Wednesday, September 22, 2004

 

What is a Terrorist?


There has been considerable controversy regarding the definition of a terrorist in international debate. Countries have not managed to come to a global agreement on this; everybody wants to label his enemies as terrorists. Can we, for the purpose of this blog agree on a simplistic definition?

A terrorist is one who intentionally kills innocent people to achieve a certain goal.

Debates can then be raged to argue who is innocent!

Can we agree that all children are innocent?

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A "new strategy" is being followed by the US army in Iraq: aerial bombardment of towns!

It has been implemented in Najaf, Fallujah, Baghdad, Baquba, Tel Afar and then in Fallujah again... several times. It is claimed that these follow intelligence reports of hideouts of terrorists.

Not a bad strategy! If the intelligence is correct, some terrorists will be killed; if not, then no harm is done to any American soldier and the body count will not rise unacceptably in an election season.(Anyway, we have already lost the hearts and minds of those ungrateful people haven't we? So, no extra damage is done there either.)

Are these "intelligence reports" of the same accuracy that we saw before the invasion?

I don't know if people in the States have been seeing any images of women and children killed and injured in those raids. In one such raid a few days ago, 7 children were killed. There were several such "incidents". Every time, several children were killed.

What do Americans think when they see those images of dead little children? Do they feel safer now?

What does the American fighter pilot think when he sends those instruments of death to populated urban areas? I am sure that he simply follows orders. Probably that's how he justifies what he does. Does he watch the news afterwards? What does he think when he sees those images of injured and dead children? Dead and injured children because of a button he pressed.

Does he think that what he believes in – whether it's liberty, democracy, protecting his country or simply following orders – justifies his act? Or is it that these poor children happen to be in the way of a great goal?

Don't those images make him feel like a terrorist?

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Nothing! Not religion, not God, not Liberty, not Democracy, not presidential elections, and not the global war against terror… nothing justifies killing innocent children.

Whoever does that is a terrorist.

***


In America, the war against terrorism is basically to fight for the safety of people. In Iraq, we are told that this war is not only for safety but also for freedom and democracy.

I don’t know if the America people really want to secure their safety at the cost of the lives of innocent Iraqi children. That may be their decision to make.

My own decision is already made: I do not want the freedom, the democracy or safety for myself or my family that are soaked with the blood of innocent little children.




Comments:

Yamin Zakaria (London, UK) wrote:

The Muslims have never practiced the issue of indiscriminately targeting civilians in the past. Hence, its discussion as a major theme is absent from the early Islamic legal texts. The Muslims encountered the notion of human shields during the medieval crusades. When the demands of Richard the Lionheart was not met he executed 3000 Muslims prisoners in cold blood that included women and children.

Genocide by exterminating an indigenous population has never been a feature of the Islamic civilisation. Hence, there are no equivalent of the Native Americans, Incas, Aztecs and the Aboriginal population where Islamic world expanded. Lets face the reality, those who have committed genocide have constantly invented suitable weapons and stockpiles of them exist in their backyard!

In modern times, the indiscriminate killing of civilians was introduced with the arrival of Air Force. The needless destruction of the civilian cities like Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki are the prime examples. Muslims would never have bombed a nation with Nuclear weapons when it was on its knees ready to surrender. Yet it is the hypocritical-fascists lecture about the WMDs and wage hypocritical wars using such weapons or their equivalent! Anti-Semitism, Fascism, indiscriminate targeting of civilians and the creation of suitable weapons to conduct such activities is the product of the Western civilisation not Islam.

The small number of isolated responses from the Muslim world has been amplified without - giving the political context and their circumstances in order to taint them as mindless terrorists (Islamofascists). Therefore, the few beheadings by knife causes moral indignation and intense media coverage but not the beheading and incineration of thousands by F17s and Apaches.

When the Rabbi passed a religious edict to encourage the killings of Palestinian civilians not an eyebrow was raised but if an Imam said the same, an outcry of inciting terrorism to anti-Semitism could be heard day and night for weeks. We all know what the ‘price’ of a gentile is in Talmudic law and there will never be any accusations of such racist manuals being the source of State terrorism and ethnic cleansing policy. Similarly, the children in Beslan were worthy of intense media focus but not the children who perished in the schools of Chechnya, Fallujah, Afghanistan and Palestine. Yet the original mass murderers have the audacity to express moral indignation when their own children are killed in retaliation.

Such superficial claims of being the victim rather than the aggressor will not fool anyone anymore. If you do not want your women and children to be targeted then don’t kill the children of other nations. Remember, the US came closed to Nuking Korea and China after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was not the ‘compassion’ or being ‘civilised’ that prevented the West from using Nuclear weapons to murder civilians indiscriminately but it was the fear of reprisal!


Read more in Targeting Civilians
 
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Ya Hellah beek Abu Khaleel...

Exactly. What intelligence? There is no real intelligence. If there was, innocent children wouldn't be killed. This is just inane actions that will only foment deeper resentment and hatred. And it's completely unproductive for both the US and Iraq.

I am in complete agreement with you Abu Khaleel. No freedom, liberty, or democracy is worth it if it has been brought to you stained with the blood of innocent children that are killed, by yes I said it, terrorist aerial bombardment of American fighter jets and helicopters.

And yes, it is a political gimmick to lower the US casualty rate as the elections approach. I believe Fallujah is being softened up (with smaller daily bombings) as the stage is set for something extremely serious to happen right after the election.

Thank you for your clear and thoughtful posts Abu Khaleel. It is greatly appreciated.

liminal
 
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Yamin Zakaria's otherwise thoughtful comment is marred by the author's assertion that Japan was "on its knees, ready to surrender" when Nagasaki and Hiroshima were bombed. Japan was on its knees, but ready to fight to the death - a prospect that would surely have been realized had not use of atomic bombs demonstrated a willingness on the part of millions of Japanese to die would have no effect on the outcome of the war, not even to give US commanders pause at the potential casualties they themselves might suffer from a fullscale invasion.
 
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Yes, good post. Talking about children means talking about future. Talking about Iraq means talking about future. Must be terribly difficult to deal with all this daily violence, seeing innocents and maybe innocence being drawn away from life, from a future... We must stop the bombs! Not only because they kill direct, but also indirect as is the case with all the nuclear, the so called depleted uranium weapons.
Best wishes,
cecile
 
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Alvaro:

From the article you quoted, "If you do not want your women and children to be targeted then don’t kill the children of other nations."

This is an expression of pure evil. It is nothing more that an excuse for the targeting of innocent women and children by murders. It is morally repugnant. All people of good faith should condemn such rationalizations for bloodthirsty venegance. I note that many morally upright Muslim scholars have condemned the Beslan atrocity as unIslamic for just these reasons.

Turning to U.S. bombing of urban areas to target discrete "resistance" groups, while not as morally bankrupt as purposefully targeting women and children, it is none-the-less deplorable. This is because even precision aerial bombs have a blast radius that is just too large for use in a densely populated urban setting. However, at least portion of the blame must attach to guerrillas that hide amongst civilians in urban neighborhoods.

The resistance groups that use car bombs in urban neighborhoods are even more culpable for civilian deaths since they actually see concentrations of civilians prior to detonating their bombs. Below is a quote from what is, according to this article in TIME magazine, one of the most active and violent groups, Attawhid wal Jihad:

"If the infidels have good people among them, and our fighting against them necessitates annihilating these good people, we are permitted to kill them because we are ordered (by God) to do so," Sheik Abu Anas al-Shami.

The quote explains the Jihadi's groups complete indifference to Iraqi civilian casualities. The link is http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040927-699341,00.html .
 
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Some of the people on this site are completely brainwashed by the propaganda they teach you in Arab high schools.

There's no equivalent of the native Americans in the history of Islamic expansion? That is a laughable statement.

Millions of people were put to the sword in forced conversion to Islam. That's a fact. Learn your own history, instead of you biased propaganda about ours.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
Warfare is conflict where one side wishes to destroy another. In Europe, that was supposed to mean destroy the enemy's troops and obtain a surrender. Where civilians occupy the same space you get collateral damage. In WW2, where industrial nation's mobilized for total war, that also meant 'strategic bombing of industry as practiced by the USA. Hitler also introduced terror bombings over England to demoralize the British, who later repayed him in kind. Another way to put it; was Saddam a terrorist to the Kurds,Shia? I would say no..a tyrant, an exterminator yes, he made war upon them. In WW2 the Nazis would hold hostages to kill them if the resistance fought against them--that is terrorism. Terrorism is not just psychological warfare. It is choosing innocents.
The phenomenon of modern terrorism unlike warfare, is a modern one and pretty much part of modern democracies. The terrorism does not directly attack the 'state', but seeks to weaken it by dividing the masses from the state. Attacking 'innocents' they 'hope' will cause a crisis of confidence and undermine the legitimacy of the state. The Russian terrorists before 1918 were engaged in a speculative struggle. It is a truism that 'using people as a means' is totally immoral. Terrorists use innocent people to make politics. If a US soldier shoots a child, the terrorist wins(violates the protective duty of the state). If a terrorist shoots a child, the terrorist wins( failure of the protective duty of the state). Followed to its logical conclusion, terrorists should always shoot children and the state should never shoot them( e.g. Beslan). The false choice is not yours, it is the terrorist's whether or not to shoot. Personally I would not surrender to a terrorist as they cannot be relied upon to make a deal.
 
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A machine gun can kill children also if they happen to be in the line of fire unexpectedly.

By your logic machine guns are terrorist weapons also.

Economic sanctions can unintentionally kill innocent children. Hence economic sanctions are terrorist weapons.

Continue down this line of reasoning, and you erase any moral distinction between civilization and barbarism.
 
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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Good night to all (it's night in Brazil...)

I hate to say this, but, "Anonymous", haven't you a name? It's hard to discuss with someone without a name...

In you opinion, the moral distinction between civilization and barbarism is the capability of a nation to manufacture machine guns and to impose economic sanctions that kill childrens?

Dear Abu Khaleel: Al Lorentz, in Why we cannot win states 5 points:

First, we refuse to deal in reality. We are in a guerilla war, but because of politics, we are not allowed to declare it a guerilla war and must label the increasingly effective guerilla forces arrayed against us as "terrorists, criminals and dead-enders."

Second, our assessment of what motivates the average Iraqi was skewed, again by politically motivated "experts." We came here with some fantasy idea that the natives were all ignorant, mud-hut dwelling camel riders who would line the streets and pelt us with rose petals, lay palm fronds in the street and be eternally grateful. While at one time there may have actually been support and respect from the locals, months of occupation by our regular military forces have turned the formerly friendly into the recently hostile.

Third, the guerillas are filling their losses faster than we can create them. This is almost always the case in guerilla warfare, especially when your tactics for battling the guerillas are aimed at killing guerillas instead of eroding their support. For every guerilla we kill with a "smart bomb" we kill many more innocent civilians and create rage and anger in the Iraqi community. This rage and anger translates into more recruits for the terrorists and less support for us.

Fourth, their lines of supply and communication are much shorter than ours and much less vulnerable. We must import everything we need into this place; this costs money and is dangerous. Whether we fly the supplies in or bring them by truck, they are vulnerable to attack, most especially those brought by truck. This not only increases the likelihood of the supplies being interrupted. Every bean, every bullet and every bandage becomes infinitely more expensive. Conversely, the guerillas live on top of their supplies and are showing every indication of developing a very sophisticated network for obtaining them. Further, they have the advantage of the close support of family and friends and traditional religious networks.

Fifth, we consistently underestimate the enemy and his capabilities. Many military commanders have prepared to fight exactly the wrong war here. Our tactics have not adjusted to the battlefield and we are falling behind. Meanwhile the enemy updates his tactics and has shown a remarkable resiliency and adaptability.
Read more here.

I totally agree with this 5 points. In your view, why he is correct or wrong in each point?

Be in "peace" and

Aquele abraço!

Alvaro Frota
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I fully agree with Mr. Lorentz's points. I have just published his article in my blog "Disgruntled Americans"

http://americansoniraq.blogspot.com/2004/09/soldiers-view.html

... and will refer to it soon in this blog.

Thank you very much for the link.
 
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Hello Alvaro and Abu Khaleel,
Anonymous(hello-anonymous) here,
"By your logic machine guns are terrorist weapons also." So are box-cutters. A weapon used to kill innocents to create tension, crisis of confidence between the state and the people is a terrorist weapon. The ends the terrrorist seeks are distant, unrealistic..to sacrifice a human being for such a goal is immoral.

"Economic sanctions can unintentionally kill innocent children. Hence economic sanctions are terrorist weapons."
Sanctions against another country are a serious form of warfare. The goal of the sanctions is generally to limit or weaken the economic potential of the adversary. If the affected state decides to kill children (by buying guns instead of baby formula) as a way of making propaganda that is a terrorist regime.


"Continue down this line of reasoning, and you erase any moral distinction between civilization and barbarism."

Warfare and terrorism are different forms of conflict, with respect to ends and means to them.


"I hate to say this, but, "Anonymous", haven't you a name? It's hard to discuss with someone without a name..."
I am quite used to anonymous, originally the choice of E blogger. I always address my friends, so I am also called hello-anonymous.

"In you opinion, the moral distinction between civilization and barbarism is the capability of a nation to manufacture machine guns and to impose economic sanctions that kill childrens?"

Now we are officially off-topic(terrorism) in my humble opinion. The difference between 'civilization and barbarism" is you can't make any kind of believable deal with a barbarian and civilization is continuous deal making. Lets face it, life is unfair! Therefore there is an essential moral burden on the rich to alievate the suffering of the weak. For them, to shirk this responsibility is to undermine society and contribute to barbarism. And they are shirking it.

"We are in a guerilla war...."
Nothing to disagree with here. You seem to be ignoring the fact that TWO foreign foes, US and amorphous AlQaeda are fighting over Iraq, without regard for the Iraqi people. The greatest disaster has been driving the Sunnis into the arms of AlQaeda thru 'de-baathification'.

Second, our assessment of what motivates the average Iraqi was skewed.... While at one time there may have actually been support and respect from the locals, months of occupation by our regular military forces have turned the formerly friendly into the recently hostile."
Yes, the security situation is being mismanaged. Iraqis as a whole are not ready for modern democracy. The Allawi government is begging the Iraqi insurgents to make a deal. It is the lack of clear goals and leadership in the opposition which is causing problems along with meddling by Iran and to a lesser extend Syria, Turkey.

Third, the guerillas are filling their losses faster than we can create them. This is almost always the case in guerilla warfare, especially when your tactics for battling the guerillas are aimed at killing guerillas instead of eroding their support. For every guerilla we kill with a "smart bomb" we kill many more innocent civilians and create rage and anger in the Iraqi community. This rage and anger translates into more recruits for the terrorists and less support for us.
Yes. US tactics are a failure. US troops are humiliatingly content to being shot at and shooting back or a few 'targeted' bombings. A real response like at Najaf shows the ugliness of modern war and is unacceptable by the world opinion.
Fourth, their lines of supply and communication are much shorter than ours and much less vulnerable. We must import everything we need into this place; this costs money and is dangerous. Whether we fly the supplies in or bring them by truck, they are vulnerable to attack, most especially those brought by truck. This not only increases the likelihood of the supplies being interrupted. Every bean, every bullet and every bandage becomes infinitely more expensive. Conversely, the guerillas live on top of their supplies and are showing every indication of developing a very sophisticated network for obtaining them. Further, they have the advantage of the close support of family and friends and traditional religious networks.
I disagree on this one. Iraqis are on the dole and there is guarenteed free food since the Saddam welfare state. For PR reasons, economic warfare is not being exerted against the insurgents.

"Fifth, we consistently underestimate the enemy and his capabilities. Many military commanders have prepared to fight exactly the wrong war here. Our tactics have not adjusted to the battlefield and we are falling behind. Meanwhile the enemy updates his tactics and has shown a remarkable resiliency and adaptability."
What battlefield, what tactics? It is hit and run stuff. In a real battle they would all be killed. The US wants uncertain Iraqis to fight the insurgents. All patriotic Iraqis(Sunnis) have joined the insurgents, all unpatriotic(Shia, Kurds) don't really support the idea of Iraq, which previously existed to keep Sunnis in power. A foreign occupier cannot hold Iraq together.
 
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.


Dear Abu Khaleel:

About that link:

We are an internation team of editors and commentors who set up a kind of "collective blog" about this war against Iraq. The name of the whole project is "Mirror of the World":

Therefore, we see our objectives as follows:

1. Provide historical, economical, geopolitical, and other information, as well as comprehensive reflection of the current developments in the world and their analysis.

2. Attract the public attention to problems and consequences of wars and hostilities.

3. Provide informational opposition to extremist ideologies.

4. Promote the ideas of peace, kindness, mercy, and justice.

5. Promote spiritual unification of all the people of good will to resist the challenges and threats of the modern world by providing information and reflecting the current events around the world.

The main project of the Fund is a web-based electronic mass medium «News from Iraq: War, Politics, Economy»
.

I am a Brazilian, but in our tean we have Russians, Americans, Latin Americans, Brits, at least one Iranian, one Italian, one Canadian, one Japanese, and so on.

I am a Marxist, but in our tean we have Muslins, Jewish, Cristians (even Orthodox Cristians), Atheists, and so on.

In most of our collective view, there ware two wars:

1.) An imperialist occupation and a national guerrilla war on the terrain of Iraq;

2.) A correlated information war within all the media of Earth, and in Internet as well
.

As humans beings, we are triyng to fight this second war, in order to support the Iraqi side at the first one.

We have five sections: "Iraqi news", "Around the World", "Currently Analysis", "Historical Analysis & Facts" and "Economics".

As in all places, we have some "saddamists" too ;>)

Your will be very welcome if you visit our site (and post some comments!)

Aquele abraço!

Alvaro Frota
 
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Thanks for the expose.

It has long been clear that the global left is using propaganda to undermine Iraqi stability and encourage continuing violence in Iraq.

No suprise there.

Hatred of "Capitalist America" overrides all other humanitarian considerations.

So Iraqi children must be sacrifices and Islamic fundamentalism encourages in order to strike at the hated modern technological capitalist system.

However, the above capitalism is what civilization is based on. So the Marxist left is actively working to undermine civilization. And using Iraqi babies and the blood of American civilians as their cannon fodder.
 
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To the no-mane guy:

You drop missiles in civilians an we are "using Iraqi babies and the blood of American civilians as their cannon fodder"?

Only saddamists americans believe in it.

AF
 
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*** * ***
Alvaro; What.? "Why we can't win." ( ? ) We are winning.

-
 
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Dear Anonymous:
Civilization precedes capitalism by millenia.

Capitalism as an economic system was formulated by Adam Smith, an Englishman.

Claiming that 'modern technological capitalist system ... is what civilization is based on' is just plain historically incorrect. Rather, the reverse is true. The modern technological capitalist system is based on developments within European-American civilization.

Moreover, all the information I've seen indicates that the instability in Iraq is not being encouraged at all by the 'global left'. The various Islamic fundamentalist movements and groups despise left-wing thought, and the Baathist fighters need no more incentive than the Somozistas needed in Nicaragua.

You should study your recent history. The Soviets were driven from Afghanistan by an alliance of militant Islamic fundamentalist groups. Many of the Muslim tribes of the Caucasus were courted by the Nazis during WW II. In Iran, after the revolution, local Marxists and Communists were slaughtered by the fundamentalists.

So, while Marxists may have no appreciation for capitalism or for the current American involvement in Iraq, they are not at all allied with the various fundamentalist groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the Caucasus. In fact, a fundamentalist victory in Iraq is a long-term defeat for Marxism or communism in Iraq, while a secular capitalist Iraq actually would give a foothold for a communist movement in the Middle East.

Note--the oppression of women, so characteristic of the various fundamentalist groups, was directly counter to the treatment of women by the Soviets in Afghanistan. (I'm not condoning the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, just recounting history). Under the Soviets, women had numerous career options, and were not required to be veiled. This behaviour outraged the fundamentalists, and so when the Soviets were driven out, women were denied careers and required to be thoroughly veiled.

Be Well,
 
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Bob:

While your analysis of why the global left should not support the Jihadi faction of the Iraqi Resistance is logical, it does not account for the raw Anti-American, Anti-Capitalist emotion felt by many member of the far left.

These irrational feelings are nicely summed up by one militant leftist commentator as follows:

"The antiwar movement should come out in support of the Iraqi Resistance. Yes, I know it is composed of many factions, not all of them compatible with progressive stances on important social issues such as women’s rights. But the main enemy of the world’s people at this point in time is U.S. imperialism. They are the Nazis of the present day, with equally arrogant aspirations – whether under Bush’s naked fist or Kerry’s more gloved approach – to dominate the world and, in their case, to extend their military intimidation against those who might dare to lift up their heads to oppose them even into the “high ground” of outer space. Frankly speaking, a good ass-kicking defeat for them in Iraq, another tail-between-the-legs pull out as happened in Vietnam, would be a victory for the people of Palestine, the people of Venezuela, the people of Colombia, the people of Cuba, the people of the Philippines, the people of Korea, all those Third World people who want their freedom from capitalist exploitation – and ultimately for the working people of the United States and other more “developed” countries. We should welcome it and do whatever we can to help it."

The link is "http://www.neravt.com/left/contributors/moore27.htm . Alavaro Frota, an unrepetant Brazilian Marxist, expressed similar sentiments in his above posts. Similar sentiments can also be found at http://www.melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2004/09/78164_comment.php and at http://la.indymedia.org/news/2004/05/111071.php . Thus, the rather illogical support of Islamic Jihadi's by the far left is far more widespread than you have let on.
 
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Yamin-san, Your comment is very far from the truth in many areas. Just one i will comment on: I live in Japan, and can tell you, that without the atomic bombs this country would have become like the Korean peninsula - north communist and starving, and the south free and prosperous.

Do you wish to have more people die? That is the end result of your comments.
Daniel
 
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Hi!

Didn't have time to register, will do so at another time, as I have to hit the sack to get at least a couple hours sleep before my night shift.

But I stumbled across this blog while updating my own and surfing the net, and gotta say I take umbrage at having anyone who isn't a card carrying member of the right wing establishment characterized as being anti-American.

The fact is that we are anti-preemptive War based on lies. We are anti-murdering innocent women and children and men who had zippo to do with terrorist acts. We are anti-forgetting Osama to go after Iraqi oil on the pretext of being after Saddam. And, yes, we are anti-corporate domination of our politics and workers rights and very lives.

The lust for control and the almighty dollar has a blood price that is just too horrific and immoral to allow. Thanks to Bush and his criminal administration, our loved ones are now risking their lives wihtout being adequately armed, adequately protected, and without an adequate force to do the job, one that should never have been done in this way to start with.

No one I know or have heard from or spoken to in "lefty" circles is against our military. One and all, they voice support for those putting their lives on the lines. What they are pissed about is the helter skelter way in which everything has been done, with no exit plan, no plans to secure the borders and at least greatly diminish the influx of terrorists and supplies for them, and no real plan to help Iraqi's achieve a democratic government in the midst of so much blowback.

It is a horrific mess. And people are dying every day. To shrug off the deaths of innocent Iraqi's caught in the crossfire is as reprehensible as any terrorist who cares nothing for the collateral damage they cause in their own vicious attacks. It's immoral and it's wrong.

The young soldier spoke the truth one hundred percent. Pick it apart and deny it as you choose, but there are enough people coming forward even now that absolutely back up his assessment to make any denial of these facts frankly pathetic.

We need to heal some very deep wounds that have only been made worse by the past year of horrors in Iraq, and we cannot do it alone. It is vitally important that we rebuild the bridges of communication and cooperation with other long time allies that Bush trashed in his headlong stampede into Iraq. There needs to be a true bipartisan and international effort to bring a good resolution to the chaos that now reigns in Iraq.

And we need to have an exit strategy that doesn't leave our people dying in Iraq for the next twenty years before we can bring them home.

Just my opinion!

Sincerely,
Lindy Baumann
http://www.politicalmonitor.us
 
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Isn't it interesting that we have an official in our (US) national administration who calls teachers "terrorists."
 
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