Terrorism

Marty Halvorson martyh@nmcourts.com
Thu, 10 Jan 2002 12:35:48 -0700


At 12:23 10-01-02, Owen Byrne wrote:
>Well Osama Bin Laden has a recognized foe - the US. In his mind the 
>governments
>of the Middle East are puppet governments installed by the US. The US attacked
>the Middle East in 1991 and has occupied it ever since.

Well then, for Bin Laden to be a revolutionary, he would have to fight in 
those Middle East countries against the established governments..  To 
attack the U.S. is terrorism because he is attempting to alter U.S. policy 
by attacking its citizens, not its army.

>I was trying to detect a difference beyond something as subjective as 
>"recognized
>foe."

He may indeed consider the U.S. a "recognized foe."  That does not make an 
attack against its citizens, the act of a revolutionary.  To become a 
revolutionary, he would have to attack the U.S. military in an attempt to 
overthrow the U.S. government.  Thus, the attacks on the WTC were acts of 
terror, while the attack on the Pentagon may not have been depending on 
whether he thought he was overthrowing the established 
government.  Although attacking the U.S. military with as few fighters as 
he has in an attempt to overthrow the established U.S. government is pretty 
dumb.

My definition of terrorist:  A terrorist is one who commits acts of 
violence against an unsuspecting civilian population in an attempt to 
discredit or change the policies of a particular government while avoiding 
the engagement of the military of that government.  Note that this implies 
the acts of violence are not intended to overthrow the established government.

Peace,

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