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What Is Terrorism (Baby Don't Hurt Me)

124

Posts

  • Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    What about poverty? Corruption in government? Totalitarianism?
    None of those things even come close to the threshold I would consider appropriate for violent resistance.

    Even totalitarianism. I don't think the societies of Iran and China would be better off at all if their dissidents became violent terrorists. In both cases it would probably be extremely counterproductive.
    Sure. I said they were "brutal." It's also pretty clear that violently resisting them on the Jews' part did all of jack shit, and in fact completely obliterated the theological basis of their religion to boot. Also, there were many Jews in the Roman Empire who had relatively little trouble assimilating. Even Josephus, who actively fought against the Romans for a time, found favor and prestige as a historian in the Empire.

    Huh.

    Boy we may need another spin-off threads about basic rights of human beings and the social contract!!

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  • Cedar BrownCedar Brown Registered User
    edited March 2010
    My definition of terrorism is the committing of acts of violence with the intention of inspiring fear to further a political agenda.

    The basic criteria would be:

    1. Primary purpose of act was to strike the enemies morale rather than material assets.

    2. It's political or ideological in motivation.

    Terrorist is an over used term. It's thrown about far too easily as an insult.

    Cedar Brown on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Paradiso wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    I wonder if she views the Russian Security Forces as committing terrorism. Because, at least in my view, there's definitely a case to be made to say that they resort to it (state terrorism, more specifically, I suppose). And while I don't doubt the sincerity of her and her comrades had in fighting in Abkhazia, I am equally confident that the similarly terrorized Abkhazian victims of their assistance to Georgia have a valid claim that they are, indeed, terrorists. And, of course, Georgians have said the same thing about the same Abkhazians that have made it a de facto independent state.

    I really, really want to avoid just replying with "Well, it's all relative." That's a cop-out, and an answer that doesn't satisfy me at all, but, well, it is relative.

    Oh, it's a cop-out, but it's not necessarily untrue, unfortunately.

    Or, conversely, it might be as simple as, "You think you're not a terrorist? Fair enough, unfortunately, according to these people you were not aware of, you are. And you don't get to decide that, they do."

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    What about poverty? Corruption in government? Totalitarianism?
    None of those things even come close to the threshold I would consider appropriate for violent resistance.

    Even totalitarianism. I don't think the societies of Iran and China would be better off at all if their dissidents became violent terrorists. In both cases it would probably be extremely counterproductive.
    Sure. I said they were "brutal." It's also pretty clear that violently resisting them on the Jews' part did all of jack shit, and in fact completely obliterated the theological basis of their religion to boot. Also, there were many Jews in the Roman Empire who had relatively little trouble assimilating. Even Josephus, who actively fought against the Romans for a time, found favor and prestige as a historian in the Empire.

    Huh.

    Boy we may need another spin-off threads about basic rights of human beings and the social contract!!
    The Jews who fought back against Roman (and Greek) imperialism were not fighting on the basis of human rights, social contract, freedom of religion and all that good stuff. They were religious zealots seeking to establish a theocratic state.

    The Macabees, the heroes of the Hanukkah story who successfully threw off Greek occupiers, were like the ancient Jewish equivalent of the Taliban.

    As far as the social contract and human rights in ... the Roman Empire ... good luck with that revolution.

    Qingu on
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Pretty much every proposed definition is either so broad that your schoolyard bully or local thug commiting armed robbery can be called a terrorist or so limited that the term is functionally identical to 'bad guy'.

    Personally, I'd make an act of terrorism essentially identical to an act of war and distinguished only by the fact that there's no nation state actor taking responsibility to declare war on. There's no functional difference between Al Qaeda flying a jet into the twin towers and the Taliban controlled state of Afghanistan hitting it with a rocket. Same with the Pentagon.

    The reason we call it 'terrorism' rather than 'war' is that the idea of these non-state entities prosecuting any kind of actual war against us is utterly laughable. This become even more obvious with the 10-member militia nutcases like the idiots in Michigan. They WANT to fight a war with the US government, sure. But they CAN'T in any serious fashion.

    JihadJesus on
  • big lbig l Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    Pretty much every proposed definition is either so broad that your schoolyard bully or local thug commiting armed robbery can be called a terrorist or so limited that the term is functionally identical to 'bad guy'.

    Personally, I'd make an act of terrorism essentially identical to an act of war and distinguished only by the fact that there's no nation state actor taking responsibility to declare war on. There's no functional difference between Al Qaeda flying a jet into the twin towers and the Taliban controlled state of Afghanistan hitting it with a rocket. Same with the Pentagon.

    The reason we call it 'terrorism' rather than 'war' is that the idea of these non-state entities prosecuting any kind of actual war against us is utterly laughable. This become even more obvious with the 10-member militia nutcases like the idiots in Michigan. They WANT to fight a war with the US government, sure. But they CAN'T in any serious fashion.

    You don't think there's a difference between attacking a civilian target and a military one? The word "insurgency" is used for terrorist-like activities targeted at a military target. So the Taliban in Afghanistan who attack US convoys are insurgents, whereas if they blow up a school bus they are terrorists. I think the objective is also important in distinguishing between terrorist and bandit, where a terrorist has a political objective and the bandit wants personal enrichment. Consider the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. In the late 90s, they were a terrorist movement in Uzbekistan, targeting largely civilian targets with the goal of creating political change in Uzbekistan. In 2001, they went down south to Afghanistan and became insurgents fighting the Northern Alliance/US forces. This went poorly for them, and in 2002 they went back to Uzbekistan. Since then, they kidnap a couple tourists once every couple of years, hold them ransom, get a couple million dollars, and then go underground until the vodka fund runs out and they have to kidnap someone again. Now, they are bandits. We see how one group, as it changes its MO, changes from being a terrorist group, to an insurgent group, to a bandit group. Shouldn't we have different, clearly defined terms for each "stage" that the IMU engaged in?

    big l on
  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I was under the impression that the traditional explicit definition of a terrorist action was that it was committed to cause harm primarily via fear, not via the actual damage. As in one aims to achieve one's goal by terrifying those opposing into submission. It has lost that meaning now somewhat I'd imagine.

    surrealitycheck on
    obF2Wuw.png
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    What about poverty? Corruption in government? Totalitarianism?
    None of those things even come close to the threshold I would consider appropriate for violent resistance.

    Even totalitarianism. I don't think the societies of Iran and China would be better off at all if their dissidents became violent terrorists. In both cases it would probably be extremely counterproductive.
    Sure. I said they were "brutal." It's also pretty clear that violently resisting them on the Jews' part did all of jack shit, and in fact completely obliterated the theological basis of their religion to boot. Also, there were many Jews in the Roman Empire who had relatively little trouble assimilating. Even Josephus, who actively fought against the Romans for a time, found favor and prestige as a historian in the Empire.

    Huh.

    Boy we may need another spin-off threads about basic rights of human beings and the social contract!!
    The Jews who fought back against Roman (and Greek) imperialism were not fighting on the basis of human rights, social contract, freedom of religion and all that good stuff. They were religious zealots seeking to establish a theocratic state.

    The Macabees, the heroes of the Hanukkah story who successfully threw off Greek occupiers, were like the ancient Jewish equivalent of the Taliban.

    As far as the social contract and human rights in ... the Roman Empire ... good luck with that revolution.

    That's not what I was referring to at all. My comments were more for the first post, I highlighted that second bit because it's a frankly a really dumb statement. That's the same kind of thought that underlines a lot of anti-immigration and pretty racist viewpoints.

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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    That's not what I was referring to at all. My comments were more for the first post, I highlighted that second bit because it's a frankly a really dumb statement. That's the same kind of thought that underlines a lot of anti-immigration and pretty racist viewpoints.
    First of all, it's not a dumb statement; it's pretty well accepted among scholars that Judaism in late antiquity was extremely diversified and included many assimilated Jews. Some Jews (like the Essenes) lived out in the desert in ascetic communities. Some, like the Pharisees, maintained cloistered theocratic polities. Some (the zealots, e.g. the "sicarii") were terrorists. And other Jews lived relatively peaceably, assimilated lives, speaking Greek and behaving much like Roman citizens. And it wasn't entirely unpleasant; both the Greeks and the Romans, for the most part, accepted Jewish ritual as one of many "ancient" religions. It wasn't anything like modern moral standards involving religious tolerance; it probably wasn't even as nice as Muslim treatment of Jews as "dhimmis," but it wasn't outright or monolithic oppression. They weren't enslaved or forced to emigrate (as they were under their Assyrian and Babylonian conquerers), they were allowed to retain a lot of their cultural practices, and in many ways the two broad cultures cross-pollinated each other. The Selucids were dicks, but oh well.

    Secondly, I don't really appreciate being associated with anti-immigration and racist viewpoints and I utterly fail to see how my statement has a thing to do with them.

    Qingu on
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    That's not what I was referring to at all. My comments were more for the first post, I highlighted that second bit because it's a frankly a really dumb statement. That's the same kind of thought that underlines a lot of anti-immigration and pretty racist viewpoints.
    First of all, it's not a dumb statement; it's pretty well accepted among scholars that Judaism in late antiquity was extremely diversified and included many assimilated Jews. Some Jews (like the Essenes) lived out in the desert in ascetic communities. Some, like the Pharisees, maintained cloistered theocratic polities. Some (the zealots, e.g. the "sicarii") were terrorists. And other Jews lived relatively peaceably, assimilated lives, speaking Greek and behaving much like Roman citizens. And it wasn't entirely unpleasant; both the Greeks and the Romans, for the most part, accepted Jewish ritual as one of many "ancient" religions. It wasn't anything like modern moral standards involving religious tolerance; it probably wasn't even as nice as Muslim treatment of Jews as "dhimmis," but it wasn't outright or monolithic oppression. They weren't enslaved or forced to emigrate (as they were under their Assyrian and Babylonian conquerers), they were allowed to retain a lot of their cultural practices, and in many ways the two broad cultures cross-pollinated each other. The Selucids were dicks, but oh well.

    Secondly, I don't really appreciate being associated with anti-immigration and racist viewpoints and I utterly fail to see how my statement has a thing to do with them.

    Well the statement sounds like the advocating of "well if those jews just gave up and integrated everything would have been alright", which, coming off the previous statements about sticking to non-violent practices for everything short of genocide, just seems like a distinct lack of appreciation for peoples and their culture? Maybe it's just the wrong wording.

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  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Well the statement sounds like the advocating of "well if those jews just gave up and integrated everything would have been alright", which, coming off the previous statements about sticking to non-violent practices for everything short of genocide, just seems like a distinct lack of appreciation for peoples and their culture? Maybe it's just the wrong wording.
    Oh, I would agree with that statement. On a number of grounds. Firstly because violently resisting accomplished nothing and killed a lot of people. Secondly because the "culture" in question was disgustingly barbaric and repressive; I would rather live in the Roman Empire than the Maccabbees' theocracy any day. (Are you familiar with Biblical law?)

    So you are right, I do have a distinct lack of appreciation for the subset of ancient Jewish culture we are talking about, for the same reason I have a distinct lack of appreciation for the culture of the Taliban. It's extremely difficult for me to appreciate cultures that themselves are utterly intolerant and repressive.

    That said, the Roman Empire was also barbaric for forcing occupied foreigners to obey Roman customs and worship Roman gods; the Seluecids (their king, Antiochus, sacrificed pigs in the Jewish Temple) were just a bunch of assholes. Were modern America to behave the way towards our immigrants and minorities as the Romans and Greeks did to the Jews, I would be beyond disgusted in our country.

    Edit: in general, I don't really care about preserving cultures. It's more important to preserve people's lives than to preserve culture. And if your culture is so fragile that it can't withstand meaningless superficialities like being forced to worship other gods, what's worth preserving, exactly?

    Qingu on
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I see alright

    I am not entirely educated on the specific era of the culture we're referring to, so I'm playing it more on a general idea of cultures and assimilation, but I see what you're saying now.

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  • JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Edit: in general, I don't really care about preserving cultures. It's more important to preserve people's lives than to preserve culture. And if your culture is so fragile that it can't withstand meaningless superficialities like being forced to worship other gods, what's worth preserving, exactly?

    The problem is, try telling that to the person whose country you just took over. Its hard to draw these kinds of lines.

    You would never support something like slavery - the peoples' lives are completely out of their own hands, even though generally they are been well taken care of. So lets take it a step back. A foreign government is imopposing crushing taxes on you, and you can barely fed your family. You're one unlucky step away from losing everything. You have a good chance of dieing to starvation or disease. Plus they're trampling all over what you believe to be important in your culture. So why not take up arms and fight against your oppressors?

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Jephery wrote: »
    The problem is, try telling that to the person whose country you just took over. Its hard to draw these kinds of lines.

    You would never support something like slavery - the peoples' lives are completely out of their own hands, even though generally they are been well taken care of. So lets take it a step back. A foreign government is imopposing crushing taxes on you, and you can barely fed your family. You're one unlucky step away from losing everything. You have a good chance of dieing to starvation or disease. Plus they're trampling all over what you believe to be important in your culture. So why not take up arms and fight against your oppressors?
    Because assuming this foreign government fits the mold of a standard hegemon as we've been discussing, doing so would likely in no way improve my situation and would probably make it worse. (And in fact many hegemons—including the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Islamic Caliphate, and various colonial empires—despite taxes—have materially improved the living conditions of the places they've occupied in the long run by spreading technological and medical knowledge.)

    What I believe to be important in my culture is not so important to risk my life or anyone else's lives over. In my opinion, the cultures of people who think otherwise—like many of the rebels/terrorists/insurgent groups under discussion in this thread—tend to resemble death cults.

    Qingu on
  • JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    What I believe to be important in my culture is not so important to risk my life or anyone else's lives over. In my opinion, the cultures of people who think otherwise—like many of the rebels/terrorists/insurgent groups under discussion in this thread—tend to resemble death cults.

    So life is never worth risking? Ever? Other than to save someone else's life?

    I can agree on that, to a certain extent. More people may die, maybe not in battle, but slowly through poverty and disease, if you don't try and fight. History gives us 20/20 hindsight on events in the past, but looking into the future, we don't know what will happen.

    I'd rather die trying to make myself able to determine my own future than let someone determine it for me by force and dieing a slow, sad death, never really living at all.

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    What I believe to be important in my culture is not so important to risk my life or anyone else's lives over. In my opinion, the cultures of people who think otherwise—like many of the rebels/terrorists/insurgent groups under discussion in this thread—tend to resemble death cults.
    So you're saying that there's literally no imposition on your culture that you would justify violent opposition to the occupying empire forcing it down your throat? The Omnipotent State of Hutaree could overthrow the US tomorrow and start forcing you to love Jesus, stone gays and adulterers, not let women out of the house, require you to tithe 90% of your income, and rever the Bible as the unaltered and unqeustionable work of our perfect Lord and that'd be totally okay because you're culture is unimportant and hey, in a few hundred years you'll probably come out ahead anyway?

    Bullshit. The culture you don't value enough to fight for is, conveniently enough, one you vehemently disagree with.

    JihadJesus on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Jephery wrote: »
    So life is never worth risking? Ever? Other than to save someone else's life?
    There are a number of situations where I'd say I would risk my own life to a great extent that don't involve just saving someone else's life.

    There are very, very, very few situations where I'd say killing someone else is justified apart from directly saving someone's life (and even then, context matters). Possibly slavery or rape, if killing was necessary to stop it. Simple occupation and excessive taxation, or harsh limits on religious or political expression? No way.
    I'd rather die trying to make myself able to determine my own future than let someone determine it for me by force.
    I think self-determination is overrated. It's a worthy ideal; democratic countries that allow freedom of expression are manifestly better than the alternative by any number of metrics. But I don't think it's worth dying for in most cases, and it's certainly not worth killing for.

    The amount of blood spilled to "spread freedom and democracy" in the past 60 years is an atrocity.

    Qingu on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    The amount of blood spilled to "spread freedom and democracy" in the past 60 years is an atrocity.

    Compared to the amount of blood spilled to prevent freedom and democracy?

    And to get back-ish on topic, any definition of "terrorism" that doesn't attempt to differentiate between attacks on civilian and military targets is inherently flawed.

    Lawndart on
  • JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Alright then. We have fundamental differences on the value we place on things, so there is really no more point in derailing the thread any longer.

    Edit: Violent action, or threat of violent action, used to affect the mindset of a civilian population is my definition of terrorism.

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    So you're saying that there's literally no imposition on your culture that you would justify violent opposition to the occupying empire forcing it down your throat? The Omnipotent State of Hutaree could overthrow the US tomorrow and start forcing you to love Jesus, stone gays and adulterers, not let women out of the house, require you to tithe 90% of your income, and rever the Bible as the unaltered and unqeustionable work of our perfect Lord and that'd be totally okay because you're culture is unimportant and hey, in a few hundred years you'll probably come out ahead anyway?

    Bullshit. The culture you don't value enough to fight for is, conveniently enough, one you vehemently disagree with.
    If the Dominionists took over America (violently or politically) and violently enforced their regime, no, I would absolutely not fight back by trying to kill them.

    I would try to get the hell out of the country and work on defeating them politically and economically from afar. Barring that, I'd obey their stupid rules and do what I could to sabotage the regime without resorting to violence.

    That said, in the situation you describe, a case could be made that the regime are essentially international criminals. In this case I would support violence against them, if it were structured as closely as possible to a police action. I support violence against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and I think great strides have been made to limit civilian casualties compared to earlier campaigns, but ideally we would be acting more like police and using nonlethal means to capture (and then perhaps execute) these people, treating them like criminals, and limiting surrounding civilian deaths.

    Qingu on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    The amount of blood spilled to "spread freedom and democracy" in the past 60 years is an atrocity.

    Compared to the amount of blood spilled to prevent freedom and democracy?

    And to get back-ish on topic, any definition of "terrorism" that doesn't attempt to differentiate between attacks on civilian and military targets is inherently flawed.
    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    Qingu on
  • JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Jephery wrote: »
    Alright then. We have fundamental differences on the value we place on things, so there is really no more point in derailing the thread any longer.

    Edit: Violent action, or threat of violent action, used to affect the mindset of a civilian population is my definition of terrorism.

    Slight addition.

    Violent action, or threat of violent action, used with the primary motive of trying affect the mindset of a civilian population.

    Any violent action will affect the population's opinions, but for it to be terrorism, that has to be the main goal.

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    So you're saying that there's literally no imposition on your culture that you would justify violent opposition to the occupying empire forcing it down your throat? The Omnipotent State of Hutaree could overthrow the US tomorrow and start forcing you to love Jesus, stone gays and adulterers, not let women out of the house, require you to tithe 90% of your income, and rever the Bible as the unaltered and unqeustionable work of our perfect Lord and that'd be totally okay because you're culture is unimportant and hey, in a few hundred years you'll probably come out ahead anyway?

    Bullshit. The culture you don't value enough to fight for is, conveniently enough, one you vehemently disagree with.
    If the Dominionists took over America (violently or politically) and violently enforced their regime, no, I would absolutely not fight back by trying to kill them.

    I would try to get the hell out of the country and work on defeating them politically and economically from afar. Barring that, I'd obey their stupid rules and do what I could to sabotage the regime without resorting to violence.

    That said, in the situation you describe, a case could be made that the regime are essentially international criminals. In this case I would support violence against them, if it were structured as closely as possible to a police action. I support violence against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and I think great strides have been made to limit civilian casualties compared to earlier campaigns, but ideally we would be acting more like police and using nonlethal means to capture (and then perhaps execute) these people, treating them like criminals, and limiting surrounding civilian deaths.
    So essentially you would not resort to violence to defend your own culture but also would not condemn the use of violence in that defense by other absolutely. Which is completely different than what you said initially, which is that such a defense by an occupied nation or group couldn't be used to justify violent resistance in any way. I'm really not seeing how what you're saying makes sense. Either there is some imposition on culture in general, or some manner of prosecuting this imposition, which violent action is justifiable if regrettable or there is not. Your answers make it seem like there IS, provided the culture in question attains "Not Completely Sucky Level 3 or Higher", which seems like arbitrary borderline racist rot.

    JihadJesus on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Jephery wrote: »
    Jephery wrote: »
    Alright then. We have fundamental differences on the value we place on things, so there is really no more point in derailing the thread any longer.

    Edit: Violent action, or threat of violent action, used to affect the mindset of a civilian population is my definition of terrorism.

    Slight addition.

    Violent action, or threat of violent action, used with the primary motive of trying affect the mindset of a civilian population.

    Any violent action will affect the population's opinions, but for it to be terrorism, that has to be the main goal.

    I'd take it further and say that the target of said violent action or threat thereof would have to be civilian, or predominantly civilian, in order to qualify as terrorism. This would include civilian governmental employees.

    Lawndart on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I feel like you have to restrict "terrorism" to crimes with explicitly political motivations; otherwise the definition becomes very broad and starts running into other crimes that we already recognize.

    I also don't see why it's critical to differentiate between civilian and military targets.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I feel like you have to restrict "terrorism" to crimes with explicitly political motivations; otherwise the definition becomes very broad and starts running into other crimes that we already recognize.

    I also don't see why it's critical to differentiate between civilian and military targets.

    Because there's a difference between terrorism and guerrilla/asymmetrical warfare.

    Lawndart on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I feel like you have to restrict "terrorism" to crimes with explicitly political motivations; otherwise the definition becomes very broad and starts running into other crimes that we already recognize.

    I also don't see why it's critical to differentiate between civilian and military targets.

    Because there's a difference between terrorism and guerrilla/asymmetrical warfare.

    If I'm understanding correctly, you're saying that terrorism cannot by definition be committed against a military target?

    That seems like a silly thing to say, since most of the proposed definitions of terrorism acknowledge that the actual target is somewhat incidental to the severity of the crime.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I feel like you have to restrict "terrorism" to crimes with explicitly political motivations; otherwise the definition becomes very broad and starts running into other crimes that we already recognize.

    I also don't see why it's critical to differentiate between civilian and military targets.

    Because there's a difference between terrorism and guerrilla/asymmetrical warfare.

    And that difference is......? Just whether or not they target civilians specifically?

    JihadJesus on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I feel like you have to restrict "terrorism" to crimes with explicitly political motivations; otherwise the definition becomes very broad and starts running into other crimes that we already recognize.

    I also don't see why it's critical to differentiate between civilian and military targets.

    Because there's a difference between terrorism and guerrilla/asymmetrical warfare.

    If I'm understanding correctly, you're saying that terrorism cannot by definition be committed against a military target?

    That seems like a silly thing to say, since most of the proposed definitions of terrorism acknowledge that the actual target is somewhat incidental to the severity of the crime.

    Again, the proposed definitions of terrorism that ignore the actual targets are inherently flawed and will result in acts of asymmetrical warfare being tarred with the loaded description of "terrorism."

    If a guerrilla group blows up a military base or ambushes a military patrol, that's not terrorism.

    If a guerrilla group blows up a hospital or a building full of civilians employed by the government, that's terrorism.

    Lawndart on
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    In other words because terrorism is a 'loaded' term you want to tailor the definition into something that categorically excludes actions you condsider to be defensible or acceptable. Gotcha.

    JihadJesus on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I feel like you have to restrict "terrorism" to crimes with explicitly political motivations; otherwise the definition becomes very broad and starts running into other crimes that we already recognize.

    I also don't see why it's critical to differentiate between civilian and military targets.

    Because there's a difference between terrorism and guerrilla/asymmetrical warfare.

    If I'm understanding correctly, you're saying that terrorism cannot by definition be committed against a military target?

    That seems like a silly thing to say, since most of the proposed definitions of terrorism acknowledge that the actual target is somewhat incidental to the severity of the crime.

    Again, the proposed definitions of terrorism that ignore the actual targets are inherently flawed and will result in acts of asymmetrical warfare being tarred with the loaded description of "terrorism."

    If a guerrilla group blows up a military base or ambushes a military patrol, that's not terrorism.

    If a guerrilla group blows up a hospital or a building full of civilians employed by the government, that's terrorism.

    I'm more interested in coming up with a definition that makes sense than I am in worrying about how future politicians will massage it.

    Again, I think the central characteristic of terrorism is the commission of a crime for purpose of achieving a political outcome. I don't see how it really matters whether the target is a military or a civilian one. Combat between actors in a war (even an asymmetric war) aren't 'crimes' (at least, not civil ones.)

    ed: I mean, the pentagon is full of civilians in the employ of the government, but I don't think anyone would disagree that it's a military target.

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  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I'm more interested in coming up with a definition that makes sense than I am in worrying about how future politicians will massage it.

    Again, I think the central characteristic of terrorism is the commission of a crime for purpose of achieving a political outcome. I don't see how it really matters whether the target is a military or a civilian one. Combat between actors in a war (even an asymmetric war) aren't 'crimes' (at least, not civil ones.)

    ed: I mean, the pentagon is full of civilians in the employ of the government, but I don't think anyone would disagree that it's a military target.

    Except that your definition doesn't make sense, because it encompasses guerrilla warfare as "terrorism". There's a wee bit of difference between the French Resistance and al Qaeda.

    Especially since the difference between "committing a crime" and "an act of war" or "an act of self-defense" is usually determined by one of the two sides of said guerrilla war.

    I'd consider the Pentagon to be primarily a military target. Unless, of course, you hijack a plane full of civilians in order to attack it.
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    In other words because terrorism is a 'loaded' term you want to tailor the definition into something that categorically excludes actions you condsider to be defensible or acceptable. Gotcha.

    No, I want to define terrorism as not being synonymous with guerrilla/asymmetrical warfare, because doing so winds up defining a ridiculous amount of things as "terrorism".

    There are plenty of examples of guerrilla warfare that I find objectionable. But they're still not terrorism.

    Lawndart on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I don't see how my definition doesn't make sense. Actions between two sides in a war aren't civil crimes. Al-Qaeda isn't a resistance movement in a country that is under occupation.

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  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I don't see how my definition doesn't make sense. Actions between two sides in a war aren't civil crimes. Al-Qaeda isn't a resistance movement in a country that is under occupation.

    By your definition, every single resistance movement in history would qualify as "terrorists", even if they only targeted military targets. Because they committed violent crimes in order to advance a political agenda.

    The Vichy government of occupied France sure didn't consider themselves "at war" with the Free French Resistance in the legal or traditional sense. They considered them criminals. The same is true for every government facing an insurrection, guerrilla opposition, or a resistance movement.

    Lawndart on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    No, they wouldn't qualify as terrorists. You will note the bit about "commission of a crime." It isn't a crime to resist a military occupation with force. It also isn't a crime for a soldier to shoot another soldier. Because that is war, and society generally recognizes that different rules apply during wars.

    And I mean, of course the occupying power considers them criminals; so what?

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  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    And the only reason you seem to give a shit about whether or not these guerilla warfare tactics could be called terrorism is that 'terrorism' is bad. Which, again, goes back to how 'terrorism' or terrorist is essentially useless as a term more meaningful than 'band guys'.

    JihadJesus on
  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    My definition of terrorism is the committing of acts of violence with the intention of inspiring fear to further a political agenda.

    The basic criteria would be:

    1. Primary purpose of act was to strike the enemies morale rather than material assets.

    2. It's political or ideological in motivation.

    Terrorist is an over used term. It's thrown about far too easily as an insult.

    Mine is pretty close to this.

    The tactical use of inciting terror as a form of psychological warfare to achieve a strategic political goal, which often cannot be achieved by the employing faction through means of conventional (read: guns 'n' bombs) warfare.

    I don't see a need to divide along civilian/military lines, if that's even possible anymore. While I can probably argue that Rosie the Riveter wasn't a military asset to the same degree as Audie Murphy or the 101st Airborne, I'd be hard-pressed to argue she wasn't as much a military asset as Hank the Mess Hall Cook, Johnny the Quartermaster, or Sally the Jeep Mechanic.

    Frank Capra making "Why We Fight" or The Andrews Sisters doing USO tours and selling war bonds did more to aid the Allied victory in WWII than 1-3 average soldiers/sailors/pilots. Father Coughlin did more to harm it than a single average Axis grunt.

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  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    No, they wouldn't qualify as terrorists. You will note the bit about "commission of a crime." It isn't a crime to resist a military occupation with force. It also isn't a crime for a soldier to shoot another soldier. Because that is war, and society generally recognizes that different rules apply during wars.

    And I mean, of course the occupying power considers them criminals; so what?

    So, the IRA, Hamas, Hezbollah, the ETA, al Qaeda and the Order don't count as terrorists because they were or felt they were resisting a military occupation with force?
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    And the only reason you seem to give a shit about whether or not these guerilla warfare tactics could be called terrorism is that 'terrorism' is bad. Which, again, goes back to how 'terrorism' or terrorist is essentially useless as a term more meaningful than 'bad guys'.

    So all guerrilla warfare tactics are terrorism? Really?

    If not, please define what separates terrorism from guerrilla warfare.

    Lawndart on
  • big lbig l Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    And the only reason you seem to give a shit about whether or not these guerilla warfare tactics could be called terrorism is that 'terrorism' is bad. Which, again, goes back to how 'terrorism' or terrorist is essentially useless as a term more meaningful than 'band guys'.

    We're trying to make "terrorism" a meaningful term by giving it a precise and specific definition. Terrorism is not unconditionally bad, and insurgencies are not automatically good. But it is useful to have two different precisely defined terms, so when you have a conversation all parties know what is being talked about. Terrorism is only a meaningless term if you want it to be, and I for one don't. The way to make it meaningful is to define it, and I like the definition of "violence perpetrated against civilians by a non-state actor for political purposes". This definition doesn't just define terrorism as "stuff bad guys do", but specifically outlines what the action is, and how it is different from similar things like insurgency (targeted against military targets), state terrorism (by a state actor), and banditry (not for political purposes).

    big l on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    No, they wouldn't qualify as terrorists. You will note the bit about "commission of a crime." It isn't a crime to resist a military occupation with force. It also isn't a crime for a soldier to shoot another soldier. Because that is war, and society generally recognizes that different rules apply during wars.

    And I mean, of course the occupying power considers them criminals; so what?

    So, the IRA, Hamas, Hezbollah, the ETA, al Qaeda and the Order don't count as terrorists because they were or felt they were resisting a military occupation with force?

    I don't really understand the point you are trying to make here. All those organizations committed terrorist acts. Just because they are quasi-state actors doesn't mean that they cannot commit terrorist acts.
    JihadJesus wrote: »
    And the only reason you seem to give a shit about whether or not these guerilla warfare tactics could be called terrorism is that 'terrorism' is bad. Which, again, goes back to how 'terrorism' or terrorist is essentially useless as a term more meaningful than 'bad guys'.

    So all guerrilla warfare tactics are terrorism? Really?

    If not, please define what separates terrorism from guerrilla warfare.

    Why does anything need to "separate" the two? Terrorism is a tactic that guerrilla fighters might use.

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