What is terrorism?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Roman, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Roman Banned Banned

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    I define terrorism as:

    "Non-government sanctioned violence targeting civilians."

    So Hiroshima- not terrorism.
    Pipe bombing cop cars (preferably with the pig still in it)- not terrorism.
    Bombing an Afghan wedding- not terrorism.
    Suicide bombing the USS Cole- not terrorism.
     
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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  5. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I question the "non-government sanctioned" disclaimer.
    I think governments can be guilty of terrorism.

    Violence targeting civilians/civilian facilities, in an effort to coerce through fear or destruction of civilain infrastructure.

    Essentially, terrorism is bullying a government/people through targeting its citizens.
     
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  7. Roman Banned Banned

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    I wouldn't call that terrorism, though. I'd call it business as usual.
     
  8. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    Georgie really should have called it: "The War, with some terror thrown in for a bit of shock and awe".
    Or: "The Awe of Terror", perhaps?
     
  9. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Regardless of whether it is business as usual, what gives any government a free pass on terrorism over other sovereign states?

    Terrorism is business as usual also.

    In war, warriors should target warriors - otherwise it is terrorism.
     
  10. Roman Banned Banned

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    But that's not terrorism. It's got the thumbs-up from the best country on earth. GO USA!!

    It's the difference between execution and murder. There isn't one.

    That's too normative.
    And makes it to be too broad a term- one to be practically useless. Most working definitions of terror are so vague as to be meaningless.

    An act to invoke terror?
    So Alfred Hitchcock was a terrorist?

    I guess if we want to label everything terrorism and genocide and then wank to how liberal we are, we could do that. But I was hoping for a little more... specificity in our language.
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed
     
  12. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    You're being ridiculous.

    I said, "In war, warriors should target warriors - otherwise it is terrorism."

    And you associated that with Hitchcock?
    YOU are being vague, not the definition.

    How is simply extending your definition to Governments/States making it too broad?

    It's a quite simple and clear statement, actually.

    Essentially, terrorism is bullying a government/people through targeting its citizens through acts of violence.
    In war, warriors should target warriors - otherwise it is terrorism.

    By making it too broad, it becomes meaningless, true.
    If I said any act to cause terror, that would be far too broad and include Hitchcock, but I said nothing of the sort.

    What purpose does narrowing it to not include state-sanctioned actions other than offer clemency for states and free reighn to target civilians?

    If Somalia had sent a plane to crash into the World Trade Center that would not be terrorism because Somalia is a soverign state?
    That's absurd.
     
  13. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    When has Hitchcock films been used as an act of violence against a government/people by targeting civilians?
     
  14. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    It's not absurd. That would be an act of war. We could then strike back and bomb Somalia back to the stone age (that is, if they're not there already). I like Roman's definition. The one I just gave in a different thread was:
    Acts of violence that:
    1. Target Civilians
    2. Are done in secret by people who try to blend in with the general population.
    When one nation attacks another nation, there is almost always some level of restraint involved because of the fear of retaliation. For instance, we treat the enemies prisoners well so that ours are also treated well. We don't use chemical weapons because we don't want them used on us. The US and USSR never launched their nukes for fear of retaliation.

    Terrorists, by virtue of remaining hidden, have no such qualms and feel free to commit unimaginable atrocities
     
  15. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    An act of war would be if they bombed a military target.
    Of course, an act of terrorim would be clear justification for declaring war.

    I ask you too.
    What would be the purpose of narrowing the definition to exempt Soverign States from acts of terrorism, other than to give them/us a blank chack to commit atrocities?

    Talk about broad and vague.
    Under this definition any street mugger is a terrorist.
    90% of crimes would be acts of terrorism.

    Is that what happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima?
    Is that what happened by both sides in Viet Nam?

    You're wrong.
    Most terrorist groups claim responsibility for their actions.
    What is the point of terrorism if not to get a government to change its policies?
    "We have bombed your city and the bombings will continue until you release our hostages."
    Doing it in secret makes it completely pointless.
     
  16. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Does the fact that Osama bin Laden declared war on the US and openly admitted being behind 9/11 mean they are not acts of terrorism?
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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  18. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    He then openly admitted it over and over again.
    He also openly declared war on the US and her allies.

    Let's say someone walks into a crowded bus station in Chicago with bombs strapped to his chest and loudly claims that he is sacrificing himself in order to get the US out of the Middle East.

    According to madanthonywayne's definition, that woud not be an act of terrorism.
    Nor would it be if he were wearing a military uniform.
    Nor would it be if a Labanese solider flew a military plane into a crowded bus station in Pakistan.
     
  19. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    What madanthonywayne and Roman seem to be doing is trying to discern a definition of Terrorism that would offer exemption to the US government and allies for any actions they may have taken.
     
  20. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    the best i've heard in a long while. i would also add that the ones doing the bullying do not represent the majority of that nations citizens.

    it should be pointed out that the UN has no less than 12 definitions for terrorism.
     
  21. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Why?
    What would be the purpose of that adendum?
    Do you have an example to illustrate?
     
  22. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    There's his criteria.
     
  23. Sciencelovah Registered Senior Member

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    I see terrorism as a group or gang activity that attack a country by using violence and intimidation to society, causing an overwhelming fear in the society.
     

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