Terrorism Against Democracy

Publication Date: 
January 2015
CISSM Working Paper
Document Type: 
Working Papers
This monograph approaches the problem of terrorism from the perspective of the process of a terrorist attack; that is, how terrorism is intended to “operate.” Comprehension of the intended process of the terrorist attack can help defeat terrorists, reduce terrorism, and avoid the damage that can result from poor responses to attacks. Part I of the monograph analyzes terrorism. Chapter 1 analyzes what terrorism is, and what kinds of acts are and are not terrorism. Chapter 2 analyzes the ways that terrorism is intended to operate on third-parties—the governments, organizations, individuals, and groups from which terrorists seek to elicit responses. Chapter 3 analyzes the causes of terrorism, and the threats that terrorism poses. Part II addresses what to do about terrorism—how to prevent terrorism, respond effectively to attacks, and defeat terrorists. Analysis of the steps of the terrorist attack shows that terrorism can be prevented and countered at each step. The monograph then addresses a general counterterrorism strategy. The monograph uses the Turner-Yamamoto Terrorism Model as a guide to comprehending terrorism and how to combat it. The model illustrates the steps of the terrorist attack, and shows how terrorism is intended to operate. Adapted forms of the model show different aspects of terrorism such as the role of the media in terrorist attacks, and why people choose to use terrorism. The model can be used to identify ways to prevent terrorist attacks, respond effectively if they occur, and reduce the use of terrorism. The model has other uses, such as to identify the characteristics of terrorism. These characteristics can show the differences between terrorism and other forms of political violence, and can be used to analyze incidents to determine whether or not they are acts of terrorism. The model helps identify which characteristics must be included in any definition of terrorism, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different definitions, and develop accurate and useful definitions. Appendices address the definition of terrorism, the problems involved with trying to obtain agreement on a definition of terrorism, and analysis of arguments that have been made to try to justify terrorist attacks. Analysis shows that terrorism can be accurately defined in more than one way, that obstacles to obtaining a widely agreed-upon definition can be overcome, and that none of the arguments that terrorists and their supporters use to try to justify terrorism are valid. The impetus to prepare this monograph came from Admiral Stansfield Turner’s course, “Terrorism & Democracy,” which he taught from 2002–2006 in response to the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2001. During the period that he taught the course, he encouraged the development of a number of the principles in the monograph and included them in his course, and until his retirement was involved with many aspects of the monograph.