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Terrorism has been difficult to define for quite some time. The saying that goes ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ could not be truer. Any act of terrorism would invoke different emotions in the victims as well as the practitioners. For this reason, there have been many different definitions of terrorism. Different federal agencies in the US have their own definitions. The FBI, for example, defines Terrorism as ‘the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives’ (Ortmeier 2008, pg 10-15).

The other definition given by The Department of Defense states: “Terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives” (Ortmeier 2008, pg 10-15).  The Department of Defense’s definition of terrorism, when compared with FBI’s, lists other reasons for terrorist organizations or individuals to commit to the destruction of lives and property.

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In my own view, the FBI’s definition looks more of corporate governance. The United States is the corporation of course while the subdivisions are the civilians who are affected. It is in some way a cover up for the attacks that happened on 9/11. Most media broadcasts religious ideologies as being the force behind the 9/11 attacks. There is a difference in definition due to terrorism being politically and emotionally charged. These federal agencies have different roles in the government. This, I believe is the main reason they differ in their definitions. The FBI has the lead for crisis management of domestic terrorism inside the US.  The department of state concerns itself with managing terrorism abroad.

Although there are differences in definitions world over, there are quite a number of characteristics that can be compared. In the definitions, there is always use of violence. The violence is most often than not directed at civilians. The motivations for the attacks are usually political or religious. Most of the terrorists do these to terrorize a wider audience than the immediate victims. Their main aim is to pass a certain message. They try to psychologically scare or terrorize an entire government or society. They want power whether for political or religious reasons. The terrorist usually sees their acts as goods deeds. However, both the FBI and the Department of Defense use a definition that criminalizes terrorism.

Code: Sample20

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