What is and isn't terrorism
by phil on Saturday Apr 17, 2010 7:01 PM
The word "terrorism," like the word "freedom," is one of the most mis-used words in the last fifty-some years of public discourse. So, for clarity's sake, here's what some guy on reddit said:
Here is, according to at least some laws, the distinction. There are 3 factors:
The target: government or civilian
The aggressor: government or civilian.
The motivation: political or other.
And the government can never have a motivation other than political. So with that, here are our options:
If the aggressor is government and the target is government, it's war.
If the aggressor is government and the target is civilian, it's a war crime.
If the aggressor is civilian, the motivation is political and the target is government, it's guerrilla fighting (or rebels, or civil resistance, or freedom fighters, or revolutionary depending on which side you are on).
If the aggressor is civilian, the motivation is political and the target is civilian, it's terrorism.
If the aggressor is civilian and the motivation is not political, regardless of the target, it's just a crime.
So, Hiroshima is not terrorism: it's a war crime.
People blowing up U.S. humvees in Iraq: guerrilla fighting
People blowing up a Mosque in Iraq: terrorism
9/11 twin towers: terrorism
9/11 pentagon: guerrilla fighting