Terrorism Reply 7



1. Moral Psychology of Terrorism (2013) Introduction

2. Horgan, J. G. (2017). Psychology of terrorism: Introduction to the special issue. American Psychologist, 72(3), 199-204. doi:10.1037/amp0000148

Original Question:

For this week’s Forum, respond to the following:   This week, we investigate the recruitment methods used by terrorist organizations to attract members to carry out their goals. The methods used have been compared to those used by traditional organizations, enacting organizational and managerial processes familiar to most.

· After reviewing the course materials for the week, discuss the aspects of recruitment and membership in terrorist organizations as they compare to that of the traditional organization.

· Consider how you view terrorist recruitment efforts as affecting the lone wolf (or lone actor) terrorist engaging in activity on behalf of the organization, and share your position and rationale with the group.

Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post. This is not providing an analysis of the original post. Respectfully address it and even ask clarifying or additional questions.)


Should we try un-making terrorists? I say, why not? I think this can be seen as another method to fight terrorism. Recruiting criminals when they are incarcerated is really nothing new since this tactic has been used on drug trafficking organizations, for example, to collect information from the recruited criminal (turned informant) in order to catch other members/drug kingpins and thwart their operations. People are more vulnerable when they are in crisis, in trouble, and they are running out of options to get back to their normal world. This is the case of Abdurahman Khadr when he found himself away from his family and in the custody of the “American forces” (Eve2020’s channel, 2007). When the CIA made him the offer to work for them as an informant in exchange of a monthly payment, Abdurahman didn’t have to think twice about taking the offer. After all, he had control of nothing and nobody knew he was in that corner of the world, in other words, he was in no position to make any demands, he was vulnerable and in crisis. So, individuals in this type of circumstances are ideal, in my opinion, for recruitment which provides an opportunity to change (to what degree? I don’t know) the person.

On the other hand, the CIA perceived Abdurahman as a very valuable informant not only because of the potential intelligence they could obtain from him, but also because “they found … [him] very good with people, very good with languages, with cultures. … [Abdurahman could] fit in anywhere in a very fast time. … [He could] find people to become friends with” (McKenna, 2004). So, it was convenient for both of the parties to enter into an agreement. Also, terrorists join a group for several reasons that may not be primarily ideological (such as joining the group mainly to get a steady income because their circumstances didn’t allow them to get a traditional job), therefore, if, for example, someone offers one of them a secure, decent income that doesn’t require risking his life and, on the contrary to terrorism, re-incorporates the individual into society, then the person most likely will take the offer and, hopefully, will stay forever away from anything that has to do with terrorism.


Eve2020’s channel. (2007, July 2). Son of Al Qaeda (part 4) 1. Working for the CIA. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUDC5Tw57pM

McKenna, T. (2004). (McKenna, 2004)Frontline. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/khadr/interviews/khadr.html


Good evening everyone,

One of the takeaways that I gathered from reading this week is that people will be people. According to the Khadr interviews, Osama, under his heinous acts still had family and financial issues like everyone else. Furthermore, those who lived around Osama wanted forbidden items such as ice and American sodas and would sneak them where they were not allowed. This boils down to human nature and deep inside every human, there are similarities. This is how we can “un-make” terrorist. Although not everyone can be converted, we must at least make an attempt because the one person out a million that turns informant can make the world of difference in national security. Additionally, I do not see being an informant and re-entering society as a non-threat as the being synonymous. The greatest difference is the ability to maintain accountability for a “former” terrorist when they are on their own compared to when they are assisting an agency. The United States cannot seem to monitor or account for millions of people who are illegally in the country I do not think that keeping track of former terrorist would be any different. Although it is true that former terrorist do not always have to remain terrorist but they have earned the right to be constantly be tracked and monitored by the government in my opinion. Just as felons lose certain rights or abilities such as voting, owning guns, traveling abroad, employment opportunities, and so on, the former terrorist should be restricted in what they can do as well.

Moving on, transforming terrorist into non-perpetrators is dependent upon the situation. I believe this question ties in well with the last question of our weekly forum. Looking for someone who would make a good candidate for flipping is also dependent and a relative scenario. Each of these questions ties in with recruiting terrorist for suicide bombings that we covered a few weeks ago. People become desperate with no hope in life because of their horrible living conditions and simply seek to hope and because of terrorist organizations, these people find that hope in death. The terror groups in many places do not live above the standards of the common inhabitants of the country and that should be taken into consideration when deciding who to flip. If individuals are willing to die to have hope and not live in constant misery, some would “change sides” if given the opportunity also. Seeking individuals who have suffered great loss and lack a will to maintain their current predicament are in my opinion, great candidates to transform into non-perpetrators and/or informants.




Good Afternoon Classmates,

Although the forum discussion asked us not to automatically deny a terrorist the potential possibility to reintegrate into normal civilian life, it is difficult (especially as a member of the military) to imagine terrorists becoming an honest asset to our society. Even as a young child, I was taught who good people were and what made people bad. In 99.9% of cases, terrorists and the ideas of terrorism were bad. In that .1% that terrorism was not bad is when it was in favor of our nation. Looking from our terrorist’s perspective, America is technically a terrorist to them because we are fighting against them for some of the same reasons they are fighting against us. So how does one try to ignore that fact when thinking about reintegration?

· How do we un-make terrorists? Should we try? They all cannot be converted to informants.

·    For most individuals in terrorist organizations, it may be nearly impossible to successfully integrate them into society. Being that they have literally been raised to become terrorists and carry out terrorist acts (i.e. suicide bombings and placing IEDs in the ground), it is difficult for mental health professionals to reverse the mind of a terrorist that has been bred. Think about the counter-argument. Is it easy for an outstanding citizen to turn into a full-blown terrorist that performs terrorist actions on behalf of an organization? Recent terrorists attacks (for example, the Las Vegas shooting at a concert that killed numerous innocent victims and injured hundreds more), suggest that people who have thrived in a normal society can easily be persuaded into committing terrorist crimes. Although the Las Vegas shooter was not yet tied to any terrorist groups, his motives were to kill innocent people in order to send a message; therefore, his actions were equivalent to an organization crime normally committed by a terrorist group. To un-make a terrorist would take months if not years of consistent, intense therapy. If at all successful, it would be a constant strive for normalization on the individual’s part and would take an immense amount of motivation and influence.

· Given that reality, what shall we do to transform them into non-perpetrators of terror?

·    If society was as forgiving for the sake of this discussion, it would be imperative for people to not be quick to judge a transformed prior-terrorist. The process of transformation into a normal citizen would look similar to that of integrating a person with a severe mental disorder that is now under control.

· What should we look for in determining which terrorist might be a good candidate for un-making?

·    Terrorists that were forced into joining the organization against their will would be, in my opinion, the best candidates to attempt integration into society. Since they were either threatened or their family was threatened if the person did not join the group, they would probably be more willing to leave the group and become a normal citizen if the threats were promised to end. Their eagerness to return to society would make them a valuable asset and honest citizen.

Have a great weekend!


** Please don’t just rephrase their info, but respond to it. Remember to answer question at the end if there is one. **

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