Scholars search their books and minds to discover the roots of terrorism, but have as yet failed even to agree on a definition of the word. Terrorist actions are too varied in scope and common denominators are elusive. Responsibility may lie with nations, ethnic, military or religious groups, or individuals, and the variety of such activities is limited only by the outer parameters of the human capacity for cruelty. Victims range from the soldiers at war, soldiers trying to keep the peace, businessmen, tourists, children and mere passers-by. Research reveals only that there is always a burning cause: a real or imagined injustice, lust for power or greed. There is also a desire to act so outrageously that the “enemy” will be terrorized into acceeding to the perpetrator’s demands and the whole world will be forced to take notice.

Note on the Author

Milton L. Boyle, Jr., is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

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