News Iraqi insurgence Guerrillas or Terrorists?

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Definitions:

Gurrela: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla

Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from "guerra" meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. Guerrilla warfare operates with small, mobile and flexible combat groups called cells, without a front line. Guerrilla warfare is one of the oldest forms of asymmetric warfare. Primary contributors to modern theories of guerrilla war include Mao Zedong, Wendell Fertig, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Che Guevara. While "asymmetric warfare" is the military term for guerrilla tactics, it is often referred to in the pejorative as "terrorism".
Terrorism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism

the term "terrorism" is controversial and has many definitions, none of which are universally accepted. The OED defines it as "a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized." It is almost always a pejorative term, used to describe the violence of an enemy as being immoral or wanton.
might be difficult to debate as there is no "offical" definition of terrorsim...

found this quote which is sooooo ironic!

The tragedy of Afghanistan continues as the valiant and courageous Afghan freedom fighters persevere in standing up against the brutal power of the Soviet invasion and occupation... The Soviet forces are pitted against an extraordinary people who, in their determination to preserve the character of their ancient land, have organized an effective and still spreading country-wide resistance. The resistance of the Afghan freedom fighters is an example to all the world of the invincibility of the ideals we in this country hold most dear, the ideals of freedom and independence. ~Ronald Reagan, Proclamation of Afghanistan Day, 1983. Ronald Reagan Library
source see link above
 
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loseyourname

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Which insurgents? I'm sure some are guerillas and some are terrorists. It depends on what tactics each uses and I would imagine they don't all use the same ones.
 

Pengwuino

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The original post makes me think the OP wants to call the people in Iraq guerilla fighters and is just looking for people to agree with him. Its rather impossible to debate between 2 positions if 1 position cant even be defined.
 
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Its rather impossible to debate between 2 positions if 1 position cant even be defined.
I understand what you are saying...So whats your definition? and we can move from there..
 

Pengwuino

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I say a terrorist group is a group whos set of tactics includes a tactic that consists of the use of violence targeted directly at civilians. Thats the best i can think of right now.

Of course, this is probably unfairly leaving out some groups and including some groups that shouldn't be in it. It also begs the question of whether or not a group is necessarily a terrorist group if it occasionally uses terrorist tactics. There were probably many operations carried out by british, german, american, japanese, italian, and other armies in the world wars that at face value, were attacks targeted at civialians but it would seem propostorous to call them terrorist groups.

If you think about whats going on in iraq, its getting to a point where you may start entertaining the idea that these people could also be defined as criminals. Once it gets to the point where the vast majority of attacks are targetted at the police, they no longer really qualify as terrorists or a guerilla army. But then again they are attacking the new iraqi army so that somewhat supercedes the idea of them simply conducting criminal actions.
 
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russ_watters

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The Wik article is correct that there is no uniformly accepted definition of terrorism, but that is simply because supporters of terrorists refuse to use any obejctive definition at all. The fact of the matter is that virtually every definition of terrorism is pretty much the same and the key elements can be found in that Wik article.

The single most important aspect of the definition is that it is violence targeted at civilians.
 

BobG

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The answer would be both terrorists and guerillas, plus you should also probably toss in the vigilantes as well. To be complete, you'd have to further break down the groups into those that want Hussein back (or at least the Baathists back), Sunnis terrified at the prospect of living under Shiite rule, and those that just want all foreigners out (including foreign terrorists). To be truly comprehensive, you'd really have to do a little research and account for all the different groups fighting in Iraq - it's not just insurgents and invaders.

Even with a scorecard, it would be hard to tell which side each player is on, since natural enemies will sometimes cooperate if they both hate the same people.
 

russ_watters

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For that reason, BobG, I think it is better to classify individual acts than try make a generalized judgement.
 

BobG

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russ_watters said:
For that reason, BobG, I think it is better to classify individual acts than try make a generalized judgement.
I agree. I don't even like the term 'insurgency'. I guess it sounds more professional or politically neutral than 'chaos in Iraq' or 'trouble in Iraq', etc.
 
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I guess it sounds more professional or politically neutral than 'chaos in Iraq' or 'trouble in Iraq', etc.
Its good to hear that people have the intellegence to see through Political spin!
 
Anttech said:
Definitions:

Gurrela: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla



Terrorism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism



might be difficult to debate as there is no "offical" definition of terrorsim...
Further complicating the issue is the fact that the first quote actually references the second quote as a part of it's definition.

I must say Ron's input was interesting to say the least.

I always have a laugh over the prevailing thoughts at the time in the form of Rambo III ... although this does require that you bury your taste in movies.
 

russ_watters

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BobG said:
I don't even like the term 'insurgency'. I guess it sounds more professional or politically neutral than 'chaos in Iraq' or 'trouble in Iraq', etc.
Agreed. I get antsy every time I hear the media use the term.
 
Anttech said:
Definitions:

Gurrela: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla



Terrorism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism



might be difficult to debate as there is no "offical" definition of terrorsim...

found this quote which is sooooo ironic!

source see link above
One thing you missed in the Wikipedia article on terrorism was the academically preferred definition:
No definition of terrorism has been accepted as authoritative by the United Nations. However, the "academic consensus definition", written by terrorism expert A.P. Schmid and widely used by social scientists, defines terrorism as follows:

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." [1]
 
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So, I guess that according to the "academic consensus definition," those who attack civilians are terrorists, and those who attack the military/government officials are guerrillas.
 
Guerrilla warfare is a term describing a military strategy, mainly a manner in which to conduct attacks. Terrorism describes mainly a motive for attacks. Guerrilla methods are the type most commonly used by terrorists so to some degree they are almost considered synonymous but they aren't. The OP is comparing a description of ends with a description of means. It doesn't work,
 
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The OP is comparing a description of ends with a description of means. It doesn't work
IMO both describe means and ends...
 

vanesch

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Manchot said:
So, I guess that according to the "academic consensus definition," those who attack civilians are terrorists, and those who attack the military/government officials are guerrillas.
And those who target civilians who want to sign up as members of the opposing military force (assuming that the Iraqi police force is seen as part of the military machinery of "the enemi") ?
 
Anttech said:
IMO both describe means and ends...
Terrorism is the desired effect of some form of attack. The means to these ends though are many and varried.
Guerrilla warfare is not a desired effect, it has no specific end in and of itself except to be a successful strategy for an attack whom ever that attack is against or for what ever reason that attack was made.
I'm speaking mainly on a micro scale. I can see that terrorism can be the means to yet further goals on a macro scale but to begin with it is the effect of an action not the strategy of one.
 
TheStatutoryApe said:
Terrorism is the desired effect of some form of attack. The means to these ends though are many and varried.
Guerrilla warfare is not a desired effect, it has no specific end in and of itself except to be a successful strategy for an attack whom ever that attack is against or for what ever reason that attack was made.
I'm speaking mainly on a micro scale. I can see that terrorism can be the means to yet further goals on a macro scale but to begin with it is the effect of an action not the strategy of one.
While I agree with you on a certain level Ape, I can't help but remember my father's descrition of the Gurkha regiments on the British army.

One of their favorite tricks was to sneak into an enemy barracks and slice off the head of every other person who was asleep. Morning would reveal they had been there.

The Brits call them The Best Guerrilla Regiment ever.

What would you call their intent?
 
The Smoking Man said:
While I agree with you on a certain level Ape, I can't help but remember my father's descrition of the Gurkha regiments on the British army.

One of their favorite tricks was to sneak into an enemy barracks and slice off the head of every other person who was asleep. Morning would reveal they had been there.

The Brits call them The Best Guerrilla Regiment ever.

What would you call their intent?
Yes, means and ends are rather hand in glove aren't they?
My point is that "Guerrillas or Terrorists" is a pointless question. While they are two seperate things they are not seperate in the sense conveyed by the question. They over lap easily since they describe seperate attributes which in this instance are even complimentary to one another.
 
BobG said:
The answer would be both terrorists and guerillas, plus you should also probably toss in the vigilantes as well. To be complete, you'd have to further break down the groups into those that want Hussein back (or at least the Baathists back), Sunnis terrified at the prospect of living under Shiite rule, and those that just want all foreigners out (including foreign terrorists). To be truly comprehensive, you'd really have to do a little research and account for all the different groups fighting in Iraq - it's not just insurgents and invaders.

Even with a scorecard, it would be hard to tell which side each player is on, since natural enemies will sometimes cooperate if they both hate the same people.
Well put.
IMO many people comment on the violence in Iraq based on some personal romantic wish without having researched into the groups behind these actions and their interests.
 
The Smoking Man said:
While I agree with you on a certain level Ape, I can't help but remember my father's descrition of the Gurkha regiments on the British army.

One of their favorite tricks was to sneak into an enemy barracks and slice off the head of every other person who was asleep. Morning would reveal they had been there.

The Brits call them The Best Guerrilla Regiment ever.

What would you call their intent?
I have heard that the Gurkhas are still payed unequally and don't recieve the same benefits as normal soldiers.
 

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