In a chilling review of “the new terrorism,” The Economist reported recently on the substantial efforts of the United States government to anticipate and prepare for terrorists using “weapons of mass destruction-the generic term for biological, chemical and nuclear arms.” In black humor, the article is titled, “The New Terrorism, Coming Soon To a City Near You.”
Contrasting the typical new terrorist with previous terrorists, the article summarizes the new as “vague about its long-term aims but utterly ruthless in its short-term intentions.” New terrorists have no particular national loyalty and no particular cause other than destruction itself. According to Bruce Hoffman, an American specialist on political violence, “hallmarks of the new terror include ‘amorphous religious and millenarian aims’ and ‘vehemently anti-government forms of populism, reflecting far-fetched conspiracy notions’ ” ( The Economist ). The likely main target for the new terrorism-the United States.
Illustrative of the mindset of the new terror is the anti-American cry from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman: “Ruin their economies, burn their companies, destroy their benefits, sink their ships, shoot their aircraft and kill them on the ground, in the air and sea and wherever you find them. Take them, besiege them and cripple them completely. Kill all these infidels wherever you find them. You kill them and Allah will punish them through your hands” (“Clinton Gambles all on Revenge,” The Sunday Times-UK ).
Rahman is the blind cleric who is currently serving time in New York for his role in the bombing of the World Trade Center-an act of the new terror, financed, apparently, by Osama Bin Laden. Two of the preacher’s sons are part of Bin Laden’s entourage (ibid.).