Today, America is faced with a challenging question: What is to be done about terrorism? There are not easy answers to this question. There are many options and methods to dealing with terrorists that the United States has used in the past. At times we have been successful in our efforts and at others we have failed. In Sun Tsu's book The Art of War, he writes know your enemy, this is the most effective strategy in battle. But does America really know its enemy? Certainly, we have seen pictures of Osama Bin Laden and Yasir Arafat, and we associate them with terror. But these photographs are merely images of evil; they are not the basis of our struggle. To truly understand what we are dealing with we must understand the root of their motives: we must understand terror. To do this we must explore the definition of the word it self, what does it mean and what are the characteristics of terrorism. Then we can trace the historical evolution of terror throughout history starting wit!.
h the French revolution and ending in the present day. From there we can discuss the motives behind the violence, what leads these groups to such fanatical means and what was their desired goal. In doing this we can more clearly examine what terrorism is, how it came to be and evolved, and why it happens. .
Terrorism is an issue that is at the top of America's agenda (Pillar 1). But terrorism is a difficult word to define. Many scholars have made valiant attempts to define it, however there definitions have often been too broad or too shortsighted. Even the American State Department has a definition that is not all together agreeable. One must hesitate when calling any group who opposes the establishment or anyone who engages in violence a terrorist (Hoffman 13). The people themselves do not believe they are terrorists, they prefer "freedom fighter" or "liberator". We tend to refer to acts that scare or terrorize us as "terrorist".