Depicting the Indescribable: A Brief History of Terrorism

  • Charles Lindholm
Part of the Twenty-first Century Perspectives on War, Peace, and Human Conflict book series (21CP)


Any written “history” of a phenomenon as controversial and anxiety-provoking as “terrorism”3 is bound to be selective and somewhat subjective. Because there is little consensus (at least in much of the English-speaking world at this time) regarding terrorism, and due to the potentially enormous number of “terrorist” incidents from antiquity to the present, it is hard to know where to begin and which events to include or exclude.


Middle East Human Condition True Believer State Terror Terror Bombing 
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  2. 3.
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    It may unnerve, even anger, some readers to read about the “state terrorism” and “rogue” behavior of such two ostensibly democratic and freedom-loving nations as the United States and Israel. Yet the historical record since the last days of World War II cannot be ignored—particularly in terms of the number of civilian victims of American and Israeli military operations and the defiance by the United States and Israel of human rights and international consensus in the world’s most democratic public forum, the United Nations. For Israel’s use of terrorist methods (“sacred terrorism,” according to Edward Herman), initially against the British and then against the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab neighbors, as well as for the Palestinians’ violent responses, see Carr, The Lessons of Terror, 210–21; and Herman, The Real Terror Network, 76–79. For numerous examples of the U.S. support of repressive governments and terrorism around the world, and opposition to the United Nations and other “multilateral” organizations and international treaties/norms, see Blum, Rogue State A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, esp. 184–99; and Noam Chomsky, Rogue States The Rule of Torce in World Affairs (Cambridge MA: South End Press, 2000).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Charles P. Webel 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Lindholm

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