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Motivation has been defined by psychologist as an interest, desire, want, or a need that propel individuals in a particular direction. There are many goals that have been linked to motivation. These goals differ on the ground that some support a biological basis for actions, or learned basis for action. Just like any other action, terrorism can be analyzed based on which goal is more applicable. This essay argues against the goals and motivation of terrorism by giving at five supporting points and one opposing point.
In most circumstances, religion and social has been taken as a goal that motivates terrorism. The series of attacks that have been made by Osama Bin Laden, and the Al-Quida as a whole, has been motivated by religious convictions. Such like groups are justified by believing that, due to the religious commands given by the Koran, they are in a position of using such religious believes in recruiting more and more members.
The Americans have been assessed by the Al-Quida group as being power hungry, self-religious and many prideful individuals. They have disagreed with what they with what is seen as being a center of Hollywood, immoral and the distorted community. In contrast to the objective of converting them to Muslim, they have an objective of just destroying the offending parts of the U.S community in the name of pleasing Allah. On the side of social causes, the Unabomber mail attacks form the examples of this type of motivation. There are these who have wanted to alter completely the structure of the society depending on technology.
For instance, Kazynski wrote that, he was involved in a terrorism attack, not on the basis of political revolution, not to overthrow any government, but to change economic and technological grounds of the current community. Unabomber have been holding believes that, it is much impossible for him to pass the message, as well as having a lasting impression in the people's minds without any kind of violent action.
Another goal that motivates terrorism is political achievements. Many years back, terrorism was being used in nations other than the United States, by individuals of that community, who were believing that, their voice was will never be being heard in any way apart from using a mean that will disrupt the oppressing government. Those who were leading certain ideas or even certain movements, used to come together in a form of a rebel or militia groups, and start fighting for a political change, so that they are able to rid the society of a ruling power that is an undesired (Sidel & Levy, 2003). In most cases, they used to take over as a political power by themselves.
If such groups of rebellious terrorists were able to gain the support of the public in general, then they had higher chances of taking over the control, as they will be having support from the public in different means like financial and other material resources. When now we start talking about the United States of America, it is much difficult to discuss the political motivation for terrorists in the states. This is based on the reason that, the Legal Constitution of the United States of America encourages and protects the right to freedom of speech.
The fact still remains that, for one to change what they believe in to be unjust, American community has endless chances of voicing opinions, on top of criticizing government policies, their leaders and other stakeholders all through, for instance, the use of media or through referendums. An example that has been used in most cases to show the relation between terrorism and politics is Timothy McVeig's bombing of Federal Building at Oklahoma City. This was considered to be a politically motivated attack on the government of America.
This was due to the fact that Timothy was voicing his disapproval, in the form of violent action. This was based of the government's practices in the stand off between Branch Davidians and the federal agents in Waco, Texas. On the other hand, the intentions that Timothy had, were not to gain control of government in any way, only showing his disapproval on the policy that the government had taken. In support, the fact has remained that, there have been very few occasions of radical groups attempting to take over political power of the American government.
Another goal that has been used to motivate terrorism is change. As earlier noted, all practices of terrorism are in one way or the other, motivated by the attainment of a goal. Most people in groups or individually do concur that, the use of violent actions as a way of compulsion is not good. . On the other hand, the minds of terrorists have the capability of rationalizing a violent action against innocent individuals, as a mean of furthering their cause. The autonomous morality theory by Jean Piaget provides some insight. The theory explains that, people are aware that laws and rules are all made by individuals, and that they need to be measured according to their intentions, on top of the results, and that, if laws and rules become unjust, there is still room for them to be changed if they become unjust.
The believe held by terrorists that they are justified in their violent actions, as a way of accomplishing a more significant reason, like religion, social change among others is wrong. This is because, the apocalyptic life loss is unnecessary and a consequence that is too painful. The explanation given is neither justifiable nor convincing. They do believe that loss of life is not significant, and the more the casualties, the better. Loss of life amongst their co-religionists is of less value, due to the fact that, these casualties will enjoy the benefits of the eternal life. On non-believers, whether they form the targeted groups or not, or collateral damage, deserve to die, and killing them is considered as a moral duty.
The Kenyan bombing against the US embassy, in the year 1998, inflicted casualties on the Kenyan people in proportion to the personnel of the US. The backlash fear hardly concerns these groups, as their objective is to make their enemies overreact over the issue, and as a result widen the violence.
The next terrorism motivating goal is getting the attention. Terrorism has been used as an effective method of attracting the attention from the eye of the public due to fear resulted from the practice. In many occasions, terrorism does happen without warning as well as randomly occurring. As a matter of fact, this reduces the perceived control, as well as raising the sense of being helpless, being more vulnerable, and disequilibrium as well.
As the randomness of terrorists attack increases, the higher the attention it will be awarded to (Bomru, 2004). This is based on the fact that, more individuals will look at it as being a potential threat. A good example of such an attack was the Unabomber. He inflicted fear as a mean of gaining attention from the American community. No sooner had he gained their attention, than he used it as a chance of delivering his anti-technology message, by forcing the Washington post and New York Times for the publication of his manifesto. However, this method of attention gaining has been criticized as because, the fear in most cases in inflicted to these concerned and these not concerned, while there are other ways of gaining public attention like holding peaceful demonstration.
Revenge has been in the recent past the most motivating terrorism goal.
There have been many circumstances under which terrorism as taken place as a mean of avenging what is considered to be unjust or action that is offensive. For instance, McVeigh Timothy used violent action with the aim of getting back to the American Government over its Waco Texas handling (Schouten, 2010). Osama on his side, together with the Al-Quida group seem to be having a personal vendetta against American community, probably for its practices during and after the war in both Russia and Afghanistan.
The Unabomber targeted certain people that he used to associate with them in his earlier life, like for instance, collage professionals and even core workers. This might be on the ground that everyone close to him ostracized him. However revenge should be directed to the person to whom there exists enmity only. However, current terrorism practices are claiming the blood of innocent people. A goal that in all ways justifies terrorism is symbolism. One thing that is worthy knowing is the significance of symbolism in terrorism actions. Every terrorist action is designed in a manner that conveys a certain message. For instance, the September 11th attack had very specific message with it. The world Trade Center attack wanted other nations to lose confidence in the American economy. On the other hand, the Washington DC attack either targeting the Pentagon or the Capital Building, wanted people to loss confidence in the U.S security agencies. Even randomly happening terrorism attacks shave their meanings. For instance "We can get you anywhere, at any time. There is no one to protect you".
In conclusion, people have gained further insight on what motivates terrorist. There are these who have explained in prison like Timothy McVeign, who has given his rationale over his bombing. On his side, Osama Bin Laden has been delivering messages through video broadcasts seen over worldwide televisions, when calling for support. Being law biding citizens in the society it is difficult in understanding the significance behind what is being claimed by terrorists as justified reasons for terrorism actions. It is true that presently, the act is in the forefront of everybody's life, and is an act that most individuals are struggling to understand. Although seeing it personally on a day-to-day life is not possible, but all of us are affected by its far-reaching consequences.
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