Terrorism presents a kind of psychological warfare which is totally different from traditional warfare where military combat take the center stage. Terrorist use threats like assassination threats, nuclear detonations, bioterrorism and others. Some of this threats actual effect by conducting terrorism attacks especially on America and her international agents and allies. Many counter terrorism measure have been put in place to deal with the activities of terrorists. However, as Everly (2003) notes, the best way to fight terrorism could .be through dealing with the psychological dynamics that are associated with it in addition to the use of intelligence and military combat to eliminate terrorists. Enforcement of specific laws can be very helpful in dealing with the issues. Indeed counterterrorism measures have various psychological effects both positive and negative.
The Positive Effects of Counterterrorism
Counterterrorism helps to reduce the risks of terrorism attacks thus ensure that people are safe. This certainly reduces the horror associated with terrorism thus reducing the effects terrorism has on people. Video clips showing masked terrorists with gun threatening to behead a hostage can be very scaring causing fear and despair to the victim and other members of the public. Counterterrorism helps reduce the fear and anxiety that is installed in people due to the feeling of being safe. In this regard people can heave a normal peaceful life going about their business as usual (Sawyer, 2004).
Negative Effects of Counter Terrorism
Despite being psychological beneficial, counterterrorism measures can also be very psychologically unhealthy. For instance, the use of military force leads to many deaths and suffering especially if such combat is fought between nations. According to Warner (2005) The victims of the war suffer psychological due to the effects of ware. Also, in some instance excessive for and torture is used on suspects to make them reveal useful information concerning their activities. This psychological torture the victims making them scared. The people who are not directly involved in the war also suffer psychologically when they see the suffering of the in the combat area on TV. Also the harassing of people suspected to be terrorists can be very demeaning and embarrassing an experaince a victim would like to forget as long as it is over (Sawyer, 2004).
On a general scale, the success of counterterrorism in reducing the psychological effects of terrorism can be very helpful in reducing terrorism it self (Everly, 2003). The counterterrorism measures have managed to reduce terrorism through preventing real terrorist attacks from being conducted, managing the detrimental effects of terrorism attacks when they occur and the related psychological effects, and giving psychological treatment for those who have been affected psychologically by threats of attacks or those who are actually victims of the attacks. In such a case the counterterrorism is now referred to as psychological counterterrorism.