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Do we pay too much attention to terrorism?

The United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” Within this definition, there are three key elements—violence, fear, and intimidation—and each element produces terror in its victims. The FBI uses this: “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The U.S. Department of State defines “terrorism” to be “premeditated politically-motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. Outside the United States Government, there are greater variations in what features of terrorism are emphasized in definitions.

 There is no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies.

Today’s world is a dangerous place. Our security is at risk from terrorists, belligerent states, and the proliferation of weapons that can cause unimaginable, massive destruction. We are also threatened by less obvious foes such as pandemic disease, weak and corrupt governments, and the spread of anti-Americanism.

The conservative strategy to meet today’s threats is bankrupt. They have missed crucial opportunities. Their rhetoric has squandered world sympathy and support. Allies we need to conquer terror have been alienated. Poor strategic planning has weakened military morale and capabilities. Ideologically based Pentagon-focused policy-making is breeding instability abroad, exacerbating the conditions that make us vulnerable. The conservative strategy is making the world less safe, and the American people are searching for an alternative.

Join Wendy Wright and national security expert, Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld this Saturday at 1pm ET for an honest and explicit conversation about the security threats of the 21st century. Talk just got interesting!

Wright On The Edge, Saturday from 1-3pm on WOL and streaming live at woldcnews.com

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