Can Terrorism Ever Be Justified?


The answer to this question is not easy to answer, because it depends on your own point of view, and the case. To try and justify terrorism we must first know exactly what the word “terrorism” means.





“Terrorism is the premeditated, deliberate, systematic murder, mayhem, and threatening of the innocent to create fear and intimidation in order to gain a political or tactical advantage, usually to influence an audience”


James M. Poland





“Terrorism is 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”


FBI Definition


So as you can see there are different definitions but in general it is the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective when innocent people are targeted.


Reasons why terrorism can never be justified outnumber the reasons that justify terrorism, but really you can never justify terrorism.


The most important reason is that Terrorism always includes the lives of innocent people. Everyday innocent people can be and probably will be killed in any terrorist attack where they will most likely be used as hostages, or just killed.


Terrorism cannot be justified when there is no end result. Sometimes the end result is that their country will be invaded by the bigger country which they committed a terrorist attack on, ending up in even more deaths for utterly no reason.


When terrorists attack specifically attack innocent people then there cannot be absolutely any justification for that act of terrorism.


We cannot completely rule out the justification of terrorism though because in some extreme cases it may be justified.


First though we must understand the motives behind terrorist attacks. Usually motives of the terrorists are for Political (e.g. Red Army Faction), religious (e.g. Islamic extremism), ethnic (e.g. hate crimes) or social (e.g. single-issue such as anti-abortion) reasons.


So if we look at terrorism from another point o view people may call these terrorist “freedom fighters”. But if they are breaking the laws of the countries in which they operate, they are by definition criminals. As far as being freedom fighters--that\'s a moral judgment beyond the purview of objective academic research.


You could even say that the people used in the terrorist attacks are already dead because they are trained from when they are very young children to grow up and die for their country fighting for the “cause” but this just shows how inhuman these people are when they teach their 5yr old children how to shoot a gun and command a platoon. And how merciless they are is also show by how they treat the people of their country with one regulation, that they are either with them or they are tortured and brainwashed until they are forced to side with them.


If they are breaking the laws of the countries in which they operate, they are by definition criminals. As far as being freedom fighters--that\'s a moral judgment beyond the purview of objective academic research.


Examples of terrorist attacks are many but the most famous and recent is the attack of September 11th on America where terrorists hijacked 4 planes crashing 2 into each of the Twin Towers, the World Trading Centre, 1 into the Pentagon and another one which failed to reach its target, still killing everyone on board. You could say that these 4 attacks had no affect at all on their “war” against the U.S. In fact the only affect was that America invaded Afghanistan a while later killing and capturing many from the terrorist group, the Taliban.


To conclude terrorism can never be justified for one reason. For any act of terrorism, there is always a political, social, ethnic or religious creed that can be used to justify it by someone. To "justify" an act, one must compare it with a legal or ideological system as a basis of justification. If one considers an act "justifiable," one probably wouldn\'t call it terrorism.