Chapter 10 Terrorist Targets What is a target? A goal weight for a person losing weight is a target. A promotion is a target. A concentric circle is a target for shooting. A military soldier is a target in a war. A child is a target for a terrorist.
Anything and anyone can become a target. A target is the end point of a beginning. In the world of terrorism, a target is anyone or anything that will help draw attention to the actions and garner support for their cause (Martin, 2013). Terrorist select their targets in hopes that the destruction or damage of the target will outweigh the target’s propaganda value (Martin, 2013). For example, in genocide conflicts, terrorist target all members of a race or gender. They often try to portray the killing as a means to an end. That cause of freedom or religious control must be overwhelming to outweigh the death of the race or gender form the world view.
Remember that a goal of terrorist is to disrupt society as a whole. It wants to instigate change and fear among the people. Killing a group of innocent female school children by poison gas sends a message to the village that educating females is not in their best interest. It causes the village to conform to the desires of the terrorist organization.
Terrorist do not follow the conventional rules of engagement that are used in many military standoffs. They do not even follow the rules of guerrilla warfare. They kill and mane as they see fit. They look to identify and find a target that not only will draw the biggest public awareness to their cause but also shows the world who they are dealing with in a particular group.
Targets are also selected for the best reaction for their action. In the Munich Olympics massacre, the Palestinian terrorist group specifically targeted the Israeli team. The team was specifically targeted due to the issues that were occurring at the time between Palestine and Israel. The terrorist group targeted these individuals to send a message to the Israeli people and government and tried to gain world support for their cause at the time.
Terrorist like to focus on targets that send messages to the public. Look at the internal killings of American soldiers in the Middle East. The terrorist cells are still able to target military officials and military personnel by convincing Middle Eastern sympathizers that work on the base that have access to weapons to perform acts of killing. This not only disrupts operations, but causes the locals to question if it is really safe to be around American forces as they may become a target for the cause.
Anyone and anything can become a target for a terrorist. A target is just an ends to a means. It is a tool that is used by the organization to get their message out to the world of their cause. By varying targets, resources must be re-allocated to adapt new tactics to protect and defend new targets designated by the terrorist organizations. Targets will always be there. All things are a target. I try to explain this to my gung-ho Airmen that cannot wait to deploy. I always explain to them to take security seriously when they are over in the field because $.35 can end it all. When I get asked how $.35 can end it all, I tell them that are the cost of a bullet that has your name on it if you don’t take security seriously. They always change their looks at that point, but it is a look of rethinking verse you are crazy. So far, all of my personnel have come back alive.