The Terrorist Game: An Analogy
International Terrorism: A Game Analogy
How do social scientists interpret terrorism on the global scale? By using the game analogy they could make a close comparison to the nature of terrorism. Can terrorism be really like a game? Like a game there are winners and there are losers in the field of terrorism. In a game there are two teams competing for a prize. A game participant requires skills, knowledge and expertise to make them a capable player or part of a team.
Terrorism as a game has a goal and that is to bring home the victory and make sure that their opponent will never have a chance to win. The one who will survive all the challenges and rules of the game will be declared as the winner.
According to Joyce McKnight on Terrorism as a Game or Drama, the game analogy can be used creatively in examining human interactions and behavior in a social phenomenon like terrorism.
International terrorism mainly operates or works against secularization, globalization and modernization between nations. For the players the whole world is considered their playing field or arena. The game is all about disputes regarding social ideologies, threats to culture or religious beliefs. Hidden hatred against a nation and a goal to intimidate or make a country look helpless and defeated is the purpose of the game.
Both of the teams have their own personal resources to equip them in the battle. They both have finances, well trained staff, and means of communications, weapons, devices, intelligence unit and other useful resources to succeed in the game.
Strategies and Tactics
To win a game strategies and tactics are important things to consider. In the Part 5 of Griffin Trek the War on Terrorism it made an analogy of terrorism with an American football game. The author explained the need for strategy and tactics. Then what is a strategy? Strategy and “strategic objectives” are identified to know the best way to defeat an enemy. The strategy is also known as the game plan, an organized plan on how to make sure you will take control of the game.
A tactics according to this article mentioned about the individual play or how on an individual level one could best block the enemy. This strategies and tactics need to coincide with the overall plan or objectives. In the earlier article the author emphasize that in a game there are many reasons or issues that both opposing team wants to justify.
The best strategies are always considered whether it is for offensive or defensive purpose. Offensive strategies are carefully planned; enemy’s weakness is identified while the best attack is employed. The team will undergo necessary trainings and preparations especially if their opponent is a strong one.
In a war or game of terrorism, an enemy is determined to win, even if the opponent seems to be more powerful. The team will take the challenge no matter how hard it is. The greater the risk the greater is the reward. Just like in the terrorist attack of 9/11 the attackers are inferior compared to the US military force yet it pursued its goal to launch a deadly surprised attack against civilians, exposing the vulnerabilities and intimidating its government’s power. A defensive strategy is also important. In the US for example, right after the 9/11 terrorist attack the government have launched massive counter measures against terrorism and placed military forces in the enemy’s homeland immediately.
The terrorist was said to have used various tactics to work out their plans. They make sure their tactics will brought the best results. There are many kinds of tactics to use, from the simple to more complex types of terror tactics.
The Players and Their Audience
Who are the players for this game? The players are group according to the goal and beliefs of a team. As said earlier, the game of terrorism may include the game against secularization or religious fundamentalism. An Islamic people may see the threat for their lives coming from Christian fundamentalist. On another side the Christian religious fundamentalist see the Muslim world as the perpetrator of world violence. Their beliefs clashed and crashed one another. They see each other as an enemy and their battle with each other is for them just part of the end time’s tribulations.
While from the other point of view the game is not about religion but more on political ideologies. Communist government saw the threat of the Democratic liberalism. Government system is an integral part of a nation and some people want to take control of it. Some are not satisfied with their present government system that is why some want to force their “ideal” government system. It was mentioned that terrorist groups are “idealistic” which make them determined to pursue their goals. Another issue involves the struggle between the nationalist-separatist and the anarchist ideologies.
Still another issue to settle is modernization and globalization. A terrorist group targets progressive countries. One of their objectives is to disrupt the economy. Modernization is seen in the most advance and economically favored nation. They want to destroy capitalism by tearing down their control and influence of the world economy.
At the background of this game is the audience, the public who watch the effects and aftermath of terrorism right before their eyes. The media is said to be successful in sensationalizing the issue by broadcasting the game for the world to see.
Achievement Of Goals: Who Wins And Who Lose?
In a game no one wants to be in the losing side everyone wants to win. But in the end, there must only be one winner. In the analogy of terrorism as a game the scenario is the same since both sides fought back and vow not to be defeated. It was interesting to know that both sides knows that they are fighting for what is right. The terrorist sees their target as the enemy a threat to their ideologies. The victim of terrorist attacks sees the terrorist as sociopaths and modern day evils. What will happen then to the fight against terrorism if each side has different point of view each justifying their own needs and goals?
In the game of terrorism the terrorist seem to win every time the attack is successful. They celebrate their victory if they see how much damage they have created. They feel no guilt at the number of innocent people they have killed as long as they’ve hurt their enemies. They will use a strategy or tactics that they believed will pay off.
When they toppled the World Trade Center and saw it turned into rubble they rejoice for that victory. Added to that they predicted how the government will panic at such attacks and will obsessively tighten security measures to prevent such attacks to happen again.
What is difficult in this kind of game is that the terrorist inflict harm on the innocent people not on a specific group or individual. The people are unprepared for this kind of attack. The government may have trained well its military force but the enemy targets the civilians. The terrorist are elusive they cannot be captured easily.
In this game there are no clear rules and most of the time it is not fair. It was sad to know that the countermeasures of the government to fight the game of terrorism are not enough. The government has only defeated their purpose. The civilians became increasingly victimized by the government efforts to fight terrorism. If people will not underestimate the capabilities of their opponents they will have a greater chance of winning the game. They will win if they are not easily intimidated and they block their enemies successfully.
McKnight, Joyce “Terrorism as a Drama or a Game” 2005
Dirk Van de Kaap. “The War on Terrorism Part 1-5”.2008. Griffin Trek. 3 December 2008 <http:griffintrek.blogspot.com/>