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MCRP 3-02E Terrorism

The Individual's Guide for Understanding and Surviving



Chapter 1 An Overview of Terrorism

3 What is Terrorism?

4 Terrorism is the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to 5 coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally 6 political, religious, or ideological. (Jt Pub 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military 7 and Associated Terms) Terrorists or terrorist groups are people or organizations that conduct 8 these acts.

9 Terrorism influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. Immediate victims are bargaining 10 chips used to influence the real target, usually a government. The 11 Israelis who died at the 11 1972 Munich Olympics were immediate victims. The true target was the estimated 1 billion 12 people who watched on television, the most important weapon of modern terrorism. As a result, 13 the Black September Organization (BSO) was extremely successful in publicizing its view of the 14 plight of the Palestinian refugees. The October 1983 bombing of the Marine Battalion Landing 15 Team Headquarters at Beirut International Airport killed 241 U.S. military personnel and 16 wounded over 100 others. The real target was the American people and the U.S. Congress. The 17 withdrawal of the Marines was a terrorist success. Terrorists are so aware of television for 18 publicity that they plan attacks to coincide with prime time broadcasts in 19 the target country.

20 A Traditional Tactic

21 Terrorism is not new. In 50 B.C., Julius Caesar encouraged taking hostages to ensure the 22 obedience of conquered tribes. "Terror" is Latin for "frighten," but the word "terrorism" first 23 came into widespread use during the French Revolution. During the Reign of Terror, over 24 300,000 people were arbitrarily arrested and 17,000 executed without trial. In the second half of 25 the 19th century, radical political views and violence used as a political tool spread through 26 Europe. In the early 1900's, the emphasis of political terrorism shifted to single acts of violence. 27 Acts were usually directed at heads of state or members of the ruling elite. In 1919, Lenin 28 convened the Third International and encouraged international terrorism in its then modern sense.

29 Today's Threat

30 Terrorism today is a product of civil unrest of the late 1960's and the early 1970's. Civil rights, 31 nuclear disarmament, and the Vietnam War became rallying points for college students. Seeking a 32 way to right what they saw as society's wrongs, they produced radical groups who turned to 33 violence to achieve their goals.

34 Over the past 20 years, terrorists have committed extremely violent acts for alleged political 35 reasons. To many people, it seemed that these acts were committed without rhyme or reason by


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