What is terrorism?

  • #1
138
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Webster: terrorism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

But http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism [Broken] gives a overview. Quite interesting. Some extracts:

1. Although the exact meaning of the term is disputed, it is commonly held that the distinctive nature of terrorism lies in its deliberate and specific selection of civilians as targets, a choice designed to attract wide publicity and cause extreme levels of public shock, outrage and fear. Terrorists believe these conditions will help to bring about the political or religious changes that they seek.

2. In the current post-9-11 context, many contend that the word terrorist is overly politicized; they argue that it is used not a reference to a behaviour, but rather as a label to demonize an enemy in terms that convey moral repulsion and outrage. This process of demonization of an enemy is normal in wartime and serves to solidify public opinion:George W. Bush of the USA, for example, routinely describes "the terrorists" as being "evil" and "without conscience".

What's your idea?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
selfAdjoint
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
6,786
5
I think that terrorism - in the sense of political violence specifically directed against random civilians - is evil wherever it is found, and I think that politicians that condone terrorism are scum. That include Sinn Fein and the PLO. Any justice that their causes may have, pales in the filthy glare of their atrocities.
 
  • #3
138
0
Originally posted by selfAdjoint
I think that terrorism - in the sense of political violence specifically directed against random civilians - is evil wherever it is found
I agree, of course. Killing a human is never justified. For a terrorist organization a random human life has no value, but a death body has value.

The word 'evil' has although also a religious connotation, in the sense of devilish. It is often used by politicians in the double sense (ie. US -> Iran -> US) to include God into the debate/message, as if God is on their side.

Maybe we can analyze this: Is hitting 'random civilians" the prime motive?
Maybe in cases like a bus-blast - killing as much innocent lives as possible - the real political target is:
1. Sending the message to be able to hit wherever and when they want
2. Destabilize the local society and the economic process
3. Create 'existential' fear in the population
4. Create 'confidence' to the own group
5. Destroy peaceful solutions
6. Feed hate

Originally posted by selfAdjoint
I think that politicians that condone terrorism are scum.
I think there are not too much.
Looking for 'reasons' why terrorism started is different from condone.
I think understanding logically the 'motives' why people become a terrorist is solving basically the problem, because then you can try to handle that structurally. When you can reduce or take away the motives - and you offer a solution for his problem - he wont destroy himself anymore.
So that's also part of a war against terror.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
Mentor
19,247
5,246
Its not an easy word to define, but the definitions you posted are pretty good. And I agree that its overused.
 
  • #5
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Greetings !

A terrorist is a person who murders civilians on purpose,
a person who is not part of a recognized military
force of a country, and a person who hides among
the civilian population and uses it as human shields.

I do not see why is the term in any way overused.
Terrorists world-wide are responsible for phousands
of deaths since the last millenium even not considering
the amount of casualties of 9/11.

Muslim fundumentalists are responisble for a lot over 90%
of the terrorist actions and casualties on the globe.

The many people who support these actions in various ways
and partcipate in cheerful rallies when they see many
casualties in yet another attack are abviously pschologicly
sick and should receive serious phsycological help and education.

The world is grey, pelastration, but the edges are a clear
black & white. War is bad, but justice is a necessaty.

Peace and long life.
 
  • #6
363
0
I agree pretty much so far, but want to clarify something: when pelastration used the word 'killing' in the second sentence of his second post, he is technically not correct. Murdering a human is causing unjust death to a human. Killing is causing a just death to a human, like killing in self-defense. Many do not see this subtle difference, using them interchangably, and I bring it up whenever relevant. (Notice: the Bible actually says 'Thou shalt not Murder'.)

http://www.m-w.com (Merriam-Webster) says:
Kill:
(intransitive)
1. to deprive one of life

Murder:
(noun)
1. the crime of unlawfully killing a person esp. with malice aforethought
(verb)
1. to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice
 
Last edited:
  • #7
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Greetings !

BTW, the bible also says (I don't remember the exact words):
"That who rizes to kill you, rize to kill him first."

I'm an atheist though.

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #8
Njorl
Science Advisor
258
10
I think people are a bit quick to judge terrorism. I know it is not popular these days, but I believe there have been times when it was justified.

First case, before the independence of The Republic of Ireland:
The English defeated the Irish in war and siezed their land. They inflicted oppressive policies upon them. Open rebllion and civil war was crushed. Guerrilla war was crushed. English economic policies led to widespread starvation of hundreds of thousands. The only alternatives left to the Irish were to submit to near extinction, or terrorism. Terror directed against the occupiers was ineffective. Irish agents then struck various English targets around the world - diplomatic and business officials. The loss of these people was not deemed worth the continued occupation of Ireland. While the English made a show of giving into lobbying and legislative efforts, it was terrorism that freed Southern Ireland from repression.

By 1970 the world had essentially decided to turn a blind eye to Israeli occupation of the west bank. There were UN resolutions, and symbolic protests, but settlement of Palestinian lands by Israelis was moving at an unimpeded rate. The world essentially wanted the Palestinians to accept their fate and disappear. The Palestinians were no match for the Israelis milatarily. Even with many allies, they failed at open war. Their efforts at guerilla war were dismal and hopeless. Even terrorism targetted upon the Israelis was ineffective. The Palestinians then turned to international terrorism - attacking the Vienna and Athens airports, hijacking planes and the attack on the 1972 Olympic games. The world paid attention, and pressured Israel. Settlements actually became an issue and slowed down. Without terrorism, it is inconceivable that Israel would bother negotiating with the Palestinians at all.

I agree that terrorism is awful, but can you ask an oppressed people to refrain from using the only possible means of providing for their continued existance? The problem is, terrorism has been demonstrated to be very successful. Now, those who do not need to use it, use it anyway, because it is easier and more effective than other means. Al Qaeda does not need to use terrorism to gain its objectives. Even if they did, none of their objectives warrants the use of terror. The Palestinians no longer need to use terrorism to gain what they want. In fact, the use of terror makes their goals more difficult to attain.

Njorl
 
  • #9
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Originally posted by Njorl
Al Qaeda does not need to use terrorism to gain
its objectives. Even if they did, none of their
objectives warrants the use of terror.
I'm not sure what you mean. What do you think
their objectives are then ?
As far as I know it is to turn the whole world
into one big Muslim nation. I do not see how
they could gain this objective without the use
of force.
Am I missing something about them ?

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #10
Originally posted by drag
I'm not sure what you mean. What do you think
their objectives are then ?
As far as I know it is to turn the whole world
into one big Muslim nation. I do not see how
they could gain this objective without the use
of force.
Am I missing something about them ?

Live long and prosper.
Drag, you've made plenty of anti-semitic comments on these boards before. It comes as no surprise that you claim all of the thousands of deaths due to terrorism come from muslims. You make no mention of who many thousands of muslim civilians who were murdered in Kosovo in the name of ethnic cleansing. Or of the thousands of civilans murdered in Iraq by US forces, people that were patently falsely accused of terrorism, because they were muslim, but hat absolutely nothing to do with terrorism. I am further not the least bit surprised by your ridiculous allegation that muslims want to take over the world.
 
  • #11
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Greetings !
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
Drag, you've made plenty of anti-semitic comments on these boards before. It comes as no surprise that you claim all of the thousands of deaths due to terrorism come from muslims.
I would be happy to hear you quote me saying anything
unjustified and racial so that I could correct myself.
I believe in democracy and personal freedom as it is
defined today, as the best currently known ways for human
societies to exist. One thing these societies do not accept
is people who want to kill other people, though they ussualy
won't act against them unless they're activly persuing their
goals. Thus if you've mistaken something I said for racism you
should realize that it is not - it is a discription of the
existing situation and it is relevant because these views are
not acceptable and abnormal, even in a democratic society.

I do not hate other people, I do not want to kill other people
or for them to be killed. I do hate their ideas - because these
ideas include murder and thus unacceptable - and that's why
I support changes in this situation which will change
these ideas to acceptable ones - no matter how contrary
to my opinion they may be - but acceptable and thus relevant.
And if someone actually tries to kill me(and they certainly
had a few times), you can rest assured I'll defend myself.
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
It comes as no surprise that you claim all of the thousands of deaths due to terrorism come from muslims.
Muslim fundumentalists are the majority of the terrorists
on the globe today. What's wrong about that ?
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
You make no mention of who many thousands of muslim civilians who were murdered in Kosovo in the name of ethnic cleansing.
These are acts of genocide by an army not a terrorist
organization. Which is by the way even worse, in my opinion,
and is a war crime that must be prevented.
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
Or of the thousands of civilans murdered in Iraq by US forces, people that were patently falsely accused of terrorism, because they were muslim, but hat absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.
I think you should watch your posts too, just to be fair
to yourself. :wink:
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
I am further not the least bit surprised by your ridiculous allegation that muslims want to take over the world.
I'd love my quote on that. Thanks ahead. :wink:

Peace and long life.
 
  • #12
"As far as I know it is to turn the whole world
into one big Muslim nation."

As for your other antisemitic comments, they're lttered about these boards. The one that comes to mind is, paraphrasing, how muslims around the world should be hunted down and exterminated.
 
  • #13
Njorl
Science Advisor
258
10
Al Qaeda's nominal motive in attacking the US was to force US troops out of Saudi Arabia. I imagine that there are quite a few members of AQ that would not be satisfied with that, and others who hate America, and still others who are sadistic and would enjoy killing just about anybody. But without that central goal, they would not be nearly as unified.

The broadest interpretation of Al Qaeda's goals that I have heard is the elimination of western influence from all Muslim nations. I have never heard anyone reputable claim they were trying to take over the world. I don't think even that more limited goal is mandated by those they claim to represent and I certainly don't think terrorism is a reasonable way to pursue that goal.

Njorl
 
  • #14
138
0
Originally posted by Njorl
I think people are a bit quick to judge terrorism. I know it is not popular these days, but I believe there have been times when it was justified.
Good analysis Njorl. Appreciate you look for 'motives' that explain why such violent re-actions can happen.
 
  • #15
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
"As far as I know it is to turn the whole world
into one big Muslim nation."
Whoah... Saying Al-Qaeda (of which I was talking, as
is clearly mentioned in the quote to which I responded)
means all Muslims - now that's racism man.

Keep'em coming, my racist comments that is...

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #16
138
0
Originally posted by Njorl
Al Qaeda's nominal motive in attacking the US was to force US troops out of Saudi Arabia. ... the elimination of western influence from all Muslim nations.
Correct.
The basic religious idea is that western culture is decadent (porn, alcohol, drugs, material values, imperialistic, ...). Mix that with the 'occupation' of the 'holy country and Mekka' extremist motives can inflate when put in a easy to understand marketing package. On AQ: these are 'educated' mid-classers.
 
  • #17
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Originally posted by Njorl
The broadest interpretation of Al Qaeda's goals that I have heard is the elimination of western influence from all Muslim nations. I have never heard anyone reputable claim they were trying to take over the world. I don't think even that more limited goal is mandated by those they claim to represent and I certainly don't think terrorism is a reasonable way to pursue that goal.
Well, I can't say I carefully listened to that crap.
But, I believe it was something about "striking the
decadent west with the sword of Allah" and stuff.
And the same crap during the other major attacks
before and after 9/11.
 
  • #18
russ_watters
Mentor
19,247
5,246
Originally posted by Chemicalsuperfreak
"As far as I know it is to turn the whole world
into one big Muslim nation."
Have you read ANYTHING that Bin Laden has said? That is among other things, one of his stated goals. Its a little confusing though - it seems he can't decide whether he wants to convert everyone on earth to Islam or just kill everyone who isn't Muslim. He's said both.

Further, it remains the stated goal of those in charge of the "Palestinians" to do the same on a smaller scale: they mostly just want to exterminate all the Jews in Israel.

And if you want to argue that thats only a few extremists, feel free: but when the insane run the asylum, it gets hard to tell the difference. The terrorists are the ones in charge. And quite frankly, that means it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks. If they won't stand up and overthrow their leaders, they are complicit.
You make no mention of who many thousands of muslim civilians who were murdered in Kosovo in the name of ethnic cleansing.
Interesting you should bring that up. Who fixed that situation by the way? (Hint: starts with a "U" and ends with an "S"). So clearly the vision you espouse of a racist america doesn't fit. We fight on behalf of the oppressed - whoever they are.
 
Last edited:
  • #19
363
0
Their stated goal, and I remember this quite explicitly because I have heard them say it themselves many times, is to eventually convert by force all the world, and those who don't submit are murdered. Keep in mind that we let them get away with a lot before they attacked us, because we are not the worlds watchdog. You see what that got us? If people like Zero would shut up, we could bypass the wishy-washy UN who won't enforce their own rules and could have captured and tried these terrorists long ago. The most efficient method to reduce causalties is a preemptive strike.
There has been so much activity here that I'm a little lost..um..I think chemicaletc. said that American troops have murdered thousanda of innocent Iraqis. That is rediculus, I have not heard of a single causalty to a civilian on purpose. In fact it wasn't rare that they didn't even kill soldiers, so why would they kill civilians? BTW, they didn't kill some soldiers because those soldiers surrendered or were captured.
So far I think that drag is guilty of sloppy use of language that is so easy to interpret many ways that most of this disscussion is irrevelant. It also has nothing to do with the topic.
 
  • #20
138
0
Originally posted by Jonathan
... a preemptive strike.
Do you understand what this means on street level? Kill all because we have all indications that they might do this or that ... !
So when someone in your street would (just) 'think' that you are a comm or a lunatic, a dirty Neverlander or whatever ... he gives himself the right to 'eliminate' you! ... to prevent you to do 'bad' things!

Is that the world to live in ...?
 
  • #21
363
0
Of course not you fool! One doesn't go around doing preemtive strikes based on wims and illusions! Use some common sense!
 
  • #22
138
0
Originally posted by Jonathan
Of course not you fool!
Thank you.
BTW Genius, it's "preemptive strikes or pre-emptive strikes" not "preemtive strikes".

Originally posted by Jonathan
One doesn't go around doing preemtive strikes based on wims and illusions!
We saw that indeed the Iraq wars was based on 'wims and illusions'. There are examples enough.

Originally posted by Jonathan
Use some common sense!
Is this an argument or an emotion? Maybe you explain me what 'common sense' is in your opinion. Has it some thing to do with South Park, Mickey Mouse or Superman or ... GI Joe?

http://www.fpif.org/students/firstmonday2002/factsheet2.html [Broken]


1. What is Bush's "pre-emptive strike" policy?
On June 1, in his West Point speech, President Bush declared that the U.S. would not wait for the next terrorist threat to emerge: the U.S. will strike first. Bush officials have repeatedly signaled that Iraq--even without proven links to Al Qaeda or the 9.11 attacks--will be the first target under the new pre-emptive strike doctrine.

2. What is Bush's "regime change" policy?
After 9.11, Bush officials proclaimed the U.S.' right to topple governments and remove leaders in order to counter terrorism. Initially, the U.S. had international support for its war to oust the Taliban (and hunt down Al Qaeda) in Afghanistan. Since then, and despite near-universal world opposition, Bush officials have vowed to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and demanded that the Palestinian people remove their leader Yassar Arafat. Neither leader has been linked to the 9.11 terrorist attacks.

3. Are "pre-emptive strikes" and "regime change" legal under international law?
No. Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter clearly states that member nations "shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” Article 51 of the Charter outlines the terms under which a member state may use force in self-defense. That Article states that, if attacked, a nation has an "inherent right to individual or collective self-defense," but only until the Security Council can meet and decide what to do. The Charter does not allow military force to be used absent an armed attack having occurred. In addition, the UN resolution granting the U.S. the right to use force in response to 9.11 does not authorize "pre-emptive strike" or "regime change" measures.

4. Has a "pre-emptive strike" ever been used before?
The clearest example was Israel's 1981 unilateral bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak. The UN Security Council passed a resolution unanimously condemning the Israeli attack. Even the U.S., which usually sides with Israel, supported this resolution. The UN argued that if pre-emptive strike were accepted as legal, any state could attack another under the pretext that it detected a threat.

5. When has "regime change" been used?
The CIA has, of course, covertly engineered coups--"regime change"-- against democratically elected leaders, including in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Chile (1973), and elsewhere. For decades, the CIA repeatedly tried to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro. However, in the mid-1970s, amid scandals, Congress explicitly banned assassinations. After the 9.11 terrorist attacks, Bush granted over $1billion in new CIA funds for covert action, and has publicly announced as a foreign policy objective the goal of unseating Saddam Hussein from power.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #23
363
0
Darn it! I had a good long reply but the computer logged me off! Well, I'll try to sum up what I said quickly:
-The Iraq war was not based on wims and illusions. Saddam himself claimed he had WMD's, why would one question him that make threats against you?
-common sense is hard to explain, but I know a lack of it when I see it. BTW, I should have added smilies to that, post, I don't want you to take that the wrong way; sorry.
-most of the last part of my response to the last parts of you response can be summed up by the fact that it is not the US gov't's job to do what the international community thinks is right, it is to do what it thinks is necessary to to protect and serve the American public. Such is the case with all gov't's and their respective publics.
-I had answers to all the particular points you mentioned, but I don't want to risk wasting my time, since the computer could do it again at any time.
 
  • #24
138
0
Originally posted by Jonathan
Darn it! I had a good long reply but the computer logged me off! Well, I'll try to sum up what I said quickly:
-The Iraq war was not based on wims and illusions. Saddam himself claimed he had WMD's, why would one question him that make threats against you?
-common sense is hard to explain, but I know a lack of it when I see it. BTW, I should have added smilies to that, post, I don't want you to take that the wrong way; sorry.
-most of the last part of my response to the last parts of you response can be summed up by the fact that it is not the US gov't's job to do what the international community thinks is right, it is to do what it thinks is necessary to to protect and serve the American public. Such is the case with all gov't's and their respective publics.
-I had answers to all the particular points you mentioned, but I don't want to risk wasting my time, since the computer could do it again at any time.
1. wims and illusions : there is plenty of evidence. If Saddam had WMD's Israel would have reacted by strikes like they did before. Mossad works better than CIA.
2. Your definition of common sense seems to me: Jonathan's perception ("I know a lack of it when I see it").
3. It is not the US gov't's job to do what the international community should do, neither to press like a dictator it's idea's on international community.
4. Your computer: Prepare first your answer on a word doc ... and then paste the answer inside the posting frame. I am not impressed by: "I had answers to all the particular points you mentioned, but I don't want to risk wasting my time, since the computer could do it again at any time."
 

Related Threads for: What is terrorism?

  • Last Post
4
Replies
84
Views
8K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
31
Views
5K
  • Last Post
5
Replies
100
Views
6K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
39
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
18
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
11
Views
2K
Top