Who's a Terrorist
With the "War on Terrorism" in full swing and overlapping with other more conventional wars (The Iraq War and the Afghanistan War) there seems to be some concern over the labels we attach to the various sides. There is a view that if you call an Afghan or Iraqi taking who takes up arms against the occupying forces or the regimes they support an "insurgent" or "rebel" you are some sort of "Terrorism Denier". This is, of course, utter rubbish. Not every opponent of the American occupation is a "terrorist" and even if they are, that doesn't stop them also being "insurgents", "rebels" or even "freedom fighters".
Terrorism has nothing to do with the cause you are fighting for. It is an illegal tactic directed against civilian rather than military targets with a view to intimidating a government or civilian population into a course of action favoured by the attacker rather than the legitimate military goals of securing a military objective, denying a militry objective to the enemy or reducing the enemy's ability to fight. Terrorist acts may be committed by insurgents or governments, rebels or loyalists, invaders or defenders and regular or irregular forces. For example -
1) The twin towers bombing was the worst of many vicious terrorist acts carried out against peaceful Western democracies.
2) The Beslan murders were a smaller but even more vicious terrorist attack.
3) Bombing infrastructure in Belgrade with the objective of inducing the Serb population to overthrow Milosevich was an act of terrorism.
4) Bombing urban areas is an act of terrorism if the "collateral damage" is disproportionate to the military value and the attacker knew or showed reckless disregard for this fact.
5) Setting off a bomb in a crowded marketplace is an act of terrorism.
6) Setting off a bomb alongside an enemy army vehicle or in a queue of enemy soldiers, police or recruits is not an act of terrorism.
7) Sinking the Rainbow Warrior was an act of terrorism unless the DGSE believed (and not even the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the fevered imaginations of intelligence services) it was a potential threat to their ability (not will) to conduct the Mururoa tests
8) Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the biggest terrorist acts of all.
This is not just a pedantic exercise in semantics. Never forget George Orwell's words
Unless words have specific, precise identifiable and common meanings how is it possible to conceive of ideas such as freedom, oppression, resistance and the like. If it is no longer possible to formulate abstract ideas and communicate them then action and creativity are no longer posible and control is absolute and complete ... Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime, literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.