This week we focus on the definition of terrorism. You may be surprised to learn during your readings that the concept of terrorism is actually rather difficult to define. Some people say that terrorism is simply the use of tactics that invoke terror, but that's an unsatisfactory definition because it neatly avoids discussing the aim of such tactics. Some people say that terrorism is the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political goal, but that leaves the reader to determine whether force was used illegitimately. It also leaves the reader to contend with a rather large gray area, which definitions are meant to dispel. When you consider the Holocaust or other state-sponsored ethnic cleansing operations (Rwanda, Bosnia, etc), you aren't really sure whether that's considered terrorism or simply government run amok. And on that note, I present this week's question. Please start a new thread in which you answer my question(s), and then respond to at least two classmates. The Islamic State's stated end-goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate. What makes them a terrorist organization? Do their actions and tactics meet many of the generally-accepted definitions of terrorism? How? Could they instead be viewed as guerilla fighters seeking to establish legitimate authority, much like our Founding Fathers strived to do during the American Revolution?
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