Terrorism

Marty Halvorson martyh@nmcourts.com
Thu, 10 Jan 2002 09:11:45 -0700


Jeff Bone wrote,
 >"S. Alexander Jacobson" wrote:
 >> Terrorists terrorize civilians in order to get
 >> them to change their government's policy.
 >> Terrorism is not a viable strategy against a
 >> dictatorship. Terrorism involves violence
 >> or threats of violence against innocent civilians
 >> and is evil.
 >This is nice in theory, but ignores the reality of conflict. No significant
 >conflict has ever been fought that didn't involve civilian casualties, and
 >most have involved *intentional* civilian casualties. Even the antique 
notion
 >of "gentleman soldiers" is a total myth, a fabrication of folklorists. 
The US
 >war for independence was particularly bloody, and indeed involved much
 >violence against otherwise innocent British and American "civilians." So let
 >me be more specific in my query: are you ready to assert that the American
 >revolutionaries were terrorists?

You missed the point.  It's pretty clearly stated in Mr. Jacobson's first 
two sentences.  I would go farther and say that for terrorists, 1) the war 
is fought on foreign soil, i.e., they, generally, don't fight on their own 
land, and 2) the act of terror is the battle being waged rather than being 
incidental to the battle.  It's this second point that differentiates 
terrorists from revolutionaries.

American revolutionaries were not terrorists (although some may have been, 
just as there may have been some spreading terror while operating under the 
auspices of the British army).  First they fought the British army, they 
were fighting on their land, and, although "civilian" casualties occurred 
they, in general, were incidental to the battle being waged.

"Gentlemen soldiers" are not a myth.  It was pretty much true when 
"knighthood was in flower."  Unfortunately courtly conduct only applied to 
those nobly born, peasants and serfs were not considered "real" and could 
be killed and the women raped at will.

Peace,

Marty Halvorson
New Mexico Supreme Court
Administrative Office of the Courts
Judicial Information Division
martyh@nmcourts.com