Saturday, September 11, 2004

Why "War on Terror" Can Never Be Won?

Even George W Bush acknowledged that in one of the interviews last week!

...but my reason for thinking so is different - The phrase "War on Terror" is about as meaningful as War on "Shock and Awe"... Terror/Terrorism is a tactics, not the enemy - and therefore, one cannot really fight it...

I came across this interesting compilation on History of Terrorism, which also shows how terror has been used as a tactics across time and geography:

* Terrorism, the use or threat of violence to create fear, has a long history. In the first century, the Zealots, a Jewish religious sect, fanatically fought against Roman rule. An extremist group of Zealots, called the Sicarii (which means "dagger men"), used terrorist tactics to resist Roman rule in what is now Israel. They assassinated not only Romans but also Jews believed to be cooperating with the Romans.

  • In 11th- and 12th-century Iran, the Assassins, a radical group of Ismailis (a sect of Shiite Muslims), attacked leader's throughout the Middle East. Even the most powerful enemies of the Assassins risked sudden death. The founder of the Assassins was Hasan ibn al-Sabbah. In 1090, he and a band of followers seized a mountain fortress in Iran known as Alamut. From Alamut, Hasan sent out secret agents to kill his enemies. Hasan became known as the "Old Man on the Mountain".

  • The word terrorism first came into use during the French Revolution (1789-1799). In 1793, the Jacobins, a group led primarily by Maximilien Robespierre, seized control of France and adopted a policy of ruthless violence against their opponents. The period of Jacobin rule became known as the Reign of Terror, in which thousands of people were executed by guillotine, including Louis XVI, the King of France, and his wife, Marie Antoinette. (She's the one who never said, "Let them eat cake!") In a 47 day period, more than 1,376 people were executed. In 1794. Robespierre found himself under the blade of the guillotine. He was executed by members of his own party by order of the National Convention, the assembly that took over the governing of France after, the monarchy was overturned.

  • The United States, a relatively young country, has its own history of terrorism. After the Civil War (1861-1865), Ku Klux Klan members terrorized blacks, Jews, and other groups they deemed inferior. Sometimes Klan members burned crosses on victims' lawns; at other times Klan members brutalized or killed people. At its height in the 1920s, the Klan had more than two million members. Today the group has only a few thousand members.

  • French Revolution. The French revolution lasted from 1789 to 1799. The revolution began on July 14, 1789, when a group of Parisians stormed the Bastille, a French fortress. These people, mostly peasants, captured the Bastille and tore it down. A new legislative assembly was formed in 1791. In December of 1792, King Louis XVI was brought to trial, and on January 21, 1793, he was executed for treason. After the King's death, a Committee of Public Safety took over rule of France, controlling local governments and the armed forces. The committee governed during a period of time known as the "Reign of Terror." During this time, the committee declared a policy of terror against any potential enemies. From September 1793 to July 1794, nearly 1,400 people were sent to the guillotine in Paris alone. Most historians say that the Revolution ended on Nov. 9, 1799, when Napoleon Bonaparte seized the government.
  • 3 comments:

    Sham said...

    Isn't the intention behind the violence important for a gang to be termed as terrorists? Eventhough they cause terror, some are termed 'rebels' or revolutionaries.

    Can we conclude that terror is a tactic used frequently by most rebel groups, and to some extent all terrorist groups?

    Madhukar said...

    whether one is called a "terrorist", "rebel" or a "freedom fighter" depends on which side you are on (and the point in history)... after all, at one time Nelson Mandela or Bhagat Singh were also called "terrorists"...

    Sham said...

    Very True