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So, what exactly is terrorism?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by palefrost, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

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    Currently, if you didn't know, there is no globally accepted definition of what terrorism is. Several proposals are listed on the UN's site here:

    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/terrorism_definitions.html

    The word "terrorist" sends societies into a state of panic. I do wonder what the outcome will be. It reminds me of the mass hysteria during the witch burnings in the middle ages. It could be very easy to misuse the term or using it so broadly that is covers all special interest groups

    I will copy and paste the options below:





    So its simple. What definition would you vote for? If you believe you have a better definition, choose Other and post your definition below.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Definition #1 is useless because it only includes acts directed at the State.

    Definition #2 is pretty accurate and is broader in that it includes acts not directed at the State. Unfortunately, it only includes "criminal" acts, which is a problem because different countries have different laws. Many heads of State would be exempt.

    Defnition #3 is too short and exclusive (Peacetime only) to be useful, and #4 is too long-winded and is more analysis than definition.

    I go with #2 if forced to choose.
     
  3. Brandon

    Brandon New Member

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    I will have to go with #2 as well. It is more inclusive (governments, civilians, soldiers, etc..). And #4 is longwinded!
     
  4. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Actually, the problem with #2 is that it doesn't necessarily include government officials. Many countries (the United States included) have laws that exclude public officials acting in an official capacity from legal liability if they break certain laws (terrorism, for example). Since there is no universally recognized international code of law, the definition of "criminal acts" is up in the air. It would presumably need to be a conglomeration of various nations' laws, which includes the provisions that cover politicians' asses. Acts that would otherwise be called terrorism, when committed by a government, are called aggressive foreign policy.
     
  5. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

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    After reading the options, #2 is about the closest, but it seems like a dangerous word to have to define. Of course, I understand that some of the definition will have to do with international courts and tribunals, but the whole act of terrorist acts (and there are many variables) make it incredibly hard to define easily.

    It's one of those 'dunno' situations for me ...just yet.
     
  6. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

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    As I mention before. I feel the term "terrorist" It is being misused. The term has been broadly used to cover all special interest groups. Its become the "catch all" phase.

    One example PETA, Green Peace, Right To Life groups etc Before I heard terms like “ extremist” but now I hear “domestic terrorists”. In fact homeland security has started files on such groups.

    Governments view:



    PETAs response:



    Can they be labeled as terrorist with the same treatment applied to them? What about any other special interest group that pops up like “People Against Republicans”? Lets say they hold demonstrations get vocal and openly protest. Could our government turn around and call them terrorist? I see the possibility to abuse and silence any opposing views if a clear term is not enforced.

    Id go with number 4 myself.
     
  7. OneofaKind

    OneofaKind New Member

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    I think the difficult in defining terrorism is linked to saying that "one man's terrorist is anothers freedom fighter".
     
  8. Word2Action

    Word2Action New Member

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    I think that this tries to make too many clear cut lines when its a grey world that we live in and like the person before me said, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
     
  9. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    I think this very fact makes it more imperative to use a suitable and less ambiguous definition of the word terrorism, which is meant to refer to a despicable and generally abhorred act. Actually, though, the definition is less important than the application.

    The looseness with which the word is currently used makes it easy for a politician or newsman to describe almost any act of violence as terrorism, and thus despicable in the specific way meant by that word. When the U.S. drops thousands of tons of bombs in a "shock and awe campaign", however, it is not described by the politicians or the press as terrorism, though it is the same kind of act. In this way it is implied to be "good" or "necessary" violence as opposed to the "bad" violence committed by terrorists. Iraqis launching military-style attacks on occupying soldiers, on the other hand, is often called terrorism, even though it is simply urban guerrilla war.

    This linguistic trick can be used to paint the picture of any event in a biased way.
     
  10. OneofaKind

    OneofaKind New Member

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    Though it is very long winded, if I had to vote I'd go for option 4.
     
  11. Furious George

    Furious George New Member

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    To me, Terrorism is any deliberate attack against an otherwise free, or peaceful establishment, for the sole cause of destruction, or something negative. Terrorism (As our media/president portrays it) is nothing but heresay. They find anyone who is different than them, and label it as 'Terrorism'. I do believe a lot of these so called 'Terrorist' organizations are capable of wrong-doing.
     
  12. sarah

    sarah New Member

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    I feel that I have to say something about this subject simply because I am a member of many Animal and human rights organizations including PETA. I am also a sympathizer of the Animal Liberation front. (It is important for me to say that I have never and will never conduct operations for such organizations.) Because both of these organizations have been accused of operating as terrorist factions, and I am a member and supporter of these supposed ‘terrorist groups’ I am forced to find some middle ground between terrorism and activism.
    I am not posting this in defense of PETA, as I do in part believe that some of their actions do fall under many classifications of terrorism.
    My own personal view on terrorism is quite simply action that defies the political/social/economic powers that be. And more importantly such groups can and in some circumstances will completely justify seemingly needles acts of violence, and destruction of life and/or property to accomplish the downfall of what they oppose.
    Because of my views on certain topics, I can (In PART) see how some social change dictates extreme action, but I am referring specifically to causes that do not involve the slaughtering of innocent people, animals, or any other living thing for ANY cause.
     
  13. Paula62

    Paula62 New Member

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    Personally, I've never really understood the point of war rules. War should be considered an unacceptable form of diplomacy. Period. On the other hand, defense is necessary, because there are always those - at every level of human interaction - who break the rules. To me, terrorism is merely a particular type of strategy, involving violence and force.
     
  14. Brandon

    Brandon New Member

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    Interesting angle.

    I will continue to call people who kill innocent civilians terrorists. At least when you have armies, you then have people volunteering to join (I joined the army in 2000, now discharged). It was the soldiers choice. They must accept the risk of death.
     
  15. Paula62

    Paula62 New Member

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    Not always the soldiers choice. In fact, I think choice is the exception.
     
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