don't you think it has something to do with the target of the violence. Civilian versus military targets. With attacks against targets of military value or with military functions versus attacks against primarily non combatant civilian targets. I acknowledge the difficulty in discerning the two and borderline areas but in many cases the targets are clearly non military and the goal is to induce terror in the civilian population.
Washington was a freedom fighter, not a terrorist...
Do you seriously think that?
I think the last post does show that it is a matter of perspective. For those colonists who wished to remain British subjects , Washington was a rebel and a terrorist. The means and the reasons for rebellion should be considered and those who rebel should be judged by history for their real value. Why should we see thanks , on this thread, for supporting one view over another, its a bit silly. I'm not condemning Washington Im making an observation.
Washington was a rebel, all right. But unless all that is said about him is wrong, he certainly was not a terrorist. He did not intentionally target innocent people to terrorize the non-military population. So why would he be a terrorist? What those who did not like him called him, or considered him, is not here or there. The question is whether he was a terrorist, not what he was considered or called. (Of course, the term, "terrorism" was not, I think, even in use then).
When you consider many colonists had to move themselves to Canada, where they encouraged or terrorised. Does it matter if the term was relevant then? What if a civilian had opposed his action , would he have been classified as a combatant?
What is terrorism? Most of the responses so far would have you believe it's idealism in action -- Islamic famaticism, freedom fighters, and the like. Let's get realistic.
A few terrorist leaders are educated and middle class. They are capable of holding the idealogical beliefs that engrosses this forum. But the foot soldiers, those actually doing all the damage in Iraq , Afghanistan, and elsewhere are almost entirely illiterate, jobless, and drawn to violence by a desperate attempt to ease their wrenching poverty.
The answer to this kind of terrorism is to provide economic opportunity to these pitiful "enemies".
I agree. Yes, the means the terrorists use to their ends are deplorable. But those poor ragged creatures comprising the bulk of terrorism have no other means, no good means, to their ends. What do you expect you would do if you were they? Would you quietly resign to your fate and slowly expire, or would you grab the only means left to you, namely violence?
We need to help those "enemies" to have some good means at hand.
You mean that we should give them nuclear bombs, and missiles to deliver them? By the way, why did you place quotes around the word, enemies? You don't think that trying to kill us makes them enemies. Who would you consider an enemy if not someone who was trying to kill you?
Please reread what I said. Then you will realize I stipulated that the means should be good means. I think we agree that bombs and missiles are not good means.
I placed the quotes around the word "enemies" because I distrust that word. All too often it promotes and excuses the very thing you have brought up and are against - the employment, the premature employment, of bad means.
You and I can go on in this black and white mode, looking for gotchas. Or we can face up to the fact that everything we know is relative and nothing is absolute. I don't know enough to go around idealistically preaching 100% peace tactics. You don't know enough to go around preaching 100% violence and no reconciliation.
We are mutually ignorant. Let's play it safe and meet in the middle. Let's make sure we try every good means we can to resolve these conflicts. Then, if our best efforts fail, let's take whatever means are feasible, including violence, to protect ourselves. What do you think?
PS Just think, with this difference behind us, we could move on to argue over what does and does not constitute sufficient employment of good means. That would be a juicy topic.
I really don't know what it means to say that whatever we know is relative and not absolute, so I'll just pass on that. But there are, it seems to me some things that are black and white, and some that are not. The pathetic excuse that the poor terrorist has to resort to terror because he is so-well, poor, does not move me. It sounds too much like the rapist who excuses his rape of a child because he cannot get any woman to have sex with him. It is really not an excuse to do something evil because you cannot accomplish what you want in any other way. It is surprising, even shocking, that people would give this kind of thing a serious hearing.
I don't know what good means we could give the terrorist to accomplish his goal of murdering people who do not conform to his beliefs. Do you?