in dismantling groupings such as Al Qaeda (White, 2002).
In my view, I totally agree with the statement that understanding the terrorist mind-set is essential in exploiting the weaknesses in the terrorist organizations. A fundamental mind-set that the terror organizations have developed is that attacking and killing an enemy of the people is the surest way of a better afterlife. In fact, their religion asserts that Allah would reward suicide bombers with virgins for their heroic acts. Such persons become heroes of the society even after their death, and their families are profoundly honored. This ideology is utterly misguided and can be detrimental to the security of the world if at all more people would be lured into believing these acts of aggression. In conclusion, therefore, it is imperative to understand the mind-set of the terrorists first before scheming plans to dismantle the terror organizations. These plans could engage the terror groups and their spiritual leaders in talk or by enlightening the masses against such groups.
Borum, R. (2003). Understanding a Terrorist Mind-Set. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. July 2003.
White, J. (2002). Terrorism: An Introduction, 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing
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