Wow russ that's all pretty insulting I on the other hand would like to say I suspect you are not being deliberately obtuse.Wow, Art, it is breathtaking how badly you comprehend what I was saying (or are being silly or intentionally obtuse...). It's not that hard:
Intent is the difference between (in the reckless driving case) reckless endangerment or neglegent homicide and murder. 5 years in jail vs the electric chair (if you, say, intentionally ran someone over).
Similarly, if you drop a bomb that is clearly intended for a military target and take precautions to ensure it only destroys that military target, but by some accident it kills some civilians, it isn't terrorism. If you leave a bomb in a backpack at a cafe, that's terrorism. Even if they kill the same number of people. The difference is the intent.
Also, I think it was you who also mentioned destorying hospitals. Parking a tank under a tree in a residential neighborhood or putting a AAA battery on the roof of a hospital or a command center under it (Saddam did both) is a war crime for the person who located the weapons in a civilian area, not the person who destroyed them.
Speaking of intent, my intent with that quote you butchered and devil-fire's intent with his question was clear (clear enough, at least, that Hurkyl understood it ). Whether by accident or on purpose, Art, you really are just plain not getting these discussions. This stuff is not that hard and I have a hard time trying to figure out if you are doing this on purpose or not.
When the US take out a 'target' in a residential area because they 'think' there might be an enemy living there, saying they are not culpable for any resultant civilian deaths because there was no 'intent' to kill them does not exonerate them. There is such a thing as disproportionate force and as I've pointed out the doctrine of strict liability.
So having dismissed that red herring you raised and moving swiftly along, once it is understood that lack of intent or rather lack of ability to prove intent does not grant a licence to commit mass murder and mayhem many actions of the US gov't and it's forces fit quite comfortably into the definition of terrorism whereby overwhelming military force is used to coerce a civilian population to bend to it's will. You seem to be under the impression that if one side is bad the other side must therefore be good. Maybe they are both just equally bad. One of the reasons I've consistantly said I dislike the use of the label terrorist for any group is that it is far too subjective to be meaningful. Do some members of Hamas commit attrocities which could be called terrorism? - Yes. Have US forces committed attrocities that could be called terrorism? - Yes. Does this make all of Hamas terrorists or all of the US forces terrorists? No.
As an example the Iraq war kicked off with Bush authorising the bombing of a restaurant where Saddam was thought to be dining. He wasn't and the resultant explosion wiped out the staff and customers of the restaurant and killed many civilians in surrounding houses. Does this pass the test you posed?
Obviously it does not pass the test especially as the attack was made before the deadline given by Bush had expired and so there was no valid military target, there were no precautions taken to ensure only the 'target' was killed and the death of civilians was absolutely forseeable and so cannot be dismissed as accidental. So in your book was this a terrorist attack?if you drop a bomb that is clearly intended for a military target and take precautions to ensure it only destroys that military target, but by some accident it kills some civilians, it isn't terrorism.
Or how about during the recent Israeli-Lebanese conflict. Do you believe the Israelis were justified in totally destroying an apartment block in Beirut because they detected a Hezbollah member using the internet in a cafe at the ground level or was this an act of terrorism?
I think where you and I fundamentally differ is that you seem to hold an opinion that by labelling a group terrorist everything they then do is a terrorist act and anything you do to them and their supporters is justified in the 'war against terror' In contrast if a group is not labelled as terrorists then anything they do is by default okay.
I on the other hand do not see things so black and white as I'm more of the opinion the world is made up of shades of grey.
Rather than condemn an entire body as beyond the pale I believe it makes more sense to condemn specific acts and the perpetrators of those specific acts who should then be held personally accountable for those acts. This may seem at first an exercise in semantics but it is actually crucial. By declaring one's enemies to be terrorists one justifies the circumvention of the rules of war which can lead to some very nasty outcomes. The rules of war were developed over many years to minimise the impact of conflict on humanity and so any departure from them should not be undertaken lightly but unfortunately this seems to be the slippery slope we are on.
Declaring one's enemies terrorists is just another variation of the "Our cause is just" defence which is in itself a gross oversimplification of the complex issues at the heart of conflict and lends nothing to their resolution.
BTW It would help the discussion along if you made at least a small effort to keep your posts grounded in reality. How can you accuse me of butchering your comment when I quoted it verbatim? If in the light of me exposing it's fallaciousness you now wish to retract it, feel free but please do not try to weasel your way out by insulting me.
p.s. I'm curious. Is there a reason why when I direct a post to Hurkyl you answer me and when I direct a post to you Hurkyl answers me?
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