Monday | October 14, 2002
Every attack is now a terrorist attack
Matthew Yglesias nails this one on the head:
President Bush says:The word "terrorism" has always carried a large degree if political baggage. In El Salvador, FMLN guerillas were "freedom fighters" to the Soviet Bloc, and "terrorists" to the Salvadoran government and its US benefactors. The exact opposite was the case in neighboring Nicaragua. In Kashmir, Islamic militants are heroic freedom fighters to Pakistan, and terrorists to India."Obviously, the attack on our marines in Kuwait was a terrorist attack," Mr. Bush told political reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before leaving for a political trip here.That's completely absurd. If an al Qaida attack on armed, uniformed, active-duty military personnel employed by a country that describes itself as "at war" with al Qaida is a terrorist attack, then everything is a terrorist attack.
To me, a terrorist attack is an attack on civilians without a strategic military purpose. (There could be cases where attacks on civilians serve a military purpose -- such as broadcast stations, power stations, or airports manned by civilians.) 9-11 was a terrorist attack. So was the weekend bombing in Bali. But an attack on uniformed US soldiers is not a terrorist attack, merely a reminder that we should finish our current war (against Al Qaida) before wading into the next hornet's nest.Posted October 14, 2002 04:28 PM | Comments (7)