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Social Problems


Social Problems War and Terrorism A thought on war: – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Social Problems

Social Problems
  • War and Terrorism

A thought on war
  • "When people speak to you about a preventive war,
    you tell them to go and fight it. After my
    experience, I have come to hate war. War settles
  • (Eisenhower, Dwight D., cited in The New
    Dictionary of Thoughts. Cincinnati Standard
    Book Company, 1957.)

  • War the pattern of large groups of people
    methodically trying to kill one another
  • armed conflict between two countries or groups
    within a country
  • includes undeclared battles, civil conflicts,
    guerrilla wars, covert operations, terrorism
  • relies on collective violence as opposed to
    interpersonal violence
  • Audio Lecture 7 by Robert Brym on War, 2002

Brym on War
  • Societal warfare has replaced interstate war
  • Risk of war varies by
  • Type of government (democratic, authoritarian, or
  • Level of prosperity
  • Democracies and autocracies lower risk of war,
    but intermediate high because of lack of stable
    government ie Iraq now

Other Factors Related to War
  • In authoritarian states
  • a secondary consequence of a military-state
  • is designed to engender patriotism and to justify
    penalizing political dissidents.
  • Decentralized leadership less likely to be
    warlike than is centralized leadership

Other factors
  • Ideologies and religion also influence politics
    and war
  • Politics occur between states
  • World system theory (Wallerstein) and unequal
    relations between core and peripheral nations
  • Advances in military technology
  • Technology has made warfare more lethal
  • Human consequences
  • Ecological consequences

  • any act by an individual or by a group that is
    intended to undermine the legitimate authority of
    a government or state
  • roots of terrorism found in religious, ethnic
    nationalist, political, economic, and social
  • Audio Lecture 5 by Robert Brym on Terrorism

Other Types of Terrorism
  • Narcoterrorism- use of violence in the
    trafficking of drugs
  • State terrorism refers to the terrorism of the
    government against their own people
  • Revolutionary terrorism- to bring about total
    political change

  • destruction of environment as a weapon
  • U.S. military's use of Agent Orange in Vietnam
  • destruction of Kuwaiti oil wells by retreating
    Iraqi military forces during the 1991 Persian
    Gulf War
  • see http//

Origins of Terrorist Groups
  • Many terrorist groups have originated out of
    troubled areas of the world
  • Middle East
  • Northern Ireland
  • Political radicalism is a source of terrorism
  • Terrorism can have its origin in cults
  • Terrorism can originate out of the State to
    maintain power

Origins (cont.)
  • Characteristics of terrorist recruits
  • Well educated
  • Young
  • Upper-middle class or middle-class background
  • Terrorism emerges out of the despair bred by the
    economic deprivation in parts of the world
  • Terrorists operate on a belief system based on
    salvation through violence

Terrorism and Religion
  • Terrorists groups are often motivated by deep
    religious convictions
  • Not religion that is the actual motivation, but
    the presence of a totalitarian belief system
  • Violence is often committed against known and
    unknown victims
  • Random victims
  • Select targets because of their prominence in

Terrorisms Impact on Society
  • The primary impact of terrorism on society are
  • Increased fear and heightened security
  • Erosion of civil liberties
  • Economic consequences
  • Health consequences
  • Political consequences

Social and health consequences of war and
terrorism on individuals
  • Social
  • kills many people
  • costs a lot of money
  • shattering of morale
  • use of children in warfare
  • Health consequences for both veterans and
  • Also affects civilians who are sheltered from
    combat itself.
  • Exposure to war increases the risk of health
    problems, and lowers life expectancy.
  • Veterans suffer from psychological disorders.
  • Victims of terrorism at risk of psychological

Are Anti-Terrorism Measures Working?
  • Terrorist attacks worldwide are increasing
  • For example, here is an msnbc newsclip indicating
    terrorist attacks in 2006 up 25..
  • http//

Example Recent terrorist attacks against U.S in
  • May 26, Iraq a suicide bomber on a motorcycle
    kills six U.S. soldiers and wounds 18 others in
  • June 24, Iraq a suicide bomber kills at least 20
    people, including three U.S. Marines, at a
    meeting between sheiks and Americans in Karmah, a
    town west of Baghdad.
  • June 12, Afghanistan four American servicemen
    are killed when a roadside bomb explodes near a
    U.S. military vehicle in Farah Province.
  • July 13, Afghanistan nine U.S.soldiers and at
    least 15 NATO troops die when Taliban militants
    boldly attack an American base in Kunar Province,
    which borders Pakistan. It's the most deadly
    against U.S. troops in three years.
  • Aug. 18 and 19, Afghanistan as many as 15
    suicide bombers backed by about 30 militants
    attack a U.S. military base, Camp Salerno, in
    Bamiyan. Fighting between U.S. troops and members
    of the Taliban rages overnight. No U.S. troops
    are killed.
  • Sept. 16, Yemen a car bomb and a rocket strike
    the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to
    work, killing 16 people, including 4 civilians.
    At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are
    arrested for the attack.
  • This is only against the U.S..every day there
    are reports of attacks against others, including
    our Canadian soldiers in Afganistan

Can Terrorism Be Prevented?
  • A Homeland Security Report 2007 used a case study
    approach to determine what factors were effective
    in deterring or preventing terrorism
  • results indicated that the most influential
    factors determining the success or failure of a
    terrorist attack are those that occur in the
    pre-execution phases. While safeguards and
    controls at airports and rail stations are
    critical, they are most effective when coupled
    with factors that can be leveraged to detect the
    plot in the planning stages
  • (http//
    s_for_terrorist_success_failure.pdf, retrieved
    Apr. 3, 2008)

Early Prevention Strategies(Homeland Security
Report, 2007)
  • Major cause of failure of a terrorist attack is
    poor terrorist operational security. Need to
    capitalize on this when possible
  • Encourage increased vigilance amongst both the
    public and security services
  • Create better awareness by utilizing terrorist
    profile indicators
  • Increase information sharing both laterally and
  • Enhance international cooperation

The Cost of War
  • Globally 1 trillion dollars on military, for
    making weapons and training people to kill
  • U.S. approx 450 billion
  • Report of the UN Secretary-General put the
    economic costs to the international community of
    seven major wars in the 1990s, not including
    Kosovo, at 199 billion
  • See http//

The Cost of War (cont.)
  • Loss of life in battle
  • Between 1100 and 1925 about 35 million soldiers
    were killed in 862 wars
  • During World War II 17 million soldiers and 35
    million civilians were killed

Social Costs
  • In 2004, about 2 million veterans were receiving
    compensation from the U.S. government for
    war-related disabilities
  • War takes a psychological toll on soldiers
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • war victims who are civilians has increased from
    5 per cent to over 90 per cent
  • at least half of victims now are children
  • 1986-96 approximately 2 million children killed
    in armed conflict (3 times that amount were
    injured or disabled in wars)
  • See http//

Social Costs (Children)
  • "More and more of the world is being sucked into
    a desolate moral vacuum. This is a space devoid
    of the most basic human values a space in which
    children are slaughtered, raped, and maimed a
    space in which children are exploited as
    soldiers a space in which children are starved
    and exposed to extreme brutality.
  • Graça Machel, The Impact of Armed Conflict on
    Children, 1996 Report submitted to UN

Social Costs (cont.)
  • War is a major factor in mass migration of
  • Between 1986 and 1999 there have been over 1.3
    million refugees were granted asylum in the
    United States
  • Government policy during war has also forced
    population migration
  • WW II and German relocation policy of Jews and

Biological theories of the origins of war and
  • humans are naturally prone to violent behaviour
  • Sociobiological theories
  • Aggression and violence as a genetic trait to
    enhance survival of the human species
  • Konrad Lorenz
  • Aggression as an instinct in humans
  • Aggression is linked to territoriality
  • Edward O. Wilson
  • Genetic predisposition to aggression
  • Aggression channeled through culture

Psychological approaches
  • war is a natural phenomenon that develops when
    resources fought over are scarce
  • or when superiority and victory are central to a
    group's identity
  • psychologists study how 'normal' people can
    change during wartime into soldiers capable of
    killing and injuring others seemingly without
    hesitation and remorse
  • Famous experiments Zimbardos Stanford Prison
    Study, Milgrams Authoritarianism Study

Would war change you??
  • War is an environment that will psychologically
    debilitate 98 percent of all who participate in
    it for any length of time. And the 2 percent who
    are not driven insane by war appear to have
    already been insane aggressive psychopaths
    before coming to the battlefield.
  • (from On Killing The Psychological Cost of
    Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Col.
    Dave Grossman, 1995)

Structural Functionalism
  • War fulfills a variety of functions such as
    increasing social cohesion and group identity,
    increasing employment and production, and
    facilitating new scientific and technological
  • Did 9/11 and the war in Iraq increase solidarity
    and cohesion in the U.S.?

Conflict Theory
  • War benefits groups such as corporations,
    politicians, and the military
  • Marx and Lenin on War
  • Karl Marx- war was based on the interests of the
    economic elites to acquire raw materials and to
    expand capitalism
  • Vladimir Lenin- saw warfare as stemming from
    competition among capitalist nations for the
    expansion of global economic dominance

Symbolic Interactionism
  • Meanings and definitions influence attitudes and
    behaviours toward conflict and war
  • Media plays a large role in shaping beliefs and
  • Media main vehicle for propaganda used by
    government to influence public opinion
  • Eg newsreels used during WWII to recruit
    soldiers and to persude women to fill vacant
    jobs, and then to return to the home after the
    war (Rosie the Riveter)

  • Note that wars have been primarily fought by men
  • The association of masculinity and militarism
    begins with childhood socialization.
  • Feminists also study the effects of war on women.

Other Theories About War and Its Origins
  • Institutional Forces Within Nations
  • C.Wright Mills and The Power Elite
  • Economic institutions and the military elite have
    come to shape economic life around their view of
    the world and the interests of the military
  • Politics and the forging of public opinion in
    support of war (media and propaganda)
  • Nationalism and warfare

Other (cont.)
  • Harold Lasswell and The Garrison State
  • Military leaders impose dictatorial power on
  • Channel state resources for military use
  • Control public support through propaganda

Social Constructionism and the Role of Moral
  • Social problems are created through the actions
    of others which raise our consciousness to issues
    in society
  • Moral entrepreneurs have power to label and
    define the problem
  • Moral entrepreneurs use claims making
    activities (Specter and Kitsuse) to bring public
  • (See Intro Lecture)

Claims Making and the 2003 War in Iraq
  • Stage 1 Problem Definition
  • - get public to recognize and accept that Saddam
    Hussein and Iraq behind 9/11 attack
  • Stage 2 Legitimacy
  • - get acceptance from U.S. public and other
    allies (Britain, Australia, Canada, etc.)
  • Stage 3 Reemergence of demands
  • - find evidence to support claims
  • Stage 4 Rejection and institution building
  • - measures to solve the problem war, Homeland
    security, international cooperation in war on

Creation of a Moral Panic
  • Youre either with us (the U.S.) or you are with
    the terrorists (essentials of Bush position)
  • With the aid of the media, created a global moral
    panic and international cooperation for war in
    both Afghanistan and Iraq

CBC Video The Lies That Led To War
  • Produced by The Fifth Estate (2007)
  • A tale of the deceit and propaganda used to
    convince Americans (and others) to support war
    against Iraq
  • Watch The Lies That Led to War

Aftermath Doubt about 9/11 and the role of the
  • A recent survey of 16,063 people in 17 countries
    (Globe and mail, Sept. 11, 2008) by found little consensus
    about 9/11 attack
  • Overall, only 46 thought al-Qaeda responsible
  • But 15 said U.S., 7 said Israel, 7 said
    other, 25 dont know
  • In Turkey 33, Mexico 30 and Germany 23 thought
    U.S. while in Egypt 43 thought Israel

How can we prevent war?
  • According to Tepperman et. al., by
  • developing policies that are aimed at reducing
  • limiting the production and sale of arms
  • by redistributing economic resources more equally
    among nations
  • making better use of international bodies
    dedicated to peacekeeping

International Efforts to Curb War and Terrorism
  • League of Nations and later the United Nations
    are examples of attempts to arrive at global
    cooperation among nations
  • Global conflicts and the U.S. as peacekeepers
  • Less than successful
  • International trade and the economic incentive
    for peace
  • International peacekeeping institutions and
    international law

International (cont.)
  • The war in Iraq, a growing crisis over North
    Korea, Irans threats to renew their production
    of nuclear weapons, and other events have made
    the world situation increasingly gloomy
  • There has been a rise of negative feelings about
    the United States in that the country is not
    exerting positive leadership in seeking world

International (cont.)
  • Unsuccessful attempts at arms control
  • United Nations
  • International Atomic Energy Commission was formed
    in 1945 to ban nuclear weapons
  • Nuclear test ban treaties
  • Nuclear anti-proliferation policies
  • Controlling the arms merchants

International (cont.)
  • Dealing with Terrorism
  • Policy of no-concessions to terrorist groups
  • Public awareness in controlling terrorism
  • Homeland Security Act of 2002 in U.S. and the
    Anti-Terrorism Act 2001 and the Public Safety Act
    2002 in Canada
  • Are our rights and civil liberties being eroded?
  • For more on Canadian security, see