By Ed Kinane
This commentary is unpublished.
We keep hearing certain words – such as “democracy” and “terrorism” -- that are seldom defined. The pretense is that we all know what these words mean. Yet that’s hardly the case.
Here’s how the U.S. State Department defines terrorism: the use of violence or the threat of violence to harm or intimidate civilians for political purposes.
Given all the commentary on terrorism, you’d think this pithy definition might often be invoked. It seldom is. Why? Because applying that definition evenhandedly – to assess each violent episode or campaign, regardless of who perpetrates it -- would boomerang. It would expose terrorists who usually aren’t thought of as terrorists.
Retail terrorism – like abduction or suicide bombing – is a tactic of the hardware have-nots. It gets all the attention. Wholesale terrorism – invasion and aerial warfare, for example – is the strategy of the haves...
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In 2003, Ed Kinane worked with Voices in the Wilderness, in Baghdad. Contact him at email@example.com.