Though some believe terrorism to be a cancerous growth unique to twentieth century politics, the reality is much deeper. Terrorism is simply the modern moniker for certain aspects of unconventional warfare that have existed throughout recorded history. Tactics now attributed to "Terrorism" have always been attractive to vocal, violent factions attempting to coerce others to adopt their social, political or religious platforms. Such tactics include the ambush of troops legally occupying a province or territory, the kidnapping of important dignitaries or other individuals to be held hostage and even the assassination of such individuals. The emphasis on the word "legal" in the preceding sentence is important if we are to understand the continuing influence terrorism will hold in the next millennium. Consider the FBI's definition for terrorism:
If one removes the first four words of the definition and replaces them with "War is the lawful..." one comes very close to the General Carl Von Clauswitz's dictum that "War is nothing but the continuation of policy with other means". When diplomacy fails, governments have the option of lawfully applying force to further their political and social objectives. Groups and individuals do not have this "right" and are therefore branded "Terrorists", though one's point of view certainly impacts how readily that term is applied instead of "Patriots". We certainly revere the courage our forefathers demonstrated in breaking away from mother England and forming a new nation, but doubtless their actions were viewed in a much less favorable light by the legal government of the "colonies" some two hundred and twenty-two years ago.Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Today, we celebrate peace initiatives that portend to bring some degree of stability to regions that have been plagued by terrorist activity like Northern Ireland and the Middle East. Nevertheless, there are many other nations where terrorism and its state-sponsored equivalent actively influence the world all of us live in. As weapons of mass destruction become increasingly available to smaller groups of determined individuals, political instability increases. To proactively combat this trend and protect their national security interests at home and abroad, the nations of the world have invested years of training and billions of dollars into developing counterterrorism expertise. The British Special Air Service (SAS) and the U.S. Navy's SEAL Team Six are perhaps the most publicized of these units, but virtually every nation now has some force capable of performing counterterrorist operations to varying degrees.
Rainbow Six is a game developed in honor of the brave men and women who guard the back doors of governments around the world, standing ever ready in the shadows to meet whatever threat may present itself. Although this is a work of fiction, and no such internationally wielded counterterrorism unit is currently recognized by nations of the world, cooperation and cross training between each of the existing special operations units is not only common, it is highly encouraged. Consequently, the reality of this gaming environment is not as far removed from our own as some might hope.