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Subject: Terrorist versus resistance movements
Thomas    8/29/2003 2:22:55 AM
American Kafir made an excellent post on another thread: "Anybody can think like a terrorist. The challenge lies in thinking strategically beyond the actual attack. Terrorists rely far too heavily upon the idea that their tactics will frighten their victims into inaction and capitulation, and from that they embolden themselves further. They have absolutely no strategy for dealing with those who are angered by terrorism, and therein lies the weakness of terrorism as a tactic." I think this question deserves a thread of its own. If there is any interest we could analyse the resistance movement during WW2 to point out the differences between these and todays terrorists.
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SGTObvious    RE:Terrorist versus resistance movements   8/29/2003 7:18:15 AM
Here are a few differences: A Resistance movement is an expression of a government in exile, a suppressed government, or an absentee government. Hence, Polish Partisans in WWII were Resistance fighters. The recognized government was in exile, (two of them were in exile, but that just confuses things) and this government supported the Resistance. Hamas is NOT a resistance movement, as the PA is recognized as the legitimate government of the Palestinians and the PA has not authorized Hamas to carry out attacks. Members of Resistance Movements, as legitimate fighters, CANNOT be terrorists, and terrorists CANNOT be resistance movements, the two are exclusive. The word you are looking for is "war criminal" A Polish WWII resistance fighter who crept into Germany and deliberately blew up a school bus full of Germans kids would have been a War Criminal, not a terrorist, under international law even if was NEVER a uniformed member of the Polish Armed Forces. Since Al Queada has no overt government backing anywhere, it is Terrorist in nature. If the Palestinian Authority ceased to exist, and Hamas became the de facto political authority for the Palestinians, Hamas members would cease to be terrorists, and become war criminals.
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swhitebull    RE:Terrorist versus resistance movements   8/29/2003 8:09:30 AM
..Hamas is NOT a resistance movement, as the PA is recognized as the legitimate government of the Palestinians and the PA has not authorized Hamas to carry out attacks... Sarge- you sure about that? I am 125% certain that Arafat has given the green light to all of the groups to attack Isaraeli in any and all ways possible. What do you think that odious little toad has been doing with his sycophants and cronies in his compound at ramallah? baking cookies? (Unless they're laced with rat poison and nails, of course) swhitebull- just an important clarification- and if it can ever be PROVED that communication between hamas and arafat took place authorizing such actions, then WAR CRIMINAL status CAN be given to every member of HAMAS and to Arafat (as if he wasnt one already)
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SGTObvious    Authorization   8/29/2003 9:08:28 AM
To be "Authorized" by a government requires overt, open support. Covert support, even if that covert support is blatantly obvious, does not imply "Authorized". Therefore, Hamas is Terrorist. Same goes for OBL- even if it can be proved one day that the Saudi Government gave him direct support, he would still be a terrorist. It seems like a little petty detail, but its really not. What makes a person a legit fighter is his government (or representative political power in the absence of a government) avowing responsibility for his actions, which occurs with any level of overt authorization. Covert authorization, on the other hand, deprives the person of the umbrella of national authority. It's a major distinction, sort of like an employee under Tort law. Being an overt, recongized soldier gives a person greater latitude in behavior than a non-soldier, because the theory is he is acting as an instrument of his government- just like a policeman or a fireman can do things with much greater authority and freedom from legal repercussions than a citizen. One of the major foundations of Western Civilization is the idea that a representative government has an absolute monopoly on the use of deadly force, except in cases of extreme personal need. Hence, we have a strongly negative view on vigilantism. If a westerner suspects that an individual wronged him, his family, or his posessions, but does not pose an immediate danger, we consider that the proper response is to let the government use whatever level of violence is needed. Even in Texas, a citizen might justifuably shoot an intruder, but if the intruder got away, and retreated to his home, for the citizen to then hunt down and kill the intruder would be considered out of line. Not so in the arab world. There, personal use of violence is considered not only acceptable but honorable. This is a major cultural disctinction- the arab considers a personal, violent response appropriate and proper in a broad range of situations, where the Westerner considers it proper (or at least, by prevailing social standards SHOULD) only in clearly threatening situations. In the west, we have disagreements over the level of threat- an American might say "any intruder is a potential threat and violence is justified", a European might say "not so, you have to have clear proof that the intruder intends harm" but there is a huge divide between these minor differences of opinion and the arab attitude, which would be "threat is irrelevant. If someone did wrong, you can use violence against them." Hence, using violence against an individual who poses no threat to you is common in Muslim areas. This is also why they are unable to see the Western distinction between terrorist and soldier- to the Arab, the "special priviledge of violence" that a western nation extends to a soldier or policeman does not exist. Anyone has that priviledge. Hence, no difference between someone who is using force because the government decided to authorize use of force in a given situation, and someone using force because of a personal decision This is also what causes Muslim societies to decay rapidly into rival feuding violent clans. In the west, the government has a monopoly on force, we may disagree over an incident, like a controversial police shooting, but we do not turn on the government as a whole- the government always maintains the monopoly on violence. In a muslim land, if a person has decided, in their opinion, that force is justified, another person may disagree. This other person is then justified in using force against the first person. With no culturally accepted government imposing a monopoly on force, the system decays into clan warfare the first tiem two groups disagree over whether a particular use of force was justified. So, this little thing "Is it overtly and expressly authorized by the government" is a major keystone to western civilization, and that is why the distinction is of crucial importance. It is also why one of the first acts of the Israeli government was to destroy a ship carrying arms to a Jewish Israeli irregular group. (Swhite, you probably know more detail on it than I do) This action cemented the status of the government and the culture as western in nature- claiming an absolute monopoly on legitimate force.
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Philippine Soldier    Fine line   8/29/2003 9:45:33 AM
Sometimes, a resistance fighter and a terrorist can be separated only by a fine line. A resistance fighter who believes in himself to be one is defined as a terrorist by his enemies.
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SGTObvious    RE:Fine line   8/29/2003 5:49:28 PM
The Line may be Fine, but it is real and very important. Understanding where the line is, and why it is there helps understand why all of Western civilization works the way it does. (Yes, Phillipine Soldier, the Phillipines counts as "West", although it has a lot of "East" mixed in).
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American Kafir    RE:Terrorist versus resistance movements   8/29/2003 5:57:31 PM
I really don't want to get into another tedious "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" discussion. "The World Islamic Front Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" differs from the American "Declaration of Independence" in many ways, the least of which being the signatures on the Declaration of Independence were the names of Americans who weren't wearing masks or strapping powderkegs to their backs and running to blow themselves up in the streets of 18th Century London. A freedom fighter does not hide his identity. Maybe a more interesting question would be how to classify the Nokim (sp?). These are Jewish Holocaust survivors who ran around Europe after WW2 extra-judicially kidnapping and executing former Nazis. Many of whom were founding members of Israel's Mossad.
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SGTObvious    Where is the Line?   8/29/2003 5:57:35 PM
I've done this before, but for the benefit of the new readers, here is the line: 1. A terrorist does not have state or state-like authorization. A person who has state authorization but commits terroristic attacks is properly termed a war criminal, not a terrorist. A person without state or state-like authorization who fights but does not commit terroristic acts is an illegal combatant. 2. A terrorist deliberately targets civilians, and their property OR targets military persons or property in circumstances short of hostilites. Thus, attacking the Pentagon, a military target, was a terroristic attack because no hostilities existed at the time between the US and Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. 3. A terrorist deliberately flauts the laws and customs of war, operating from civilian vehicles, using the civilian populace as cover, and otherwise taking advantage of his enemies qualities of mercy and respect for civilians. You need ALL THREE to be a terrorist. That is the Line.
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SGTObvious    Nokim   8/29/2003 6:00:26 PM
"Maybe a more interesting question would be how to classify the Nokim (sp?). These are Jewish Holocaust survivors who ran around Europe after WW2 extra-judicially kidnapping and executing former Nazis." Sui Generis. The situation was created before terrorism as a concept had been fully defined, and in any case was a situation above and beyond the ordinary bounds.
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American Kafir    RE:Nokim   8/29/2003 6:18:18 PM
"Maybe a more interesting question would be how to classify the Nokim (sp?). These are Jewish Holocaust survivors who ran around Europe after WW2 extra-judicially kidnapping and executing former Nazis." >Sui Generis. The situation was created before terrorism as a concept had been fully defined, and in any case was a situation above and beyond the ordinary bounds.< I agree. Even the term "vigilante" doesn't seem to work without stretching the term beyond recognition. "Nokim" is Hebrew for "avenger," and at the very least, they did just that. They were meticulous in identifying their targets specifically and correctly (no innocents were terminated) so you can't really call them "terrorists" either. They weren't out to terrorize people into not being Nazis, they were all about killing actual Nazis past and present. I recall a story where the Nokim turned over a Nazi to the Russians in Eastern Europe for a war crimes trial and the Russians let him go, somehow unconvinced and / or uninterested in eye-witness testimony from his Jewish accusers. As soon as the Nazi walked out of Russian custody, laughing and mocking the Jews who turned him in, the Nokim cut him down with machine gun fire. (Job well done.)
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capitalist72    RE:Terrorist versus resistance movements   8/30/2003 11:11:52 AM
It takes a lot of though to clearly put down in words the definition of terrorism. I've tried before twice on these boards, this time I did a randon Internet search on Yahoo and came across an article which clearly defines (according to me) the difference between "terrorism" and "guerilla/resistance" and puts to bed that common ridiculous statement that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." Here's the link:
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