Image credit: The Intelligence Brief
Terrorism is perceived as one of the greatest challenges to Western civilization. Its disproportionately regular appearance in the news helped cement counter-terrorism as a policy priority. Nonetheless, the various U.S. Government departments provide 20 different definitions of the term. The State Department has changed its definition seven times since 1982. How can meaningful policy be formulated in these conditions? Regardless of the definition, terror is always a means to an end and is intended to spread a message to the widest audience possible. As the adage goes, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. However, the reality is that terrorism is not as big a threat as the press and government would have people believe. In the US, the risk of being killed by a home appliance is greater than by an act of terror. The amount of lives taken by counter-terrorism dwarf those taken by terrorism as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed millions of livelihoods. This begs the question: does our addiction to news contribute to terrorism? Maybe what we must fear most is fear itself?