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Author Topic: What defines a "terrorist?"  (Read 2482 times)

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Offline vtboy

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2013, 10:01:14 AM »
What qualifies as "terrorism" is a semantic and emotionally freighted question which only obscures the more important inquiries of whether, and under what circumstances, we are willing to tolerate acts of warfare which, either by design or as unavoidable consequence, will inflict death and suffering on what are generally termed "civilians". I doubt a war has ever been fought in which the combatants have assigned a higher priority to avoidance of likely civilian carnage than to attaining their war aims. The analysis is complicated by the fact that warfare can rarely be conducted with much effect in the absence of a significant, supportive civilian population. One might even ask whether there is much of a moral distinction to be drawn between combatants, on the one hand, and civilians who put war governments in power, manufacture armaments, feed armies, harbor suicide bombers, etc.

Ultimately, it is only the old question of ends and means, with the balance weighed by the victor.

Offline alextaylor

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2013, 10:40:32 AM »
You'll never find a general answer to this. I like what philosophy has to say about terms - make sure you agree on the same definition with the person you're discussing it with, before you begin discussion. The philosopher Mortimer Adler said that social science books are deceptively difficult to read because of this... you think you know what words like "economic growth", "quality of life", and "terrorism" mean, but there are too many people who use those definitions in very different ways that you can't actually compare two books on the same subject without 'translating' those terms.


Under the 'killing civilians' term, a lot of people can justify collateral damage as terrorism, which makes the USA the biggest terrorist during the War on Terror. You can define it as unconventional warfare, which is where the terms freedom fighter and terrorist often overlap.


Offline Shjade

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2013, 08:13:50 PM »

No, but sometimes terrorism, state terror bombing, random acts of reprisal or the like are used under the banner of fighting for freedom.

Freedom fighters might employ terrorism to achieve their goals, or they might not.

Yes, I covered that.

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2013, 08:25:30 PM »
CAN I SAY SOMETHING?

Guys, I'm in awe. I've had political debate after political debate on every forum known to the internet...and it's here, me, a newcomer to Elliquiy, finds the most open, honest and civilised discussion on a fairly controversial subject I have ever seen in my life.

Thank you, guys. I wanted to just express how in awe I am of each and every one of you. The art of civilised conversation on political topics ISN'T, after all, entirely dead...even if it's just been relegated to our dark little corner of the internet.

Thank you all for restoring my faith in humanity :D

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2013, 08:44:18 PM »
CAN I SAY SOMETHING?

Guys, I'm in awe. I've had political debate after political debate on every forum known to the internet...and it's here, me, a newcomer to Elliquiy, finds the most open, honest and civilised discussion on a fairly controversial subject I have ever seen in my life.

Thank you, guys. I wanted to just express how in awe I am of each and every one of you. The art of civilised conversation on political topics ISN'T, after all, entirely dead...even if it's just been relegated to our dark little corner of the internet.

Thank you all for restoring my faith in humanity :D

You got us on a good week. :D

We've had some real nasty donnybrooks with enforced time outs, castration of posters and the whole nine yars.

Online Oniya

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Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2013, 08:46:09 PM »
You got us on a good week. :D

We've had some real nasty donnybrooks with enforced time outs, castration of posters and the whole nine yars.

Week?  *glances around*  Has it been that long already?  ;)

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2013, 08:47:44 PM »
You got us on a good week. :D

We've had some real nasty donnybrooks with enforced time outs, castration of posters and the whole nine yars.

As a Dubliner I resent the use of the word "donnybrook" to describe a fight. Donnybrook is where I got to college; one of our most affluent and beautiful areas in this Far City xD Hahaha

Why not call it a "Tallaght" or a "Clondalkin" or a "Falls Road"...Donnybrook...I've never understood that one :P hahaha

Online Oniya

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Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2013, 08:49:34 PM »
As a Dubliner I resent the use of the word "donnybrook" to describe a fight. Donnybrook is where I got to college; one of our most affluent and beautiful areas in this Far City xD Hahaha

Why not call it a "Tallaght" or a "Clondalkin" or a "Falls Road"...Donnybrook...I've never understood that one :P hahaha

Because there's no one better to have on your side of a fight, of course!  :D

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2013, 08:57:18 PM »
Because there's no one better to have on your side of a fight, of course!  :D

Nope, still don't buy it. See Dublin is split into the "Northside" (my side!) and the "Southside." Donnybrook is Southside :P

If you want backup in a fight, you need a NORTHSIDER watching your back :P hahaha

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2013, 08:58:39 PM »
As a Dubliner I resent the use of the word "donnybrook" to describe a fight. Donnybrook is where I got to college; one of our most affluent and beautiful areas in this Far City xD Hahaha

Why not call it a "Tallaght" or a "Clondalkin" or a "Falls Road"...Donnybrook...I've never understood that one :P hahaha

Cause if I say 'Newtowneforbes Soccer Match' you and I might be the only ones to recognize the inference..and I only know because it was on that field I got introduced to my first hurley stick.. right across the brow of my now crooked nose.

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2013, 09:01:08 PM »
Cause if I say 'Newtowneforbes Soccer Match' you and I might be the only ones to recognize the inference..and I only know because it was on that field I got introduced to my first hurley stick.. right across the brow of my now crooked nose.

The Gaelic Athletic Association was founded by officers of the Irish Republican Brotherhood as a means to recruit young men into the IRA without the British noticing.

Basically...yeah. Expect violence :D Hahaha

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2013, 09:23:08 PM »
I bet you knew this one already, Wolfy, I mean it sprang out of the woes that racked your country for a long time. One of the best songs ever on the subject, and a wonderful album.




"We draw a line, the ink is fear.
You stay that side, we'll stay here.
It's far harder to keep it up
than to tear it down."

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2013, 09:27:19 PM »
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

If you want a Rebel song, look no further. There's far too many fantastic ones to choose from from all eras of the conflict, but this is my personal favourite, about the 1916 Rising :)

(Have we gone horribly off topic here or that? xD )

Online Neysha

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2013, 11:00:29 PM »
Having witnessed the Moscow subway bombings from a bit too close, I'd say the definition of a terrorist is being Chechan.

Not all Chechens are terrorists. Some in fact are mobsters.

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Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2013, 02:28:32 AM »
Not all Chechens are terrorists. Some in fact are mobsters.

         I'm just going to make a leap and assume you mean that some violence is paid for locally, or "just business" in American crime movie speech.  Though it could probably be argued that a big part of that business is intimidation and holding onto power -- which may be the same as terrorism, depending on who you ask.

         Apart from that, I expect you'd find quite a few Chechens who aren't so interested in violence and want to live out their lives doing other things.  Unless you really mean to argue it's seriously just a land of barbarians with nothing on their minds but violence and intimidation. 

[Adds.]  Come to think of it, having met a couple nice enough, productive seeming Chechens in other places, nah...  I really wouldn't go there.  So I'm a little sour on this particular sub-convo, though maybe I should thank Dashenka more for that.
 
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 02:35:33 AM by kylie »

Offline Dashenka

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2013, 04:03:57 AM »
         I'm just going to make a leap and assume you mean that some violence is paid for locally, or "just business" in American crime movie speech.  Though it could probably be argued that a big part of that business is intimidation and holding onto power -- which may be the same as terrorism, depending on who you ask.

         Apart from that, I expect you'd find quite a few Chechens who aren't so interested in violence and want to live out their lives doing other things.  Unless you really mean to argue it's seriously just a land of barbarians with nothing on their minds but violence and intimidation. 

[Adds.]  Come to think of it, having met a couple nice enough, productive seeming Chechens in other places, nah...  I really wouldn't go there.  So I'm a little sour on this particular sub-convo, though maybe I should thank Dashenka more for that.
 

Then why don't these nice enough people stand up and condemn the violence? I bet you they also want Chechnya to be an independant nation. They might not agree with the way it's done but they certainly won't condemn it. Maybe if they live abroad they will, because they see that it's wrong. If your country/republic/organization uses violence to specifically and deliberately target innocent civilians, you are a terrorist and by accepting or not condemning such attacks, you are a terrorist as well in my eyes.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2013, 09:54:21 AM »
If your country/republic/organization uses violence to specifically and deliberately target innocent civilians, you are a terrorist and by accepting or not condemning such attacks, you are a terrorist as well in my eyes.

I suppose you'd agree that the post-Stalin Soviet Union was a terror state then? Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968 - at both of those times a government striving for democracy and the right to run  its own affairs, and its wide backing among ordinary people, was crushed in blood with ample use of armed forces and, after the victory, interrogation and crckdowns on those who had supported a regime that dared walk its own path and pay some attention to the people.

The capacity for terror of the actual Stalinist system, before 1953, looks so obvious that it would feel trite to point it out...the post-Stalin age is a bit more rewarding to discuss.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 09:58:47 AM by gaggedLouise »

Online Neysha

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2013, 09:55:07 AM »
Well it's likely probable that Dashenka has had interactions with Chechens before, only they've likely tended to be wholly negative if not mostly so. Which is standard. I've had similar interactions with certain sub groups of people which, while I know it's wrong, shades my expectations and opinions of said group in general. While I value growing up in a socially and ethnically diverse neighborhood and school, especially in how it equipped me with the tools to be able to tolerate and interact with others different then me, I do feel that the concept of diversification or multiculturalism to be something of a canard, if I'm using the term correctly.

When I went to university, I found people who grew up in communities often seperated to a degree from certain sub groups to be far more accepting to that groups culture and character and attitudes then one might find of a person who had interacted with them before oftentimes. There's no real point to this meandering post of mine I guess, but I'm trying to explore Dashenkas POV and wondering if it's anything close to what I'm saying.

Offline Dashenka

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #43 on: October 28, 2013, 10:48:54 AM »
I suppose you'd agree that the post-Stalin Soviet Union was a terror state then? Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968 - at both of those times a government striving for democracy and the right to run  its own affairs, and its wide backing among ordinary people, was crushed in blood with ample use of armed forces and, after the victory, interrogation and crckdowns on those who had supported a regime that dared walk its own path and pay some attention to the people.

The capacity for terror of the actual Stalinist system, before 1953, looks so obvious that it would feel trite to point it out...the post-Stalin age is a bit more rewarding to discuss.

I agree :)


Well it's likely probable that Dashenka has had interactions with Chechens before, only they've likely tended to be wholly negative if not mostly so. Which is standard. I've had similar interactions with certain sub groups of people which, while I know it's wrong, shades my expectations and opinions of said group in general. While I value growing up in a socially and ethnically diverse neighborhood and school, especially in how it equipped me with the tools to be able to tolerate and interact with others different then me, I do feel that the concept of diversification or multiculturalism to be something of a canard, if I'm using the term correctly.


Let me put it this way... Had I not been delayed by a few minutes I would have been on the train and not coming down the stairs when the subway bombs went off. That's all the interaction I need with Chechens thank you.

*refrains from commenting more and risk a ban*

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2013, 11:20:42 AM »

I can't imagine how traumatising that must have been for you, Dashenka :( My heart goes out to you.

At the same time, I think I should say, you know, the actions of one fringe element of society is no reason to paint an entire people in that light. Generalisation to such a degree is what leads to conflicts like Israel/Palestine or Northern Ireland, when innocent civilians are lumped in with the extremists hiding out in their midsts. You can't blame a Catholic baker if an IRA sniper kills a police officer, you know?

Offline Dashenka

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #45 on: October 28, 2013, 11:33:46 AM »
I can't imagine how traumatising that must have been for you, Dashenka :( My heart goes out to you.

At the same time, I think I should say, you know, the actions of one fringe element of society is no reason to paint an entire people in that light. Generalisation to such a degree is what leads to conflicts like Israel/Palestine or Northern Ireland, when innocent civilians are lumped in with the extremists hiding out in their midsts. You can't blame a Catholic baker if an IRA sniper kills a police officer, you know?

The Catholic baker would condemn the actions of the sniper.

Offline White WolfTopic starter

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #46 on: October 28, 2013, 11:45:17 AM »
The Catholic baker would condemn the actions of the sniper.

As, I'm sure, many Chechnyans have condemned the actions of Chechnyan separatists over the years.

Offline Dashenka

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #47 on: October 28, 2013, 11:48:06 AM »
As, I'm sure, many Chechnyans have condemned the actions of Chechnyan separatists over the years.

I'll believe that when I hear it.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #48 on: October 28, 2013, 11:55:00 AM »
The Catholic baker would condemn the actions of the sniper.

Perhaps. But remember that two things work within a community that has Terrorist/Freedom Fighters. One is fear, you speak out and you become a target. You don't get to hear about the dissenting baker whose home as burned or shop was robbed for speaking out. There are a lot of stories, for example, in the West Bank where Hammas supporters have attacked political rivals (and vice versa), thought it seems more towards the moderate voices than more violent (ie well armed) rivals. Someone said, and I can't recall whom for the life of me, something along the lines of 'a Terrorist' neighbor is usually among his worse victims, the share the blame for his actions and number among his victims if they speak out'. Those people don't usually make the news. Unless they are a 15 year old blogger who had a big footprint outside her province for example.
The second reason is they understand WHY those actions are taken. They too, have lost family to useless wars, the Police, or drone strikes. I knew guys who ran money for the IRA who carried pictures of family killed by the Other side or who were shot witch 'nonlethal rounds' and died. I've talked to Arabs who cast a much wider net over family than most of my friends. Common blood, history and shared oppression is a very strong cement.

Does it make a church bombing, gassing a train station or putting a grenade in an air terminal trash can right? No. But it can explain why the more moderate and rational elements don't speak up. Fear and empathy with why the terrorist does it. That is a reason I am against Drone Strikes. Lack of human intelligence and lax rules of engagement are creating a new generation of Terrorsts.

Online Neysha

Re: What defines a "terrorist?"
« Reply #49 on: October 28, 2013, 11:57:32 AM »
Being a vocal moderate can be a dangerous stance in contentious locales.