Terrorism: Still a Domestic Threat

by Alfred A. Valenzuela (Major General, U.S. Army, Ret.) & Jeffrey F. Addicott (Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.)

Terrorism is a term without international definition. In the ordinary sense, it is a tactic that is meant to instill fear. Understanding the forces behind the act of terror is the real issue. In this context, terror attacks in the United States can come from three general sources: (1) Left-wing extremists; (2) Right-wing extremists; or (3) Radical Islamic extremists. By far and away, the greatest threat posed to the nation is from the radical Islamic extremist. Hundreds and hundreds of radical Islamic extremists have been arrested since 9/11. While they may have plotted or acted alone and without specific guidance, they were not simply lone-wolf terrorists as some would assert. The motivation for terror must always serve as the key descriptive component. In this view, all jihadists are firmly linked by a global alliance of fellow “brothers” that pledge allegiance to a dogmatic vision of radical Islam, tracing their immediate roots to al-Qa’eda ideology.

While many Americans have “hit the slumber button on the alarm clock” when it comes to terrorism, the intentional bombings of innocent civilians in Boston earlier this year signaled that radical Islamic extremists still pose a significant threat to the nation. The attacks of 9/11 that incinerated 3,000 people may have happened over a decade ago, but terrorism fueled by radical Islam is a growing phenomena. And Texas is not exempt.

Read more in the September 2013 issue of S.A. Scene.