The real hazard of ‘terrorism’ | Letter to the Editor
December 6, 2012 · 2:13 PM
“Ism” denotes that the word it suffixes is an ideology — a belief. What is the ideology of “terrorism”? There is none. Terror is a tactic — a means, not an end. It makes no sense to try to conduct a war against a means of warfare. By adopting the misleading label, “terrorism,” we impair our ability to think clearly. Terror is a tactic of the harshest style of conflict. Terror tactics commonly are used by authoritarian groups that seek to become a government or to coerce a government to change policy.
If our government becomes more authoritarian and more controlling in response to terror-provoking attacks, then we reshape our society to be more like the gangs that use terror tactics. The biggest danger of groups that attack us with terror-provoking tactics is that we will give away our liberty in the quest for security. That exchange is a devil’s bargain. Many famous thinkers have warned that those who give up some liberty to gain security end up with neither.
We should abandon the terms “terrorism” and “war on terror.” We should recognize that groups that use terror tactics are conducting war against our society by the harshest of methods. The tactic is evil, but the cause of the problem is the gang that uses the tactic. We should find the members of those groups and destroy them. This is a conflict against politically-motivated gangs.
John deGroot, Redmond