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Last night I finally got to see the new Wachowski brothers’ film; V for Vendetta. This film raises several interesting ethical dilemmas that reflect our own world in 2006.

The two main themes brought to the fore are around the relationships between people and states. I found myself moved by the challenges raised by these themes and I present my thoughts here in such a way as to not spoil the film for those who have not seen it.

Firstly, what is a terrorist?

What does it mean to say that someone is a terrorist? Why is Nelson Mandela a freedom fighter and practically deified when someone else, someone equally as valid, is considered the scum of the Earth?

Mandella started as a terrorist too:

Umkhonto we Sizwe (or MK), translated Spear of the Nation, was the active military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). Founded on 16 December 1961 by the ANC and South African Communist Party (SACP), its purpose was to mount guerilla attacks against the South African apartheid regime for their oppression against black people. It was classified a terrorist organisation by the South African government and media, and subsequently banned.

A part of the evil in the world and not a fighter for freedom (another spurious word used in multi-layered contexts). Is it that that Mandela was fighting an “evil” regime? Who says so?

Freedom fighter is a relativistic local term for those engaged in rebellion against an established organization that is thought to be oppressive. The terms freedom and “rebellion” are often confusing, as often both sides in armed conflict claim to represent the popular cause of “freedom”. While external intervening parties, even oppressors, almost always claim to be “liberators”, ‘freedom fighters’ also often become oppressors in the eyes of civilians.

Who is it that decides what is evil? Can one even judge a whole society as evil? Is our society any better? Is the US?

Institute for Policy Studies scholar Professor Noam Chomsky has referred to the tactics used by agents of the US government and their proxies in their execution of US foreign policy in such countries as Nicaragua, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Argentina, Colombia, Turkey, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia [5] as a form of terrorism from which the term “American terrorism” has been drawn. Chomsky has also described the U.S as “a leading terrorist state.” After President Bush began using the term “War on Terrorism,” Chomsky stated:
The U.S. is officially committed to what is called “low-intensity warfare.”[...] If you read the definition of low-intensity conflict in army manuals and compare it with official definitions of “terrorism” in army manuals, or the U.S. Code, you find they’re almost the same. [6]

The French?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Armed with some of the strictest anti-terrorism laws and policies in Europe, the French government has aggressively targeted Islamic radicals and other people deemed a potential terrorist threat. While other Western countries debate the proper balance between security and individual rights, France has experienced scant public dissent over tactics that would be controversial, if not illegal, in the United States and some other countries.

What skeletons are in our closets? Is it really the inescapable conclusion that to call someone a terrorist is a matter of mere subjective perspective?

What happens when that perspective changes? When the Taliban fought the Russians they were freedom fighters, but when they fight the western powers suddenly they are terrorists. Rambo III was dedicated to the “the galant people of Afghanistan”, and the film was full of complements regarding their noble yet fierce resistance of the Russian menace. As Rambo himself remarks “(They) don’t take any shit”. Now it is more likely that the next film use them as target practice?

Could terrorism really be a label, something that is simple finger pointing? Do I say you are a terrorist and it magically becomes true, or is it that you automatically become a terrorist to me when you attack my trains or my towers? Then what must we look like to the rest of the world? I try and think of the most terrifying thing I can and basically it is already happening to other nations today. Something that we, or at least our leaders and their armies, are doing to them.

George W. Bush: I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you.
[George W. Bush brandishes a golf club]
George W. Bush: Now, watch this drive.

Imagine: that an alien and, from your point of view, corrupt foreign national government sent an unbeatable army to rain down bombs onto you, and no one cared. Cameras came and recorded you digging the graves of your children, but they are not there for you. Your private morning is now public; now bare to the world. It is a world that hates your faith, your country. A World that hates your way of life and who has power, unimaginable power over you and at one and the same time fears and hates you. Who can lock you away without trial, forever?

Is that not terror? Would you not, in that situation, point the finger and identify the terrorists when asked. Would you not give them their own names?

I would.

The meaning is even further misused by those who refer to a “War on terror”. Since bringing a war against a nation is terrible are you not creating terror? Should the army simply shoot itself? This misnomer has destroyed the meaning of the word. It is political double speak, the first steps along the lines to Newspeak. Double plus good!

Charges of Newspeak are sometimes advanced when a group tries to replace a word/phrase that is politically unsuitable (e.g. “civilian casualties”) or offensive (e.g. “murder”) with a politically correct or inoffensive euphemism (e.g. “collateral damage“). Some maintain that to make certain words or phrases “unspeakable” (thoughtcrime) restricts what ideas may be held (Newspeak) and is therefore tantamount to censorship. Others believe that expunging terms that have fallen out of favor or become insulting will make people less likely to hold outdated or offensive views. The intent to alter the minds of the public through changes made to language illustrates Newspeak perfectly.

So, what does it mean to call someone a terrorist? Almost nothing. The word has almost no meaning at all. It is as Nietzsche wrote; it is Ressentiment.

Ressentiment is a profound sense of resentment, frustration, and hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one’s frustration, generated by a sense of weakness/inferiority and feelings of jealousy/envy in the face of the ’cause’, that ultimately generates a rejecting/justifying ‘value-system’ or morality that exists as a means of attacking or denying the perceived source of one’s own sense of inferiority.

Something from which you cannot escape; a feeling of fear and the deriding of anything different and unorthodox, it is the making of a scapegoat. The war against terror becomes fnord, something that your conscious brain shy’s away from in an attempt to get on with your life. You will put up with anything to keep terror at bay. Almost any freedom is taken, snatched; not given, from the people because of the nasty fnord awaiting you.

Fnord is the typographic representation of disinformation or irrelevant information intending to misdirect, with the implication of a conspiracy.

The word was coined as a nonsensical term with religious undertones in the Principia Discordia by Kerry Thornley and Greg Hill, but was popularized by The Illuminatus! Trilogy of books by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. In these novels, the interjection “fnord” is given hypnotic power over the unenlightened. Under the Illuminati program, children, while still in grade school, are taught to be unable to consciously see the word “fnord”. For the rest of their lives, every appearance of the word subconsciously generates a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, and prevents rational consideration of the subject.

To get away with this, they send you hidden poster boys of terror.

A single evil man, supposedly the master in a puppet theatre trying to destroy the world. I have seen this thing. One man, they say, one man is wrong. He is the one man. Stop him for he is what you should be afraid of. And so we are. Why? Because we are told to be. In the end the act of attributing more and more events to one mans actions becomes an ever-repeating circle. He becomes a source of terror like the sun is a source of light and all reference to terror lead back to this one man.

deliberate techniques for scaremongering. For example:

  • Careful selection and omission of news (some relevant facts are shown and some are not);
  • Distortion of statistics or numbers;
  • Transformation of single events into social epidemics;
  • Corruption and distortion of words or terminology according to specific goals;
  • Stigmatization of minorities, especially when associated with criminal acts or degrading behaviour;
  • Generalization of complex and multifaceted situations;
  • Causal inversion (turning a cause into an effect or vice-versa).

That is what we are told to think and slowly erodes the rains of our freedom. Chains built to protect us. What an irony. What a tragedy, terror created from a seed; the desire to live free. To live essentially selfish lives.

In a country that uses the word terrorist against anyone, what are we loosing? We are losing our ability to complain, the cornerstone of any democracy. We are losing rights both in public and in private as the government uses the war on terror as an excuse to remove that, which is different and does not conform.

The signs are plentiful but small. A man carrying a placard is arrested but let go.

Mr Jago, who will appear in court in September on charges of mounting an illegal demonstration prohibited by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (Socpa ), was searched and found to have three copies of an article from Vanity Fair.

A foreign visitor is shot dead for no reason.

Jean Charles de Menezes (7 January 197822 July 2005) was a Brazilian electrician living in Tulse Hill in south London, United Kingdom. Menezes was shot and killed at Stockwell tube station on the London Underground by unnamed Metropolitan Police officers. Police later issued an apology, saying that they had mistaken him for a suspect in the previous day’s failed bombings and acknowledging that Menezes in fact had no explosives and was unconnected with the attempted bombings.

Up until recently, you could refuse the police. You could say, “I am sorry officer, I do not submit to my bags being searched.” But not anymore. My policeman friends inform me that under the provisions of anti-terrorism legislation you and I no longer have that right. For “our” protection.

A small price, you might say?

Ah, but how the mouse nibbles at the cheese and how, soon, there is to be no cheese left. These “small” prices add up, they create weight. A crushing and unbearable weight on my mind that makes the fear essentially worse. And so, they destroy more rights and our decent into darkness is by inches, centimetres and millimetres but always ever downwards.

What can be done? Will we ever “defeat” terrorism?

How can we? No one even knows what the word means and the methods being used to fight it not only create more fear, but are also acts of terrorism themselves.


Basho

Coming next: “The tipping point man; can we let one man decide what is best for all of us?”

Bio: Philosopher, film maker, writer and IT expert. Occupation: IT Consultant, film-maker and writer. Interests: Debate, cooking, computer-gaming, reading, writing, videoing, martial arts, air­soft, movies, diving, skiing… (The list goes on — Basho is a philosopher and therefore into everything!)

  • Spedz

    Posted by: Spedz Aug 10 2006, 04:45 PM
    Bam! To behold, a public bulitin board, both built with briliance and barbarity with bastards with boners. This bastion, no mere a bulwak of boredom, is a brutal barrage of blistering bulshit, barely benevolent…….. But behind the bigotary and boobs behind the bitter broadcast of bragging baffoons: Here be the body of politic. A brotherhood of blasphemy blessed with more balls then brains, battling the bland, the bogus and the benign. Bedlam? Bring it on, but I bablle better to be brief…..You may call me /b/
    ……………….Oh wait sorry wrong thread.

    Right with my serious side I’ll too contribute to this thread.

    QUOTE(Basho)
    Ah, but how the mouse nibbles at the cheese and how, soon, there is to be no cheese left. These “small” prices add up, they create weight. A crushing and unbearable weight on my mind that makes the fear essentially worse. And so, they destroy more rights and our decent into darkness is by inches, centimetres and millimetres but always ever downwards.

    Indeed it is true. This I see is a sign of power mongering. The goverment is now slowely and surely has done this over time and like all powermad meglamaniacs I mean politicains will all ways will we just have to resist the stupidity of the few am afraid.

  • http://arnies Spedz

    Posted by: Spedz Aug 10 2006, 04:45 PM
    Bam! To behold, a public bulitin board, both built with briliance and barbarity with bastards with boners. This bastion, no mere a bulwak of boredom, is a brutal barrage of blistering bulshit, barely benevolent…….. But behind the bigotary and boobs behind the bitter broadcast of bragging baffoons: Here be the body of politic. A brotherhood of blasphemy blessed with more balls then brains, battling the bland, the bogus and the benign. Bedlam? Bring it on, but I bablle better to be brief…..You may call me /b/
    ……………….Oh wait sorry wrong thread.

    Right with my serious side I’ll too contribute to this thread.

    QUOTE(Basho)
    Ah, but how the mouse nibbles at the cheese and how, soon, there is to be no cheese left. These “small” prices add up, they create weight. A crushing and unbearable weight on my mind that makes the fear essentially worse. And so, they destroy more rights and our decent into darkness is by inches, centimetres and millimetres but always ever downwards.

    Indeed it is true. This I see is a sign of power mongering. The goverment is now slowely and surely has done this over time and like all powermad meglamaniacs I mean politicains will all ways will we just have to resist the stupidity of the few am afraid.

  • Jagdraben

    Posted by: Jagdraben Aug 11 2006, 05:10 PM
    QUOTE(Basho @ Aug 11 2006, 12:28 AM)
    Yes it is. You have a very romantisied view of the difference.
    *

    Uh… no I don’t.

    If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter, but uses civilians as a shield, he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter but targets civilians (and/or collaborators), he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a terrorist, but takes a rifle and fights against his uniformed enemies, he is still a terrorist.

    Being a freedom fighter is like being a good soldier, or a good man. It mayn’t be easy, but if you f___ up in your judgement and act even once as a terrorist, a war criminal, or an arsehat, you become a terrorist, a war criminal, or an arsehat. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    Maybe it’s not that I have a romanticised view, it’s that you cannot tell the difference between what is moral and what is immoral. Or maybe it’s that you feel that there is no way for a man to be a freedom fighter without resorting to terrorism. Which is hardly true.

    Or maybe it’s that I do have a romanticised view, but that doesn’t make it any less true. A soldier becomes a war criminal after he executes a civilian who was aiding rebels. No matter what he does from that day forth, he is a war criminal, not a soldier. A freedom fighter becomes a terrorist after blowing up the house of a collaborator. No matter what he does from that day forth, he is a terrorist, not a freedom fighter. You cannot perform evil in the name of good.

  • http://arnies Jagdraben

    Posted by: Jagdraben Aug 11 2006, 05:10 PM
    QUOTE(Basho @ Aug 11 2006, 12:28 AM)
    Yes it is. You have a very romantisied view of the difference.
    *

    Uh… no I don’t.

    If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter, but uses civilians as a shield, he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter but targets civilians (and/or collaborators), he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a terrorist, but takes a rifle and fights against his uniformed enemies, he is still a terrorist.

    Being a freedom fighter is like being a good soldier, or a good man. It mayn’t be easy, but if you f___ up in your judgement and act even once as a terrorist, a war criminal, or an arsehat, you become a terrorist, a war criminal, or an arsehat. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    Maybe it’s not that I have a romanticised view, it’s that you cannot tell the difference between what is moral and what is immoral. Or maybe it’s that you feel that there is no way for a man to be a freedom fighter without resorting to terrorism. Which is hardly true.

    Or maybe it’s that I do have a romanticised view, but that doesn’t make it any less true. A soldier becomes a war criminal after he executes a civilian who was aiding rebels. No matter what he does from that day forth, he is a war criminal, not a soldier. A freedom fighter becomes a terrorist after blowing up the house of a collaborator. No matter what he does from that day forth, he is a terrorist, not a freedom fighter. You cannot perform evil in the name of good.

  • Cruiser1068

    Posted by: Cruiser1068 Aug 11 2006, 05:28 PM
    QUOTE(Jagdraben @ Aug 11 2006, 05:10 PM)
    Uh… no I don’t.

    If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter, but uses civilians as a shield, he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter but targets civilians (and/or collaborators), he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a terrorist, but takes a rifle and fights against his uniformed enemies, he is still a terrorist.

    *

    Oops so you admit that all the Israeli and US army are terrorists then? Because bombing the ###### out of entire towns/cities packed with civilians in the hope of killing the odd militant that might be in there somewhere especially using White Phosphorous, DU and other illegal weapons is DEFINITELY targetiing civilians (eg Lebanon, Fallujah etc)

  • Kraut

    Posted by: Kraut Yesterday, 01:27 AM
    The terrorist specifically targets civilian targets, which may or may not be anywhere near government establishment (including military).
    Case in point: WTC. Thousands of civilians. A few gov’t workers from various nations tossed in but the vast majority were everyday office workers as well as service personnel (custodians, window washers, security, etc). These towers were intentionally targeted.
    The result of this attack, while succeeding in destroying a major economic center and killing thousands of civilians, brought attention to them, as well as the military might of the US and other nations. Of course, in this process, the US (and other nations) received criticism from internal and external sources, undermining their efforts to prevent further such attacks. The nation is ‘divided’ and fighting with itself while it also tries to fight an external enemy.
    They had perfect opportunities to attack any military/gov’t targets (as evidenced with the Pentagon), but mainly killed civilians, not gov’t employees or structures.

    A freedom fighter targets government establishments (including and more specifically military) exclusively. He attacks tactical and strategic gov’t targets, much like any ‘developed’ military nation would in any wartime situation, their goal to cripple said war fighting capability and, in the process, weaken the power of said gov’t. This is not achieved through the death of civilians en masse. They maintain a low profile, mainly through the use of guerilla warfare with ‘regular’ military ‘rebel’ units following up. Vietnam mainly used this strategy, though they did use civilians as shields and suicide bombs, but not to the extent as seen in Southeast Asia. They attacked mainly US military units and caused a slow process of attrition as well as lowering US public support of US involvement, which helped their cause (Communist control of Vietnam).

    ######, I had more, but I got interrupted…
    Summary:
    Terrorist = attacks civilians specifically
    Freedom Fighter = attacks gov’t specifically

  • http://arnies Cruiser1068

    Posted by: Cruiser1068 Aug 11 2006, 05:28 PM
    QUOTE(Jagdraben @ Aug 11 2006, 05:10 PM)
    Uh… no I don’t.

    If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter, but uses civilians as a shield, he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a freedom fighter but targets civilians (and/or collaborators), he is a terrorist. If a man is otherwise a terrorist, but takes a rifle and fights against his uniformed enemies, he is still a terrorist.

    *

    Oops so you admit that all the Israeli and US army are terrorists then? Because bombing the ###### out of entire towns/cities packed with civilians in the hope of killing the odd militant that might be in there somewhere especially using White Phosphorous, DU and other illegal weapons is DEFINITELY targetiing civilians (eg Lebanon, Fallujah etc)

  • http://arnies Kraut

    Posted by: Kraut Yesterday, 01:27 AM
    The terrorist specifically targets civilian targets, which may or may not be anywhere near government establishment (including military).
    Case in point: WTC. Thousands of civilians. A few gov’t workers from various nations tossed in but the vast majority were everyday office workers as well as service personnel (custodians, window washers, security, etc). These towers were intentionally targeted.
    The result of this attack, while succeeding in destroying a major economic center and killing thousands of civilians, brought attention to them, as well as the military might of the US and other nations. Of course, in this process, the US (and other nations) received criticism from internal and external sources, undermining their efforts to prevent further such attacks. The nation is ‘divided’ and fighting with itself while it also tries to fight an external enemy.
    They had perfect opportunities to attack any military/gov’t targets (as evidenced with the Pentagon), but mainly killed civilians, not gov’t employees or structures.

    A freedom fighter targets government establishments (including and more specifically military) exclusively. He attacks tactical and strategic gov’t targets, much like any ‘developed’ military nation would in any wartime situation, their goal to cripple said war fighting capability and, in the process, weaken the power of said gov’t. This is not achieved through the death of civilians en masse. They maintain a low profile, mainly through the use of guerilla warfare with ‘regular’ military ‘rebel’ units following up. Vietnam mainly used this strategy, though they did use civilians as shields and suicide bombs, but not to the extent as seen in Southeast Asia. They attacked mainly US military units and caused a slow process of attrition as well as lowering US public support of US involvement, which helped their cause (Communist control of Vietnam).

    ######, I had more, but I got interrupted…
    Summary:
    Terrorist = attacks civilians specifically
    Freedom Fighter = attacks gov’t specifically

  • Basho

    Posted by: Basho Yesterday, 06:14 PM
    Terrorist = attacks civilians specifically?
    Freedom Fighter = attacks gov’t specifically?

    dry.gif

    Lets see if anyone agrees with you?

    To start, how about The Oxford English Dictionary:

    QUOTE
    … defines terrorism as “a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorising or condition of being terrorised.”

    This would cover many of the actions taken by our governments; “Shock and Awe” anyone?

    Read about Shock and Awe:
    QUOTE
    “spectacular displays of power” (also known as shock and awe) as a means of destroying an adversary’s will to fight and adversely affecting the psychology and the will of the enemy to resist. The doctrine was written by Harlan K. Ullman and James. P. Wade and is a product of the National Defense University of the United States.[1] The military operation named “Shock and awe” began the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Debate exists as to whether or not this operation actually was a true rapid dominance campaign or truly elicited shock and awe.

    Or perhaps a political definition of terrorism would be better from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition):

    QUOTE
    Term with no agreement amongst government or academic analysts, but almost invariably used in a pejorative sense, most frequently to describe life-threatening actions perpetrated by politically motivated self-appointed sub-state groups.

    Like the CIA for example? huh.gif So that doesn’t help much … hmmmm… How about from The UN themselves:

    QUOTE
    4. Academic Consensus Definition:

    “Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought” (Schmid, 1988).

    No, I don’t see ANY of these definitions drawing a difference between “military targets” and “civilian targets”.

  • Jagdraben

    Posted by: Jagdraben Today, 12:01 AM
    QUOTE(Cruiser1068 @ Aug 11 2006, 11:28 AM)
    Oops so you admit that all the Israeli and US army are terrorists then? Because bombing the ###### out of entire towns/cities packed with civilians in the hope of killing the odd militant that might be in there somewhere especially using White Phosphorous, DU and other illegal weapons is DEFINITELY targetiing civilians (eg Lebanon, Fallujah etc)
    *

    All? Painting with a broad brush, are we?

    It doesn’t make them terrorists. It makes them war criminals. War criminals are not punished if they’re on the winning side. Just as terrorists are not punished and become lauded as freedom fighters by future generations, so long as they are fighting for the winning side (ie: John Brown).

    In both Lebanon and Fallujah, civilians were given ample warning to pack up and leave. The Israelis have been dropping leaflets left and right and when an army sets up check points (through which you may leave, after being searched) on the edges of your town and masses for a push through (and there’s plenty of talk on the radio of ‘the coming offensive’) you have a little more than just a little warning. If you choose to stay behind, it is your choice. You choose to take the risk of dying in the crossfire.

    And save your pithy talk of ‘illegal weapons’. Those weapons are only illegal if they’re being used against a signatory of the Geneva Conventions by a signatory of the Geneva Conventions. The United States has not signed the Geneva Conventions (but largely abides by it) and insurgents do not constitute a nation and cannot be signatories of the Geneva Conventions (and, let’s be frank, they wouldn’t abide by it, even if they did sign it). Are you going to complain about the United States using “illegal” shotguns against insurgents, since those, too, are barred by the Geneva Conventions? I suppose you would then be ambivolent about the use of flamethrowers, since they are not illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

    In any case, I find it highly unlikely that the United States, Israel, or Russia purposefully target civilians. Why would they? They lose enough face as it is, everytime a bomb misses, or a platoon opens up on insurgents hiding among women and children. In fact, it is rare for any military to target civilians outside of the Balkans, Africa, or the Middle-East. Fighting men may target civilians, but those are individuals or small units. Not the whole bloody aparatus.

    EDIT: Oh, and while you’re kvetching about “collateral damage”, consider for an instant the “collateral damage” done by the insurgents when they target the Iraqi police and military or the United States military. If you actually do pay attention, you’ll note that most of those who die in those attacks are Iraqi civilians, not Iraqi or American servicemen.

    And, by the by, most violence in Iraq is directed by Iraqis against other Iraqis. Generally unarmed Iraqis whose only crime is that they go to the wrong mosque. Whose leaders fail to grasp the irony that last year they were boasting about how damaging their strikes were against the American military and today they kvetch about how the American military isn’t doing enough to protect them.

    Posted by: Jagdraben Today, 12:20 AM
    QUOTE(Basho @ Aug 12 2006, 12:14 PM)
    Terrorist = attacks civilians specifically?
    Freedom Fighter = attacks gov’t specifically?

    I think we have a winner.

    QUOTE
    Lets see if anyone agrees with you?

    Why should I care if someone disagrees?

    QUOTE
    To start, how about The Oxford English Dictionary:

    I note that you have not selected any definitions for a freedom fighter.

    In any case, this definition directly clashes with your later definitions.

    QUOTE
    This would cover many of the actions taken by our governments; “Shock and Awe” anyone?

    Psychological warfare is inherent in all modes of war fighting. All the best militaries have engaged in it and used it to brutal effect. The Spartans. The Romans. The Vikings. The Mongols. The point of psychological warfare is to scare the s___ out of your enemies, which is, by your definition, terrorism.

    But the goal of modern terrorism is to kill and maim as many as possible. The goal of psychological warfare is to defeat your enemy or to severely degrade your enemy’s ability to fight. Whether that means that they surrender upon seeing your army or are rendered combat ineffective and destroyed is entirely academic in this discussion.

    QUOTE
    Read about Shock and Awe:

    See above.

    QUOTE
    Or perhaps a political definition of terrorism would be better from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition):

    Like the CIA for example?

    The CIA is not self-appointed, nor is it a sub-state group. Nor are most militaries, especially not the military of the United States.

    QUOTE
    How about from The UN themselves:

    The United States military did not engage in clandestine activities when engaging in ‘Shock and Awe’, and could not ergo be committing terror by this definition.

    Further, the targets selected in the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign were not selected based on symbolism nor were they targets of opprotunity.

    QUOTE
    No, I don’t see ANY of these definitions drawing a difference between “military targets” and “civilian targets”.
    *

    Do you allow biased groups with political agendas to dress you in the morning, too?

    Wait. Don’t answer that.

    In any case, when was the last time terrorists targeted a military? They don’t.

  • http://arnies Basho

    Posted by: Basho Yesterday, 06:14 PM
    Terrorist = attacks civilians specifically?
    Freedom Fighter = attacks gov’t specifically?

    dry.gif

    Lets see if anyone agrees with you?

    To start, how about The Oxford English Dictionary:

    QUOTE
    … defines terrorism as “a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorising or condition of being terrorised.”

    This would cover many of the actions taken by our governments; “Shock and Awe” anyone?

    Read about Shock and Awe:
    QUOTE
    “spectacular displays of power” (also known as shock and awe) as a means of destroying an adversary’s will to fight and adversely affecting the psychology and the will of the enemy to resist. The doctrine was written by Harlan K. Ullman and James. P. Wade and is a product of the National Defense University of the United States.[1] The military operation named “Shock and awe” began the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Debate exists as to whether or not this operation actually was a true rapid dominance campaign or truly elicited shock and awe.

    Or perhaps a political definition of terrorism would be better from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition):

    QUOTE
    Term with no agreement amongst government or academic analysts, but almost invariably used in a pejorative sense, most frequently to describe life-threatening actions perpetrated by politically motivated self-appointed sub-state groups.

    Like the CIA for example? huh.gif So that doesn’t help much … hmmmm… How about from The UN themselves:

    QUOTE
    4. Academic Consensus Definition:

    “Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought” (Schmid, 1988).

    No, I don’t see ANY of these definitions drawing a difference between “military targets” and “civilian targets”.

  • http://arnies Jagdraben

    Posted by: Jagdraben Today, 12:01 AM
    QUOTE(Cruiser1068 @ Aug 11 2006, 11:28 AM)
    Oops so you admit that all the Israeli and US army are terrorists then? Because bombing the ###### out of entire towns/cities packed with civilians in the hope of killing the odd militant that might be in there somewhere especially using White Phosphorous, DU and other illegal weapons is DEFINITELY targetiing civilians (eg Lebanon, Fallujah etc)
    *

    All? Painting with a broad brush, are we?

    It doesn’t make them terrorists. It makes them war criminals. War criminals are not punished if they’re on the winning side. Just as terrorists are not punished and become lauded as freedom fighters by future generations, so long as they are fighting for the winning side (ie: John Brown).

    In both Lebanon and Fallujah, civilians were given ample warning to pack up and leave. The Israelis have been dropping leaflets left and right and when an army sets up check points (through which you may leave, after being searched) on the edges of your town and masses for a push through (and there’s plenty of talk on the radio of ‘the coming offensive’) you have a little more than just a little warning. If you choose to stay behind, it is your choice. You choose to take the risk of dying in the crossfire.

    And save your pithy talk of ‘illegal weapons’. Those weapons are only illegal if they’re being used against a signatory of the Geneva Conventions by a signatory of the Geneva Conventions. The United States has not signed the Geneva Conventions (but largely abides by it) and insurgents do not constitute a nation and cannot be signatories of the Geneva Conventions (and, let’s be frank, they wouldn’t abide by it, even if they did sign it). Are you going to complain about the United States using “illegal” shotguns against insurgents, since those, too, are barred by the Geneva Conventions? I suppose you would then be ambivolent about the use of flamethrowers, since they are not illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

    In any case, I find it highly unlikely that the United States, Israel, or Russia purposefully target civilians. Why would they? They lose enough face as it is, everytime a bomb misses, or a platoon opens up on insurgents hiding among women and children. In fact, it is rare for any military to target civilians outside of the Balkans, Africa, or the Middle-East. Fighting men may target civilians, but those are individuals or small units. Not the whole bloody aparatus.

    EDIT: Oh, and while you’re kvetching about “collateral damage”, consider for an instant the “collateral damage” done by the insurgents when they target the Iraqi police and military or the United States military. If you actually do pay attention, you’ll note that most of those who die in those attacks are Iraqi civilians, not Iraqi or American servicemen.

    And, by the by, most violence in Iraq is directed by Iraqis against other Iraqis. Generally unarmed Iraqis whose only crime is that they go to the wrong mosque. Whose leaders fail to grasp the irony that last year they were boasting about how damaging their strikes were against the American military and today they kvetch about how the American military isn’t doing enough to protect them.

    Posted by: Jagdraben Today, 12:20 AM
    QUOTE(Basho @ Aug 12 2006, 12:14 PM)
    Terrorist = attacks civilians specifically?
    Freedom Fighter = attacks gov’t specifically?

    I think we have a winner.

    QUOTE
    Lets see if anyone agrees with you?

    Why should I care if someone disagrees?

    QUOTE
    To start, how about The Oxford English Dictionary:

    I note that you have not selected any definitions for a freedom fighter.

    In any case, this definition directly clashes with your later definitions.

    QUOTE
    This would cover many of the actions taken by our governments; “Shock and Awe” anyone?

    Psychological warfare is inherent in all modes of war fighting. All the best militaries have engaged in it and used it to brutal effect. The Spartans. The Romans. The Vikings. The Mongols. The point of psychological warfare is to scare the s___ out of your enemies, which is, by your definition, terrorism.

    But the goal of modern terrorism is to kill and maim as many as possible. The goal of psychological warfare is to defeat your enemy or to severely degrade your enemy’s ability to fight. Whether that means that they surrender upon seeing your army or are rendered combat ineffective and destroyed is entirely academic in this discussion.

    QUOTE
    Read about Shock and Awe:

    See above.

    QUOTE
    Or perhaps a political definition of terrorism would be better from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition):

    Like the CIA for example?

    The CIA is not self-appointed, nor is it a sub-state group. Nor are most militaries, especially not the military of the United States.

    QUOTE
    How about from The UN themselves:

    The United States military did not engage in clandestine activities when engaging in ‘Shock and Awe’, and could not ergo be committing terror by this definition.

    Further, the targets selected in the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign were not selected based on symbolism nor were they targets of opprotunity.

    QUOTE
    No, I don’t see ANY of these definitions drawing a difference between “military targets” and “civilian targets”.
    *

    Do you allow biased groups with political agendas to dress you in the morning, too?

    Wait. Don’t answer that.

    In any case, when was the last time terrorists targeted a military? They don’t.

  • Basho

    Posted by: Basho Today, 01:23 PM
    QUOTE
    Why should I care if someone disagrees?
    Maybe because it shows you are inncorect in your assumptons.
    QUOTE

    which is, by your definition, terrorism.
    Yes it is. That is to show that the word terrorism really doesn’t mean anything at all. It is just finger pointing.

    QUOTE
    But the goal of modern terrorism
    Modern terrorism? What the hell is that?

    QUOTE

    The United States military did not engage in clandestine activities when engaging in ‘Shock and Awe’, and could not ergo be committing terror by this definition.

    The New Yorker disagrees with you:

    The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

    The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books

    The fact that you didnt see the clandestine operations on the news does not mean that they didnt happen. In the same way that if you close your eyes it doesn’t mean your mommy can’t see you.

    QUOTE
    Further, the targets selected in the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign were not selected based on symbolism nor were they targets of opprotunity.

    WHAT!? Are you *fruitcage* kidding?

    QUOTE
    In any case, when was the last time terrorists targeted a military? They don’t.

    How about the USS Cole attack:

    President Bill Clinton declared, “If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act.”

    If you say that this attack was not terrorism, you prove my point “governments point the finger of terrorism just to illicit certain reaction from their people”. If, however, you say ok that was actually terrorism then you are clearly wrong in your statement that terrorists don’t attack military targets.

    Which is it?

    The government feed you “terrorists” and you eat it up. Why? Because terrorists are always wrong. TO call someone a freedom fighter is simply to say that you agree with their aims. Nothing more!

  • http://arnies Basho

    Posted by: Basho Today, 01:23 PM
    QUOTE
    Why should I care if someone disagrees?
    Maybe because it shows you are inncorect in your assumptons.
    QUOTE

    which is, by your definition, terrorism.
    Yes it is. That is to show that the word terrorism really doesn’t mean anything at all. It is just finger pointing.

    QUOTE
    But the goal of modern terrorism
    Modern terrorism? What the hell is that?

    QUOTE

    The United States military did not engage in clandestine activities when engaging in ‘Shock and Awe’, and could not ergo be committing terror by this definition.

    The New Yorker disagrees with you:

    The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

    The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books

    The fact that you didnt see the clandestine operations on the news does not mean that they didnt happen. In the same way that if you close your eyes it doesn’t mean your mommy can’t see you.

    QUOTE
    Further, the targets selected in the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign were not selected based on symbolism nor were they targets of opprotunity.

    WHAT!? Are you *fruitcage* kidding?

    QUOTE
    In any case, when was the last time terrorists targeted a military? They don’t.

    How about the USS Cole attack:

    President Bill Clinton declared, “If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act.”

    If you say that this attack was not terrorism, you prove my point “governments point the finger of terrorism just to illicit certain reaction from their people”. If, however, you say ok that was actually terrorism then you are clearly wrong in your statement that terrorists don’t attack military targets.

    Which is it?

    The government feed you “terrorists” and you eat it up. Why? Because terrorists are always wrong. TO call someone a freedom fighter is simply to say that you agree with their aims. Nothing more!

  • Evilhippy

    Wow, no-one seems able to define a terrorist. I think thats kinda the whole point of this entire thread, and that people are trying to define it still makes me chuckle.

    It CAN’T be defined to the agreement of everyone, but as far as I am concerned, any and all freedom fighters are just as bad and are EXACTLY THE SAME as terrorists because they do the same damn thing – terrify and kill people. Who they kill and terrify is irrelevant because you can guarantee that whoever it is thats being attacked feels like an unrighteously oppressed victim.
    If you try to distinguish one from the other you are only going to be able to question their reasons, and their reasons only exist because of what and who has influenced them in their lives.

    This is where it gets 100% subjective and this is why definition breaks down.

    If you distinguish between suicide bombers, salesmen and catholic priests you are missing the point that the same thing has happened to each of these types of people: they have been influenced to spend their lives in a certain way that may help or hinder others, and they have been influenced by others so completely that they devote their whole existence to it even though none of these 3 causes has any meaning in the long run. All 3 are just people, and like what one man may call a terrorist and another a freedom fighter, even the priest is simply a victim of social pressures and influence.

    But, thats not the point. The point is that `a terrorist` is such a useful catch-all definition for the Western governments to label anyone they wish to take military action against that they couldn’t possibly allow anyone to disparage the term, not until they think of a better one wink.gif

  • http://arnies Evilhippy

    Wow, no-one seems able to define a terrorist. I think thats kinda the whole point of this entire thread, and that people are trying to define it still makes me chuckle.

    It CAN’T be defined to the agreement of everyone, but as far as I am concerned, any and all freedom fighters are just as bad and are EXACTLY THE SAME as terrorists because they do the same damn thing – terrify and kill people. Who they kill and terrify is irrelevant because you can guarantee that whoever it is thats being attacked feels like an unrighteously oppressed victim.
    If you try to distinguish one from the other you are only going to be able to question their reasons, and their reasons only exist because of what and who has influenced them in their lives.

    This is where it gets 100% subjective and this is why definition breaks down.

    If you distinguish between suicide bombers, salesmen and catholic priests you are missing the point that the same thing has happened to each of these types of people: they have been influenced to spend their lives in a certain way that may help or hinder others, and they have been influenced by others so completely that they devote their whole existence to it even though none of these 3 causes has any meaning in the long run. All 3 are just people, and like what one man may call a terrorist and another a freedom fighter, even the priest is simply a victim of social pressures and influence.

    But, thats not the point. The point is that `a terrorist` is such a useful catch-all definition for the Western governments to label anyone they wish to take military action against that they couldn’t possibly allow anyone to disparage the term, not until they think of a better one wink.gif

  • Jagdraben

    QUOTE(Basho @ Aug 13 2006, 07:23 AM)
    Maybe because it shows you are inncorect in your assumptons.
    Yes it is. That is to show that the word terrorism really doesn’t mean anything at all. It is just finger pointing.

    Modern terrorism? What the hell is that?

    To be quite honest, your skillz at teh quotzorz is teh n00bish.

    I can’t tell who said what up there, and therefore I do not know what context, if any, is being used.

    QUOTE
    The New Yorker disagrees with you:

    The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

    The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books

    The fact that you didnt see the clandestine operations on the news does not mean that they didnt happen. In the same way that if you close your eyes it doesn’t mean your mommy can’t see you.

    That’s not ‘Shock and Awe’. That’s part of a clandestine operation.

    ‘Shock and Awe’ was not a calndestine operation. It was carried out by American bombers and could be viewed any day on the news.

    QUOTE
    WHAT!? Are you *fruitcage* kidding?

    No. The targets selected were done so based on how much real damage they would do to the Iraqi C3 and infrastructure. None were selected at random, nor were any chosen for symbolic value.

    QUOTE
    How about the USS Cole attack:

    President Bill Clinton declared, “If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act.”

    Your example only shows that different people use different definitions.

    QUOTE
    If you say that this attack was not terrorism, you prove my point “governments point the finger of terrorism just to illicit certain reaction from their people”.

    I was never arguing over this point.

    QUOTE
    If, however, you say ok that was actually terrorism then you are clearly wrong in your statement that terrorists don’t attack military targets.

    Which is it?

    Neither. You’re inventing an argument that I never made.

    If I were to make an argument, in this case, it would be that the men in question were criminals. They were not a state agency (barring them from being soldiers or war criminals) and they were not fighting against a power oppressing them (freedom fighter) nor did they target civilians (terrorist). They attacked a foreign power, who was not oppressing them. Since they fit into no other definition, yet they clearly committed a crime, they are criminals, neither freedom fighters nor terrorists.

    QUOTE
    The government feed you “terrorists” and you eat it up. Why? Because terrorists are always wrong. TO call someone a freedom fighter is simply to say that you agree with their aims. Nothing more!
    *

    rolleyes.gif

    You are, again, making counter-points to an argument I never made.

  • http://arnies Jagdraben

    QUOTE(Basho @ Aug 13 2006, 07:23 AM)
    Maybe because it shows you are inncorect in your assumptons.
    Yes it is. That is to show that the word terrorism really doesn’t mean anything at all. It is just finger pointing.

    Modern terrorism? What the hell is that?

    To be quite honest, your skillz at teh quotzorz is teh n00bish.

    I can’t tell who said what up there, and therefore I do not know what context, if any, is being used.

    QUOTE
    The New Yorker disagrees with you:

    The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

    The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books

    The fact that you didnt see the clandestine operations on the news does not mean that they didnt happen. In the same way that if you close your eyes it doesn’t mean your mommy can’t see you.

    That’s not ‘Shock and Awe’. That’s part of a clandestine operation.

    ‘Shock and Awe’ was not a calndestine operation. It was carried out by American bombers and could be viewed any day on the news.

    QUOTE
    WHAT!? Are you *fruitcage* kidding?

    No. The targets selected were done so based on how much real damage they would do to the Iraqi C3 and infrastructure. None were selected at random, nor were any chosen for symbolic value.

    QUOTE
    How about the USS Cole attack:

    President Bill Clinton declared, “If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act.”

    Your example only shows that different people use different definitions.

    QUOTE
    If you say that this attack was not terrorism, you prove my point “governments point the finger of terrorism just to illicit certain reaction from their people”.

    I was never arguing over this point.

    QUOTE
    If, however, you say ok that was actually terrorism then you are clearly wrong in your statement that terrorists don’t attack military targets.

    Which is it?

    Neither. You’re inventing an argument that I never made.

    If I were to make an argument, in this case, it would be that the men in question were criminals. They were not a state agency (barring them from being soldiers or war criminals) and they were not fighting against a power oppressing them (freedom fighter) nor did they target civilians (terrorist). They attacked a foreign power, who was not oppressing them. Since they fit into no other definition, yet they clearly committed a crime, they are criminals, neither freedom fighters nor terrorists.

    QUOTE
    The government feed you “terrorists” and you eat it up. Why? Because terrorists are always wrong. TO call someone a freedom fighter is simply to say that you agree with their aims. Nothing more!
    *

    rolleyes.gif

    You are, again, making counter-points to an argument I never made.

  • Basho (mod)

    Lets try one last time, even someone like you should be able to follow this.

    You said:
    QUOTE
    In any case, when was the last time terrorists targeted a military? They don’t.

    I said:
    QUOTE
    How about the USS Cole attack:

    I then offered the following evidence:
    QUOTE
    President Bill Clinton declared, “If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act.”

    Thereby clearly proving you wrong.

    QED

  • Basho (mod)

    Lets try one last time, even someone like you should be able to follow this.

    You said:
    QUOTE
    In any case, when was the last time terrorists targeted a military? They don’t.

    I said:
    QUOTE
    How about the USS Cole attack:

    I then offered the following evidence:
    QUOTE
    President Bill Clinton declared, “If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act.”

    Thereby clearly proving you wrong.

    QED

  • Chimpy

    I disagree totally.

    Not all ‘Freedom Fighters’ are terrorists.

    Terrorism is a strategy. As is Insurgency. As is a more conventional war.

    The choice of strategy is generally pragmatic but can be morally influenced (e.g. only targeting military targets).

    Suicide bombing is a tactic that is part of the Terrorism strategy. It could equally fall into any of the other strategies but probably wouldn’t be employed in the same manner. It is a symptom of the overbearing security that the opposing group has to face, it is simply more effective to blow yourself up than to try and hide a device then escape. IED’s have matured from shells hidden at the road side to the use of shaped Platter charges as they are more effective. Bombing a restaurant has matured to walking into a restaurant and blowing yourself up. What the US would define as evolving TTP.

    The definition of a Terrorist is then easy. It is someone who is taking part in a campaign that is using the Terrorism strategy.

    QUOTE
    Source:
    Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby — in contrast to assassination — the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought,” (Schmid, 1988).

  • http://arnies Chimpy

    I disagree totally.

    Not all ‘Freedom Fighters’ are terrorists.

    Terrorism is a strategy. As is Insurgency. As is a more conventional war.

    The choice of strategy is generally pragmatic but can be morally influenced (e.g. only targeting military targets).

    Suicide bombing is a tactic that is part of the Terrorism strategy. It could equally fall into any of the other strategies but probably wouldn’t be employed in the same manner. It is a symptom of the overbearing security that the opposing group has to face, it is simply more effective to blow yourself up than to try and hide a device then escape. IED’s have matured from shells hidden at the road side to the use of shaped Platter charges as they are more effective. Bombing a restaurant has matured to walking into a restaurant and blowing yourself up. What the US would define as evolving TTP.

    The definition of a Terrorist is then easy. It is someone who is taking part in a campaign that is using the Terrorism strategy.

    QUOTE
    Source:
    Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby — in contrast to assassination — the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought,” (Schmid, 1988).

  • http://arnies Basho

    QUOTE(Chimpy @ Aug 15 2006, 03:36 PM)
    That’s by a large part a propaganda definition. In this case it is treated as a pejorative term.

    That’s the point. There is no non-pejorative term for terrorism.

    QUOTE
    If we work to a dispassionate view of what Terrorism is then we can define a Terrorist by their actions.

    The problem is you cannot define those actions as to be distinct from those of many other forms of violence, such as “Freedom fighting” etc.

    The whole “Terrorists only attack civilians” is a useless definition for many reasons:

    1. They clearly don’t.
    2. Many groups, including our own governments, attack civilians all the time.

    Anyway, this is essentially proving the point of the thread, which is that the term terrorism has been abused and misused in the most degrading way by successive western governments (and others) and is now basically valueless.

    Moreover, the emotive associations of the word are so regularly abused and re-enforced that the term “terrorist” now can never be separated from them.

    The larger issue is to realise that such manipulation is absolutely everywhere in the media, all fueled by, and to the benefit of, certain individuals and groups. By none other than the very people who are supposed to be working for us.

    I, personally, can see the Fnords.

  • Basho

    QUOTE(Chimpy @ Aug 15 2006, 03:36 PM)
    That’s by a large part a propaganda definition. In this case it is treated as a pejorative term.

    That’s the point. There is no non-pejorative term for terrorism.

    QUOTE
    If we work to a dispassionate view of what Terrorism is then we can define a Terrorist by their actions.

    The problem is you cannot define those actions as to be distinct from those of many other forms of violence, such as “Freedom fighting” etc.

    The whole “Terrorists only attack civilians” is a useless definition for many reasons:

    1. They clearly don’t.
    2. Many groups, including our own governments, attack civilians all the time.

    Anyway, this is essentially proving the point of the thread, which is that the term terrorism has been abused and misused in the most degrading way by successive western governments (and others) and is now basically valueless.

    Moreover, the emotive associations of the word are so regularly abused and re-enforced that the term “terrorist” now can never be separated from them.

    The larger issue is to realise that such manipulation is absolutely everywhere in the media, all fueled by, and to the benefit of, certain individuals and groups. By none other than the very people who are supposed to be working for us.

    I, personally, can see the Fnords.

  • Basho

    Well, its nice to see my thread back on track after I had frankly given up on it (I mean, what has flamethrowers got to do with anything?), anyway:

    Terrorist, I think we can agree, is a bloated term almost devoid of any definitive meaning. Like, for example, “art” or “love”, or perhaps “truth”.

    There are many kinds of terror and indeed they are all, from the point of view of those suffering them, bad.

    The government has learned not to call the middle eastern fighters “terrorists” unless they are in our country. When in Iraq they are now called “insurgents”. Quite how you can “‘inserge” in your own country is beyond me, but that is the new “label of evil”.

    Things have always been this way and governments, kings, those in power, have always liked to give a name to a fear, a label, with which they can directly refer to. Nor, I suspect, is it a surprise to learn that almost anything perceived to be bad has been stuck under these labels. Moreover, both sides in any one conflict point at the other and say “evil ones”, consider that in England the pox was known as “the French disease” and in France as the “la maladie anglaise” (the English disease).

    So, what is the point I am making with all this? basically that one should not be so quick to give up freedoms and civil rights in the name of “anti-terror” and one should definitely not be so quick to allow atrocities (like GW2 etc) in the name of a “war on terror”. Fear should be no excuse to take away that which is our right. why? because in 5/10/20/50/Our-grandchildren’s times the cumulative effect will be awful and it will be like 1984.

    That is what V for Vendetta was trying to say.

    I don’t fear the bombers of London. I was on the tube to Liverpool St the next day and I don’t look at Muslims any differently than I did before. It is as one old man in London is claimed to have said:
    “I’ve been bombed by a better class of ###### than this!”

    Standing up against my government on this issue is something I take very seriously. I will do everything in my power as a citizen to bring to book those that use terrorist activities to forwards a political agenda on behalf of the US, or those who use fear to break down the high level of civil rights that makes England the place it is and could be.

  • http://arnies Basho

    Well, its nice to see my thread back on track after I had frankly given up on it (I mean, what has flamethrowers got to do with anything?), anyway:

    Terrorist, I think we can agree, is a bloated term almost devoid of any definitive meaning. Like, for example, “art” or “love”, or perhaps “truth”.

    There are many kinds of terror and indeed they are all, from the point of view of those suffering them, bad.

    The government has learned not to call the middle eastern fighters “terrorists” unless they are in our country. When in Iraq they are now called “insurgents”. Quite how you can “‘inserge” in your own country is beyond me, but that is the new “label of evil”.

    Things have always been this way and governments, kings, those in power, have always liked to give a name to a fear, a label, with which they can directly refer to. Nor, I suspect, is it a surprise to learn that almost anything perceived to be bad has been stuck under these labels. Moreover, both sides in any one conflict point at the other and say “evil ones”, consider that in England the pox was known as “the French disease” and in France as the “la maladie anglaise” (the English disease).

    So, what is the point I am making with all this? basically that one should not be so quick to give up freedoms and civil rights in the name of “anti-terror” and one should definitely not be so quick to allow atrocities (like GW2 etc) in the name of a “war on terror”. Fear should be no excuse to take away that which is our right. why? because in 5/10/20/50/Our-grandchildren’s times the cumulative effect will be awful and it will be like 1984.

    That is what V for Vendetta was trying to say.

    I don’t fear the bombers of London. I was on the tube to Liverpool St the next day and I don’t look at Muslims any differently than I did before. It is as one old man in London is claimed to have said:
    “I’ve been bombed by a better class of ###### than this!”

    Standing up against my government on this issue is something I take very seriously. I will do everything in my power as a citizen to bring to book those that use terrorist activities to forwards a political agenda on behalf of the US, or those who use fear to break down the high level of civil rights that makes England the place it is and could be.

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