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Are Terrorists Mentally Deranged?

Are Terrorists Mentally Deranged? Recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon have accentuated the threat of terrorism. However, it appears that the attackers are popularly thought of as mentally deranged individuals who are evil. This article suggests that such an understanding is a misperception of these people and may interfere with an adequate response to prevent future attacks. The article reviews the extant literature on psychological theories of terrorism and concludes that terrorists are not dysfunctional or pathological; rather, it suggests that terrorism is basically another form of politically motivated violence that is perpetrated by rational, lucid people who have valid motives. The only real difference between terrorism and conventional military action is one of strategy. Terrorists lack the necessary resources to wage war in furtherance of their political goals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy Wiley

Are Terrorists Mentally Deranged?

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
ISSN
1529-7489
eISSN
1530-2415
DOI
10.1111/j.1530-2415.2002.00022.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon have accentuated the threat of terrorism. However, it appears that the attackers are popularly thought of as mentally deranged individuals who are evil. This article suggests that such an understanding is a misperception of these people and may interfere with an adequate response to prevent future attacks. The article reviews the extant literature on psychological theories of terrorism and concludes that terrorists are not dysfunctional or pathological; rather, it suggests that terrorism is basically another form of politically motivated violence that is perpetrated by rational, lucid people who have valid motives. The only real difference between terrorism and conventional military action is one of strategy. Terrorists lack the necessary resources to wage war in furtherance of their political goals.

Journal

Analyses of Social Issues & Public PolicyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2002

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