TRESTON WHEAT - 25 JANUARY 2012 Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Acts of War and America’s Responses Introduction
Contrary to popular opinion, the world has not changed since September 11, 2001. All that is different is that Americans became aware of the animosity the rest of the world feels to the United States. Two stories from the twentieth century illustrate this. The first happened on September 6, 1901: the assassination of President William McKinley. Leon Czolgosz shot the President twice at the Pan-American Exposition after McKinley had been shaking hands with the people there. Although it appeared the President might recover from the bullet that ravaged his internal organs, he died a little over a week later. Czolgosz was an anarchist influenced by the ideas of anarchist Emma Goldman. His goal was the elimination of the US government. The second story happened almost a century later. Ramzi Yousef, an Islamist and the nephew to Khalid Sheik Mohammad, wanted to commit terrorism against the United States. On February 26, 1993, he and Eyad Ismoil drove a truck with over 1,300 lbs of fertilizer in the parking garage of the World Trade Center. Their goal was to blow up the base of the North Tower and knock it onto the South Tower; he wanted to kill tens of thousands of people. Luckily only six people died. His motivation was America’s support of Israel and the removal of American intervention in the Middle East. On September 11 al-Qaeda acted in the same way terrorists for the last century have. The destruction of the US government, American-Israeli relations, and American’s involvement in the Middle East motivated the hijackers. Furthermore, they were not the first to try and bring down the Twin Towers. Nothing has changed. Historicizing Sub-State Violence in America
America has dealt with what academics call sub-state violence since the beginning of the 19th century. Thomas Jefferson, and later James Madison, had to deal with the Barbary pirates. The two presidents responded by sending the US navy to swiftly deal with the Barbary states, which were quasi-independent powers in the Ottoman Empire. Later in the 1800’s, America had to deal with the Civil War. Although this conflict is often characterized as a war between two state actors, the Federal government of the United States did not consider the Confederacy to be a legitimate government. For Abraham Lincoln, the Confederacy would be what people call sub-state actors today. A little known set of cases during the Civil War actually greatly affects the conceptualization of how Americans should view the War on Terror. The Supreme Court decided the Prize Cases in 1863 because President Abraham Lincoln blockaded the Confederacy without a formal declaration of war. The Supreme Court ruled “[a] state of actual war may exist without any formal declaration of it by either party, and this is true of both a civil and a foreign war.”
Furthermore, the Court ruled that “[t]o create this and other belligerent rights as against neutrals, it is not necessary that the party claiming them should be at war with a separate and independent power.”
The Prize cases established a legalist paradigm on how Americans should view war with sub-state actors.
On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda operatives attacked the United States by flying planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. However, even before those attacks, al-Qaeda was at war with the United States. Osama bin Laden released a fatwa in 1996 titled “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Place.”
In the fatwa he writes: “Today your brothers and sons, the sons of the two Holy Places, have started their Jihad in the cause of Allah, to expel the occupying enemy from of the country of the two Holy places…And as you know, it is wise, in the present circumstances, for the armed military forces not to be engaged in a conventional fighting with the forces of the crusader enemy…unless a big advantage is likely to be achieved; and great losses induced on the enemy side (that would shaken (sic) and destroy its foundations and infrastructures) that will help to expel the defeated enemy from the country.”
A fatwa is a religious declaration by someone within the ulema, religious scholars of Islam. Whether Osama was allowed to deliver a fatwa is nugatory. What is important is that he declared war against America, which means the US and al-Qaeda were in a state of war according to the Prize Cases even though America did not offer a formal declaration. America did not need to declare war for the country to be drawn into one.
Second, al-Qaeda is a sub-state actor; however, there does not need to be a legitimate government to create a state of war. As the Supreme Court ruled, the US could be at war with someone who is not a “separate and independent power.” This is usually the part of contention between those who say terrorism is an act of war verses those who say it is merely a crime. The Prize Cases settle this in a legal sense, although someone may disagree with the principle in theory. Yet, in the American context, the precedent set by United States law is that when a sub-state actor attacks the legitimate authority then the state is at war. This broad historical analysis establishes the framework that politically motivated sub-state violence has been and will always be an act of war. However, every particular case is different and deserves a different response. How to fight the war…
Usually after establishing that terrorism is an act of war, academics or policy makers follow through with the “logical” step of saying the military needs to respond. However, even though terrorism is an act of warfare, this does not necessarily mean that a military response is necessary. Each case is specific and needs a specialized response. It would be reckless to send the military after an individual terrorist, but it would be more appropriate to use them against an international terrorist threat. People cannot generalize about terrorists and respond to them in the same way. As previously demonstrated, there is a long history of sub-state violence in and against America. Each time, the United States did not respond the same every time; a specified approach is necessary to deal with the threat of terrorism.
In response to individual terrorism, the United States has a tradition of responding with a trial and punishment. The previous mentioned case of Leon Czolgosz is an example from the 20th century, and Nidal Malik Hassan is an example from the 21st. Nine days after Czolgosz attempted to kill the president, he went on trial, and the prosecution finished their case in two days. He was found guilty and received the death penalty a little over a month later. Hassan was a soldier in the US military, who for[C1]
religiously motivated reasons, opened fire against his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood while yelling “Allahu Akbar.”
He killed 13 people and wounded dozens of others before being brought down. At the end of November and beginning of December, the government began the proceedings to try Hassan. He has a trial coming in March. For individual terrorists, it is not necessary to respond with military action. Although it was a soldier who stopped Hassan, and civilians who stopped Czolgosz, the two just needed to be put on trial for their crimes.
Compare this to America’s response to September 11. After al-Qaeda brought down the Twin Towers andattacked the Pentagon, America went after the terrorists in Afghanistan with military force. This was necessary because the Taliban, the government of Afghanistan, shielded al-Qaeda from receiving justice. The United States needed to intervene in the country to neutralize the threat of al-Qaeda. This should raise the question as to why the two responses differ. Hassan and Czolgosz were individual terrorists, while al-Qaeda was an international terrorist organization that had cells throughout the world and the protection of a government. The only appropriate responses to the former examples were trials, while the latter needed a military response to bring down the Taliban and pursue al-Qaeda in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
These are not the only two responses to terrorism available, though. If America wants to stop terrorism, then the country needs to have an honest assessment of how to stop it. Contrary to the popular conception of the FBI or CIA stopping the terrorists in the nick of time, the vast majority of terrorist attacks are not thwarted that way. According to the Institute for Homeland Security Solution, “More than 80% of foiled terrorist plots were discovered via observations from law enforcement or the general public. Tips included reports of plots as well as reports of suspicious activity, such as pre-operational surveillance, para-military training, smuggling activities, and the discovery of suspicious documents.”
Roughly 40% of the cases of thwarted terrorism happened because of public awareness or informants sharing information.
Intelligence is another response to terrorism and trying to interdict the attacks. Restructuring the System
Fundamentally, this will need a systemic and philosophical restructuring of how the government deals with terrorism. This shift will have to be similar to how America reorganized itself after World War II with the creation of the National Security Council, CIA, and the Department of Defense. The current war against radical jihadists and other types of terrorists is unlikely to go away in the foreseeable future. Therefore, America’s national security apparatus needs to create a multilevel response with a combination of hard and soft power. First, the FBI and local police forces need to continue and extend their intelligence gathering abilities. Before September 11, the FBI was primarily a force to collect evidence and prosecute criminals within the country. After the terrorist attacks, the government forced intelligence gathering upon the institution. A possible restructuring is to build up a part of the FBI to resemble the gendermaries of European countries, which would require specific training for agents and analysts to work to interdict terrorism more than just collecting evidence. This would be a para-military part of the government rather than either military or police. A model America could utilize is Britain’s MI5, which is the country’s internal security force. MI5 had great amount of success against both the Provisional IRA and the Real IRA. Along these lines, the government needs to decide if terrorists will be tried in military or civilian courts. Currently, if a terrorist is tried in a military court, the FBI has to hand over all their intelligence to the military and is no longer part of the process. This causes turf wars, frustration, and competition. Another restructure would involve allowing the FBI to still collect the intelligence, and for the Department of Justice to stilltry the terrorist, whether it is in civilian court or military tribunal. The Department of Justice would need a special department of military lawyers who could work with the FBI and bring individual terrorists to trial.
Next, America needs to reconsider how it engages in diplomacy within the State Department. Traditionally, the State Department conducted foreign policy within the Westphalian system. Foreign ministers would meet with other foreign ministers and reach conclusions. However, in this conflict, sub-state actors are equally important as state actors. The new approach should allow the Secretary of State and Ambassadors to negotiate and talk with sub-state actors, including organizations that are considered the enemy like the Taliban. More diplomatic power will allow possibly peaceful ends to the conflict with certain terrorist organizations. Here, Britain is another good example with the IRA. Eventually the British government came to a settled agreement with a sub-state actor to end a decades long war between the IRA and the UK. Finally, because this is a war, America should always be ready to utilize military force. This does not always mean invading another country with a battalion; it could simply mean the use of Reaper drones to neutralize a terrorist in a foreign country or a special operations team like the one that eliminated Osama bin Laden. Yet, the option of a full military operation needs to always be available if the terrorist threat reaches international proportions, like in Afghanistan. This last option needs to only be used when there is a danger large enough to threaten American interests abroad. A combination of intelligence gathering, police work, diplomacy, and military action, both hard and soft power, are necessary to interdict, stop, or remove a terrorist threat. Conclusion
The varying cases of terrorism throughout American history necessitate that the US consider the nature of terrorism and how to respond to it when it occurs. Terrorists do not always act in the same way and have different organizational structures. There are “lone wolves” like Hassan and Czolgosz, cells like those lead by Ramzi Yousef, and international ones like al-Qaeda. America should be ready to handle each type of case differently and should not respond dogmatically to acts of terrorism. A static approach will ultimately fail in the end because the same solution cannot always work. America needs to use a combination of tools available, including trials, interrogation, intelligence, local communities, informants, and military action when necessary. The counter-terrorism establishment needs to be reasonable and flexible in how it tries to stop and prevent terrorism in the homeland and abroad. 
Prize Cases, 67 U.S. 2 Black 635 (1862) 
Osama bin Laden’s fatwa, originally published in Al-Quds Al Arabi,
Aug. 1996: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html 
Fort Hood Soldier: I ‘started doing what I was trained to do.’ Nov. 9, 2009: http://articles.cnn.com/2009-11-09/justice/fort.hood.foster_1_gen-robert-cone-nidal-malik-hasan-soldier?_s=PM:CRIME 
Institute for Homeland Security Solution, Building on Clues: Examining Successes and Failures in Detecting U.S. Terror Plots, 1999-2009.
Oct. 2010, pg. 1: https://www.ihssnc.org/portals/0/Building_on_Clues_Strom.pdf 
MATTHEW BISHOP - 20 JANUARY 2012
The power of war, like the power of love, springs from man's heart. The one yields death, the other life. But life without death has no meaning; nor, at its deepest level, does love without war. Without war we could not know from what depths love rises, or what power it must have to overcome such evil and redeem us.
- William Broyles Jr.
Image from DailyKos
This article is a psychological examination of how humans conceptualize war and aggression in general. William Broyles Jr.'s "Why Men Love War", an article that tries to understand why, as the author says, "There is a reason for every war and a war for every reason" is the foundation of this essay, and this paper serves to expand upon the ideas that Broyles develops. Rathus's work "Theories of Aggression" and Brown's "Manchild in the Promised Land" will also be used for this paper's arguments.
1: Theories of Aggression
Rathus arrives at the conclusion that there are five foremost ways in which psychologists understand war, and in which individuals react to or participate in war and aggression in general. These are the biological, cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic-existential, and learning perspectives.
The biological assumes that aggression is natural in the human state and ultimately works for the betterment of the individual participating in aggression and that it can also exist for the betterment of the collective society involved in aggression. Sociobiology says that humans compete for survival and for their goals in life and that this leads to aggressive behavior in a very basic and natural way.
The cognitive perspective assumes that aggression is a result of conscious thought and decided intentions, and that aggressive behavior is present in those individuals who have experienced the most aggression in their own pasts. Aggressive individuals understand other individuals as aggressive and hostile even when they are not, and this can often result in aggressive acts including war.
The humanistic-existential perspective is the most optimistic. It understands war and aggression as something contrary to human nature. Aggression, this theory contends, comes in the form of defensive reactions against outside incursions. What causes those outside incursions is not addressed.
The psychodynamic theory contends that aggression usually manifests in small acts that in fact prevent larger acts. Small-scale, everyday aggression can prevent large or more devastating aggression simply by allowing the individual or the society to "let off steam". Even wars, in this perspective, are a result of the need to let off steam.
The learning perspective views aggression as a learned behavior passed down and inherited from one to another. Individuals that are treated in an aggressive manner, in turn, behave aggressively. Individuals who become aggressive are influenced by their own experiences, the experiences they view (this includes viewing violence in the media) and the experiences that they are otherwise aware of.
2: "Why Men Love War"
While any of the above theories might provide the motive for war, Broyles contends that there is something so unique about the experience of war that it draws men into it in the most instinctive and natural way. It is something removed from aggression, and the above theories of aggression can only begin the probing into the human mind in search of understanding war. The proximity to death and the resulting "epic" narrative of war is attractive. The otherworldliness of the entire experience, the uniqueness, is something almost fully irresistible. The ability to destroy life and property without punishment is attractive and allows men to be entirely destructive without consequence-- as is part of man's nature, the author contends. The bonds that exist in the world of war-- total allegiance to those who might save your life and total disregard for the lives of those who are trying to take your own-- is simple, instinctive, and profound in human nature. Controversially, Broyles spends a lot of time discussing the thrill of the kill-- it is not just that killing may be a part of nature, he contends, but it is instead the fact that people enjoy killing which is the general casus belli of every conflict in human history.
People are allowed to enjoy killing in wartime-- they are encouraged to do so, and there is no regard for regular civilian rules. Nor is there any indication that the enemy could ever exist in a civilian world-- they are demons to be vanquished, not people whose interests must be considered. As Broyles recalls in his own experience in Vietnam, "...we didn't burn houses and shoot people; we burned hooches and shot gooks."
The processes of dehumanization-- which Broyles only briefly alludes to in that single and profound statement-- that are inherent in and necessary for every war are also inherent in and necessary for every act of genocide and other large-scale forms of aggression (including structural aggression such as slavery and state violence). It is something easy to identify with in the us-them world of killing or dying, but it is terribly difficult to overcome. Many World War II veterans who fought in the Pacific during World War II still do not consider "Japs" to be humans, for example, or if they do then they are a lesser breed of human. It's been almost seventy years. But time is of no consequence in this. The experiences of the Pacific arena in World War II were so profound and required such a shift in the perception of the Japanese and the perception of self and of Americans that once these shifts occurred, they could not be undone. What Broyles describes as the "epic" narrative of war and the "proximity of life and death" is something that strikes so deep into the core of a human being that there is virtually no force able to exert more influence in the human mind. To many veterans, the Japanese were machines programmed to kill or die, and they still are. In war, everyone becomes a machine programmed to live or die. In some sense, no one is human. In another sense, Broyles would remind us, we are more human in war than in any other phenomenon of human history.
Broyles talks about war as something attractive to mankind, woven into the fabric of man's nature. And to overcome the instinct that creates war, we must always be conscious of that instinct in the first place. We must acknowledge it and react to it by resisting it, not by abiding by it. It is dark to suggest that we recognize this instinct-- it requires that we suspend the rules by which we are raised and admit that we are all capable of terrible, terrible things-- but then again, so does war. Yet recognition is necessary to overcome what ultimately propels every war in the history of our world. We must acknowledge that it is part of the nature of man, and then we begin to change the world around us by changing our own nature and resisting war.
A friend of mine, who suffers from severe PTSD after eight years in the Marines, cannot even understand Americans as human-- he sees nothing as human, and everything, at every point in time, on the brink of killing or dying. War is his reality, and leaving Somalia, Afghanistan, or Iraq never changed that reality. Coming back to America did not change that reality. I was in the mountains with him one day, and he looked down at the small people beneath us. He sat down and pretended to be taking out a sniper rifle, and started laughing. He'd make the motion of pulling a trigger and make the pop sound with his mouth. He'd count them. Then he started talking about how we should jump off a cliff, and see how far down we make it before we die. Death is as close to him as life is, I realized in that moment. To Broyles, this is the human state. To us, it seems unnatural. But to any man who had spent the last eight years doing what my friend had done, he'd have to agree with Broyles. To people like my friend, our own daily lives are a distortion of reality-- war is the only actual reality.
3: America Today
Claud Brown's "Manchild in the Promised Land" is a recollection of Brown's own childhood in 1940s-1950s Harlem. It is an article that seems far removed from World War II, Vietnam, or Iraq, but it is in fact very close to them all. People in 1940s-1950s Harlem were encouraged to fight. Reputations were based on fights won. People were described by how they fought, which hand they hit with, etc. Parents taught their kids that fighting was a way to win respect in the community and that is was necessary, and would be ashamed when their young children would run from fights. The world they lived in was simple, as the author recalls-- people are constantly trying to steal away "your manhood", which was everything necessary for life, and you had to defend it through physical violence. This is a sort of world that is well-known to any veteran. The enemy is trying to take away what is important to you. You must defend that thing by killing your enemy. Killing your enemy may involve terrible and seemingly inhuman atrocities, but it is necessary, because you must defend that thing which is important to you. That "thing" changes from war to war, but the basic concept remains the same.
It is also a world very similar to the world in which many Americans live today. It is the world of poor inner cities, rural dirt backroads, impoverished ghost towns, and competitive upper-class, fast-paced communities. It is the way in which a huge number of Americans are introduced to violence and the way in which they arrive at the conclusion that violence is acceptable, necessary, natural to the human state, or even inherently good or otherwise not worth resisting. Violence is a tool to achieve one's own ends or to defend that important thing. It does not come in the form of war, but instead in the form of small-scale violence. Yet this is the very same concept that must be present in the human mind for war to exist.
A year ago I stood outside the gates of Dachau. Written in twisted black iron upon those gates was a phrase: Arbeit Macht Frei, the German for Work will set you free. It is easy to remember the Holocaust and to proclaim that the Nazis were inhuman. Yet nearly 70,000,000 German humans watched while more than 12,000,000 humans were cremated, shot, or gassed in their own territories, and that is the fact of it. The Japanese humans killed more than 300,000 humans in the city of Nanking in a systematic raping in little more than six weeks. German and Soviet humans killed millions of humans as they advanced back and forth, sometimes for sport, sometimes to further a racist agenda. Allied humans killed millions more humans in the firebombings of cities in Germany and Japan-- almost every major city in those countries, in fact. Then, over the course of little more than a month, more than 210,000 humans would die in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States chose to drop these bombs because they decided a naval blockade would be inconvenient, and would drag on for a few more weeks-- they decided they were unwilling to wait those few weeks, so 210,000 people died.
Inside of Dachau there stood the only statue that has ever chilled me to my bones. It was a simple black iron statue of starved bodies, almost fully two dimensional, with their mouths open and crying. They were welded together in terrifying positions, reaching for heaven or each other. Some were stacked on each other, but an observer could tell that these figures had some last breath of life in them, that they were still waiting for some sort of deliverance. Under the statue there was a plaque which read Never Again.
But it happens every day. It is the thing in our minds that lets us separate one group of humans from another. That separation lets us hit someone else. When developed further, it lets us kill someone else. Then it lets us drop a bomb, or throw a body in a furnace, or twelve million of them. It is the same concept that takes root in the human mind-- that we are human, and they are machine. That we must defend what is important to us, and killing those machines is what is necessary to secure that important thing. These things happened again. They will always happen, unless, as Broyles advises, we understand that love and war emerge from the same place, and that it is only our conscious direction that could ever possibly decide that the one is more prudent than the other.
26 DECEMBER 2011 - Guest Writer Treston Wheat
There are many similarities among the different types of sub-state violence, which has led some to erroneously equate all of them. Fundamental differences exist between an insurgency and terrorism and other forms of violence. When people try to equate sub-state violence no matter its source, they strip their analysis of any meaning. This is ultimately like saying that premeditated murder is the same act as vehicular homicide and that these are the same as self-defense. It denudes any actual thought concerning the nature of force by saying they are identical. Although insurgency and terrorism are both politically motivated violence, they have different strategic choices and organizational structures that demonstrate how they are different political phenomena.
The most fundamental difference between insurgency and terrorism can be found in the definitions of the words. The definition of terrorism is politically motivated violence or the threat of violence against non-combatants by sub-state actors ; the definition of insurgency, on the other hand, is a “struggle between a nonruling group and the ruling authorities in which the nonruling group uses political resources and violence” and is a “protracted political-military activity” that uses irregular military forces. Long term objectives can appear similar between insurgents and terrorists, like al-Qaeda and the Taliban wanting Shariah law implemented in states. Yet, it is the second-tier and short term objectives of insurgents and terrorists that separate them. One must separate the teleological objectives from the immediate objectives of organizations. Terrorism’s objectives are, according to Louise Richardson, revenge, renown, and reaction. Take for instance the suicide bombings in London in 2005; the four attackers did not believe theirs actions would lead to the establishment of the Caliphate. Rather, they wanted to seek revenge for Britain’s action in the Middle East and the country’s support for the war there. Terrorists measure the success of their attacks by how much attention it receives. In addition, they received the renown they wanted. The terrorists sidelined the G-8 summit and became famous across the world. Although they did not achieve the reaction they wanted, i.e. retaliation to increase hatred of the West, a reaction was part of their immediate objectives. Finally, terrorists plan for their attacks to “have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim(s) or object of the terrorist attack.” Terrorism wants to spread terror amongst the population. The terrorist’s objective is therefore more about scaring civil society and making themselves known.
Insurgents differ from terrorists by their own immediate objectives, which are military by nature rather than media or revenge prone. An insurgent’s tactics will look to wear the enemy down through constant attacks against the regular forces while acquiring weapons and support from the disenfranchised population. Eventually, the insurgency tries to establish its own regular forces and fight the opposing government on equal footing. Furthermore, the insurgency wishes to give public services to the public while diminishing the government’s ability to do so. Hezbollah does this consistently by offering access to water and schooling in Lebanon when the government is not able to do so. Also, insurgents want to mitigate international support for the opposition by increasing their legitimacy in the eyes of other states. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority have gained international support and even acquired representation in international organizations like the UN. Yet, they try to undermine Israel by constantly pointing towards supposed human rights abuses and other maladies. Insurgents’ immediate goals are specific military aims while terrorists try to create attention with their acts for political causes.
Strategic choices and targets by insurgents and terrorists also demonstrate how they differ from each other. The terrorist by definition attacks non-combatants; the insurgent attacks combatants. Some forms of violence have legitimacy and some have illegitimacy. The target of force determines whether or not the act is right, legitimate, or wrong, illegitimate. A quick survey of terrorist attacks shows that their ultimate targets are non-combatants rather than those that fight on the battlefield. Al-Qaeda chose to target the World Trade Centers as a way to assault people for specifically being American, not because they were soldiers on the battlefield. Hamas suicide bombers go on buses full of Israeli civilians to attack the population rather than going after members of the IDF. Aum Shinrikyo pumped sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway to hurt ordinary Japanese instead of attacking the military. The Red Brigade in Europe kidnapped and killed specific members of the government, not soldiers in the Italian military. In each of these cases the terrorist organization’s target was a non-combatant to draw attention to their cause because they were symbolic of their problem with the current order.
Contrast this with the insurgent that attacks the soldier on the battlefield and goes after military targets. The insurgency in Cuba that put Fidel Castro into power and Mao Zedong’s campaign against the Japanese give examples as to how these are military operations against regular forces. The point of an insurgency is to eventually gain enough strength to have a regular army strong enough to conquer the ruling authority’s regular army. This is why insurgencies use guerilla warfare and enact a protracted war. They must maintain enough time to gain the strength to fight the government. Batista’s government failed before Castro could create a standing army, but Castro attacked military strongholds and soldiers. Some might point out that insurgents generally only deal with the military, both domestic and foreign, and that is why they do not target civilians. The primary difference is that insurgents’ primary target are combatants as part of their overall strategic initiative. They cannot gain recruits if they continually assault the population they supposedly want to protect from the ruling authority. As mentioned before, one of the immediate objectives is to gain support and membership from the local population. In contrast, a terrorist has an audience and tries to bring attention to their cause and can indiscriminately attack the population. These two forms of violence have different targets because of their different objectives. Insurgents want to take control of the area and control the population; the terrorist wants revenge, renown, and a reaction to her action.
One of the difficulties with this analysis is that people have to determine the difference between a combatant and a non-combatant. The quintessential difference is that a combatant operates on the battlefield with an established uniform and weapon according to international standards. An example that seems to blur the line between combatant and non-combatant is Nidal Malik Hassan who attacked soldiers at Fort Hood. He must be considered a terrorist because the soldiers he attacked were not on the battlefield. Also, his immediate objectives follow that of a terrorist rather than an insurgent. Hassan supposedly believed that the “War on Terror” was a war against Islam and believed Muslims should not be in the military. His motivations appeared to follow revenge for America’s actions in the Middle East. He was not trying to gain followers to fight the military on equal ground. This case shows it is possible to determine whether violence is by an insurgent or a terrorist based on their targets and objectives.
Besides the targets and objectives of an organization, the organizational structure differentiates terrorists and insurgents. Terrorists operate either in cells or as individuals. There are a plethora of examples of individuals acting as “lone wolfs:” Eric Rudolph, Scott Roeder, Timothy McVeigh, Anders Behring Breivik, et al. More often, though, terrorists operate in cells. This is a more modern phenomenon, where in the past terrorists had a hierarchical structure. Terrorist organizations now employ “leaderless networks.” The Earth Liberation Front employed this strategy where they had several cells throughout the country that had no “chain of command” and are merely connected by their radical environmentalism. In comparison, an insurgent organization mirrors itself to a military. Mao Zedong envisioned a clear hierarchy and military structure. He believed that an insurgency need military commanders, political commissioners, officers, headquarters, chief of staffs, and divisions based on areas. There is a clear military structure, but the insurgent differs from a regular army by having mobile forces that can move agilely across the country and attack points of weakness. Terrorists operate in cells and as individuals; insurgents have to operate as a paramilitary organization with specific people in command so that they can achieve success.
Because of the difference between terrorism and insurgency the response by governments, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, have to be different. Although Bard O’Neill writes that all forms of sub-state violence are types of insurgency, even he explicates the need for divergent responses to dissimilar forms of violence. What he named conspiratorial and urban-warfare is synonymous to terrorism. The proper response for this kind of violence is intelligence gathering and police work rather than military operations. He offers the examples of Northern Ireland and Italy where terrorism decreased after the governments increased disciplined police forces. However, military force is not out of the question. Special operations against terrorists residing in other countries can help eliminate the organizations, as Israel has done several times. When a country engages an insurgency, the state must necessarily use alternate tactics. America could not have just used intelligence and police forces to bring down the Taliban government and fight the subsequent insurgency that occurred. The US had to send thousands of troops along with NATO to successfully fight off the Taliban led insurgents. Because of the varying nature of sub-state violence, understanding that terrorism and insurgency differ allows for governments to develop proper strategy to combat them.
Analysts need to differentiate between insurgents and terrorism because proper analysis leads to successful counterattacks. If one assumes that an insurgent is a terrorist, then they may try to arrest the offender rather than stop what will become a protracted conflict. If one assumes that a terrorist is an insurgent, then they may use military operations where simple intelligence gathering and police work would suffice. However, if one accurately assesses the situation, then the government can develop and implement an appropriate strategy for eliminating the sub-state actor. Governments that fail to understand the difference will implement incorrect tactics and fail to neutralize the threats to their country.