There's no issue more on Americans' minds. Everyone wants to combat terrorism, but few agree on how. Defense funding, the PATRIOT Act, upped security around the country, new methods of gathering intelligence, revamping Homeland Security, the war in Afghanistan and intelligence leadership changes are all pieces in the combating terrorism puzzle.

What, exactly, is terrorism?

There's no universal definition, but a few working definitions are...

  • Webster: "The systematic use of terror esp. as a means of coercion"
  • From US Department of State's website: "Terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. Terrorism, as a special form of political violence, is not a philosophy or a political movement, but it uses extreme fear and violence, which breach social norms, to strike at symbolic targets with the ultimate aim of influencing political behavior.
  • From the US Department of Defense: "the unlawful use of --or threatened use of--force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."
  • From the UN: no official definition.

State of terrorism

Number of injuries from terrorist acts - worldwide

graph made using TKB's incident analysis wizard (HIGHLY recommended). note: numbers before '97 are only international incidents; numbers after include international and domestic incidents

American casualties of international terrorism (DOS):

  • 2005: 56;
  • 2003: 64;
  • 2002: 64;
  • 2001: 2779;
  • 2000: 70.

For a breakdown on where the attacks are happening, see the many graphs the State Department has to offer.

Compared to US deaths from: (preliminary 04) (CDC)

  • Heart disease: 654,092
  • Cancer: 550,270
  • Stroke: 150,147
  • Chronic respiratory disease: 123,884
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 108,694

For information on major terrorist groups go here.

Where the facts are from:

For more facts on terrorism and home security, see:

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