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The Terror of Terrorism

            In the paper, "The Terrorism of "Terrorism"", written by Tomis Kapitan, the use of the word "terrorism" as a form of labeling is analyzed into depth. Throughout the paper the author seeks to prove that the use of the word "terrorism" is "useless" and dangerous. He presents three reasons for this: 1) The word is useless because it does not have a "standard" use that provides dependable information, 2) It is "pernicious" because it is used in politics for various purposes, and 3) it is dangerous because it ends up bringing about more terrorism, rather then stopping it.
             The word "terrorism" as a descriptive label is unhelpful because it does not provide any information. To begin with, it was made clear that the label "terrorism" does not have a "standard usage." To support this, he presented four different definitions for the word. He used a standard definition, the definition from the FBI, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Defense Department. Another problem with the word providing no information is clearly seen when it comes time to decide who is and who is not a terrorist because there is no "objective criteria" to follow. One group of people may believe that the "terrorists"" motivations were barbaric actions while another group of people may believe that those same actions had positive motivations and were in no way, shape or form any uncivilized actions. Here, the word terrorism proves to be useless because it is vague and "provides no reliable information.".
             The second reason given to show how the word "terrorism" is dangerous is that it is used as a "rhetorical device" for political uses. This is clearly shown when an individual or a group of people are referred to as terrorists. As soon as they are labeled as terrorists they are placed "outside the norms of acceptable social and political behavior." It is very harmful when the label is used because it makes them be viewed as evil people which automatically forces the audience to lose interest in trying to understand them and understand why they did what they did.

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