To you, what is terrorism?

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What exactly does terrorism mean to you?

Here is are a couple of definitions:
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

n : the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=terrorism
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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Adam said:
What exactly does terrorism mean to you?

Here is are a couple of definitions:
Both look good to me. What definition would you use?
 
  • #3
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The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
To me, this is insufficient. The "unlawful" bit is silly. The legality is generally made by the victor in any case.

n : the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear
The final section needs "violence" added to it:
this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear, or violence.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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Adam said:
To me, this is insufficient. The "unlawful" bit is silly. The legality is generally made by the victor in any case.
Winner of what? For international terrorism, the "unlawful" comes from international law. The winner and loser don't have any ex post facto say in that. For domestic terrorism, citizens of any country are subject to the laws of that country. Sure, if the terrorists win they get to make a new country with their own laws, but the catch-22 if they lose is of their own creation, so its not really an issue with the definition
The final section needs "violence" added to it:
You misunderstand the grammar. That part is talking about the goal of the violence: Violence causes intimidation which caused political change.

Anyway, there is little disagreement here over the substance of the definition. So we're pretty much in agreement about the definition on face value...now back to the application...
 
  • #5
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"This is done through..."
 
  • #6
Mercator
For me it's German schlagermusic.
 
  • #7
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Get rid of the 'lawfull' part of the first definition and its spot on. Saddam Killed 5000 people and wounded 10,000 more in Halabja, March 16, 1988 because the kurds supported iran in their latest war, that was lawfull according to Saddam. If thats not terrorism then 9/11 sure isn't.
 
  • #8
plover
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Smurf:
You seem to be equating state brutality and oppression with terrorism. While these two things have a similar degree of moral repulsiveness, I wouldn't say they are the same.
 
  • #9
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plover said:
Smurf:
You seem to be equating state brutality and oppression with terrorism. While these two things have a similar degree of moral repulsiveness, I wouldn't say they are the same.
Plover: Why not?
 
  • #10
plover
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Adam said:
Plover: Why not?
The distinction I'm referring to is more or less a question of power dynamics. Repressive governments, terrorists, and also mafia-type organizations all engage in what can be labelled 'terror tactics', but the motivations and context for each are somewhat different.

A government that deals with dissent, unrest, or ethnic conflict through brutality, which can range from a tolerance for indiscriminate violence on the part of police and security forces through systematic genocide of 'undesirable' segments of the population, is, as a rule, operating from a position of power (otherwise the regime would almost certainly be toppled). The state has control of the economic and production resources of the country, and may have enough power to demand legitimacy internationally. The repressive tactics are used to keep the regime in power.

The terrorist, on the other hand, is, as a rule, trying to change something. The desired change could be local such as removing an occupying or colonizing force from one's country, or simply subverting one's own government for grievances that might be either real or imagined. Terrorists can also act to alter the international stage, some being driven by ideology (religious or otherwise), others acting at the behest of a state.

A mafia operates outside the law, but is usually intertwined with a certain community which may receive benefits and protection from it, but which may also bear the brunt of the violence.

There are probably other distinct categories of groups that use terror tactics, e.g. drug cartels and street gangs maybe.

I'm just trying to summarize my impressions here—there's no organized study behind this. I imagine other approaches might yield equally valid typologies. It would be interesting to hear other perspectives.
 
  • #11
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state terror is terror
MAD is terror [cold war]
fire bombing citys is terror [ww2]
the kent state shootings were terror
russia has used terror in cheznea war


"freedom fighters" useing terror is terror
PLO has a reason to fight zionists but uses terror
viet cong used terror

criminals use terror
mob bombing is terror
kkk linching was terror

terror is terror
reason can be just or evil
terror is still terror

law enforcement uses terror of prison to enforce laws

terror is terror
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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Smurf said:
Get rid of the 'lawfull' part of the first definition and its spot on. Saddam Killed 5000 people and wounded 10,000 more in Halabja, March 16, 1988 because the kurds supported iran in their latest war, that was lawfull according to Saddam. If thats not terrorism then 9/11 sure isn't.
That's where the caveat I mentioned applies: it is unlawful according to international law.

ray b - in my opinion, when you widen a definition like that you make it utterly useless.
 
  • #13
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Terror in principle is an offensive action when the microhistory and macrohistory, quantitatively relative to one another, determines the militant action offensive. For example, in the microsense, an immediate assault upon an invading army is not defense, unless in the macrosense of history changes the quantitative relative sense of the microsense of invasion attack to defense. Although, taking energy and social physics in mind, even a defensive attack may be entropic depending upon it's methods and timing used, so then even a fair retaliation can become terror. All retaliation in this sense must be intelligent or becomes the entropy that determines terror. Simply put, terror is an attack that only makes things worse in the overall micro and macro sense. But unless both can be quantified in the sense of diplomatic balance, either side may assert fairness in the attack, and it can't be proven to be a terror attack or not.

With this in mind, 911 could be considered as not being a terror attack, but only the brutally honest will endeavor considering find the proof for and against such a claim, most notably American dogmatists.

Some would say terrorism is a secretive attack. But secrets only convey distance from being known or stopped through defense, and jets dropping bombs are as secret as explosives tied around the waste, there targets are nearly equal in collateral damage. Distance becomes the relative variable in militant attacks that conveyed in sense of power or secretiveness, both in principle are equivalent. David slew Goliath, and his sling is terrorism to some today. The brute giant is terror to others. Iraq is the David of the Bible today. Look upon there spirit to defend the brute retard invading.

These words nearly have terror in there sound, but I'm not sure of there history, so it may only be coincidence.

Territory. Military.
 
  • #14
Gza
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Omin, your post makes me wonder if we might need a section called "political theory development" :rofl: Kidding of course.
 
  • #15
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For example, in the microsense, an immediate assault upon an invading army is not defense, unless in the macrosense of history changes the quantitative relative sense of the microsense of invasion attack to defense.
Ugh!

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
 
  • #16
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Gza said:
Omin, your post makes me wonder if we might need a section called "political theory development" :rofl: Kidding of course.
Yes, you have to be kidding. Political theories that don't represent the physics in efficiency lead to murder and entopy in diplomacy, which results in bad, bad business. Terrorism, dimished trade and bad economy is an idicator fools are in power. It takes intelligence to dimish these.
 
  • #17
plover
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ray b:
In some cases you're listing things that would be defined as 'terror tactics' (e.g. kkk lynching), in others you're listing things that are terrifying but not exactly terror tactics per se (e.g. MAD). In any case, defining 'terror' is not the same as defining the groups that practice it. My impression is that you are listing various things that you place in a single moral category, the next question is: what are the differences between people whose actions fall into that moral category, and given those differences, how is each best confronted?
 
  • #18
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I belive the means justiphy the end
if someone thinks that the end justiphy the means and uses terror
then they are a terrorest

maybe with the best of intent, but they still are a terrorist
but remember the kkk , they thought they were defending
their way of life, and white women from a fate worse then death

same goes for tailgunner joe
or the people who built and ran the MAD system
btw I can't think of any idea more terrorist then MAD
ever in all of history
sure it "WORKED" and good came of it
because "the other guy blinked"
but that only justiphys the end
remember they targeted CITYS not military bases
so it fits the terror label

as a hippy peace marcher, we tryed to confront the beast
stop the war, ban the bomb, ect
did we win NO
but we tryed
seeing the problem is the first part of solution
will we ever stop terror NO
but that doesnot mean do not try
but our own goverment's terror is part of the problem
nobodys right if everybodys wrong
 
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  • #19
plover
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ray b:
If you are responding to me (which seems probable, but not certain), then you have misunderstood what I've been saying. Nothing that I have said is a justification for any kind of brutal acts or policies. All I have said is that it is useful to distinguish the different contexts in which such acts occur, and the motives of the people who commit them. You can use the word terrorist as you like, but as generally used in English, the word refers to a few specific types of political criminals. There are other words for other types (tyrant, death squad, racist, etc.).

Do you honestly think I was defending the KKK or MAD? If you disagree with my word choice then fine, but don't attribute things to me I didn't say.
 
  • #20
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No, A terrorist is someone who performs violent acts with the concious intent of causing fear in other members of the same group they are performing violent acts against. In Al Quaedas Case, they're targetting americans, Saddam was targetting Kurds and KKK were targetting blacks, (I don't know much about the KKK so im not sure about this one) its still terrorism.
 
  • #21
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Plover
no I think your defending states
as in, terrorists are ONLY small groups of mad bombers
whos ideals we donot like

and I am saying terror is a wide spread tool used by many groups
sometimes with good intent
still terror
even when , and it all to often is, used to support freedom and or justice

example most laws, even good just laws, use terror, state terror
to inforce compliance
nessary sure, but does that mean we should build ever more terror
into the system or try to limit its use
 
  • #22
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Nice poem ray.
When states use ''terror" , its called war. Thats what the rest of the world calls it anyway and i suggest we stick to that.
 
  • #23
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Nice way to dodge responsbility for terrorism, that. If a state does it, we don't call it terrorism. Simple. No need for rationalisation or anything.

Pathetic.
 
  • #24
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Stop the ad hominems Adam. Youre seeing things which arent there.
War is in many ways a much more horrible thing than terrorism, spanning over a much longer period of time and completely changing cultures or societies.
I suggest we go back to using common sense for deciding what is and what isnt terrorism.
 
  • #25
plover
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ray b said:
Plover
no I think your defending states
as in, terrorists are ONLY small groups of mad bombers
whos ideals we donot like

and I am saying terror is a wide spread tool used by many groups
sometimes with good intent
still terror
even when , and it all to often is, used to support freedom and or justice

example most laws, even good just laws, use terror, state terror
to inforce compliance
nessary sure, but does that mean we should build ever more terror
into the system or try to limit its use
The way you are defining 'terror' in this post seems to be more or less identical to the way I was defining 'terror tactics' in my definition. On one level, all I'm arguing is that common English usage gives a narrower meaning to the words 'terrorist' and 'terrorism' than it does to the words 'terror', 'terrify', or 'terrorize'—this is no different from distinguishing all these words from the modern meaning of 'terrific', which also comes from the same origin.

I have no idea why you think I'm "defending states". Calling the actions of a suicide bomber 'terrorism', while calling Saddam's gassing of the Kurds 'state-run ethnic slaughter' isn't giving any legitimacy to either action.

I also never said anything about people "whose ideals we do not like". I expect there are terrorists whose ideals I might like just fine, that doesn't mean I won't condemn their terror tactics.

I don't see much of anything to disagree with in the last two sections of your post.
 

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