Author Topic: The Terrorist U.S.A.  (Read 11031 times)

Offline milomorris

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The Terrorist U.S.A.
« on: June 01, 2013, 09:08:01 am »
Oh, good grief! Please don't play the victim.  America, and yes I resent the fact that you have appropriated the word America, deserves all the criticisms it's gets being the world's leading terrorist state.

Please explain the concept of the U.S.A. as a "terrorist state."
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 02:43:48 pm »
You weren't asking me, but here's my opinion. The US may or may not qualify as a "terrorist state" by the strictest definition of the English-language term, partly because actions undertaken by our government are not technically "illegal" -- as defined by our government itself -- and because when we kill civilians we classify it as "collateral damage" of warfare, rather than as random acts of violence against another country's citizens.

But our country has killed more than 100,000 civilians in Iraq in pursuit of a war that was sold to Congress and the public on trumped-up nonexistent security issues, then catastrophically planned and mismanaged in ways that prolonged the killing. If another country invented its own reason to invade the US and then killed 100,000 civilian Americans, what would you call that country?

Here's Wikipedia's definition of "state terrorism":

There is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the proper definition of the word "terrorism".[6][7] Many scholars believe that the actions of governments can be labeled "terrorism"; however others, including governments, international organizations, private institutions and scholars, believe that the term is only applicable to the actions of non-state actors. Historically, the term terrorism was used to refer to actions taken by governments against their citizens whereas now it is more often perceived as targeting of civilians as part of a strategy directed against governments.[8] Historian Henry Commager wrote that "Even when definitions of terrorism allow for state terrorism, state actions in this area tend to be seen through the prism of war or national self-defense, not terror.”[9] While states may accuse other states of state-sponsored terrorism when they support insurgencies, individuals who accuse their governments of terrorism are seen as radicals, because actions by legitimate governments are not generally seen as illegitimate. Academic writing tends to follow the definitions accepted by states.[10] Most states use the term "terrorism" for non state actors only.[11]

The Encyclopædia Britannica Online defines terrorism generally as "the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective", and states that "terrorism is not legally defined in all jurisdictions." The encyclopedia adds that "[e]stablishment terrorism, often called state or state-sponsored terrorism, is employed by governments -- or more often by factions within governments -- against that government's citizens, against factions within the government, or against foreign governments or groups."[2]

While the most common modern usage of the word terrorism refers to civilian-victimizing political violence by insurgents or conspirators,[12] several scholars make a broader interpretation of the nature of terrorism that encompasses the concepts of state terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism.[13] Michael Stohl argues, "The use of terror tactics is common in international relations and the state has been and remains a more likely employer of terrorism within the international system than insurgents.[14] Stohl clarifies, however, that "[n]ot all acts of state violence are terrorism. It is important to understand that in terrorism the violence threatened or perpetrated, has purposes broader than simple physical harm to a victim. The audience of the act or threat of violence is more important than the immediate victim."[15]

Scholar Gus Martin describes state terrorism as terrorism "committed by governments and quasi-governmental agencies and personnel against perceived threats", which can be directed against both domestic and foreign targets.[4] Noam Chomsky defines state terrorism as "terrorism practised by states (or governments) and their agents and allies".[16] Jeffrey A. Sluka has described Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman as pioneers in academic studies about state terrorism.[17]

Michael Stohl and George A. Lopez have designated three categories of state terrorism, based on the openness/secrecy with which the alleged terrorist acts are performed, and whether states directly perform the acts, support them, or acquiesce to them.[18]




 

Offline milomorris

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 03:24:03 pm »
Thank you for adding to this conversation in a sober and meaningful manner.

Clearly, there are differing views on what defines terrorism. I am in the camp that sees terrorists as non-state actors. If I took it upon myself to fly to  Pyongyang, and start dropping pipe bombs in trash cans, I'd be a terrorist. If on the other hand I enlist in the Army, am sent to Pyongyang, and end up mowing down dozens of North Koreans with my AR-15, I'd be a soldier.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Offline Monika

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 04:04:38 pm »
I´d say "terrorism" has more to do with the reason behind the violence than whether it is sanctioned by a government or not.

Let´s take the Israelian/Palestinian conflict as an example. I would say that both sides in that conflict has committed acts of terror. To me the deciding factor is the reason behind doing something (i.e create terror among a population) rather than if it is sanctioned by a government or not.

Offline milomorris

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2013, 04:16:08 pm »
I´d say "terrorism" has more to do with the reason behind the violence than whether it is sanctioned by a government or not.

Let´s take the Israelian/Palestinian conflict as an example. I would say that both sides in that conflict has committed acts of terror. To me the deciding factor is the reason behind doing something (i.e create terror among a population) rather than if it is sanctioned by a government or not.

I see the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a traditional war over pieces of land. Yes, both sides might be generating some terrorist behavior, but the bottom line is about property. Conversely, the bombing at the Boston Marathon was simply to punish citizens.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Offline oilgun

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 05:05:30 pm »
Well I'm in the "the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective" camp.  Which is exactly what drones do, for example.  Whole villages are terrorized when a drone flies overhead not knowing where it will strike. 

So a drone might assassinate an intended, but non-tried btw, "target" but also his 'collateral damaged' family, neighbours, friends and innocent bystanders.  If that's not terrorism i don't know what is.

Guantanamo and all the black sites: America takes people hostage, even minors, incarcerates them for decades, tortures them and all without charge. That also sounds like terrorism to me.

And yes, there is that body count of 100,000 civilian Iraqis...

Offline milomorris

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 05:23:58 pm »
Well I'm in the "the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective" camp.  Which is exactly what drones do, for example.  Whole villages are terrorized when a drone flies overhead not knowing where it will strike. 

So a drone might assassinate an intended, but non-tried btw, "target" but also his 'collateral damaged' family, neighbours, friends and innocent bystanders.  If that's not terrorism i don't know what is.

Guantanamo and all the black sites: America takes people hostage, even minors, incarcerates them for decades, tortures them and all without charge. That also sounds like terrorism to me.

And yes, there is that body count of 100,000 civilian Iraqis...

1. Any use of force is capable of creating a general climate of fear. German U-boats off the Atlantic coast of the U.S. certainly created a climate of fear, yet nobody called it "terrorism," it was just plain old war with new kinds of weapons.

2. Collateral damage happens in pretty much every modern armed conflict. This was not the case in earlier centuries when men had to fight mano a mano. But now that we have things like grenades, cannons, and bombs, people who are not directly involved in fighting are going to die. When we fire-bombed Dresden, there was lots of collateral damage. Yet nobody called it "terrorism," it was just plain old war.

3. The question of what rights to which enemy combatants are entitled is one which is still emerging. If the people detained at Gitmo had been uniformed soldiers fighting on behalf of a state, they would be considered P.O.Ws, and things would be much more clear. As it is, many of them are just some bozos on the bus who decided to get involved with enemies of the West.

4. I believe that the 100,000 dead civilian Iraqis is just a figurative number that makes good stories for the media. I don't think anyone really knows exactly how many there are. I also don't think anyone knows for certain that all of them were killed by Americans. How many of those people were killed by IEDs built by their own countrymen? How many of them were killed when a shell slammed into a building that was fired by someone from a Jihadist organization who was there to kill Americans? I don't think its possible for anyone to know for certain.

Just because you don't like a specific armed conflict, that doesn't make it terrorism.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Offline Monika

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 06:30:46 pm »
I see the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a traditional war over pieces of land. Yes, both sides might be generating some terrorist behavior, but the bottom line is about property. Conversely, the bombing at the Boston Marathon was simply to punish citizens.

I don´t know any of the details of the Boston marathon bombing, but bombings of this kind usually has to do with wanting to spread fear and the perpetratots believing they are part of a bigger conflict.

Yes, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is about land - and water and culture and ultimately survival - but so is a lot of other conflicts where one side has been seen as "terrorists" - for example the conflict between England and IRA. Of course, as with most conflict, who is considered a terrorist depends on which side you´re on. As the say ""one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter"".


Someone struck me - perhaps a better definition of a "terrorist" is someone who specifically targets civilians.

Offline Monika

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 06:39:15 pm »


When we fire-bombed Dresden, there was lots of collateral damage. Yet nobody called it "terrorism," it was just plain old war.


That´s incorrect. The bombing of Dresden that killed up to 25 000 people was/is very controversial and caused a big post-war debate leading some to call it an act of terror and a war crime.

Offline oilgun

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Re: The Terrorist U.S.A.
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 06:44:23 pm »
1. Any use of force is capable of creating a general climate of fear. German U-boats off the Atlantic coast of the U.S. certainly created a climate of fear, yet nobody called it "terrorism," it was just plain old war with new kinds of weapons.

2. Collateral damage happens in pretty much every modern armed conflict. This was not the case in earlier centuries when men had to fight mano a mano. But now that we have things like grenades, cannons, and bombs, people who are not directly involved in fighting are going to die. When we fire-bombed Dresden, there was lots of collateral damage. Yet nobody called it "terrorism," it was just plain old war.

3. The question of what rights to which enemy combatants are entitled is one which is still emerging. If the people detained at Gitmo had been uniformed soldiers fighting on behalf of a state, they would be considered P.O.Ws, and things would be much more clear. As it is, many of them are just some bozos on the bus who decided to get involved with enemies of the West.

4. I believe that the 100,000 dead civilian Iraqis is just a figurative number that makes good stories for the media. I don't think anyone really knows exactly how many there are. I also don't think anyone knows for certain that all of them were killed by Americans. How many of those people were killed by IEDs built by their own countrymen? How many of them were killed when a shell slammed into a building that was fired by someone from a Jihadist organization who was there to kill Americans? I don't think its possible for anyone to know for certain.

Just because you don't like a specific armed conflict, that doesn't make it terrorism.

Oh I'm sure some people were appalled by the Dresden 'shock and awe'.  I for one am also appalled at the Horishima and Nagasaki murders.  Targeting civilians is not okay and I consider it terrorism.