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I. The Problems of Defining Terrorism
The difficulties surrounding the project of defining terrorism are at first glance classic problems of connotation and denotation. In its everyday usage, terrorism is a value laden term often connoting craven indifference to innocent life. In contemporary political rhetoric, terrorism is more of an accusation than a descriptive term. There may be no more effective rhetorical device today than to accuse one’s opponent of being a terrorist. Not only do such accusations carry an explicit moral claim but they seemingly can be cast in all directions. In the ‘war of words’, the question of who can fairly be referred to as a terrorist seems to devolve into a debate over who is most deserving of moral condemnation.1 Furthermore, the effect of charging another as a terrorist is to excuse oneself from any further debate concerning the justness of their claims or their legitimacy in either domestic or international politics. Given the most publicized terrorists acts of recent years, it is not difficult to understand why the common usage of terrorism carries such extremely negative connotations. It is less than obvious, however, that a definition of terrorism should embrace a universal moral prejudgment of terrorist actions and the agents who carry them out. Skepticism about such an approach comes from both traditional philosophical concerns as well as one specific to terrorism itself. Any definition that incorporates an all encompassing moral evaluation tends to circumvent the need to provide arguments and reasons to support this judgment. In addition, by including heavily value laden characteristics into any definition, one may easily

* I would like to thank both Greg Klass and John Kleinig for their detailed comments on earlier versions of this paper. 1 For a thorough treatment of the accusation of terrorism in contemporary rhetoric see Tomis Kapitan, “The Terrorism of ‘Terrorism’”, in J. Sterba (ed.), Terrorism and International Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 47-66.

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A Typology of Terrorism

restrict the extension of the term in too severe a fashion.2 Thus, by including within the definition of terrorism either that it always targets innocent persons or that it is always morally indefensible, one excludes certain actions that could and perhaps should be at least examined as potential terrorist acts. Beyond these two general concerns, to incorporate a universal moral evaluation into the definition of terrorism may in fact prove difficult due to the instrumental nature of terrorism. Like violence itself, terrorism is a means for obtaining any number of possible ends.3 Just as one can universally condemn all violent actions, one can analogously condemn terrorism as a means. However, the same sorts of challenges that the thorough going non-violentist faces in demonstrating the coherence of her position must similarly be confronted by the person universally condemning terrorism.4 Given the instrumental character of violence, can’t we conceive of a noble end (e.g. saving innocent persons from great harm or death) that could only be obtained by violent means? As it is extremely difficult to rule out such a possibility, an absolute version of non-violentism is not easily defended. Why then would it be fair to assume that an absolute moral evaluation is possible for the instrument of terror? Isn’t it equally conceivable that terrorism could serve a noble end when no other means could do so? That such a case is conceivable will be acknowledged by admitting terrorism’s instrumental character. The likelihood of such a case existing will depend upon two factors. The first factor concerns the nature of this instrumentality and I take this to be the central concern of a definition of terrorism. A definition of terrorism that focuses upon how it serves as a means to any number of possible ends will be purposively broad so as to capture its current and future possible employments. The second factor will flow from an attempt to differentiate between the many types of terrorism—what I call a typology of terrorism. The typology that I develop here does not key primarily upon the ends terrorism aims at. In the first place, the future

At the same time, most any definition of terrorism will contain the negatively valued term of violence and, thus, will prejudge terrorism as being morally problematic, i.e. in need of some kind of moral justification. 3 Hannah Arendt persuasively argues that the instrumentality of violence is not to be confused with political power that may be valued as an end in itself. Hannah Arendt, “On Violence” in Crises of the Republic (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), pp. 105-198. 4 For an illuminating treatment of the challenges to nonviolentism, see Robert Holmes, “The Morality of Nonviolence,” in D. Cady and R. Werner (eds.), Just War, Nonviolence, and Nuclear Deterrence (Wakefield, NH: Longwood Academic Press, 1991), pp. 131-48.

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Shawn Kaplan


ends of terrorism may be beyond ready prediction. Secondly, the nobility of a terrorist’s aim is not sufficient for justifying her actions. While I will consider the typical and readily conceivable ends of terrorism, the typology is primarily an analysis of the modes of terrorism’s instrumentality. Thus, the broad phenomenon of terrorism is divided according to factors of targets, the degree of force employed, agency, and the geographic context of deployment. It is only by first drawing out the diverse types of terrorism that moral evaluation can take place in a concrete and meaningful way. Before I present a definition of terrorism, I will critically examine four current approaches to defining terrorism so as to draw closer to an understanding of the phenomenon of terrorism. In addition to avoiding a strong moral prejudgment, I contend that a definition of terrorism ought to: a) distinguish terrorism from other forms of violence and coercion, b) allow for a diversity of state and non-state agents, and c) express some core elements common to the overall phenomenon of terrorism that can be more or less readily recognized in practice. It isn’t my aim to provide the necessary and sufficient conditions for identifying terrorism. Rather, I am interested in uncovering those qualities that unite by ‘family resemblance’ a wide range of actions as terrorist. As a result, my approach will not marginalize those instrumental uses of terror that fall outside the purview of what is traditionally considered politics. While most people are rightly concerned with terrorism as a political reality, it is quite possible that the broader applications can be instructive with regard to understanding the instrumental quality of the basic phenomenon as well as perhaps proving instructive in regard to the moral positions we take on terrorism. After defending my proposed definition, I will provide a typological analysis of the broad range of phenomena that fit under my proposed definition and attempt to outline the potential utility of this typological framework when morally evaluating terrorist acts.

II. Four Strategies for Defining Terrorism
1. Terrorism as Non-conventional Tactics
Given my assertion of the instrumental nature of terrorism, it may be tempting to identify terrorism with a series of non-conventional tactics resorted to in asymmetric conflicts. According to this approach, terrorism is a type of political violence that is adopted for pragmatic reasons due to one side being the resounding underdog in a conflict. The advantage of such an approach is that it leaves the morality of terrorism open for

assassination. Of course. or produce a change in the political or social order. or a military build-up. Andrew Valls argues that terrorism can be justified by the traditional principles of just war theory equally well as the conventional forms of political violence.5 Such a strategy for defining terrorism could include anyone as a terrorists who resorts to guerilla warfare. or a new weapons program carried out by a traditional adversary. Examples could include the use of propaganda during a conflict to dishearten the opposition. Should the definition of terrorism shift as certain tactics become more and more popular or take on the semblance of normality? Certainly assassination was a more conventional act of political violence in ancient Rome and one could argue that in an era of world super-power(s) guerilla warfare is becoming normalized. fear. how has one necessarily used terror or fear as a means? If we hold that terrorism has a distinct meaning that involves terror (broadly understood). then this focus upon unconventional tactics appears to be misdirected. More significantly. it is unclear how any of the ‘non-conventional’ tactics listed above fit our intuitions of terrorism. My last criticism of equating terrorism with non-conventional methods of political violence is that such an approach ignores that much of the ‘work’ of terrorism is carried out through the direct threat of violence. I believe these examples indicate a problem for this expanded notion of non-conventional tactics. pp. the idea of non-conventional tactics becomes extremely broad. in the case that psychological violence is included.4 A Typology of Terrorism evaluation on a case by case basis. However. Valls (ed. threats unsubstantiated by actual attacks eventually lose their power to draw forth such responses. and anxiety as actual violent attacks. Rather. MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. The direct threat of violence elicits as much (if not more) terror. Andrew Valls. One could argue that those who live under the threat of terrorist attacks experience a kind of psychological violence. “Can Terrorism Be Justified?” in A. it may be difficult to distinguish between 5 By situating terrorism as merely one species of political violence. viz. or any revolt that does not use an established army. I am not suggesting this based upon the common intuitions that morally prejudge terrorism in total. or threats of economic sanctions like those carried out against Iraq beginning in 1990 to devastating effect. Accordingly.). I say could because the notion of non-conventional tactics is a purely conventional idea. . one would have to embrace an idea of terrorism that includes most any kind of threat to the political or economic well-being of a people. rioting. by using unconventional tactics to either protect oneself. 2000). Ethics in International Affairs (Lanham. or the formations of military or economic alliances that are perceived as threatening to a people’s future well-being. 65-79.

defining terrorism as political violence by non-conventional means does not provide the precision needed to determine the role of psychological violence in terrorism. (New York: Basic Books. rather. similar to Walzer’s. pp.). they are guilty of war crimes. Not Warriors. Sterba (ed. “What is Terrorism?. 6 .” Philosophy 60 (1985): 52.” pp. 38-43. Terrorism and International Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press. While many definitions of terrorism include a clause that indicate such acts always target innocent people (i. Coady. 2003). “Terrorism: A Critique of Excuses” in Arguing About War (New Haven: Yale University Press. 7 Some additional examples of theorists who make the targeting of non-combatants a key element of their definitions of terrorism are: Michael Walzer.7 Following French’s reasoning. pp. “Murderers. 2. and Noam Chomsky. 2003).A. French. “Murderers. 2000).). French uses a modified version of The Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE). 2004). While in the last analysis terrorism may always involve psychological violence insofar as it elicits terror.8 Just as military personnel or policy makers are war criminals Shannon E. p. Terrorists are murderers for French due to the innocence of their targets. Sterba (ed. 152-159. non-combatants who pose no immediate threat to the terrorists). 57. For Walzer’s treatment of the DDE see his Just and Unjust Wars. Shannon French argues against the association of terrorism with non-conventional tactics. 3rd ed. Terrorism as Indiscriminate Violence that Targets the Innocent In a recent essay. French makes this the central factor for defining terrorists along with the agent being the underdog in an asymmetric fight.” Journal of Applied Philosophy 7 (1990): 129-38. Igor Primoratz. Terrorism and International Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press.e. pp. James Sterba. 31-46. C. 206-228. 51-66. 2001). she makes this move so as to distinguish between legitimate fighters in asymmetric battles and terrorists who in her eyes are simply murderers. to build an analogy between war crimes and terrorism.J. nation-states cannot be terrorists when directly targeting innocent persons.Shawn Kaplan 5 psychological violence and the terror or anxiety experienced by merely perceiving a threat. “Terrorism and International Justice” in J. 8 French.6 While I agree with her general assertion that there is little reason to identify an underdog who uses nonconventional tactics in an asymmetric battle as a terrorist. “The Morality of Terrorism. pp. Not Warriors: The Moral Distinction Between Terrorists and Legitimate Fighters in Asymmetric Conflicts” in J. 9/11 (New York: Seven Storied Press.

let alone innocent ones? In the hours after the 9-11 attacks upon The United States of America. amplified concern was expressed for the security of infrastructure such as power plants. If these targets had been attacked without the loss of innocent lives. Sterba (ed.g. transportation hubs and communications centers. Thus. for French asymmetric fighters whose actions fail to pass the DDE are analogously terrorists. an act that solely intends to inflict a harm upon a hated party would not be considered terrorism. is it necessary to conclude that such an attack can never be terrorism? Is it impossible for terrorists to target military personnel? If we take the attack upon the U.S. Cole as an example and we assume for the moment that as a military vessel that the sailors were legitimate Some theorists attempt to distinguish between “hate crimes” and terrorism. 175-6. would we refuse to consider them as potential acts of terrorism? On the domestic front. “Making War on Terrorism in Response to 9/11. 9 . Her approach narrowly limits terrorism not only under the category of immorality but even under the more restrictive heading of murder. I will address why I believe this to be a false distinction shortly. see Claudia Card. pipelines.S. pp. My suggestion is that by equating terrorists with asymmetric fighters who target innocent people one places severe and perhaps unreasonable restrictions upon how one conceives of terrorism. Black Churches) as well as persons to elicit terror.9 In each of the above examples. For an example. security forces were rushed to The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia with the understanding that terrorists might likely target property with symbolic significance.). Terrorism and International Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press. organizations like the Ku Klux Klan have long and ugly histories of targeting property (e. 2003).” in J.6 A Typology of Terrorism when their actions fail to pass the DDE because they do not sufficiently protect non-combatants. In addition. The stock exchanges in New York were also considered likely targets for both their symbolic and economic significance. with the increased awareness of The United States’ vulnerability to terrorist attacks. water treatment plants. her equating of terrorism with murder stands as the most explicit possible moral prejudgment of terrorism. a piece of property was either a reasonably anticipated direct target of terrorist attack or the actual target of what many take to be a terrorist organization. Must terrorist acts always be acts of murder? Need an action be lethal to be considered terrorism? Must terrorism target persons. Leaving aside the controversies surrounding the definition of innocent persons which underlies French’s approach. It is not at all clear that the burning of Black Churches in the South should be any less of a potential terrorist act than lynching. Even in an instance where supposedly non-innocent persons are targeted.

When a traditional military force targets innocent individuals. 12 Carl Wellman. “On Terrorism Itself.10 By identifying terrorism according to its innocent targets. have leapt to the conclusion that all terrorism is a terror crime. it is not claimed that they are no longer engaged in making war. a terrorist organization that carries out attacks against innocent individuals would seemingly be guilty of terror crimes. the assumption that terrorists are necessarily indiscriminate with regard to the legitimacy of its targets reinforces the popular notion that terrorists are irrational ‘mad men’ who cannot be negotiated with and cannot be taken seriously. although this broader notion is part of the common rhetoric against terrorism. I am suggesting that those who equate terrorists with asymmetric fighters who target ‘innocents’ non-combatants have assumed that terrorists cannot be discriminating with regard to the legitimacy of their targets and. (1979): 250258. it is fair to propose from the perspective of just war theory that the indiscriminate targeting of non-combatants in war is criminal and that some criminals may appear to be mad.12 In the typology that follows. then we can ask why the members of al-Qaeda responsible for this attack are not terrorists on this occasion as opposed to their other activities. one direct and the other is an indirect target.Shawn Kaplan 7 targets. 10 . Instead. I will examine more fully both the distinction between discriminate and indiscriminate terrorism based upon the nature of the targets as well as the analogy between war crimes and terror crimes. To complete the analogy. perhaps a definition of terrorism shouldn’t paint all terrorists as targeting the ‘innocent’ and should allow for a distinction between discriminate and indiscriminate acts of terrorism.” Journal of Value Inquiry 13. French and others hastily dismiss the possibility of terrorism that discriminates between legitimate and illegitimate targets. In analogous fashion. At this point. While it would be an unfair rush to judgment to claim that anyone engaged in war is an irrational ‘mad man’. 3. thus. they are guilty of war crimes. I think few theorists would suggest that terrorists are indiscriminate in the broader sense of having no plan or purpose regarding their acts of violence. as French and others point out. Terrorism as Having Coercive Intent An alternative approach to defining terrorism first proposed by Carl Wellman complicates the issue of targets by suggesting that terrorists have in fact two targets.11 From the standpoint of rhetoric. I am using the narrow meaning of discriminating between targets who are a direct threat as opposed to those noncombatants who are not a direct threat to the terrorists. 11 By suggesting that terrorism can be discriminate.

”13 However. To his credit. 145-7. either a nation-state.8 A Typology of Terrorism According to this view. it seems to me that an additional advantage of Wellman’s approach is that he acknowledges both the physical and psychological harms of terrorism and thus his theory is amenable to a broader conception of violence which includes psychological violence in addition to physical violence. 179-81. it isn’t specific to either international or domestic terrorism. the direct target receives the harm but is secondary to the target whom the terrorist intends to influence or coerce by the act. see Robert Holmes. in fact.. “Making War on Terrorism in Response to 9/11. the physical and psychological violence of rape and domestic abuse are used by men to coerce women into 13 Ibid. Wellman’s account takes a surprising turn when he claims “violence is not essential to terrorism and. or merely hateful. vengeful. To further broaden the possibilities. nor does it place restrictions upon the agent of terrorism. Thus.” pp. most acts of terrorism are nonviolent. Wellman suggests that a single entity can serve as both direct and indirect target. Neither the direct nor indirect targets need to be innocent within this conception of terrorism. or an non-state agent. the secondary target could conceivably be a piece of property and not a person. . p. That is. “The Morality of Nonviolence. he seems to be working with a narrow conception of violence that only allows for physical violence. If one considers that nonviolent action and protest never aims at producing harms—psychological or physical—to others. the attack (or torture) cannot be terrorism. The focus here is not upon the dual targets alone but the ulterior motive of coercion that tends to cause this complication. or even an individual can inflict harm upon one target in order to terrorize and coerce a response from another. 251. 14 Claudia Card. the coercive intent could be served by a threat of harm.14 According to Card. sadistic. torture can be a form of terrorism. if the intent is punitive.” pp. Regardless. and. However. the secondary goals of terrorists could be quite diverse. Claudia Card argues for an interesting extension of Wellman’s approach whereby rape and domestic abuse can be categorized as terrorism. if the intent of the person is to coerce her victim. For an enlightening account of nonviolent tactics and how they do not aim at coercion but to allow one’s opponent to see the injustice of their ways. although the direct target often is innocent. given that Wellman’s examples of nonviolent terrorism involve some threat of a significant psychological harm. the notion of nonviolent terrorism seems oxymoronic. This approach to defining terrorism is not restrictive with regard to the terror producing tactics involved in coercing the indirect target. Wellman’s approach has a number of positive aspects: it doesn’t morally prejudge all terrorism.

In response. After all.? Should such motives exclude these attacks from being acts 15 Carl Wellman. Wellman admits many of these as examples of terrorism and even includes himself as an occasional terrorist. the kidnapper. the intentions behind specific acts of rape may vary significantly. and nation-states but by an entire gender. Card’s account implies two interesting possibilities for terrorism itself. it is also fair to ask whether his insistence that all terrorism is coercive is somewhat of an arbitrary characterization. for I often threaten to flunk any student who hands in his paper after the due date.S. The second implication is that terrorism can be carried out not only by individuals.Shawn Kaplan 9 subservience. Beyond the provocative characterization of rape as a terrorist institution.S. the armed bank robber. That is. etc. If one acknowledges Wellman’s claim that the direct and indirect targets of terrorism can be united in one person. doesn’t every use of force to control the actions of a voluntary agent rely upon eliciting some degree of ‘terror’ as the means for such control? Besides Wellman’s definition having too broad of an extension. “On Terrorism Itself. What if the attacks of 9-11 were motivated by hatred. non-state organizations. While many (although not all) instances of domestic violence can readily be understood as intending intimidation and coercion. In addition to people guilty of domestic abuse and possibly rape. . “I must confess that I often engage in nonviolent terrorism myself. then any number of actions with coercive intent will be categorized as terrorism.”15 In light of the magnitude of harmed threatened in his example. I believe that such reactions may in part be in response to some broader problems associated with Wellman’s account of terrorism that Card takes as her starting point. While some may be uncomfortable with Card’s characterization of rape as a terrorist institution and the implications that it carries for terrorism. and the playground bully as terrorists. 252. or to provoke an extreme and transparently unjust military response by the U. the blackmailer. or to demonstrate this super power’s vulnerability.. or from a desire to punish the U. Card argues that “the institution of rape” is terroristic. to affect global opinion. the unwritten rules of society that allow and excuse rape as well as often times blame the victim for the crime underlie a series of institutionalized practices perpetrated by men in order to coerce women. The first is that a series of institutional practices can function as a kind of terrorism. Wellman’s definition of terrorism seems to make it indistinguishable from any act of coercion.” p. one might have to include the mugger. the organized crime group.

Terrorism and Collective Responsibility (New York: Routledge. Rights. the violence (or threat thereof) employed therein is aimed partly at destabilizing (or maintaining) an existing social or political order.G.17 4.W. Terrorism. 6. Terrorism: A Philosophical Analysis (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press. 17 Card comes to the same conclusion regarding the 9-11 attacks using Wellman’s definition. 173. or those who planned it. 1991). Virginia Held. Violence. Angello Corlett is in large part derived from the definition provided by Burleigh T. terrorism is aimed at provoking extreme counter- Virginia Held accurately points out that like all types of violence terrorism is also inherently coercive but this fact doesn’t support Wellman’s claim that the terrorist always uses terror as a means toward the singular aim of coercion. pp. and Political Goals. Frey and C. or religious. it seems problematic to assume that terrorism is solely an instrument for coercion. often. p. Composite Approaches to Defining Terrorism I will now consider one last approach to defining terrorism which tends to aggregate several aspect together into a composite definition. “Terrorism. The following attempt to define terrorism by J. economic. 60-1. 18 J. but mainly at publicizing the goals or causes espoused by the agents or by those on whose behalf the agents act. though not always. Morris (eds. 1992). Given the opaque intentions of the members of al-Qaeda responsible for the 9-11 attacks. or those who funded it? Can there be a collective intention for a terrorist organization or a terrorist state? Do I have to rely upon the stated intentions of the putative terrorists? Can I ever know the real intent of another. Wellman’s approach leaves us in the awkward position of not being able to identify these attacks as terrorism. social. change by the actual or threatened use of violence against other persons or other persons’ property.10 A Typology of Terrorism of terrorism? If terrorism has an instrumental nature. Can I only know terrorism by knowing the intention of the agent? Do I need to know the intention of the person carrying out the attack.” in R.). Wilkins and is a thoughtful representative of this composite approach. pp. Angelo Corlett. or even of myself? Suffice it to say that I am skeptical that coercive intent is a productive avenue for defining terrorism. and Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This of course starts to push the criticisms into deeper philosophical waters. Burleigh Taylor Wilkins. p.18 Terrorism is the attempt to achieve (or prevent) political. 2003). “Making War on Terrorism in Response to 9/11”. Card. 16 .16 The matter can be further pressed by asking whether the motives of terrorists can be mixed. 119-20.

Furthermore. Corlett argues that both Wilkins’ and his own definition of terrorism “best capture what is essential to terrorism” insofar as terrorism “need not be [actually] violent…nor must it target the innocent…nor must terrorism be unrestrained. At the same time. . those threatening violence may hope that such threats will cause the international community to pay attention to their claims and hopefully apply pressure to the offending party so as to avoid a crisis.”19 Even if these claims are stated in positive terms. 118.Shawn Kaplan measures which will win public support for the terrorists and their goals or cause. Corlett’s composite definition leaves one wondering what are the core elements that establish the family resemblance between the various types of terrorism—a problem common to such composite approaches. allow for a wide range of terrorist agents. His definition seems to concentrate on excluding ‘inessential’ attributes rather than highlighting how terrorism is distinct from other forms of actual or threatened political violence. is the threatened 19 Corlett. Yet. He has taken great care to: not morally prejudge terrorism. There is much to praise in Corlett’s definition. Does that mean that every such treaty has a terrorist vein at its heart? For better or worse. Let us take a case where one party is apparently violating the conditions of a peace treaty. can’t there be a difference between threatening or using violence to coerce another and terrorizing them? One can argue that every peace treaty entails a coercive threat of violence if either party fails to live up to the conditions. It may not be unreasonable for the offended party to threaten the accused violator with violence in the hope that they will change their current policies and actions. Terrorism: A Philosophical Analysis. however. it is not obvious that every threatened or actual act of violence that aims at either achieving or preventing change in the given order as well as possibly aiming to publicize the agent’s cause is an act of terrorism. it is not entirely unusual for parties to threaten violence in their negotiations or in trying to publicize their causes. and to acknowledge—at least to a limited degree—the instrumental character of terrorism. p. 11 Corlett depicts terrorism as a diverse phenomenon which either uses or threatens violence to obtain a number of possible goals. After all. allow for persons or property to be the target of terrorist attacks. Such a case fits neatly within Corlett’s definition of terrorism and yet is rather distant from our common intuitions of a terrorist act.

Doesn’t terrorism require the use of terror. While Corlett’s composite approach to defining terrorism may contribute to his failure to elucidate what core attributes differentiate terrorism from other forms of political violence.12 A Typology of Terrorism party necessarily a victim of terrorism?20 Given Corlett’s definition. Even if one brackets the general problem of knowing another’s intentions. . theorists often reduce the issue to a matter of the terrorists’ intentions. it is difficult to determine whether the motives of terrorists are primarily aimed at eliciting terror or at some other end. extreme fear or anxiety in the attempt to accomplish its ends? Using violence or the threat thereof in order to preserve a treaty. 2) Terror as a Consequence The ready alternative of looking to the consequences of violent or threatening actions to determine whether they elicit terror also appears 20 It is certainly conceivable that such threats of violence can be extreme enough to elicit terror. by in large. However. Unlike the totalitarian state that uses and threatens violence on a grand scale and with a large degree of arbitrariness. On the one hand.21 In all of the counter instances to Corlett’s definition of terrorism provided above. I too am skeptical of basing a definition of terrorism upon the intentions of the actors. it would be wrong to automatically categorize all such coercion as terrorism. The Instrument of Terror (Four Challenges) 1) The Intent to Terrorize I believe that much of the resistance to including terror within the definition of terrorism comes from four concerns. from terrorism as distinct forms of actual or threatened political violence. As my comments regarding Wellman’s definition indicate. or as leverage in negotiation (especially for peace). the state that finds certain criminal offences punishable by caning or capital punishment through fair legal procedures fails to terrorize its general public. there is one common complaint. or in maintaining a lawful society needs to be distinguished. the hesitancy to focus upon terrorism’s instrumental use of terror is relatively widespread. 21 One can still doubt the wisdom or justness of such punishments without making them instances of terrorism. one might even categorize every state that threatens any violence towards its citizens in order to preserve lawfulness as a terrorist state. III.

if the tactic only contributes indirectly to the military aims by the terror it elicits. As Card points out. While the soldier experiences terror in combat. the mostly unilateral (and some would claim unjust) military strikes against 22 In the following typology. more often. economy. these attacks did produce a terror that served as the instrument for many ends that may have been intended or unintended by the terrorists. as opposed to asking whether the agents held terror as their primary intention. my initial point is that this is the more fruitful debate as opposed to considering the intention of the agent.S. However. Such actions elicit terror as a primary consequence and thus can be distinguished from the typical terror experienced by soldiers in wartime. Instead. I will further develop this position when distinguishing between terrorist attacks upon military personnel and the use of unconventional tactics against an army. it seems reasonable to assume that many soldiers in active combat experience terror as a consequence of their opponents’ violent or threatening actions. Accordingly.22 There are advantages to asking whether an act or threat of violence produces a terror which functions in an instrumental fashion. In fact. those who plan and carry out military strategy may wish to maximize both the direct physical harms inflicted as well as the coercive secondary intimidation. Examples that cross this line include the mass murder of captured combatants or the desecration of the opposition’s dead. then the military personnel involved can be fairly accused of terrorism. Would we have to categorize all war as fundamentally terroristic? This absurdity results not from examining the consequences of violent or threatening actions but failing to distinguish between primary and secondary effects. . See Subsection 1 on targets. coercion by terror may have been a secondary motive for those who carried out and planned the 9-11 attacks. One should at the same time recognize that a typical military victory is not the result of an extermination of the opposition but their being weakened and intimidated to the extent that they surrender. While a debate can emerge as to what actual role or function terror is playing (either as a primary or secondary consequence) in a particular case. terror is a natural consequence of wartime experiences while functioning as a secondary consequence of the more immediate strategic aims.Shawn Kaplan 13 problematic. For example. For example. or perhaps it was not one of their motives at all. the terror elicited by the 9-11 attacks provoked a number of diverse responses: a downturn of the U. the other side is not necessarily using terror in itself as the primary instrument for attaining victory or weakening its opponent. increased attention for al Qaeda and its ‘causes’. however. So long as the terror produced is a secondary effect of the attack it shouldn’t be viewed as terrorism.

Certainly. In such situations. What if an attempted act of terrorism fails to elicit terror? Does such failure make the agent innocent of terrorism? There are two immediate reasons why a putative act of terrorism may not elicit terror.” New York Times. it is both imprecise and powerful. Whether these secondary and tertiary effects were intended by the terrorists is not a central factor for categorizing the actions as terrorism. the passing of The Patriot Act. In the first place. two crude homemade explosives were detonated in front of a midtown office building that houses the British Consulate. 6 May 2005. p.S. The problem faced here is not so different. “2 Blasts Before Dawn Shatter Windows and Close Third Avenue.14 A Typology of Terrorism Afghanistan and Iraq. the violent act could either be botched or thwarted by authorities. however. no people were physically harmed. a case for attempted terrorism or a conspiracy to commit terrorism would need to be made in the courts—in analogous fashion to charges of attempted murder or conspiracy to commit murder. . not in categorizing an act as terrorism. 24 Jennifer Lee. B. from other 23 While terrorism is an instrument. Matthew Sweeney & Michael Wilson. sec. 1. The instrument of terror may bring unpredicted and unintended consequences. In the early morning hours of May 5. One must initially ask whether terror was elicited by an act or threat of violence and whether this terror functioned as an instrument for producing further effects (intended or not).23 3) The Failure to Elicit Terror This leads directly to another of the complaints raised against a definition of terrorism that focuses upon its instrumental use of terror. Were those responsible attempting to elicit fear so as to ‘send a message’ to voters in England? To make the case that this was an attempted act of terrorism is difficult due to its ineffectiveness in eliciting fear. Whether a consequence of terrorism was intended or not should only play a factor in determining the culpability of the agent or her just punishment. 2005. it would have been far more effective in eliciting fear or terror. While there was property damage and shrapnel as far as a block away. and a damaged public perception of the U.24 The next day parliamentary elections were being held in England. Secondly. what if a putative act or terrorism fails to draw public attention or is not significant enough in its destructive scope to elicit terror? A recent example that took place in New York City can illustrate the vagueness of the situation. government in the international community (a tertiary effect). had the explosives been detonated in the middle of a workday when the streets are crowded.

Differences in bravery (or foolhardiness) between individuals makes such a standard less than useful. as all threats of violence are. or anxiety involved. it is conceivable that it was an attempted act of terrorism although it may prove difficult to bring such charges against them due to their ineffectiveness in eliciting terror. fear. this is only an initial step in addressing the complaint. a failure to elicit instrumental terror brings about the same sorts of problems of categorization as do other varieties of ‘failed’ violence. this is a temptation to be avoided. Yet. in the first place. Furthermore.Shawn Kaplan 15 instances of ineffective violence. Likewise in the case of those who set off the explosives in front of the British Consulate. I believe a more promising avenue for drawing the distinction is by asking. Due to the subjective variations in the experience of fear or terror. Bullies use and threaten violence to elicit fear from their targets as an instrument for gaining a desired end. To illustrate the complaint. In a legal context. the victims of the bully and the terrorist may in fact experience a comparable degree of fear or terror.g. What Kind of Terror Underlies Terrorism? One last potential complaint against a definition of terrorism that concentrates upon the instrumental use of terror. At bottom. what precisely is the victim in fear of. the victims of terrorism are in fear for their lives and their most fundamental liberties. let’s take the example of the playground bully. While the victims of bullies are in fear of being bloodied and bruised. one may not be able to charge the student with attempted murder but it is entirely conceivable that this is what occurred. 4. The non-pharmacology student who heavily drugs my coffee may be attempting to murder me but may not have the knowledge or experience to be effective. Once again. or anxiety concerns the type and or degree of terror. It is tempting to draw the line between a bully and a terrorist according to the degree or intensity of fear elicited. the difference is not based upon a the degree of fear experienced but the magnitude of the harm inflicted or threatened. fear. The two cases are only similar insofar as each threat of violence is coercive. While the bully is a menace to the other children on the playground. the title of terrorist doesn’t seem fitting. Such difficulties are not reason alone for dismissing a definition of terrorism that focuses upon its instrumental use of terror nor do these problems certainly make the intentions of terrorists a more reliable avenue for defining terrorism and properly identifying specific acts as terrorism. lunch money or a sense of power over others. e. There are violent threats to life or basic liberties that elicit terror as an instrument .

Either present and future demands are met or more hostages will be taken and killed. Without a perceived threat of future violence existing. always carries with it either an explicit or implicit threat of a separate act of future violence. on the other hand.g. Proposed Definition of Terrorism Based upon the critical examination of four current approaches to defining terrorism carried out in this essay.e. hostages are taken regularly in order to cultivate terror or fear in the opposition (i.25 Even when demands are not explicitly made (as in the case of the 9-11 attacks). Often. IV. 25 .16 A Typology of Terrorism which we would still not generally considered terrorism. While the armed robber or kidnapper threatens a great enough harm. the 9-11 attacks would have been a horrendous act of mass murder but would not have been an act of terrorism. however.26 In such an instance.g. fear. suicide bombings. A terrorist act. The person who threatens ‘your money or your life’ uses terror or fear as an instrument but in an operationally different way than the terrorist insofar as it is an immediate threat that lacks a future orientation. 26 Some of the difficulties of categorizing actions as terrorist ones arise from this quality of future threat. hostages can be taken as a means to some immediate end. or more bombings will occur. Whether one considers the systematic and repeated taking of hostages. or anxiety regarding the security of human life or fundamental I contend that the taking of hostages is not always an act of terrorism. Terrorism is an act or threat of violence to persons or property that elicits terror. it is a one time threat to either adopt the undesired option of handing over property or suffer the threatened harm. a future threat of separate acts of violence is implied). car bombings. each instance carries a future oriented threat. the armed robber who threatens ‘your money or your life’ or the kidnapper. terror or fear would not be cultivated as an instrument—though horror would still be an expected response. I believe the following definition has some strong advantages. or more of the vocal opposition will ‘disappear’ in the future. or the ‘disappearance’ of the opponents to a terrorist state. e. there is an implicit threat of additional attacks in the future. it remains a single act of coercion much like the armed robbery that lacks the threat of a separate act of future violence. If. We are left to our perceptions of a future threat existing or not and it is likely that some will perceive a future threat where others do not. here and now. the bank robber who takes hostages as a negotiation ploy. e. Even though the kidnapper’s threat has some greater future orientation. then such hostage taking is terrorism.

This instrumentality relies upon either an explicit or implicit threat of separate acts of future violence. local or international collectives. At the same time. e.S. is either justified or not. While terrorists may often aim to coerce others to either maintain or destabilize . Cole in 2000. Lastly. armed robbery. not every insurgency or group using guerilla warfare tactics will be considered terrorists. as well as the future orientation of terrorist violence and threats. First. the proposed definition leaves both the agency and the specific tactics of terrorism quite open.Shawn Kaplan rights and that functions as an instrument to obtain further ends. this definition doesn’t rest upon the intention of the actors. By emphasizing within the definition the instrumental role of terror. The possible tactics used by terrorists are innumerable so long as they can elicit terror regarding the security of people’s lives or their fundamental rights. making terrorism indistinct from other forms of violence and coercion. As a matter of fact. it allows the instrumental character of terrorism to come forward. Thus. the proposed definition does not fall into the problem of other broad definitions of terrorism. As a result. arguments must be provided for why any individual act of terrorism. e. Terrorism needn’t serve the single end of coercion. the definition does not beg the moral question of possible justification. terrorism as defined here remains distinct from other coercive acts and threats of violence. The proposed definition avoids a strong moral prejudgment of terrorism and its agents by not limiting the targets of terrorism to ‘innocent’ non-combatants.g. attacks or threats to either property or military personnel are not automatically ruled out as putative terrorist acts. two important advantages are associated with this definition. the magnitude of harm inflicted or threatened. as well as by individuals. the proposal provides a core that is common to all acts of terrorism that composite definitions often lack. Given the openness of the definition on the morality of terrorism. By setting a standard for the magnitude of harm committed or threatened and highlighting the future oriented threats implicit or explicit in terrorism. even though all violence and threats of violence are inherently coercive.S. my proposed definition of terrorism makes it distinct from other forms of political violence insofar as terrorism isn’t linked to the unconventional tactics of an underdog in an asymmetric battle. 17 In the first place. non-government organizations. viz. Not only does this avoid the problem of having to actually know the intentions of others.g. The instrument of terror can be employed by states. or any general type of terrorism. the bombing of the U. Second.

28 There are several axes by which one could carry out a typological Michael Walzer falls into this camp insofar as he seems to assume that terrorism must be aiming at national liberation. 2005). any meaningful evaluation of terrorism (whether on consequentialist or other grounds) can only occur if this broad phenomenon is analyzed into more discreet types. If the intended aim of terrorism is not fixed by the definition. Richard Schultz. “A Taxonomy of Terrorism. or the ritual use of terror and Harte contrasts to the broad category of social terrorism where the agent gains some personal advantage. those who dismissively claim that terrorism can never be justified on consequentialist grounds must pause to conceive of a wider range of possible goals for terrorism than is typically allowed it. While he may be correct that no nation owes its independence to terrorism alone.27 However. V. or provoking an extreme (and perhaps unjust) response to the attacks. economic. the current social. Herein lies another advantage of the proposed definition regarding the question of terrorism’s effectiveness. terrorism as conceived in the proposed definition is not limited to a strictly political notion of terrorism.).” in Timothy Shanahan (ed. “Conceptualizing Political Terrorism: A Typology. Each one concentrates on a narrow conception of ‘political’ terrorism which the first two authors distinguish from criminal terrorism that aims at material gain. if it is ever to be excusable. While some of these goals are directly political in nature.g. 32-44. Even though most people have political terrorism in mind when they speak of terrorism. recognizing the instrumental quality of terror in the phenomenon opens up a wider range of possible contexts for terrorist actions and agents—both political and nonpolitical. Philosophy 9/11 (Chicago: Open Court. 23-50. this doesn’t mean that other goals cannot be effectively obtained by terrorism.” Journal of International Affairs 32 (1978): pp. 1974). wartime terrorism. 7-15. 28 I have found three previous attempts at producing a typology of terrorism. Political Terrorism (London: The Macmillan Press. goals. as well as the degrees of force employed and the harms inflicted by terrorists provides the basis for a typological analysis carried out on many levels. punishing the targets of terrorism. Walzer. pp.” pp. Wilkinson’s typology then proceeds to divide political terrorism 27 .18 A Typology of Terrorism the current order of things (e. or religious order). targets. pp. then one cannot simply assume that terrorism is never effective in obtaining its ends. the instrument of terror could be aimed at such alternative ends as: publicizing the terrorists’ cause. Liam Harte. Thus. Paul Wilkinson. political. Typology The proposed definition’s breadth regarding terrorist agents. 55-56. expressing hatred towards the targets. “Terrorism: A Critique of Excuses.

indiscriminate acts of terrorism will necessarily face greater challenges with regard to a normative justification. demanding smaller scale political changes (“Sub-Revolutionary Terrorism”).g. the authors either assume that terrorism proper always has a political motive or at least operates as such. and carrying out repression by an established power. environment. For example.Shawn Kaplan 19 analysis of terrorism. Regardless of what principle(s) of normative evaluation one adopts. strategy and the like. As a result. a typology could draw distinctions that would be relevant for considering the strategic success of terrorism. In all three cases. etc. I will defend the possibility of discriminate terrorism insofar as it might either target military personnel. societal infrastructure. The first subsection of the typology is dedicated to the questions of whether terrorists can ever. Schultz follows these initial distinctions and then subdivides according to broad factors such as causes. Similarly. Still. or for coming to an understanding of the various possible causes of terrorism. antimodern). discriminate between legitimate and illegitimate targets. promodern vs. symbolically valued property. While the distinction between discriminate and indiscriminate types of terrorism is the basis for conceiving of terror crimes in analogy to war crimes. Harte initially divides political terrorism according to agency (state vs. non-state) and geographic scope (domestic vs. or for considering the variety of political and non-political goals terrorists may aim at. the use of lethal force by terrorists will according to the broad objectives of carrying out revolution. all of these previous efforts provide much narrower typological analyses and Wilkinson’s carries a strong moral prejudgment of terrorism. I hope to bring forth a framework whereby we can recognize the key typological or formal variables of terrorism (as opposed to circumstantial variables) that any concrete evaluation of terrorist acts would need to take under consideration. the moral salience of the degree of force employed is quite evident. or do actually. when the focus shifts in the second subsection to whether or not lethal force is employed by a terrorist. . Wilkinson assumes that terrorism is always indiscriminate in its targeting. the divisions of my typology will highlight what I take to be the most salient issues for such evaluations. In addition. international) only to add additional layers regarding the intentions of the agents (e. or as it might consist mainly as a threat of future violence. While the elucidation of principles whereby terrorism may be normatively evaluated is beyond the scope of this paper. As my concern from the beginning has been to lay the groundwork for more concrete and meaningful normative evaluations of terrorist acts or types of terrorism. not ever indiscriminate act of terrorism is automatically a terror crime nor is every discriminate act of terrorism somehow justified or excusable.

and responsibilities of state and non-state agents differently. since this is where my approach differs from many of the alternative accounts of terrorism. To attempt to justify an attack that directly targets 29 See foot note 7. however. or to international collectives. First off. However. by categorizing an act as either state or nonstate terrorism the analysis of the circumstantial variables salient for a normative evaluation gains greater focus. Rather.29 While it must be admitted that the vast majority of examples of terrorism do in fact target those who are not a direct threat to the terrorist agents. 1. More needs to be said first by what it means to be discriminating with regard to targets. I cannot get into the full debate over who is ‘innocent’ and thus should be immune from either traditional military or terrorist attacks. Given my emphasis that terrorism is a kind of instrumentality. several theorists include within their definition of terrorism the criterion that ‘innocent’ noncombatants must be the target of such attacks. Regarding the notion of a legitimate target. rights. I am referring to the sense of discriminating between legitimate and illegitimate targets and not the broader distinction between wholly indiscriminate acts of violence that are entirely random and irrational and those that discriminate in the sense of being purposive. The generally recognized authority of a state has no direct bearing upon whether its terrorist actions are justifiable or excusable. As I have already discussed. . Likewise. the division between domestic and international terrorism has no direct justificatory salience. a state has different responsibilities to its own citizens than it does to other states. The normative salience of whether the act of terrorism is carried out by a state or nonstate agent or whether it is carried our domestically or internationally is only indirect.20 A Typology of Terrorism raise the bar for justification. For example. I do not favor a focus upon the ‘moral innocence’ of potential targets. I assume that its agents are rational in the minimal sense of being able to choose goals and set terrorism as their means. we tend to evaluate the legitimacy. there are actual examples of terrorist acts that are more discriminate in regard to targeting as well as a wide range of conceivable acts of discriminate terrorism. I will begin with the issue of targets. Targets Where one makes the first division in a typology of terrorism is somewhat arbitrary. The last subsection of the typology examines two distinct divisions regarding the types of agents as well as the types of contexts for the deployment of terrorism.

Directly targeting ordinary citizens in response to a perceived moral culpability never serves justice. This can be partly explained by the apparent fact that violence indiscriminately directed and threatened towards noncombatants produces a more widespread and heightened sense of terror or fear.30 In this. from the perspective of psychological harms.Shawn Kaplan 21 ordinary citizens of any nation because of their supposed support for their corrupt or oppressive government is to make the attackers judge and jury of a moral court that never hears witnesses and is not in the least concerned with bringing the truth to light. this fact only affirms that the vast majority of actual terrorist acts fall under the indiscriminate category. Just and Unjust Wars. 157. those citizens working in munitions factories or politicians actively supporting an oppressive or belligerent policy. There are citizens outside of the military who because of their role in society pose some direct threat to the opposition. e. Thus. secondary harm to innocents to be merely unintended but there must be an active attempt to protect the lives of those who are not a direct threat even at the risk to oneself or to one’s own side of the conflict.g. it would be hard to count any act of terrorism as discriminate in a strong sense. a discriminate terrorist attack only concerns the physical harms inflicted and not the psychological damages.” Walzer. 138-159. I agree with Walzer’s assessment that it is not sufficient for the foreseeable.31 While one might argue over how much risk-taking is required to protect those who pose no direct threat to your side. based upon the fact that terrorists do so often directly target noncombatants. Walzer sets a limit to the dangers one must take on in protection of noncombatants “at that point where any further risk-taking would almost certainly doom the military venture or make it so costly that it could not be repeated. In the first place. it seems doubtful whether they view the protection of noncombatants as a valuable goal. 31 For Walzer’s treatment of noncombatant immunity see. While these may be legitimate targets in any conflict. or in many other contexts for that matter. . etc. or could. Just and Unjust Wars. a discriminate attack doesn’t only concern those directly targeted but those who must be protected from collateral damage. since 30 Whether one considers either the directly intended targets or the unintended ‘collateral’ effects of terrorism. It is always difficult to predict who will be psychologically harmed by the fear and terror produced by terrorist threats and attacks. What is less readily acknowledged is that terrorists ever do. pp. Yet. p. actively protect the lives of those who are not a direct threat to themselves while simultaneously eliciting terror as an instrument. it will be readily acknowledged by most that the protection of noncombatants is a worthy end to be pursued. After all.

The withdrawal of US troops . it is possible to interpret these attacks as part of an escalating military engagement that aimed at a military victory. While the cases have much in common. there are some significant difference in the context of the attacks. we shouldn’t assume that such ‘non-conventional’ tactics make the attack an instrumental employment of terror.22 A Typology of Terrorism from the victim’s standpoint the targeting appears so random. killing 17 sailors and inflicting significant damage to the ship. viz. The similarities are mainly related to the method of the attacks. The vessel was loaded with explosives which were set off in close proximity to the Cole. The more discriminate the threat or use of violence is. While many were horrified by the Beirut bombings. societal infrastructure. While suicide bombing is typically associated with terrorism. two simultaneous attacks upon US and French military personnel took place in Beirut. In the context of the ongoing war in Lebanon. Islamic Jihad (who claimed responsibility) as well as the nations who reportedly supported their activities (Syria and Iran) had a strong military interest in forcing the western troops to withdraw. I will use as examples the attack upon the USS Cole in 2000 and the 1983 suicide bombing of the US marine barracks in Lebanon to illustrate some of the complexities of such cases. the US began a complete withdrawal of ground forces from Lebanon. Yemen. expelling the western forces from Lebanon. Approximately four months after the truck bombings. In 1983. government facilities. Two trucks heavily armed with explosives were driven by members of Islamic Jihad into the US marine barracks and the French military post killing 241 US marines and 58 French troops respectively. In the first instance. There have been notable examples of military personnel being attacked in recent years by organizations widely held to be terrorist in nature. the more circumscribed the terror elicited and the greater the chance that it will be ineffective in eliciting terror at all. reputed members of al Qaeda maneuvered a small vessel next to the Cole while it was refueling in the Port of Aden. every individual realizes that she could have been the victim. or symbolic property. To reinforce the existence of discriminate terrorism. The suicide truck bombings were not isolated attacks but followed upon a similar bombing of the US embassy in Beirut as well as gunfire upon the US marine position at the Beirut airport. Both the US and French forces were in Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission in the hope that negotiations would lead both Syria and Israel to withdraw their troops. I will examine examples where instrumental terror has been elicited from the use or threat of violence against human life and fundamental rights and that targets either: military personnel.

indirectly by eliciting terror and not directly through the damage inflicted. The damage inflicted by the suicide bombers to the Cole and its sailors did not contribute in any direct way to clear-cut military objectives. it is important to recognize that the more an attack using unconventional tactics fits within an ongoing military struggle and contributes directly to the clearly defined objectives of the struggle through the damage it inflicts (and not through the fear it elicits) the less likely it is an act of terrorism. 2008. "Once the terrorist attacks started there was no way that we could really contribute to the original mission by staying there as a target just bunkering down and waiting for further attacks. While President Reagan identified the attackers as Kaplan 23 after the bombing can be interpreted as not being a direct response to terror elicited from the attack and the implicit threat of future violence but along consequentialist reasoning. he provides a similar consequentialist rationale for the US withdrawal. 33 I believe that the current ‘insurgent’ forces fighting directly against the US military in Iraq cannot generally be categorized as terrorists when they use unconventional tactics against occupying following the seemingly unprovoked attack upon a naval vessel. The increased casualties to US marines may have simply made the peacekeeping mission too costly and perhaps impossible to carry out with the 1. the expulsion of US forces from the Saudi Peninsula. My point is not to debate what the ‘true’ reasons were for the US withdrawal so as to be able to categorize the attacks in retrospect. at best. e.” BBC on this Day. Rather.”32 Reagan’s statement does not of course rule out the possibility that the bombing did elicit terror as an instrument for forcing the US out of Lebanon. it is likely that terror was not elicited on a wide scale among US citizens. the Cole was on normal patrol in the area and not part of an ongoing military newsid_4153000/4153013. such actions contribute. Given that the attackers discriminated in choosing a military target.33 The key issue here is whether the damage inflicted by unconventional tactics contribute directly to the aim of military victory or whether such tactics contribute indirectly by eliciting terror. Even if one wishes to interpret the al Qaeda attack upon the Cole as part of 32 Quoted in: “1984: US troops withdraw from Beirut. In contrast. However. Retrieved from htttp://news.200 marines deployed on the ground in Lebanon. fears and anxieties were no doubt heightened among military personnel and those people responsible for their deployment.g. However. when these fighters abduct combatants or noncombatants to torture or brutally murder or when they make a public show of desecrating the bodies of their military opponents. .stm on 15 July.

In contrast. the fact that the bombing of the US embassy in Tanzania killed only citizens of the host nation is a clear indication that those who carried out the attack did not make an active attempt to protect Tanzanian citizens who posed them no direct threat. As a case in point. to a group opposed to the US military presence in and around the Saudi Peninsula. While the choice of an early morning hour could be interpreted as an attempt to protect the ‘innocent’. 35 In contrast. they symbolically and literally represent that government.24 A Typology of Terrorism an ongoing operation that included the previous bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the subsequent 9-11 attacks. they tend to hold military personnel. Even if such a case were successfully made. it is hard to conceive of the harms inflicted by these attacks as directly contributing to an al Qaeda victory (military or other) without the use of terror as an instrument. these three attacks carried out by al Qaeda demonstrate three degrees of discrimination regarding targets. most of the officials within an embassy are there for diplomatic purposes and pose no direct threat to those who carry out the attack. the trained military personnel on the Cole do pose a direct threat. embassies also have civilian support staffs made up of citizens of both the host nation and the represented nation. a case must be made that the activities of the embassy constitute a direct threat to the terrorist agents. As a government installation on foreign soil. the short fuses put the attackers at greater physical risk as well as 34 The attack upon The Pentagon on 9-11-2001 was also indiscriminate insofar as ordinary citizens were directly targeted as passengers aboard the hijacked flight that was flown into the building. However. Many of these reasons help to support the view that embassies are a legitimate target. While the Cole attack targeted only military personnel and the 911 attack upon The World Trade Center were completely indiscriminate. embassies are more vulnerable to attack. it also put the mission at risk regarding its successfully eliciting terror. Had the attack been carried out by other means.35 Thus. to be categorized as a discriminate attack. .34 Embassies are now a long standing target of terrorist groups for several reasons. and they are known to be the centers for intelligence agencies and their spies. In addition. the attack would still have to protect citizens of the embassy’s host nation. Moreover. Interestingly though. the putative terrorist attack upon the British consulate in New York referred to earlier took significant measures to protect innocent US citizens by setting off the explosives at 3:00AM and using short fuses so as to lessen the possibility that anybody would unexpectedly come into range of the explosions. the bombing of embassies is a more vague issue. an attack upon The Pentagon would fall into the same unclear category as embassies.

This example illustrates how the greater the efforts to be discriminate in an attack. Rather. Even while one can recognize these challenges. Instead. the very effectiveness of an action to elicit terror is inversely proportionate to the degree of discrimination 36 Of course. While I will further address occasions that can be conceivably interpreted as discriminate acts of terrorism. it only shows the challenges of being a discriminate and effective terrorist at the same time. By distinguishing between war crimes and terror crimes. I am not suggesting a distinction in the severity of the crimes. and the questionable reliability of intelligence resources. I must first put forward two cautionary comments regarding the proposed analogy. . the purposive entrenchment of military targets near non-combatants. The analogy between war crimes and terror crimes relies upon our ability to draw a distinction between discriminate and indiscriminate acts of terrorism. the prevalence of guerilla warfare tactics.Shawn Kaplan 25 increased the possibility of them being caught. the greater likelihood that it will fail to elicit a significant degree of terror. this does not exclude the possibility of terrorists being discriminate regarding targets. This is not a challenge novel to terrorism however. if such indiscriminate targeting by a traditional military force elicits terror or fear as an instrument for obtaining its ends. it should be acknowledged that the failure to take measures to protect those who are not a direct threat is to commit a war crime. the severity of the crime should be linked to the severity of the harms committed and the culpability involved. Any traditional military operation faces significant challenges when attempting to carrying out discriminate attacks due to several factors. it would be a leap to conclude that traditional military operations are either incapable of being discriminate or that they are excused from meeting such challenges due to the difficulties.36 It is my contention that to analogously elicit terror by either directly targeting ordinary citizens or not taking active measures to protect those who are not a direct threat is to commit a ‘terror crime’.. e.g. Both those who resort to terrorism and traditional military force are posed with a challenge to discriminate between legitimate targets and non-legitimate targets and while both challenges are complicated. Regardless. the use of long-range weapons. then it is engaged in terrorism and would be guilty of a ‘terror crime’. To distinguish between these two types of criminal acts is to draw a distinction between two instrumental forms of violence—one which attempts to gain its ends directly through the damage it inflicts and the other indirectly through the terror it elicits. The first concerns how far the analogy can be extended.

However. Retrieved from http://www. The Summa Theologica: II. In the case of traditional military force. and Interventions (Washington. or from a desire to end the fighting sooner. He claims that under the imminent threat of genocide or some equally extreme imminent threat of humanitarian disaster the direct targeting of noncombatants can be excused. Thomas Aquinas. most probably can never be justified or excused. I leave an opening for cases labeled “Supreme Emergencies” by Walzer.). Q64. it would be misleading to believe that a discriminate terrorist attack is a justified one. 37 . trans. thus. 223-246. the secondary and unintended effect of killing a person is not excusable unless the just cause of self-defense is already satisfied. etc. 2003). 39 At minimum.26 A Typology of Terrorism exercised. there is the additional factor related to the human psychology of fear that has no analog for traditional military force. DC: American Psychological Association. Discriminating between legitimate and illegitimate targets is a question of whether the general strategies and particular actions carried out within a conflict are just. in the case of terrorism. 7. e. 251-268. While a terrorist can come to a similar conclusion from comparing the consequences for themselves of an indiscriminate attack (greater degree of terror produced) versus a discriminate attacked (increased risk to personal safety and to mission success). or under an ideology of victory at any cost. pp. For example.37 Thus. Walzer. Technically. and William E. an indiscriminate terrorist attack is criminal in an analogous sense to a war crime and. Brian Engdahl. Just and Unjust Wars. it should not be forgotten that traditionally such questions are secondary to whether the resort to military force is justified in the first place by some kind of just cause. if such indiscriminate targeting could be effective in averting the emergency. Consequences. 1947. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. This seems to simply be a fact of human psychology.html#SSQ64A7THEP1 on 21 June. In applying such a notion to terrorism.38 What might constitute a just cause for resorting to terrorism is far beyond the scope of this typology. pp.39 See Yael Danieli. On the other hand. The second cautionary comment regarding the analogy has to do with the place of jus in bellum considerations within just war theory as a whole. there is a strong impulse to put aside questions of legitimate targets in favor of effectively eliciting summa/SS/SS064. there is a similar impulse to bracket questions of discrimination but this is usually based upon an analysis of consequences. it is simply a type of terrorism that has a greater chance of being justifiable. 38 St.g. “The Psychosocial Aftermath of Terrorism” in Moghaddam & Marsella (eds. Understanding Terrorism: Psychosocial Roots. such indiscriminate responses to Supreme Emergencies would not be categorized as war crimes but excusable transgressions of war conventions.ccel. 2006. in Aquinas’ original expression of the DDE. Schlenger. ii. in cases of ‘supreme emergency’.

fear. cyberterrorism.40 A more promising avenue for a discriminate terrorist attack upon a society’s infrastructure is to disable these systems by disrupting the computers they rely upon. also fail to produce physical harms to persons and thus would also qualify as discriminate. i. the locations typically chosen were not highly populated ones. It is important to remember in this context that even a discriminate attack upon property doesn’t imply that the victims deserve to have their property destroyed and to experience fear and terror regarding their fundamental safety. and transportation networks can not only paralyze a society for a period of time but send the population into a panic without necessarily harming anyone physically. In the first instance. Terrorist threats. nor does it imply that the terrorists are justified. While many of the following proposed examples of discriminate terrorism are not actual historical cases. it is not an impossibility. communications networks. In addition. by in large. many of the bombings carried out by the IRA and ETA came with warnings indicating general location and time. they both satisfy the definition of terrorism proposed earlier in this essay and have been considered real threats by law enforcement agencies. To repeat the just offered warning. While destroying the property required for providing a society’s basic services without physically harming those persons who work at such locations is a severe challenge. although. A focused use of destructive violence at times when few people are present and with warning can still elicit terror both because of the direct effects as well as the implicit threat of future. Terrorist attacks upon property can roughly be divided between those aimed at disrupting or destroying infrastructure and those aimed at property imbued with symbolic value. Any terrorist attack upon property would be a discriminate one if the violence only damaged the property and did not physically harm any person. While there have been relatively few documented cases of cyberterrorism. and perhaps less discriminate. these may not be mutually exclusive. attacks it carries.e. Threats or acts of violence targeting property can elicit terror. or anxiety regarding the security of human life or fundamental rights and that functions as an instrument to obtain further ends. a discriminate use of terrorism does not entail the terrorists having a just cause.Shawn Kaplan 27 At this point. I would like to explore the possibilities of discriminate terrorism beyond the cases where it targets military personnel or government facilities. attacks that disrupt or destroy infrastructure such as the power grid. . it has been recognized and documented as a significant security risk by law enforcement 40 In this vein.

43 Eric Lictblau. p. or a religiously significant location is targeted. effectively shutting down their electronic communications. ‘if terrorists can destroy something so rock solid and part of the historical and daily fabric of the city. 2003). A. Whether a symbol of national strength or national identity. Cites al Qaeda in Plot to Destroy Brooklyn Bridge.S. Since these actions do not so much elicit terror as disrupt the daily operations of the target. given the history of terrorist networks having the resources and the will to technically train their members to carry out missions. a house of worship.43 If carried out in the middle of the night or with sufficient warning. its history. 2000).georgetown. Either situation could change. at the same time. Committee on Armed Services.html on 21 June. the population of terrorists seemingly have few hackers in their numbers. sec. “Threats and Responses: Terror. U. e. A discriminate attack upon symbolically valued property is also a possibility... etc. 1.41 For example. Black Ice: The Invisible Threat of Cyber-Terror (New York: McGraw-Hill. destruction of such a target can also inspire fears rooted in its symbolic relevance. however. an attack upon the Brooklyn Bridge could still elicit fear or terror because of its place as an image of New York. 41 Many of the so-called cases of cyberterrorism appear more like acts of civil disobedience as people have bombarded the email or web servers of organizations they were protesting against with thousands of bogus emails or requests for downloads. in 1997 The National Security Agency (NSA) demonstrated that hackers could easily disrupt national security systems using only their wits and publicly available programming tools found on the web. 42 For details of this NSA experiment and other documented risks of cyberterrorism see. . a landmark.cs. and its strength. the second may be more likely. Accordingly. what is safe?’.edu/~denning/infosec/cyberterror.42 The simple fact appears to be that the community of hackers has little desire to terrorize the general public by disrupting the infrastructure of society and. the targeting of symbolically valued property can greatly amplify the sense of vulnerability and terror. it is possible to elicit fear and terror as an instrument without inflicting casualties or denying fundamental rights. In addition to the fear produced by the reasonable questions of ‘what if there was no warning?’ or ‘what if it were during rush hour?’. Retrieved from http://www. they have aptly been likened to web-based sit-ins. U. The alleged terrorist plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge is an example of a group targeting property largely for its symbolic value.S.” New York Times. House of Representatives (May 23.28 A Typology of Terrorism agencies. Dan Verton. 2006.g. 20 June 2003. For some examples see Dorothy Denning’s testimony before the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism.

even when backed by such a show of force. the many forms of non-lethal force are . the definition put forward in the previous section begins by claiming that terrorism is either an act or threat of violence. to acts of violence. terrorist threats will tend to be followed by demonstrations of force and the willingness to use it. the effectiveness of a campaign of terrorism requires repetition. to demonstrations of force. A public show of force can carry with it an implicit threat or reinforce an explicit threat already made. As the experience of repeated terrorist attacks becomes ‘normalized’ to a society. Thus.44 Under the heading of lethal. Threats of violence by themselves are generally discriminate insofar as they actually inflict no physical harm.Shawn Kaplan 29 Lastly on the topic of discriminate terrorism. discriminate terrorism 44 While some may argue in favor of a further division between the use of lethal force and the use of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’. it is unclear that the quantitative difference in the degree of lethal force implied in this distinction would produce two qualitatively distinct formal variables that are key for a normative evaluation of terrorist acts. However. If we take a narrow view of the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan. In other words. 2. In contrast. Threats of nuclear annihilation. the prolonged use of terrorism tends to make these discriminate forms of terrorism less effective in eliciting fear and terror. to acts of greater and greater destruction and horror. can only terrorize the targeted nation and the broader global community so long as the threat is believed to be a real and present danger. we have found that while the possibility of discriminate terrorism exists and actual examples can be found. Since a single act of terrorist violence will eventually fade from the public’s mind after sufficient time. pressure is felt by terrorists to be less and less discriminate in their attacks. Degree of Force Until this point in the typology. This is true of the implicit threat of future violence that all terrorism relies upon for it effectiveness. Any prolonged use of terrorism appears to require an escalation from threats. the possibilities fall roughly into two types: those that use a lethal degree of force and those that are non-lethal. the use of WMDs does not necessarily make for a distinct type of terrorism but is a matter of the degree of lethal force employed. Within the range of discriminate terrorism considered thus far. by themselves. the testing of nuclear weapons by both sides constituted a show of force which carried a reciprocal threat to each nation. threats of violence will eventually lose their capacity to elicit terror unless they are backed up by either actual violence or at least a show of force.

withdrawal of troops). as carried out by totalitarian regimes). mass executions (e. Indiscriminate terrorist attacks can also be divided according to whether lethal force is used or not. When military personnel are targeted. there are no people who are the direct target and thus little need to demonstrate the target to be a direct threat. or anxiety regarding the security of human life or fundamental rights and which function as an instrument to obtain further ends. or symbolic property. and extreme economic sanctions can all be recognized as attacks that use lethal force to elicit terror. the more the damage directly inflicted by the attack to military personnel directly contributes to a clearly recognized military objective/victory. It is important to note a significant difference between the lethal and non-lethal variants of discriminate terrorism. trade policies that prevent a nation from feeding or providing basic medical care for its people are indeed a kind of indiscriminate attack upon those citizens no matter how justified the claim is against their government. In the case of extreme economic sanctions. While the examples of lethal. evoking an extreme and transparently unjust response. coercing a change in policy (e. KKK lynchings. When targeting infrastructure.g. . qualitative distinct from the lethal varieties—even though the line can be quickly and even unintentionally crossed. However. or using threats and demonstrations of force to elicit terror. etc. sniper attacks upon abortion doctors. such attacks would have to protect those who are not a direct threat to the terrorists.g. the less easily such attacks can be categorized as terrorism at all. the burden is to show that enough active care has been taken to protect those in proximity to the targeted property or to the show of force. However.30 A Typology of Terrorism fall the occasions when acts of violence are directed at either military personnel or other citizens who pose a direct threat to the terrorists in order to elicit an instrumental terror or fear. creating a sense of empowerment for all who oppose the government of that military organization. The standard image of such lethal terror crimes is of some explosive device being delivered to unsuspecting noncombatants or being set off in a public space. publicizing the group’s message. the instrument of terror can conceivably aim at: undermining military effectiveness. Instead. There is an additional burden of proof when using lethal force to show that the target is somehow truly a direct threat.. fear. Furthermore. there are some possibilities that fall outside of what normally comes to mind and which deserve our attention. indiscriminate terrorism abound.

it is the fundamental rights of the victims which are directly targeted—although the threat of lethal force is often present. In addition. Secondly.45 While the rights to free movement and due process are directly attacked in such abductions. there are several variants of this type of terrorism that may escape what normally comes to mind. chemical plants. Just as in the case of nonlethal. discriminate terrorism.Shawn Kaplan 31 On the side of non-lethal. in most cases. etc. if an attack upon an society’s infrastructure doesn’t take sufficient care to protect ordinary citizens. in both contexts the threat of lethal force plays an important role in generating and maintaining a sufficient degree of terror to serve a terrorist. For example. 46 While both the extortionist and the domestic abuser are guilty of being bullies. indiscriminate terrorism. the systematic burning of black churches in southern states could be interpreted as violating the fundamental rights to free worship and public assemblage. Closely related is the torture of those people abducted as another all too common non-lethal form of indiscriminate terrorism. non-lethal force and threats to one’s life or basic liberties can be directed at persons by organized crime syndicates or even family members in order to elicit the instrument of terror. either the taking of hostages and hijackings by non-state groups or the unlawful imprisonment of the ‘opponents’ of a state. property can be the direct target of nonlethal. However.46 Unlike the previously discussed 45 See foot note 25 regarding the ambiguities surrounding the tactic of taking hostages. one can imagine the use of non-lethal biological agents being used against a general population. Again however. One can easily conceive of non-lethal harms resulting from the environmental fallout of attacks upon power plants. when carrying out extortion. then such an attack would of course be indiscriminate and it is only a question as to whether the force of the attack is lethal or not. the images of the tortured have proven useful in generating a more wide-spread sense of fear and terror. water treatment facilities. it is conceivable that a nonlethal attack upon symbolically valued property could so significantly impinge upon the fundamental rights of individuals that it would be categorized as indiscriminate. Thus. they differ from the playground bully according to the magnitude of harm . oil refineries. While the terror elicited within the tortured person is often used to gain information (reliable or not) or a signature upon a confession. indiscriminate terrorism. In the first case. The most common examples are various sorts of abductions. criminals are acting as local terrorists and those who carry out domestic abuse are household terrorists.

On these points. the last two divisions within this typology will be according to the agency and the context where terrorist acts are deployed. Terrorism. It makes no immediate moral difference whether terrorism is committed by an individual. Morris (eds.W. pp. Clearly non-state agents can terrorize either domestic or international targets. Igor . international). I will say more in the conclusion. states do not enjoy a privileged authority to carry out acts of terrorism. a state. we have seen that collectives like the KKK and organized crime syndicates as well as individuals guilty of domestic abuse or targeting abortion doctors qualify as non-state terrorists. I do so in an expanded sense of both terms. By threatening life and basic rights. or a collective of states. Terrorist states are most often depicted as using terrorism against their own citizens in order to maintain totalitarian control. “State Terrorism. Thus. In contrast to the common contention that only states have the authority to declare war.” in R. 256-275. Agents and Context of Deployment The brief survey of examples of lethal and non-lethal types of terrorism presented in the previous section is not in any way intended to be an exhaustive list. it is of direct moral salience whether an act of terrorism is discriminate or not and whether the force applied is lethal or not. In contrast. the psychologically diverse and complicated motivations for domestic abuse (as well as for torture more generally) needn’t rule out any cases as examples of terrorism so long as the instrument of terror is elicited for some further ends. the questions of agency and contexts do not carry direct moral weight. the examples have been chosen to illustrate not only these four types but the diversity within them regarding the agents who commit these acts as well as the contexts in which their terrorism is deployed (domestic vs. While non-state terrorists generally refer to either international terrorist organizations or domestic revolutionary groups. 3.G. The same is not usually thought to be the case for state terrorists.32 A Typology of Terrorism approaches of Carl Wellman and Claudia Card who insist that terrorism always aims at coercion.47 However. there are the cases of states threatened. As stated previously. it makes no direct moral difference whether terrorists deploy their efforts at a domestic target or one abroad. the extortionist and the domestic abuser qualify as nonpolitical terrorists. see Jonathan Glover. Similarly. a nonstate collective. and Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). 47 For a thorough account of such varieties of state terrorism. While I maintain the conventional terms of state and non-state terrorism to distinguish between the two types of terrorist agents. Frey and C. Violence. 1991). Rather.

In the case of the Taliban’s relationship to al Qaeda. we are really considering a case of state terrorism. or threats offered. It is fair to assume that the criteria for a terrorist group’s justification will often be distinct from a state’s sponsorship of their activities. the typological distinction has merits from the standpoint of a concrete normative evaluation which would initially have to deal with the terrorists and their state sponsors individually. The state sponsor must be judged according to the rights and responsibilities of states and the sponsored must be judged according to the rights and responsibilities of non-state agents. or not actively supporting “the war on terror”. They have constitutions and charters that are recognized by the international community of states and state collectives. 2004). by a collection of states that elicit the instrument of terror for their collective goals.). There is clearly a wide range in the degree of entanglement between terrorists and their state sponsors. a revolutionary group that resorts to terrorism against its home government would have to meet a burden of justification that would differ from the third party state who sponsors their activities. Accusations of state sponsorship range from a nation state providing a safe-haven for terrorists. Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. India and Pakistan) as well as states terrorizing non-citizens (potential examples include the unlawful detention and torture of foreign nationals or some of Israel’s tactics used against the Palestinians). one can argue that the terrorist organization actually sponsored the government’s existence. It would be foolish to claim that a terrorist event must either have state or non-state agency by ignoring state sponsorship. 113-127. to providing financial support for terrorists and even using terrorist organizations to unofficially carry out foreign or domestic policy. The fundamental difference between the expanded notions of state and non-state terrorism operating here is that states and state collectives are generally recognized as being legitimate political entities. In contrast. individuals and collectives who threaten or use violence have.g.Shawn Kaplan 33 attempting to terrorize one another (e. For example. their violent acts are often perceived as coming from a valid authority. from a traditional standpoint. State terrorism can also be expanded to include those actions carried out. As a result. I would contend that when terrorists and state sponsors are so intertwined that the normative evaluation of each is based upon identical criteria.” in Primoratz (ed. The existence of state sponsored terrorism potentially complicates this typological division. At the same time. a much more difficult path to be recognized as Primoratz presents a brief typology of state terrorism that includes its international deployment in his “State Terrorism and Counter-terrorism. . pp.

one would need to ask: Is the instrument of terror being used domestically to suppress a portion of the population? Does this state maintain sufficient popular support at home to be considered legitimate? Is the instrument of terror being used by the state to promote imperialist goals abroad or to thwart the terrorism carried out by others? In contrast. however. this does not mean that either state or non-state terrorism holds any advantage with regard to possible justification. Wilkinson and Schultz both identify all terrorist activities carried out by states or the ‘establishment’ as always serving to repress those who are beneath them in regard to power or authority. do they enjoy popular support among their fellow citizens? I am not suggesting that any of these questions can function as a litmus test for justifying terrorism.”48 I have noted. 36-40. . given the different aims and methods of state and non-state terrorists as well as the differences in the rights and responsibilities of state and non-state agents. whereas all non-state terrorism is a challenge to rule. a concrete analysis of justification will vary in its direction based upon the question of agency.” p. Schultz. “A Taxonomy of Terrorism. By further dividing state and non-state types of terrorism according to the contexts of domestic and international deployment. these are significant perceptions that can be critically examined by including the dichotomy of state vs. Once again. pp. Harte. as suggested in the previous discussion of state sponsored terrorism. Rather. For example. “Conceptualizing Political Terrorism: A Typology. Previous typologies have tended to categorized terrorism according to the broad dynamics of top-down repression and bottom-up disruption or revolution. the typology attains a set of descriptive categories that avoids the presumption that state terrorism always aims to repress a smaller or weaker population or that non-state terrorism always aims to disrupt the status quo supported by those in power.34 A Typology of Terrorism being legitimate authority. Similarly. or both? If it is a revolutionary group. Furthermore. regarding cases of state terrorism. one would need to ask: What is the group or individual attempting to either subvert or preserve? Are they victims of grave human rights violations. only that some of the variables that need to be considered for each type will differ. or among those who inflict such harms. Political Terrorism. regarding cases of non-state terrorism. 28. Harte claims “all state terrorism is a form of rule.” p. non-state agency within the typology. 11. different questions will need to be asked concerning the circumstantial variables depending upon whether the agent is a state or not. While the presumed legitimacy of state agents and illegitimacy of non-state agents is greatly a matter of perception. that states can use terrorism against other states who are relatively equal to or 48 Wilkinson.

49 The four divisions that produce the sixteen permutations parse the broad phenomenon of terrorism according to its: targets. If we consider the first two sets of divisions examined in the typology. pp. agents. VI. in the case of the household terrorist who commits domestic abuse. Given the instrumental nature of terrorism that has been argued for here. when lethal force is used. . Such “Supreme Emergencies. they both assume that all terrorism not carried out by the state is carried out against the state or some more established power. Just and Unjust Wars. set a very high standard that has rarely been met by actual cases of indiscriminate. we can see a gradation from the least readily justified to the most possible. the dynamic is far from a bottom up disruption or revolution but an oppression of the physically and sometimes economically weaker. There is the slim possibility raised by Walzer that when a group is under the imminent threat of a humanitarian disaster of the severity of genocide or mass enslavement that the indiscriminate targeting of those from the other side who are not a direct threat may be excusable.Shawn Kaplan 35 perhaps even stronger than themselves in power.” as they are labeled by Walzer. 49 50 Please see the diagram in Appendix A. For most people it is hard to imagine circumstances in which indiscriminate terrorism could ever be justified or excused. it is even less likely that indiscriminate terrorism could be justified or excused. Concluding Comments In all. the proposed typology has sixteen different categories. and contexts of deployment. However. For Walzer’s treatment of Supreme Emergencies see Walzer.50 In Just and Unjust Wars. While these categories differ in the magnitude of the political and cultural changes the terrorist aim at. it is appropriate that the last two divisions of the typology avoid imposing specific sorts of ends upon the agents of terrorism. While case by case evaluations fall beyond the scope of this paper. I have suggested from the beginning of this paper that the above typological analysis of terrorism would lay the foundation for a more concrete normative evaluation of specific acts and types of terrorism. However. competing revolutionary groups can mutually resort to using the instrument of terror against each other. 251-268. Wilkinson and Schultz also both divide non-state terrorism into revolutionary and subrevolutionary terrorism. degrees of force. I will briefly consider some trends regarding the possible justification for the various types of terrorism. lethal terrorism. In addition.

). Regarding the specific example of the British terror bombing of German cities. Rights. “Terrorism. Once one allows the kind of moral calculus that underlies Walzer’s stance. it is less than clear whether during the early stages of the war that the British recognized The Third Reich as the evil everyone eventually came to know it to be. the diminished harm inflicted by terrorists indiscriminately using non-lethal force alters the moral calculation. The same position could be supported by Virginia Held’s nonconsequentialist argument that terrorism can be justified if there is an equitable distribution of rights violations when terrorists are attempting to bring an overall end to rights violations. What Walzer doesn’t consider is whether the standard would be lowered for excusing or justifying the use of non-lethal. 72-81. Coady. see C. and Supreme Emergency. it becomes rather difficult to draw the line as to what sort of human rights violations would be great enough to outweigh the life and rights of those who are targeted by indiscriminate terrorism (lethal or non-lethal). 52 Virginia Held. indiscriminate terrorism. Just as in other anticipatory judgments. “Terrorism. Walzer forces us to examine the possibility of whether one may be excused for using indiscriminate terrorism to save a people from genocide or humanitarian disasters of equal weight. pp.52 For Held this means that when one population suffers extensive human rights violations and has no other effective means for addressing these violations they are justified in 51 For a more complete critique of Walzer’s Supreme Emergency exemption.” pp. and Political Goals. recent events force one to consider the likelihood of a party claiming they have evidence of the imminent threat of humanitarian disaster that their adversary poses to themselves and the rest of the world.51 Regardless of whether one believes the British satisfied Walzer’s criteria for responding to a Supreme Emergency. 80-96. From a strictly consequentialist perspective. . Morality.” in Primoratz (ed.A. 2004). Walzer’s position is controversial in general as well as regarding the specific example.J. Even with these questions left unanswered. Perhaps then the indiscriminate use of non-lethal force by terrorists could even be justified in the face of harms from human rights violations which do not measure up to the severity of genocide. what is sufficient evidence to predict such an imminent threat is less than obvious.36 A Typology of Terrorism Walzer suggests that the terror bombing of German cities by the British during the early stages of World War II may have been an excusable act of terrorism given the imminent threat of defeat and the humanitarian atrocities that such a defeat would have brought with it. Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues (New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

and may violate their rights. While acts of non-lethal. If this burden of proof is met. they must meet the burden of demonstrating that their targets are somehow a direct threat to themselves. then the right of non-combatant immunity has been lost and an equitable distribution of rights violations more readily obtained. her rights based argument agrees with the consequentialist reasoning that there is a greater chance of justifying or excusing indiscriminate terrorism when it uses non-lethal force. There are of course problems with the overall position that Held advocates as expressed in the following questions: When are there no other effective means besides terrorism for addressing rights violations? How can we carry out fair and reasonable comparisons of the severity of rights violation? When will indiscriminate terrorism have a chance to be effective in transitioning towards the effective respect for the human rights of both sides? While Held leaves these questions unanswered. or destroying symbolic property and infrastructure. While Held’s approach can theoretically justify a wider range of indiscriminate terrorist acts. making a public show of force. In the case of eliciting terror by either threatening attacks. there is no need to demonstrate that the targets are a direct threat as lethal force is not being used against persons. discriminate terrorism still harm individuals. The same sort of arguments apply when one considers discriminate acts of terrorism. Whether one uses the a consequentialist logic or a rights based analysis like Held’s. it is more probable that the harms committed upon those who are a direct threat can be balanced against the harms committed or reasonably anticipated from these targets than in the case of an indiscriminate attack. Likewise. . When lethal force is applied discriminately by terrorists. if only psychologically. the use of non-lethal force in fact would make the use of indiscriminate terrorism more easily justified. there is a greater possibility that discriminate terrorism will be more readily justified than the indiscriminate type and the non-lethal variety even more so than the lethal. both the harms and rights violations committed are the least severe within the typology and thus most capable of being justified or excused.Shawn Kaplan 37 inflicting indiscriminate rights violations from terrorist activities that are equal in severity to what they suffer. The reason is simply that the severity of the rights violations carried out by non-lethal force will typically be less than that brought about through lethal force.