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 Discussion Questions: Select one terrorist tactic (other than bombings) and explain how it has evolved over time. Explain why homemade bombs (improvised explosive devices) have been such a popular choice of a weapon for terrorists? Fully explain the reasons why various bombs have been used as the most common terrorist tool. 


1.  Select one terrorist tactic (other than bombings) and explain how it has evolved over time.

I think one of the most notable ways terrorists use is assassinations. Assassinations and assassination attempts have been around for a long time and terrorists organizations have evolved to start targeting more high ranking targets like politicians, high ranking officials, etc. Although, it is now much easier and cost effective to strap a bomb to a vehicle or a suicide bomber or plant an IED somewhere with a bigger impact, assassination was tried and true for terrorists. 

Explain why homemade bombs (improvised explosive devices) have been such a popular choice of a weapon for terrorists? 

Homemade bombs and IED’s have made their way to the battle field for a multitude of reasons. One, its relatively cheap and easy to make as long as you have the right qualified person doing it. Two, it can take out an entire humvee full of soldiers or a car full of people if done right. IED’s cause more impact and destruction and are easily hidden in the ground and it does not require a person to strap it to their chest and become a suicide bomber, although that also happens. 

Fully explain the reasons why various bombs have been used as the most common terrorist tool.

There are so many advantages for terrorists to use bombs or IED’s to carry out their missions. Some IED’s are extremely hard to see or detect until it is too late, some bombs can be mailed to certain targets and blown up once opened or received. Some bombs can even be placed in vehicles and driven to a building and could completely level a building and everyone inside. Terrorists and even domestic homegrown terrorists are taking notice that it might be easier to assemble a bomb in their home and then send it to their target to destination and then blow it up just like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. 

2.  Select one terrorist tactic (other than bombings) and explain how it has evolved over time.

One terrorist tactic that has dramatically evolved over time is the technology terrorists use.  At the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, there were no smartphones that allowed immediate internet access or face timing.  Fast forward almost 21 years, and with the advancements in computers and telecommunications with more access to the internet, encryption, and virtual private networking, terror groups have been able to radicalize more individuals to their causes than before.  These advancements in technology has been able to allow terrorists to remotely and undetected, direct terror attacks anywhere and at any time across the globe.  With the increasing access to the internet worldwide since 9/11, terrorists have increasingly used the internet to radicalize individuals, as well as communicate and plan attacks (Harrison, n.d.)       

Explain why homemade bombs (improvised explosive devices) have been such a popular choice of weapon for terrorists?

Homemade bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) type weapons continue to be popular with terrorists because the materials to construct them are readily available, relatively easy to build, and very destructive.  IEDs are also popular with terrorists because they can be as small as a pipebomb that can be carried on a person or placed in an area where there is a lot of human or vehicle traffic and are not easily detected.  Entire vehicles can also be made into IEDs, which cause mass casualties and destruction.  The materials used to build IEDs are easily accessible as well.  The common materials used to make an IED are garden fertilizer, gunpowder, hydrogen peroxide, and a fuel source, such as fuel oil.  Some examples of terrorist IED attacks are the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta (DHS, n.d.). 

Fully explain the reasons why various bombs have been used as the most common terrorist tool.

For the same reasons IEDs are so popular with terrorists, so are the different variations of bombs.  Due to the ease of construction of various sizes of bombs that can be thrown or packed into a vehicle for a suicide attack or even mailed in a package, the sheer destructive power and ease of concealment make bombs the chosen weapon for terrorists.  Terrorists can also shape various types of bombs to explode in a specific direction to cause much more damage and death.  Additionally, due to the advancements in technology with cellphones and the internet, terrorists can configure various types of bombs to be detonated from many miles away (UNODC, n.d.).

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