"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, July 11, 2005

What Is a Terrorist?

My esteemed friend Tlaloc argues in a comment that "'terrorist' is a fine term for Al Qaeda. 'Insurgent' on the other hand is perfectly accurate for the forces in Iraq." Well, that just about sums it all up, doesn't it? If the Islamic fascists are bombing westerners, they are terrorists. If they are bombing Iraqi civilians in a direct effort to make U.S. policy appear doomed, well, then they are insurgents. Does Tlaloc actually read what he writes?

10 comments:

James Elliott said...

I think the real question is, "Did you keep a straight face on while putting words into his mouth?"

Tlaloc said...

in·sur·gent ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-s├╗rjnt)
adj.
Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government.
Rebelling against the leadership of a political party.

I didn't make up the language I just take pains to use it correctly (although my typing leaves a lot to be desired).

Tlaloc said...

"If the Islamic fascists are bombing westerners, they are terrorists. If they are bombing Iraqi civilians in a direct effort to make U.S. policy appear doomed, well, then they are insurgents."

You also make the mistake of claiming the insurgents in Iraq are the same terrorists that make up Al Qaeda. The bulk of the Iraqi insurgency appears to be made up of native Iraqis, not foreign jihadists (although there certainly are foreign jihadists in Iraq now).

James Elliott said...

Dr. Zycher, please see the Reform Club archives for more information on the Baathist insurgence vs. foreign jihadists question:

http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2005/06/pressing-ahead-in-iraq.html#comments

Your comment merely serves to reignite the guerrilla warfare/terrorism debate.

James Elliott said...

Crap. Got cut off.

Let's try this.

Oh good.

Tlaloc said...

And if we wanted to further complicate things for Benjamin we could point out that during his time with the Mujahedeen Osama would also have been an insurgent.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Then by the same token, we are no longer fighting the Iraq War, which is over and won.

We are assisting the legitimately elected interim government of Iraq in its counterinsurgency.

In brighter news, the jihadists seem to have declared war on the insurgents, who might be splintering off in hopes of cutting a deal.

It might be fair to wonder if the insurgency would have persisted this long without willing jihadis to serve as cannon fodder. The insurgents seem to have an interest in living past the day after tomorrow. (Perhaps they heard about the 72 Virginians awaiting them.)

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Indeed we are assisting the interim government of Iraq in its counterinsurgency.

The legitimacy of that interim government is open to debate. Many of the insurgents probably don't think of it as legitimate.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, I think it's a stretch to ascribe democratic principles to these people, LA. They could count the 8 million purple fingers as well as the next guy.

Tlaloc said...

"Oh, I think it's a stretch to ascribe democratic principles to these people, LA. They could count the 8 million purple fingers as well as the next guy."

You seem to be conflating democratic with legitimate. The two aren't synonyms.