Perverse incentives are creeping up all over the place when it comes to this war on terrorism. Not to be confused with the war on drugs, the war on marijuana, the war democracy, the war on patents, the war on masturbation, the war on the disabled, the war on spam, the war on Japan, the war on Germany, the war on Christianity, the war on hackers, the war on Tom Daschle, the war on property rights, the war on crime, the war on faith, the war on child health in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the war on juveniles, but just forget the war on poverty, because we don’t have the money for that.
Here is a good example of a perverse incentive: with the increasing privitization of the US prison system, thus introducing the profit motive to the justice system, there is a preverse incentive for certain people to lobby for increasing ly stricter criminal laws. It is one reason we have an increasing number of non-violent drug offenders in prison, and that manditory minimum sentences are so appealing.
The perverse incentive that this war on terrorism creates is that the more we look for terrorism, the wider and more arbitrary the definition of terrorism has become. Here is the offical definition of the terrorism as spelled out in US law (Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d)):
The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving the territory or the citizens of more than one country.
The term “terrorist group” means any group that practices, or has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.
Based on that, how is it that Israel is not considered a terrorist state?