I am currently studying for an economics of conflict exam and one of the potential questions is likely to be in the vein of "Are Terrorists Rational - Discuss".
However how would rationality be defined in this context?
A canonical example is often metal detectors, whereby it is has been shown that when metal detectors were introduced in airports, terrorists substituted skyjackings for other means hostage taking. This would imply some rational framework where terrorists have some sort of budget constraint and indifference curve.
However, under the assumption that they didn't substitute for another form of terrorist action, would this imply irrationality? On a superficial level it may, but what if they just valued skyjackings really highly? Under the notion of revealed preferences, surely by just attempting to skyjack you are showing that skyjacking is valued to you and you are therefor doing a "rational" action?
So can something ever be irrational?