[Discussion] What is Terrorism?

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Worldwatcher
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:41 pm

Terrorism is nuanced subject; with grey areas, affiliations and misappropriations. The US government has no single definition of terrorism for this very reason. Some examples of this uncertainty:
Despite overthrowing the apartheid regime in South Africa, Nelson Mandela was on a US terrorist watch list until 2008. The Afghan Mujaheddin, out of which the Taliban grew, were once quoted by President Reagan as being "The moral equivalents of America's founding fathers". Sien Fien, who fought against UK government forces during The Troubles, are now a popular political party in Ireland, and refuse using such tactics. The American revolutionaries would have been branded as terrorists (or the equivalent of which) in their time.

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Keeping that in mind, here are a few questions you peeps might like to indulge / answer:


- Is 'terrorism' ever justified?

- Can states (Countries) be terrorists?

- Is terrorism a relative or absolute concept?

- Do you agree with this basic axiom: 'one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter'?

- What makes today's terror any different from that of the 20th Century?
"There's a cold war coming,
On the radio I heard
Baby it's a violent world"

- Coldplay, Life In Technicolor II

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jayfeather31
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:52 pm

To be fair, I'm not sure terrorism can be defined.

After all, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Enemies change with the times, and by extension, so do our friends. There is no true enemy in the sense of the word.
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:59 pm

Tanith wrote:I always assumed when you target innocent civilians rather than the soldiers of whatever regime you're resisting...you're a terrorist.

And a murderer.

And a coward.
as one of the video's examined, it's easier to explain what they are not.
All those statements may be true, but for example, someone like Assad who runs (what's left of) a State, he would be labeled a Dictator, but not a terrorist, as, in the eyes of the world, he is still in charge of a State, as terrible as he is.
"There's a cold war coming,
On the radio I heard
Baby it's a violent world"

- Coldplay, Life In Technicolor II

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jayfeather31
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:13 pm

Tanith wrote:I always assumed when you target innocent civilians rather than the soldiers of whatever regime you're resisting...you're a terrorist.

And a murderer.

And a coward.
...okay, that I can agree with.
The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
~Albert Einstein
Great, let's round up all the useless cats and hope a tree falls on them.
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:36 pm

jayfeather31 wrote:To be fair, I'm not sure terrorism can be defined.

After all, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Enemies change with the times, and by extension, so do our friends. There is no true enemy in the sense of the word.
Food for thought:

Are ISIS freedom fighters?
Do you think Al Qaeda or ISIS can be reasoned, or even allied with?
"There's a cold war coming,
On the radio I heard
Baby it's a violent world"

- Coldplay, Life In Technicolor II

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jayfeather31
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:48 pm

Worldwatcher wrote:
jayfeather31 wrote:To be fair, I'm not sure terrorism can be defined.

After all, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Enemies change with the times, and by extension, so do our friends. There is no true enemy in the sense of the word.
Food for thought:

Are ISIS freedom fighters?
Do you think Al Qaeda or ISIS can be reasoned, or even allied with?
I think you'd be surprised as to that action. See, you're viewing it from the position of a Western ideology, but what about an Arabic ideology? Obviously, Western ideologies make it impossible to ally with these organizations, but what if you had a case where it wasn't a Western ideology? What if it was a fellow Middle Eastern country with a similar ideology? In that aspect then, ISIS could be a "freedom fighter" in an odd usage of the word, especially since ISIS is essentially forming a caliphate in Iraq.

If you had a similar ideology, you could reason with them in an indirect form, even though I must admit the odds are quite slim.
The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
~Albert Einstein
Great, let's round up all the useless cats and hope a tree falls on them.
~Jayfeather

hrng
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:10 pm

Worldwatcher wrote:
jayfeather31 wrote:To be fair, I'm not sure terrorism can be defined.

After all, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Enemies change with the times, and by extension, so do our friends. There is no true enemy in the sense of the word.
Food for thought:

Are ISIS freedom fighters?
Do you think Al Qaeda or ISIS can be reasoned, or even allied with?
Wow, this is a really good topic. I think ISIS in terms of the people fighting in Syria could be considered a 'rebel group' in that they're trying to establish a legit state. The people bombing and shooting civilians on the other side of the world probably shouldn't be lumped in with those in Syria, even though they're essentially just as fucked as each other.

I wonder where you draw the line between guerilla/asymmetric warfare and terrorism - is it when you start targeting civilians? Maybe it's when you start attacking targets that have no strategic value beyond the psyops factor.

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Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:03 pm

Question: Once terrorists choose violence to achieve their goals, can they ever repent and switch back?
Look at the case of Nelson Mandela, or more controversially, the Sien Fien, who became a political party.
Is there any difference between them and groups like ISIS?
"There's a cold war coming,
On the radio I heard
Baby it's a violent world"

- Coldplay, Life In Technicolor II

hrng
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:36 pm

Worldwatcher wrote:Question: Once terrorists choose violence to achieve their goals, can they ever repent and switch back?
Look at the case of Nelson Mandela, or more controversially, the Sien Fien, who became a political party.
Is there any difference between them and groups like ISIS?
Why not? They're still people.

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Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:39 pm

hrng wrote:
Worldwatcher wrote:Question: Once terrorists choose violence to achieve their goals, can they ever repent and switch back?
Look at the case of Nelson Mandela, or more controversially, the Sien Fien, who became a political party.
Is there any difference between them and groups like ISIS?
Why not? They're still people.
Interesting. Do you think someone like al baghdadi can be reformed (at least theoretically)?

I don't think any country, no matter how progressive, will accept someone as dangerous and infamous as him into their society.
"There's a cold war coming,
On the radio I heard
Baby it's a violent world"

- Coldplay, Life In Technicolor II

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