Terrorism: The Four Force Multipliers

The four force multipliers listed by J.R. White’s book have all been evidently giving strength to terrorist organizations. Technology, transnational support, media, and religion compose the force multipliers.  If I was in charge of the budget that was to be used in the fight against terrorism I would allocate the most funds to the transnational support.

According to White (2006), transnational support serves as a way for terrorist groups (with same interests, ideologies, and beliefs) to cooperate in funding, planning, and executing attacks (pp. 9-10).  In my opinion, transnational support is the biggest obstacle for law enforcement, military, and government agencies.  I feel that when one group ties in with another, there is an opportunity for further growth; as one small group becomes a bigger force; a bigger force acquires smaller, medium, and large groups; they progressively grow larger and their message becomes a solid political icon.

Religion can be considered a fearsome force multiplier and can be an accelerant to fanatical attacks, like the ones orchestrated on September 11, 2001 (White, 2006, p. 10).  However, it is my opinion that religion is just a front for a much bigger political message.  It seems that religion is the recruiter’s tool to get willing participants to take part in exploiting the weaknesses of the nation and the world by instilling fear and pain.  The ones that are recruited, often times, do not know the real message they will be sending when they sacrifice their bodies.  Religion does play an integral role in linking separate groups together in order to share the same or similar cause.

The media can make it seem that a terrorist group has more political substance; however, this is more pertinent to small/start-up groups (White, 2006, p. 9).  But, the media can be a great force in helping with transnational support by furnishing the culprits with a self-made resume; a message geared not only towards the world, but other terrorist organizations.  This message is best presented in White’s (2006) interpretation of “Us-against-Them,” phenomenon; where comradeship comes with the acceptance of antisocial behavior, along with a “corporate mission statement” and a “corporate agenda” with intent to bring forth the message by means of terrorism (p. 11).

Technology would be my second pick in relation to the investment of resources in fight against terrorism.  It is no news that bombs have existed since before we were born, however, bombs are also the most popular way for terrorists to bring their message across.  What do bombs have to do with technology? Everything.  Bombs in the early 1900’s were sticks of dynamite joined together to evoke an explosion, but bombs of today are much more sophisticated.  Technology can aid terrorists in creating and utilizing weapons of mass destruction.  “Terrorists tend to use simple tactics, and the most common is the use of the bombs” (White, 2006, p. 15).

I feel that technology is used heavily by terrorist groups in order to circumvent the authorities and expedite the campaign process.  I believe that terrorists will continue to use simple methods, until they can acquire (if they haven’t already) the necessary materials to create a sophisticated weapon of mass destruction.  The technology is here now to create the complicated bombs which can cause mass destruction and loss of life.  Stopping the groups possessing this technology is a harder task, as there is so many of them working together; covertly in distant countries, or maybe, next door to us.

Reference

White, J.R. (2006). Terrorism and Homeland Security. (5th ed.). Belmont: Thomson-Wadsworth

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Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

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