Terrorism Panel at NDSU

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The Northern Plains Ethics Institute at North Dakota State hosted a panel discussion on terrorism Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The panel focused on the discussion of what terrorism is, why it exists, its nature and how it functions the way it does. Panelists also addressed various other questions from the audience.

The panelists included Jeff Bumgarner, professor and department head of criminal justice and political science at NDSU, Roby C. Barrett, senior fellow with the Joint Special Operations University and regional terrorism expert from the Middle East Institute, and Jarret Brachman, an American terrorism expert and author.

Bumgarner asked each panelist what their working definition of terrorism is, if terrorism works and force multipliers surrounding terrorism.

Terrorism can be considered a social movement, and that it is more than just an individual blowing up a bomb.

Barrett, who has 40 years experience, explained terrorism from different perspectives. “I am really careful about trying to define terrorism and putting in a box,” Barrett said. “Terrorism and who calls who a terrorist is often in the eyes of the beholder.” For Barrett, terrorism is about politics and the way in which politics reaches their goal.

Brachman defined terrorism more concretely. He maintains that certain behaviors must be defined as terrorism at some point.


“Terrorism and who calls who a terrorist is often in the eyes of the beholder.”
– Roby C. Barrett, senior fellow with the Joint Special Operations University and regional terrorism expert from the Middle East Institute


The panel discussed how terrorism is intertwined with other political actions, agenda and violence against noncombatant individuals.

Both Barrett and Brachman said they believe terrorists can consider any action taken by them as a strategic accomplishment or result accomplishments on behalf of the terrorist system they belong to.

There was a lot of discussion on the Middle East because of the area terrorist groups and their usage of terrorist tactics.

According to Barrett, people have to see terrorism as more than just an attack. However, he said in order to do this they would have to understand the people behind the events and why they are being drawn to an extremist lifestyle or organization.

“Terrorism is a police, security, intelligence and special operations problem,” Barrett said. He continued to say the people who have a better understanding of the countries involved should be used to combat terrorism, as they would able to better handle the problem.

The panel took place at the Century Theater in the NDSU Memorial Union.

There will be a second panel that is scheduled for Nov. 14. While the first discussion panel was devoted to the root cause of terrorism, the second panel will focus on the ways terrorism could be stopped or solved.

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