Uriel   Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:42 am GMT
Smaller powers may use it more often because it's harder for them to mount an effective conventional campaign against a larger enemy. They're not as likely to prevail in a traditional military strike. But the definition of terrorism doesn't depend on the size or intent of those practiving it, just the means. Terrorism does not always involve countries or directly involve politics. The Oklahoma City bomber was a terrorist. The KKK practices forms of terrorism.
lu   Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:49 am GMT
Theoretically that's true. But if smaller powers should practice it we'll call it terrorism. And we won't say that to a larger power. It's happening all the time.
Uriel   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:00 am GMT
No, you would still call it terrorism if a larger power did it. Just as in the US Civil War example.
Jim C, York   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:10 am GMT
<"One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter." >

It certainly does hold some significance, But since the 11th of september people have lost their will to support terrorists by calling them freedom fighters. Its simply not appropriate, after seeing such a sight like the towers falling, being the most photographed day in history, it's no longer something that happens far away, its in your livingrooms and inbeded into your minds. There was a time that the IRA had free reign to gather donations in the USA, now even Sinn Fein struggled after only one high profile murder. The world has changed alot in the last 4 years, it seems more like a decade.

Not to go all Hippy/Liberal on you lot, but i think all violence is terrorism.
lu   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:14 am GMT
Yes I would call it terrorism but will other country do the same? Just look at the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jim C, York   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:21 am GMT
The last time the world nearly disarmed was just after the great war. Were long past conventional disarmement. We could have nipped Nuclear in the bud just after the coldwar. Give the UN 5 and that should cover us if some rogue country gos nuclear. The rest of us should send them into the sun. You know the UK is going to build 15 new ones, Why waste our money?!!
lu   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:28 am GMT
As long as one country is waging warfare against another. As long as countries and borders exsist. Nuclear weapon will always have its use.
Jim C, York   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:44 am GMT
Well, ones only been used twice. I dont think they are needed. The ultimate terrorist weapon, as the effects last for generations.
greg   Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:03 am GMT
lu : « I think that terrorism has two premises. Firstly innocent civilian must be involved.Secondly it's a military action against those of superior power. »

Pas d'accord sur aucun des 2 points.

1/ Le terrorisme consiste à terroriser. Les victimes de la terreur peuvent être civiles ou militaires. La Wehrmacht a été terrorisée par l'action des Partizans soviétiques.

2/ L'armée israélienne utilise régulièrement le terrorisme pour affaiblir un adversaire déjà très faible.

Jim C, York : « But since the 11th of september people have lost their will to support terrorists by calling them freedom fighters. »
C'est une vision états-uniocentrique de la réalité. L'Europe occidentale, par exemple, n'a pas attendu le 11 septembre 2001 pour connaître, comprendre et rejeter le terrorisme et les terroristes.
Travis   Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:21 am GMT
I myself would simply say that the term "terrorist" is a political tool used by the powerful in contexts of asymmetric warfare. For all that people speak of the Geneva conventions and not involving civilians and whatnot, *ALL* warfare involves significant civilian casualties (generally higher than casualties of actual combatants), many of which are for all practical purposes and intents either intentional or due to negligence. And despite such, you rarely hear the stronger parties in conflicts of such sorts being spoken of as "terrorists". Consequently, I would say that there is little practical meaning in or purpose to the term "terrorist" besides that outlined above. That is not to say that the weaker parties should necessarily be supported, but that is a wholly different matter unto itself.
Guest   Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:01 am GMT
The targets of terrorism are civilians. Terrorism is distinguished from other types of political violence (guerrilla warfare, civil insurrection, etc.).

e.g. Suicide bombings used against innocent civilian populations.
Jim C, York   Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:28 pm GMT
<C'est une vision états-uniocentrique de la réalité. L'Europe occidentale, par exemple, n'a pas attendu le 11 septembre 2001 pour connaître, comprendre et rejeter le terrorisme et les terroristes. >

My French isn't as good as it used to be, so i hope read you correctly.
Deffinatly in western Europe we have always rejected terrorism, I remember when I was kid, being affraid of the IRA, seeing such terrible things on the TV. I cant imagine how it must have been for children in Northern Ireland or anyone there for that matter. And of course we didn't need the 11th of september to feel the way we do about terrorism. I meant that those who previously where sympathetic to terrorists, will have changed their world view to take into account the people that it affects. I think with groups like Hamas becoming political entaties, there are other routes for those people to show their support also.

It would be interesting to know how that small minority of Americans who donated to the IRA feel today?
Uriel   Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:09 pm GMT
Never met one, but then I'm not of Irish descent, so I had little stake in that debate in the first place.

Things aren't always clearcut. anyway. Most groups that use terrorism may also use conventional warfare tactics as well. The bombing of Britain during WWII had elements of both. Sometimes terror is simply an unintended by-product of conventional warfare, since it's usually impossible to have a military conflict just base to base, without the surrounding civilian population being affected as well. So yes, definitions of what constitutes an act of terror will vary by point of view. But mostly it's applied to killing innocent -- i.e., non-combatant -- civilians in order to make a political point or cow a government into submission. Rather than engaging enemy military who are armed and prepared.
Jim C, York   Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:34 pm GMT
I agree. I would say also that in the last 10 years or so, war has become completly sanitised, as far as the media is concerned. Even I remember them showing dead bodys and gore on the news quite often. Now I find that images like thsoe have been cut out. If people saw what was really happening, rather than just the numbers, they would maybe be more passionate about stopping these wars. The only 24 hour news station I know of where they show the whole story in that sense is Euro news. Its grim but you need to see such things to understand what people are going through.
Irish Guy   Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:40 pm GMT
I’m not trying to defend the actions of the Irish Republican Army but that point made in the original post was that there seemed to be a misconception surrounding terrorism and Guerrilla actions. There has been a lot of suffering caused in Ireland and it wasn’t all the fault of the IRA. The British media always calls the IRA terrorists because that is what the politicians say. The London government has for the last thirty years been trying to portray the troubles in the North as a sectarian conflict based on religion which is a complete falsification of the facts. The trouble surrounded and still surrounds the continued British control of Ireland but the politicians in England always neglect this. They wish to portray the IRA as the bad guys and the soul cause of the troubles which is completely untrue. I have little time for the IRA but the things most English believe to be facts are in fact propaganda fed to them for thirty years. We can list different actions carried out by all sides and debate that one is a form of guerrilla warfare or a security operation and the other may seem to be terrorism. The IRA NEVER had a policy of targeting civilians and the fact that they use to phone in multiple warning about the location of a bomb is evidence that MOST of there actions were a form of Guerrilla warfare and not terrorism. There actual targets were as they themselves stated were military, economic and Government. I’m up for debate on this one so feel free to show your point of view.