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Do you believe in terrorism?

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  • Do you believe in terrorism?

    Here are ten questions that I came across a few years ago that will make you think about how you REALLY feel about terrorism.

    What is terrorism?

    1. Does it matter if the victims are soldiers or civilians?
    2. Does it matter if the act happen on military or public areas?
    3. Does it matter if it happens during war or peacetime?
    4. Does it matter if the act is performed for a good cause?
    5. How do you define a good cause?
    6. Does it matter if those responsible for the attacks are oppressed on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity?
    7. Can governments perform acts of terror or only non-government groups?
    8. Does the threat of attack qualify as 'terrorism' or must the attack actually take place?
    9. What are the differences between acts of war and acts of terrorism?
    10. Is an act which meets your definition of terrorism ever morally justifiable?




    My answers

    1) Yes, terrorism must involve civilians or off-duty soldiers.
    2) No, if the act is directed at on-duty military personnel in areas that are devoid of civilians, then the act can not be considered terrorism.
    3) No
    4) No, because “good cause” is in the eye of the beholder.
    5) See answer #4.
    6) No
    7) Yes, F-15's are just as deadly as suicide bombers. Dead is dead.
    8) The act must take place.
    9) In war, the goal is to diminish your enemy's war-making capability. Therefore, the target must be a military target or military-related infrastructure, such as a bomb factory. However, with terrorism the goal is to intimidate, coerce or break the will of a government or a political movement.
    10) Absolutely
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  • #2
    Of course terrorism is NEVER morally right, because the the word means 'creating terror', as opposed to 'fighting a wrong' (as perceived by the doer). Righteous revolutions or insurgencies should never resort to terrorism, which perforce involves innocent civilians (soldiers cannot be terrorized - imminent death is pretty much horrible enough).

    [notice that dropping the A-bomb was indeed terrorism, which paradoxically was the most expedious way to end WW2]

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Marlow
      Of course terrorism is NEVER morally right, because the the word means 'creating terror', as opposed to 'fighting a wrong' (as perceived by the doer). Righteous revolutions or insurgencies should never resort to terrorism, which perforce involves innocent civilians (soldiers cannot be terrorized - imminent death is pretty much horrible enough).

      [notice that dropping the A-bomb was indeed terrorism, which paradoxically was the most expedious way to end WW2]
      Most people I've discussed this with, struggle to maintain their consistency and usually end up contradicting themselves. A few years ago, I heard a motivational speaker say something profound that I'll never forget: You never compromise your true moral principles. You only find out what they are.

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      • #4
        Can you be a terrorist in war time? I'd say that makes the definition a little too broad.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jazzcyclist
          You never compromise your true moral principles. You only find out what they are.
          Excellent - I'm using that in class.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Marlow
            Originally posted by jazzcyclist
            You never compromise your true moral principles. You only find out what they are.
            Excellent - I'm using that in class.
            I thought you taught English?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Daisy
              Can you be a terrorist in war time? I'd say that makes the definition a little too broad.
              My answer to question #3 is "no", which means that my answer to your question is "yes".

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                Originally posted by Daisy
                Can you be a terrorist in war time? I'd say that makes the definition a little too broad.
                My answer to question #3 is "no", which means that my answer to your question is "yes".
                I noted your answer which is why I asked. Who are the terrorists? The invaders or the resistance? Maybe both? I can agree that war involves terror.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Daisy
                  Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                  Originally posted by Daisy
                  Can you be a terrorist in war time? I'd say that makes the definition a little too broad.
                  My answer to question #3 is "no", which means that my answer to your question is "yes".
                  I noted your answer which is why I asked. Who are the terrorists? The invaders or the resistance? Maybe both? I can agree that war involves terror.
                  We invaded Iraq. We're still at war with Iraq. However, if some member of the Iraqi resistance detonated a bomb at the capital building in Washington D.C., I would call it terrorism. But that's just me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Daisy
                    Originally posted by Marlow
                    Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                    You never compromise your true moral principles. You only find out what they are.
                    Excellent - I'm using that in class.
                    I thought you taught English?
                    ??!! The subject of that quote CONSTANTLY comes up in our studies!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Marlow
                      ??!! The subject of that quote CONSTANTLY comes up in our studies!
                      I'm pulling your leg. But it does sound more like philosophy. I guess it all depends which book you're assigning. Where do you draw the line between an English class and a civics/religion/politics/philosophy class?

                      Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                      We invaded Iraq. We're still at war with Iraq. However, if some member of the Iraqi resistance detonated a bomb at the capital building in Washington D.C., I would call it terrorism. But that's just me.
                      Are we at war with or an occupying force in Iraq? I'm assuming officially not, despite the press. So I agree that would be terrorism.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Daisy
                        Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                        We invaded Iraq. We're still at war with Iraq. However, if some member of the Iraqi resistance detonated a bomb at the capital building in Washington D.C., I would call it terrorism. But that's just me.
                        Are we at war with or an occupying force in Iraq? I'm assuming officially not, despite the press. So I agree that would be terrorism.
                        Officially, France was no longer at war with Germany once the Nazi's cut a deal with the Vichy government, and therefore the German troops were no longer an occupying force. This would mean that the Maquis were terrorists by your reasoning. Also, officially the Israelis are an occupying force in the Palestinian territories, which would mean that Hamas is not a terrorist organization by the same reasoning. I guess it all depends on what you call an occupying force. The U.S. is an occupation force in Iraq and Afghanistan, IMO.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                          Palestinian territories, which would mean that Hamas is not a terrorist organization by the same reasoning. I guess it all depends on what you call an occupying force. The U.S. is an occupation force in Iraq and Afghanistan, IMO.
                          I agree it is all very murky.

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                          • #14
                            The key to this is the qualification "that meets your definition of terrorism."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lonewolf
                              The key to this is the qualification "that meets your definition of terrorism."
                              Bingo! But you must also be willing to apply your own definition consistently.

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