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What or when is something terrorism?
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26 / M / The Netherlands
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Posted 9/22/10
I'm sure I'm not the only one with this question in mind, I find that terrorism is something very very vague, allow me to explain why.

When I hear on the news that a person has blew up a building while screaming: Allah is Great, it is/will be called terrorism.

However when soldiers kill civilians (like with the helicopter thingy from a half year ago) it is not.
Many other examples are there, I heard soldiers use grenades to throw into rooms to check if there are enemy's, if there happen to be innocents in there, well f*ck them.

When the Nazi's oppressed Europe many people joined the resistance, they blew up stuff too, are they terrorists?
Is terrorism in that case a bad thing?

So yeah... when is something terrorism?
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49 / F / Center of the Uni...
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Posted 9/22/10
Terrorism in it's most basic definition is trying to get someone to do something by threat of harm. It is bullying. The powers that be have always called those who resisted them with violence names like anarchist and terrorist. So to did the Nazis catagorise the Maquis and other resistence movements.

The point you miss is that warfare. has rules. both sides are supposed to be uniform. Both sides are supposed to leave the other sides non-combatents (usually not in uniform) alone. Civilians are supposed to get out of the way and let the soldiers fight.

When police enter a building they have strict rules of engagement that put them at a great disadvantage if there are armed criminals waiting, prepared to fight them. This is necessary because the police are there to serve and protect the very people they may encounter in the room they are breaching. Soldiers are not police.

When engaged in "Streetfighting", "fighting in built up areas" (FIBUA)," Close Quarters Battle (CQB)" or whatever it's curently called. They are engaged in the most hazardous and randomly lethal form of combat invented. The tactics used were developed in World War II when even the Nazis were decent enough wear uniforms and to leave the civilians out of the actual fighting. Even with the room prepped with a couple of grenades and the soldiers spraying lead as they clear the entry way, the first two soldiers in a room during CQB have the shortest lifespans in all of combat.

If an enemy insists on mixing with the civilian population and refuses to wear a uniform. or engages in other violations of the Geneva convention (Chemical weapons, fighting on after surrender, killing prisoners of war etc.) My sympathy is with the soldiers trying to play by the rules.

Your question actually was a difficult one for Interpol to answer since it dealt with police forces accross a broad spectrum of political beliefs and government systems. here is how they define it.



From a legal viewpoint it might be problematic for Interpol that there is no internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism. The plurality of terrorism definitions reflects the disagreement that exists over the politically sensitive issues of the “purposes of terrorist aims, actors, and activities... [and is] symptomatic of larger ideological arguments over who the ‘bad guys’ are” (Sabia 2000:228). In potential terrorism cases, one country may identify an act as terrorism, while another country might label it “resistance” (Marx 1997:33). Gary Marx cites an example in which a Pakistani religious party requested that American rock stars be tried as terrorists, because, they argued, “Michael Jackson and Madonna are the torch bearers of American society [and] their cultural and social values... are destroying humanity” (Marx 1997:33). Differences in definitions of terrorism across nations also shape differences in their systems of legislation, so that national laws and international conventions may often differ, making enforcement at an international level difficult. Thus, although a United Nations General Assembly Resolution of 1983 unconditionally condemned as criminal “all acts, methods and practices of terrorism,” the only instrument of enforcement adopted by 1988 was the more restricted International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (Gregory 2000:102).

From the viewpoint of international police cooperation, however, it is important to note that terrorist incidents, even when they explicitly involve political motives on the part of the perpetrators and are sensitive matters in an ideological sense, are de-politicized by police institutions to become the foundation of shared systems of information on which international cooperation can be based (Deflem 2002a; see Geraghty 2002). When Interpol was placed on high alert to respond to possible terrorist attacks that might occur during the war in Iraq, General Secretary Noble was quick to add that Interpol would not take a position on the war itself. As is the case in Interpol, politically sensitive crimes, such as terrorism, can also be broken down into several components, only the criminal elements of which (e.g., homicide, bombings, illegal weapons trade) are taken as the focus of international police investigations. Thus, while it is legally problematic that terrorism is defined differently across the nations of the world, police agencies of various countries can agree to accept their common task to focus on terrorism, whatever its more precise legal specification in any country.


(taken from http://www.cas.sc.edu/socy/faculty/deflem/zinterpolterror.html )

Interpol generally only calls it Terrorism when it happens outside a conflict zone. Within a conflict zone other rules such as the Geneva convention can apply. Not wearing uniforms or wearing false uniforms, surrendering as a ruse in order to inflict further casualties, deliberately hiding behind a civilian population, are all examples of Geneva convention violations that might also promote terror.
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49 / F / Center of the Uni...
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Posted 9/22/10
some other things that might make something a terrorist act or a 'war crime' is the deliberate targeting of civilians. The German bombing of Coventry and the Allied fire bombing of Dresden would count as such. Many people argue that the American use of two Nuclear weapons on Japan to end WWII also counts.
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54 / F / Atlanta GA
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Posted 9/22/10
That is called total war to destroy the enemy ability to manufacture weapons. That also makes a population think twice about putting a war monger in office. People need to be held accountable for their government action as well. Just pointing finger dose not cut with me. Once the war is over then reconciliation needs to be Done. Yes America is such a evil country to bad Europe did not listen to are setting president not to take it out on he Germany after WW1 maybe WW2 would never have happen. But that just a my opinion.
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25 / M / Amadora - Lisboa
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Posted 9/22/10
American point of view (politically speaking, nothing against USA or the people of America): If you are:
Against america;
Against capitalism;
Against their political position;
Against they controlling your resources;

Then you are considered, by them, as a terrorist. Unfortunatelly, this is how it happens today. Of course there are some exceptions, but.....
Posted 9/22/10
Using fear to control. It's super effective!
Posted 9/22/10
Whenever I see the word terrorism I think of psychopathy, as in a character profile of "a profound lack of empathy and remorse for the harm [they] do to others". Its trademarks are extremely arrogant, intentionally inconsiderate, often calculative, and deliberately antisocial behaviors. Now keep in mind that since we are dealing with a type of human self-organization, thereby it still applies itself the human biology of social mechanism. In other words it can learn how to be sociable via experimental learning, but that's only a mean to its own self-interest. Which can be described as being power-hungry, manipulative, oppressive, and obscured.
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24 / F / New York City
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Posted 9/22/10

amersfoort wrote:

I'm sure I'm not the only one with this question in mind, I find that terrorism is something very very vague, allow me to explain why.

When I hear on the news that a person has blew up a building while screaming: Allah is Great, it is/will be called terrorism.

However when soldiers kill civilians (like with the helicopter thingy from a half year ago) it is not.
Many other examples are there, I heard soldiers use grenades to throw into rooms to check if there are enemy's, if there happen to be innocents in there, well f*ck them.

When the Nazi's oppressed Europe many people joined the resistance, they blew up stuff too, are they terrorists?
Is terrorism in that case a bad thing?

So yeah... when is something terrorism?

Terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce esp., for political purposes. The state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. Throughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss.

The US Government -- YES, it has been a terrorist state since 1945.

It has armed and trained terrorist organizations to fight against legitimate government all around the world.

The US government has toppled legitimate governments in many countries, especially in South America and installed right-wing military dictatorships.

The US has violated international laws, the UN Charter and many agreements since 1945 and because of this a number of wars have occurred. Korea, Vietnam and Gulf War-2 are just several examples
Posted 9/22/10

popcornpuffs wrote:


Terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce esp., for political purposes. The state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. Throughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss.

The US Government -- YES, it has been a terrorist state since 1945.

It has armed and trained terrorist organizations to fight against legitimate government all around the world.

The US government has toppled legitimate governments in many countries, especially in South America and installed right-wing military dictatorships.

The US has violated international laws, the UN Charter and many agreements since 1945 and because of this a number of wars have occurred. Korea, Vietnam and Gulf War-2 are just several examples
And being a Christian Evangelist himself, President Bush started the war on terrorism in the name of God. But it's really about disaster capitalism:

Yet Mr Bush's rhetoric does have a huge audience.

One in three American Christians call themselves evangelicals and many evangelicals believe the second coming of Christ will occur in the Middle East after a titanic battle with the anti-Christ.

Does the president believe he is playing a part in the final events of Armageddon?

If true, it is an alarming thought.

But he would not be alone, as 59% of all Americans believe that what is written in the Bible's Book of Revelation will come to pass.(citation)
Do you still wanna play the stupid blame game? I could further invoke Calvinism as the spirit behind capitalism. Come on, just try it.
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28 / M / Nicaragua
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Posted 9/23/10 , edited 9/23/10
I saw someone make the connection between Calvinism and Capitalism once... done forgot it. :/ Whenever I hear "Calvinism", I think of the "predestined elect"... have anything to do with them? I used to consider myself an evangelical... but I got sick off of what the Church was feeding (or rather "taking from...") me so I left. I'd rather not carry that label anymore. I will say that there are evangelicals that preach against encouraging the apocalypse... mostly a bunch of crazies that claim that everytime we mess with Israel god sends another hurricane Katrina... but they do exist!

Anyway, I think all war could be considered terrorism. Any form of violence could really be called terrorism. Domestic abuse is terrorism. It's saying, "you wont do what I say so I'll beat you up until you do!"

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

Mohandas Gandhi

There's no shortage of people or religious beliefs to blame for our being violent. But maybe we should focus less on the source of the violence and more on the solution... non-violence through education.

That being said... I also consider the concept of all war darkly comical... I get a good laugh out of people wanting to "protect" something with a revolver that shoots bullets the size of a robin's egg. Or how about the Luftwaffe ceremonial saber? That strike you as ironic? (Thank you Vonnegut). It's this kinda attitude that gets the job done and then some! America! F*** Yeah! But seriously... I think war, violence, and terrorism are wrong.
Posted 9/23/10

MakeThoseDonuts wrote:

I saw someone make the connection between Calvinism and Capitalism once... done forgot it. :/ Whenever I hear "Calvinism", I think of the "predestined elect"... have anything to do with them? I used to consider myself an evangelical... but I got sick off of what the Church was feeding (or rather "taking from...") me so I left. I'd rather not carry that label anymore. I will say that there are evangelicals that preach against encouraging the apocalypse... mostly a bunch of crazies that claim that everytime we mess with Israel god sends another hurricane Katrina... but they do exist!

Anyway, I think all war could be considered terrorism. Any form of violence could really be called terrorism. Domestic abuse is terrorism. It's saying, "you wont do what I say so I'll beat you up until you do!"

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

Mohandas Gandhi

There's no shortage of people or religious beliefs to blame for our being violent. But maybe we should focus less on the source of the violence and more on the solution... non-violence through education.

That being said... I also consider the concept of all war darkly comical... I get a good laugh out of people wanting to "protect" something with a revolver that shoots bullets the size of a robin's egg. Or how about the Luftwaffe ceremonial saber? That strike you as ironic? (Thank you Vonnegut). It's this kinda attitude that gets the job done and then some! America! F*** Yeah! But seriously... I think war, violence, and terrorism are wrong.
That wouldn't happened to be me, would it? And there's a psychological explanation for that.
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28 / M / Nicaragua
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Posted 9/23/10
Interesting... do you think Calvinism is still as influential today (under the Obama administration)?

On a side note, I'd like to add to my previous post and say everyone's brainwashed. No mind is free from external influences. To label an act as "terrorism" is always going to be subjective. Heck, I personally think the mere presence of foreign embassies in other countries is a lesser form of terrorism. Educating (not indoctrinating!) people will give them the tools to decide for themselves what is or isn't terrorism... maybe they'll understand that no one likes being motivated by fear... and when you spread it around it always comes back to you.

No more U.S. military... let's dismantle it today! They could all come back here and money gained from scrapping America's war machines could best be spent on... oh I don't know... eradicating poverty!
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Posted 9/23/10 , edited 9/23/10

MakeThoseDonuts wrote:

Interesting... do you think Calvinism is still as influential today (under the Obama administration)?

On a side note, I'd like to add to my previous post and say everyone's brainwashed. No mind is free from external influences. To label an act as "terrorism" is always going to be subjective. Heck, I personally think the mere presence of foreign embassies in other countries is a lesser form of terrorism. Educating (not indoctrinating!) people will give them the tools to decide for themselves what is or isn't terrorism... maybe they'll understand that no one likes being motivated by fear... and when you spread it around it always comes back to you.

No more U.S. military... let's dismantle it today! They could all come back here and money gained from scrapping America's war machines could best be spent on... oh I don't know... eradicating poverty!


If the US dismantled its military(which would never happen realistically) it would be forcefully invaded and conquered that day, and tens of thousands of people would be killed as a result of the attack. So congratulations you just murdered ten thousand people.

All countries need a military to protect themselves and their people from external and internal threats.

And Imo

Terror definition ~ Panic / extreme feelings of fear and dread.

so terrorist

Someone who uses terror(see above) to get what they want.

Thus terrorism

The action of using terror(see 2 above) to get what one wants
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54 / F / Atlanta GA
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Posted 9/23/10
MakeThoseDonuts I would expect comments from somebody from Nicaragua one you have very little understanding just how little the US military has become and and it's one of the smallest Item's on the budget. To American schools are set up to indoctrinate the children. Why I refer to them as government school. Why would you even think if America dose spend money on your country they would not indoctrinate your kid's. Many American charities spend major dollars on you third world country As for embassy there to keep open lines of communication. Then again are you part of the faction, that supports Communism down there. By the way do you love the way the Mexican government treat illegal immigrant from Nicaragua. That a real good form of terrorism to keep your people out. Your country has very little room to speak about terrorism that what been used many times down there. Maybe you should disband your thug you call an army and spend your money on inner-structure so kids can even get to school.
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26 / M / The Netherlands
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Posted 9/23/10

MakeThoseDonuts wrote:

I saw someone make the connection between Calvinism and Capitalism once... done forgot it. :/ Whenever I hear "Calvinism", I think of the "predestined elect"... have anything to do with them? I used to consider myself an evangelical... but I got sick off of what the Church was feeding (or rather "taking from...") me so I left. I'd rather not carry that label anymore. I will say that there are evangelicals that preach against encouraging the apocalypse... mostly a bunch of crazies that claim that everytime we mess with Israel god sends another hurricane Katrina... but they do exist!

Anyway, I think all war could be considered terrorism. Any form of violence could really be called terrorism. Domestic abuse is terrorism. It's saying, "you wont do what I say so I'll beat you up until you do!"

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

Mohandas Gandhi

There's no shortage of people or religious beliefs to blame for our being violent. But maybe we should focus less on the source of the violence and more on the solution... non-violence through education.

That being said... I also consider the concept of all war darkly comical... I get a good laugh out of people wanting to "protect" something with a revolver that shoots bullets the size of a robin's egg. Or how about the Luftwaffe ceremonial saber? That strike you as ironic? (Thank you Vonnegut). It's this kinda attitude that gets the job done and then some! America! F*** Yeah! But seriously... I think war, violence, and terrorism are wrong.


Thank you, I agree with your statement that every form of violence is terrorism.

And thank you Papagolfwhiskey, you explained to me what terrorism is.

However I would now like to continue with: What do you personally think what terrorism is?

Ohh and please this topic is not about what country is a terrorist state or who commited that etc, it is about when is something terrorism, so please stay on topic
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