Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism
Michael Burleigh  More Info

A course on terrorism should be core to a criminal justice degree.

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Module Two

(The Modus Operandi of Terrorists)


Required Readings:

1.    Understanding Terrorism (Poland)

        a.    Chapter Six: The Dynamics of Hostage Taking and Negotiation

        b.    Chapter Seven: Terrorism and Bombing

        c.    Chapter Eight: Suicide Bombers: A Global Problem

2.  Terrorism (Snowden & Whitsel)

        a.    Chapter Six: Islamic Extremists: How do they Mobilize Support?

        b.    Chapter Seven: An Analysis of Organizational Characteristics for Groups use

               Radiological Weapons of Mass Victimization

        c.    Chapter Eight: Steganography and Terrorism: An Introduction to Data Hiding

               and its use in Terrorist activities

        d.    WMD Yesterday's News: The WMD Terrorism Threat Today.

        e.    Leaderless Resistance: Are Terrorist Groups a Thing of the Past?

Recommended Readings:

(Available via the Union Institute and University electronic library)

  1. Atran, S. (2003). Genesis of Suicide Terrorism. Science, 299(5612), p1534.

  2. Hoffman, B. (2003). The logic of suicide terrorism. Atlantic Monthly, 291(5) p40.

  3. Ciampi, D. (2005). Developmental and motivational factors of transnational terrorists. The Forensic Examiner, 4(3), p29.

(Available via the Internet)
Terrorism in the United States
Defeating Terrorism: Strategic Issue Analyses


(Note: Assignment due dates are listed on the course homepage)

Written Assignments

Using the readings and your own research, complete a 3-5 page analysis of how technology has changed terrorism.  Consider comparing and contrasting pre-1970 terrorism with post-1970 terrorism.  How has technology changed the terrorists targets and methods? How has technology changed their ability to transmit their messages to other members and the public?

Hint:: Superior work (an A grade) will include sources from academic, peer reviewed journals; be properly formatted and sourced in APA style.

Practical Exercise

Go to the Air War College Gateway to Intelligence. Select five of the hyperlinks.  Follow them to their ultimate source.  Write a one paragraph description of the information you find.

Session/Semester Long Project:

Submit a one or two page bibliography demonstrating the references you have research and intend to use for your final project.  This may or may not be your final bibliography.  What we want to accomplish is make sure you are on the right track to preparing your Session/Semester Long Project.


Participation Assignment


Go to the Criminal Justice Degree forum you will find the second threaded discussion question here.


Due Date Fall 2009
Session I Session II Go To
August 31, 2009 October 26, 2009 Session Begins
September 11, 2009 November 6, 2009 Module One (Defining Terrorism)
September 25, 2009 November 20, 2009 Module Two (Modus Operandi of Terrorists)
October 9, 2009 December 4, 2009 Module Three (Response to Terrorism)
October 21, 2009 December 16, 2009 Module Four (Emerging Trends)
October 24, 2009 December 19, 2009 Session Ends



Submit Module Two Via email click here

According to one reader of Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism, I enjoyed this book. It was all the better for not making theories, or grand strategies, bit for its straightforward description of people and events. It shows that the people involved in terrorism are dangerous, usually on a basis of criminality or inadequacy. Giving a criminal a "noble cause" or a "lifelong fight" gives him or her a plausible (but utterly false) reason for acts that are utterly despicable on the basis that they can do no good, make no relationships, and can only cause harm, destruction and alienation.

Historical or current grudges are a fertile soil for terrorism, but not a justification for it- because the means invalidates any end it might claim to want to achieve. That terrorism can only cause harm is one of the main messages of this book. Terrorists need to personify their enemies as different, undesirable and other from them. The truth is we are all human, and we all bleed like each other. Burleigh's point that all terrorist victims are people merely wanting to go about their daily business and relate well to other people is well made.

The ability of states to contort their best values (freedom of speech, liberty of assembly, tolerance for others of different backgrounds or opinions) to accommodate terrorists is well described. The role of some lawyers in achieving this is well described. Law, and the uses to which it is used, and to which it is not enforced tell us a lot about the values in our societies. In the UK our libel laws, "Londonistan", and our reluctance to deport certain people are our contributions to enabling terrorism.

This book is powerful, and useful reading. We are all potentially terrorist targets, as we are all "decadent" in some way or other. This book should encourage us that terrorism is a problem that is ultimately sortable, and exposes well the emptiness of purported justifications of it.

© 2012 High Priority Targeting, Inc.