Do you believe in terrorism?


Normally open July 4th only---the one day a year when partisan politics, religion, etc. are acceptable topics on this Board (within reason). The forum is now closed.

Is an act which meets your definition of terrorism ever morally justifiable?

Poll ended at Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:21 am

Yes
2
14%
No
12
86%
 
Total votes : 14

Postby EPelle » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:06 am

How is the death penalty slaughtering citizens with impunity? You are, in essence, stating that the USA, without liability for its actions, condones massacres of the people it was meant to govern, and to whom it is meant to provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Slaughter is a very harsh word used here. Is the government assassinating these criminals? Butchering them? I think of slaughter and I think of mass murdering folks. Hitler had people slaughtered... annihilated... wiped out... exterminated. The USA government? They're following through on a promise made to take a life for a life in felony cases -- one which folks know is abundantly clear in certain states before they decide, themselves, to snuff someone out on purpose, or to misuse force and kill someone in an unplanned fit of rage.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:18 am

Marlow wrote:It's a matter of a little thing called the law. Just because a government commits atrocities doesn't mean we all should. Now . . . if a government continues to show malice towards its constituency, we have the right to overthrow it. That is what yesterday (4ofJ) was about. If you want to start a revolution, go for it. Good luck with that.

When the official law enforcement officers become outlaws, you already have anarchy. I'm not talking about a few bad cops in a system that is otherwise operating on the up-and-up. I'm talking about governments that are corrupt from the top to the bottom. During Jim Crow, the governors were just as dirty as the local cops, so you had no recourse. Haven't you ever heard of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission? And how can you overthrow a government peacefully when you don't even have the right to vote? Wasn't it JFK who said that "those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable?" And your comment about the death penalty is absolutely silly with regards to this debate. :roll:
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Postby EPelle » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:28 am

Though defenseless as one, it is not impossible to induce change with the power of others sympathetic to one's cause where the course of two becomes one.
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Postby Pego » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:35 am

jazzcyclist wrote:Unless you are willing to outline your definition with some types of objective criteria, then the word becomes meaningless


Let me try a feeble attempt to narrow it down (far from a comprehensive definition).

In principle, targeting primarily civilian objects, I'd consider terrorism, targeting military installation, no.

Slave, as well as serf peasant revolts I would consider justifiable in spite of their targeting anybody they considered an enemy. I'd include Nat Turner in this category even though its scope was incomparably smaller than uprisings such as Spartacus', Razin's and Pugachov's in Russia, Dózsa's in Hungary that counted in many thousands, as compared to less than 200 or so (as I recall). BTW, according to a possibly true legend, after the army defeated Dózsa's peasants, they seated him on a hot iron throne, roasted him alive and forced his troops to eat him.

So in practical terms of today, I consider Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, IRA terrorist organization. While I am aware of their grievances, their methods I don't consider justifiable. Tamil Tigers seem to have fallen in the same category. The Cuban that blew up a plane and Bush's Justice Department let him go was one just as well. The Somali pirates are interested in money only, I'd call them bandits, not terrorists. There is probably a narrow line between the two.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:41 am

EPelle wrote:Though defenseless as one, it is not impossible to induce change with the power of others sympathetic to one's cause where the course of two becomes one.
I think I know what you're saying, but break it down to kindergarten language for me. In the case of ending Jim Crow in the U.S., change through peaceful means became possible once Dwight Eisenhower broke the longstanding taboo of using federal troops to get involved in issues that had previously been considered matters of states' rights. Make no mistake, without the threat of force by the federal government, MLK would have been just another dead protester.
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Postby EPelle » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:51 am

Yes, but sans MLK - or, possibly as the result of a dead protester named Martin Luther King, Jr., were there no whites who would have saddled on this horse and ridden it to Washington through peaceful means and instigated change - however insignificant it could have appeared at the time?
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Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:09 am

Pego wrote:Slave, as well as serf peasant revolts I would consider justifiable in spite of their targeting anybody they considered an enemy. I'd include Nat Turner in this category even though its scope was incomparably smaller than uprisings such as Spartacus', Razin's and Pugachov's in Russia, Dózsa's in Hungary that counted in many thousands, as compared to less than 200 or so (as I recall). BTW, according to a possibly true legend, after the army defeated Dózsa's peasants, they seated him on a hot iron throne, roasted him alive and forced his troops to eat him.

I agree with you that their actions are justifiable, but I also would call them terrorists, since they used violent means to revolt against a government. I suspect that just like a lot of folks, you're uncomfortable with the word "terrorist" because it has such negative connotations in our society. Like Nelson Mandela, I don't have these qualms. When Larry King asked Mandela what landed him in prison for 27 years, he had no problem admitting that he was involved in "terrorist activities". Instead of describing a specific type of act, the word "terrorist" is now used to stigmatize our enemies and justify a refusal to negotiate with them.
Pego wrote:So in practical terms of today, I consider Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, IRA terrorist organization. While I am aware of their grievances, their methods I don't consider justifiable. Tamil Tigers seem to have fallen in the same category. The Cuban that blew up a plane and Bush's Justice Department let him go was one just as well. The Somali pirates are interested in money only, I'd call them bandits, not terrorists. There is probably a narrow line between the two.

I agree with you on all of these points except that I don't feel that Al Qaeda's "real" grievances have any merit, so I wouldn't mention them with these other groups. Also, unlike Hamas who still targets civilians, Hezbollah seems to have advanced beyond that point. When even the U.S. Army War College says that they now behave like a regular conventional army, I don't think it's accurate to refer to this former terrorist organization as such in 2009. I guess a steady supply of the most sophisticated Iranian and Russian weapons has afforded them that luxury.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:14 am

EPelle wrote:Yes, but sans MLK - or, possibly as the result of a dead protester named Martin Luther King, Jr., were there no whites who would have saddled on this horse and ridden it to Washington through peaceful means and instigated change - however insignificant it could have appeared at the time?

Yes, MLK (and TV) was important when it came to creating a political climate where federal troops could be used to advance civil rights, but make no mistake, the threat of force by those troops was an absolutely essential part of the Civil Rights Movement.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:32 am

bad hammy wrote:
Pego wrote:Even the Inquisition learned that torture produces false confessions and false information. You inflict something very painful, especially repeatedly, they'll say anything you want to hear.

Exactly . . .


You dont waterboard to get a confession, that would be stoopid. You waterboard to get real information that can be checked out. Which, if you believe some reports, is exactly what happened, or it didnt happen and its all a lie. I dont know what to believe so i have to believe what makes the most sense to me. It doesnt make sense that the people who have been trained to do this sort of work have no idea what they are doin.
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Postby Daisy » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:37 am

SQUACKEE wrote: It doesnt make sense that the people who have been trained to do this sort of work have no idea what they are doin.

I thought the people trained to do this stuff didn't want to use torture?
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Postby SQUACKEE » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:44 am

Daisy wrote:
SQUACKEE wrote: It doesnt make sense that the people who have been trained to do this sort of work have no idea what they are doin.

I thought the people trained to do this stuff didn't want to use torture?


They dont torture, its called a enhanced interview. 8-)
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Postby EPelle » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:50 am

IRA dissidents are suspected of killing that pizza delivery man a few months back; it was big news here, and when I was in the UK. Was it an act of terrorism by the IRA?
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Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:14 am

EPelle wrote:IRA dissidents are suspected of killing that pizza delivery man a few months back; it was big news here, and when I was in the UK. Was it an act of terrorism by the IRA?

I think the IRA of today has morphed into a criminal organization, similar to the Somalian pirates. Once the Good Friday Peace Accords were signed, they lost their raison d'etre. The murder of Robert McCartney was the final nail in the coffin for the IRA.
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Postby Marlow » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:19 am

EPelle wrote:How is the death penalty slaughtering citizens with impunity? You are, in essence, stating that the USA, without liability for its actions, condones massacres of the people it was meant to govern, and to whom it is meant to provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Yup.

EPelle wrote:Slaughter is a very harsh word used here. Is the government assassinating these criminals? Butchering them? I think of slaughter and I think of mass murdering folks. Hitler had people slaughtered... annihilated... wiped out... exterminated. The USA government? They're following through on a promise made to take a life for a life in felony cases -- one which folks know is abundantly clear in certain states before they decide, themselves, to snuff someone out on purpose, or to misuse force and kill someone in an unplanned fit of rage.

Dead is dead.

I know I'm out here on a limb all by myself here, but state-sanctioned murder (killing someone in 'cold blood') is still murder. If I were to kill someone, and I probably could, it would be in very hot blood, and I would expect to also die in the process.
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Postby EPelle » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:27 pm

Then why not retool the death penalty so that prisoners in death row kill each other off in hot blood?
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Postby Pego » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:29 pm

SQUACKEE wrote:
bad hammy wrote:
Pego wrote:Even the Inquisition learned that torture produces false confessions and false information. You inflict something very painful, especially repeatedly, they'll say anything you want to hear.

Exactly . . .


You dont waterboard to get a confession, that would be stoopid. You waterboard to get real information that can be checked out. Which, if you believe some reports, is exactly what happened, or it didnt happen and its all a lie. I dont know what to believe so i have to believe what makes the most sense to me. It doesnt make sense that the people who have been trained to do this sort of work have no idea what they are doin.


According to the CIA operatives, whose statements I saw, they got all (or vast majority) of the necessary information by "routine interrogation".
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Re:

Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:19 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Marlow wrote:It's a matter of a little thing called the law. Just because a government commits atrocities doesn't mean we all should. Now . . . if a government continues to show malice towards its constituency, we have the right to overthrow it.

how can you overthrow a government peacefully when you don't even have the right to vote? Wasn't it JFK who said that "those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable?"

I'm still waiting for an answer Mr. Anchors Away. By the way, was George Washington morally justified when he took up arms against his government?
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Re: Re:

Postby Daisy » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:25 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:By the way, was George Washington morally justified when he took up arms against his government?

He was a traitor, then a hero and finally a president. Presumably this is not an uncommon sequence of events. And the winners always write the history books. Just ask lonewolf.
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Re: Re:

Postby Marlow » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:50 am

Daisy wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:By the way, was George Washington morally justified when he took up arms against his government?

He was a traitor, then a hero and finally a president. Presumably this is not an uncommon sequence of events. And the winners always write the history books. Just ask lonewolf.

The founding fathers were motivated by money, not morals. Washington and Jefferson were against slavery, but could not afford to run their estates without it. Jefferson considered his male slaves 'men', yet wrote 'all men are created equal' without batting an eye.

Interesting quote I ran across: "What did antebellum slaves think of the 4th of July?"
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Re: Re:

Postby jazzcyclist » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:45 am

Marlow wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:By the way, was George Washington morally justified when he took up arms against his government?

The founding fathers were motivated by money, not morals. Washington and Jefferson were against slavery, but could not afford to run their estates without it. Jefferson considered his male slaves 'men', yet wrote 'all men are created equal' without batting an eye.

I'll take that as a "no". Now what's your answer to my other question: How can you overthrow a government peacefully when you don't even have the right to vote?

Marlow wrote:Interesting quote I ran across: "What did antebellum slaves think of the 4th of July?"

Have you ever read Frederick Douglass' 1852 Fourth of July speech? Here's an excerpt:
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:15 am

Here's a good article on how the word terrorism has become meaningless in the American lexicon.
There's a great paradox in the American political landscape: the word that is used most frequently to justify everything from invasions and bombings to torture, indefinite detention, and the sprawling Surveillance State -- Terrorism -- is also the most ill-defined and manipulated word. It has no fixed meaning, and thus applies to virtually anything the user wishes to demonize, while excluding the user's own behavior and other acts one seeks to justify. All of this would be an interesting though largely academic, semantic matter if not for the central political significance with which this term is vested: both formally (in our law) and informally (in our political debates and rhetoric). . . .

The reason no clear definition of Terrorism is ever settled upon is because it's virtually impossible to embrace a definition without either (a) excluding behavior one wishes to demonize and thus include and/or (b) including behavior (including one's own and those of one's friends) which one desperately wants to exclude.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn ... /terrorism
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:09 pm

Here's one final question in the twilight hours of Free Speech Weekend 2011. Do you consider Nat Turner to be a terrorist?
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:21 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Here's one final question in the twilight hours of Free Speech Weekend 2011. Do you consider Nat Turner to be a terrorist?

At the time, yes. Was Gerry Adams a terrorist?
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:03 pm

Daisy wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:Here's one final question in the twilight hours of Free Speech Weekend 2011. Do you consider Nat Turner to be a terrorist?

At the time, yes. Was Gerry Adams a terrorist?

Absolutely! But both Turner and Adams were justified in their actions IMO. Here's the thing. If a nation, a sub-national group or a lone individual have a legitimate grievance for which non-violent tactics have proven ineffectual, and they do not possess war-making capability, the only option left to them is terrorism. Don't ever overestimate the power of nonviolent protest. If Ghandi had faced Hitler, he would have been just another dead Indian.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby BillVol » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:09 pm

Ask Nelson Mandela if he believes in terrorism.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:21 pm

BillVol wrote:Ask Nelson Mandela if he believes in terrorism.

He certainly didn't spend 27 years in prison for sitting in at lunch counters. As a matter of fact, when the finally caught him, he was plotting to blow up a passeneger train.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:27 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
There's a great paradox in the American political landscape: the word that is used most frequently to justify everything from invasions and bombings to torture, indefinite detention, and the sprawling Surveillance State -- Terrorism -- is also the most ill-defined and manipulated word. It has no fixed meaning, and thus applies to virtually anything the user wishes to demonize, while excluding the user's own behavior and other acts one seeks to justify. All of this would be an interesting though largely academic, semantic matter if not for the central political significance with which this term is vested: both formally (in our law) and informally (in our political debates and rhetoric). . . .

I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I said in this thread a very short while ago.

And once a word has lost its way, it ceases to serve ANY function in debate - rendering this entire thread . . . moot*. :roll:

* second denotation = of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:35 pm

So 12 people answered "no" to the question in my original post. Out of curiosity, I would appreciate it if the no's stated their definitions of terrorism in concise and unambiguous language. Pego kinda sorta gave a definition but it has some wiggle room in it. Here's my definition so you get an idea of what I'm looking for:

    Terrorism - violence against innocent civilians for the purpose of intimidating, coercing or breaking the will of a government; or for the purpose of disrupting or influencing a democratic process in order to promote or oppose a political agenda.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby CookyMonzta » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:50 pm

I gather the definition (the first part of it, especially) also applies to rogue states as well. The current regime in Syria uses the same tactics in order to break the will of the people. That is just one, among many examples you can find from 1933 onward.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby Pego » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:32 am

jazzcyclist wrote:So 12 people answered "no" to the question in my original post. Out of curiosity, I would appreciate it if the no's stated their definitions of terrorism in concise and unambiguous language. Pego kinda sorta gave a definition but it has some wiggle room in it. Here's my definition so you get an idea of what I'm looking for:

    Terrorism - violence against innocent civilians for the purpose of intimidating, coercing or breaking the will of a government; or for the purpose of disrupting or influencing a democratic process in order to promote or oppose a political agenda.


This is too narrow. For example, the white supremacist asshole that shot up the Sikh temple in Milwaukee just because he hated people wearing turbans was a terrorist in my book.
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Re: Do you believe in terrorism?

Postby jazzcyclist » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:34 am

Pego wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:So 12 people answered "no" to the question in my original post. Out of curiosity, I would appreciate it if the no's stated their definitions of terrorism in concise and unambiguous language. Pego kinda sorta gave a definition but it has some wiggle room in it. Here's my definition so you get an idea of what I'm looking for:

    Terrorism - violence against innocent civilians for the purpose of intimidating, coercing or breaking the will of a government; or for the purpose of disrupting or influencing a democratic process in order to promote or oppose a political agenda.


This is too narrow. For example, the white supremacist asshole that shot up the Sikh temple in Milwaukee just because he hated people wearing turbans was a terrorist in my book.

He's a terrorist in my book too, similar to the KKK, a group that also carried out racial, ethnic and religious motivated murders. The fact that he may have been ignorant about the religious affiliation of Sikhs is besides the point. The main point is that, like the KKK, he was opposed to racial, ethnic and religious tolerance in our society. That falls under the category of "promote or oppose a political agenda". Keep in mind that not only do hate groups hate minorities, they also hate the laws that protect them. Also, didn't that attack happen as a reaction to another terrorist attack that had recently taken place?
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