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    I was watching an interview on Channel 4's evening news, where this author (whose name I do not remember) was basically criticising the media and the previous Governments perpetual use of the word 'terrorist' to describe criminals such as the 7/7 suicide bombers, and the phrase 'The War on Terror'.

    He claimed that the label 'terrorist' had a sort of cool, attractive vibe and that describing these people as terrorists almost gave a certain legitimacy to the criminal acts they were carrying out at the expense of innocent people's lives. He suggested that we refer to these criminals with more mundane terms such as gangs, thugs, criminals, murderers and etc.

    Do you think the man has a point? Perhaps it doesn't matter what we call them as long as we deal swiftly with the threat they pose. Any opinions?
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    I'd say that people such as the 7/7 bombers are indeed terrorists, although the term is sometimes badly misused, for example armed militants in occupied countries are not 'terrorists', they are armed militants!
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    One of the most frustrating aspects of the war on terror is that we seem to spend so long in absolutely pointless debates over how to label terrorists. I couldn't care what we call them.
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    (Original post by www.dictionary.com)

    terrorist

    noun
    a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; usually organizes with other terrorists in small cells; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities
    I don't know. Other terrorist groups have used similar methods (the killing of innocents in pursuit of a political goal), for example the ANC, the IRA, the early Zionists. Yet it was deemed after they had achieved their goals that they were justified in doing what they did (or at least that they would not be charged for their crimes and would not be treated as pariahs by the rest of the world).

    The only obvious distinction which applies to many of these Islamist terrorists is that they do not have a political objective that we could possibly ever accept, and that the objectives are arguably immoral (i.e. the forced spreading of Islam), where the above groups had justified objectives.

    Can anyone see any other fundamental differences?
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    (Original post by Cage)
    I'd say that people such as the 7/7 bombers are indeed terrorists, although the term is sometimes badly misused, for example armed militants in occupied countries are not 'terrorists', they are armed militants!
    Indeed, if the word is misused, it turns into a different meaning.

    The word 'terrorist' is so loosely used these days. People like the 7/7 bombers and indeed terrorists and should be called that. Just, people who are not terrorists shouldn't be called terrorists.

    It's starting to have a new meaning. It shouldn't.
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    I'd call them a lot of other words, but I'd have to ban myself if I typed them here :p:

    I think there's a lot of sense in the argument that the word "terrorist" just gives them the attention they often crave, but on the other hand we do need a specific term for what are, at the end of the day, a distinct type of murder.
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    (Original post by 37927)
    Just, people who are not terrorists shouldn't be called terrorists.
    Ahh... a whole new world of understanding.

    Cheers Cap'n.
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    (Original post by 37927)
    Indeed, if the word is misused, it turns into a different meaning.

    The word 'terrorist' is so loosely used these days. People like the 7/7 bombers and indeed terrorists and should be called that. Just, people who are not terrorists shouldn't be called terrorists.

    It's starting to have a new meaning. It shouldn't.
    Let me just clear 37927's view up for people.

    Man gets on a bus in London with a bomb strapped to him and detonates it, killing many innocent civilians. He's a terrorist.

    Man gets on a bus in Tel Aviv with a bomb strapped to him and detonates it, killing many innocent civilians. He's at worst a "militant".
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    (Original post by Cage)
    I'd say that people such as the 7/7 bombers are indeed terrorists, although the term is sometimes badly misused, for example armed militants in occupied countries are not 'terrorists', they are armed militants!
    If they take aggressive action against innocent civilians for political or social ends, they're terrorists. End of.
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    Didn't know you had the monopoly over words. Btw, since when did "social ends" become included in the definition, it seems like a pretty vague term anyway? Last time I checked, terrorism was killing of innocents for political ends.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    Didn't know you had the monopoly over words.
    I don't, that is the generally accepted definition.

    (Original post by Soc)
    Btw, since when did "social ends" become included in the definition, it seems like a pretty vague term anyway? Last time I checked, terrorism was killing of innocents for political ends.
    The FBI include social ends. They define terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
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    (Original post by JonathanH)

    The FBI include social ends. They define terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
    Oh by god the irony. The FBI speaking of unlawful coercion.
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    (Original post by JonathanH)
    The FBI include social ends. They define terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
    What sort of things are "social objectives" as distinct from "political" objectives (which I can sort of intuitively understand)? Would, for example, a robin hood attempt to steal from the rich to give to the poor (euphemistically called "social justice") be a terrorist attack?

    I would agree with the thrust of the initial argument. We shouldn't consider motive when labelling criminals. Turns them into martyrs and (as with the robin hood example) justifies their unlawful act. 'War on terror' is especially silly and designed to appeal to the emotions over the reason, much like 'Axis of Evil.' Both supposes some unified malevolent forces and thence justify illiberal measures to correct evil. A terrorist who kills people is just a murderer with a psychopathic, utopian view of how the world ought to be.
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    (Original post by -1984-)
    He claimed that the label 'terrorist' had a sort of cool, attractive vibe and that describing these people as terrorists almost gave a certain legitimacy to the criminal acts they were carrying out at the expense of innocent people's lives. He suggested that we refer to these criminals with more mundane terms such as gangs, thugs, criminals, murderers and etc.
    I know the righties are going to jump on me and possibly eat me after I've said this, but I'm going to say it anyway and just have to hope that some of the other crazy liberals concur. Do we not think that the terrorist acts carried out in this country, in this political climate, do have a certain legitimacy? I'm not advocating murder here, clearly the taking of innocent lives and the employment of violence in publicising a cause per sé is very wrong, but it's obvious to me (basic though my political understanding is) that through foreign policy, the UK has left itself completely open to these sorts of attacks. That's not to say that the murders carried out by terrorists can be justified, but in damning their actions, can we also so sweepingly dismiss their political message? I'm not sure about TSR but it seems to me that many people feel this way, and I don't agree with it.

    Surely in considering how to label the perpetrators of these actions, their motivation should be taken into account? Because the term terrorist clearly defines the person as someone undertaking the action for a political end, I feel that to blanket label them as simple murderers would only make the situation worse - terrorist organisations do want their message to be heard, after all. And I think that we, the Western world, should in some way be held accountable and question ourselves and the role we have played in creating and perpetuating terrorism, for that is surely what we have done. People aren't born evil, and neither do they wake up one day and decide to blow up a train full of commuters. They reach that point after various incidents fuel and clarify the notion in their own minds that they have no choice. Surely our support of Israel has directly led to Islamic extremists, particularly Palestinians, feeling exactly that - that they have no other choice?

    I was reading some stuff today, profiles of the people convicted in the 21/7 trials, and I was really intrigued because the majority of them are husbands, fathers or both. Clearly at some point they were normal people; IIRC only one had any history of violence. They came to this country as refugees from African countries and now they are going to jail for attempted terrorism, but I want to know what happened in between - apparently they were converted to extremism by that Captain Hook Muslim cleric guy that got put away for inciting racial hatred, I can never remember his name. What events culminated in them being desperate enough to turn to someone like that, to them being vulnerable to that kind of influence? I find it intriguing.

    I know it's a cliché, and one that conservatives hate, but criminals are victims too, they're not monsters, they're people, who somewhere down the line have become so brutalised that they're unable to act like people anymore. I believe that the way to combat terrorism is not to take a more hardline approach with the existing would-be bombers, labelling them more harshly to take the 'cool' edge off the whole idea, but to get the bottom of why people turn to extremism in the first place. Apologies for rambling and I know my points will seem horribly simplistic, especially to the regular D&Ders, but the title was interesting so I thought I'd wade in, ignorance notwithstanding.
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    ^ Ditto. And it isn't simplistic or ignorant, in fact it's about the most intelligent post I've read here in weeks - it makes you one of the few people around here to acknowledge that whilst the acts committed by these individuals are deeply wrong, even evil, they do not do it on a whim, or because it is their born nature. They do it because they were incited to.
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    Christ, nothing can legitimise killing innocent people. Society is and always will be full of conflict regarding ideologies. Not everyone can be happy at the precise moment.

    Surely our support of Israel has directly led to Islamic extremists, particularly Palestinians, feeling exactly that - that they have no other choice?
    That'd be because Israeli ideology is more in line with the Western world. What do you suggest? For the record, it's the American government that supports Israel. Please make the distinction from the UK and the USA.

    They reach that point after various incidents fuel and clarify the notion in their own minds that they have no choice
    No, they did have a choice. In our society everyone has freedom of choice, the notion that it doesn't exist in the UK is ridiculous.

    The 'Captain Hook' you referred to would be Abu Hamza.
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    I think so. Terrorists such as the 7/7 bombers wouldn't see any positive connotations with the word in the same way local street gangs would be proud to be 'thugs'. They were well-educated and middle-class so they're not stupid.
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    (Original post by Richy_Boi)
    Christ, nothing can legitimise killing innocent people. Society is and always will be full of conflict regarding ideologies. Not everyone can be happy at the precise moment.
    Interestingly enough...that's exactly what I said?!

    (Original post by Richy_Boi)
    That'd be because Israeli ideology is more in line with the Western world. What do you suggest? For the record, it's the American government that supports Israel. Please make the distinction from the UK and the USA.
    Personally I don't subscribe to the idea that it's just because our ideologies are more similar, I have a more cynical view that it's much more to do with economic gain, but perhaps that's just my parents' views expressing themselves. I would suggest that the UK (and of course America) should stop feeding its capitalist greed and negotiate/associate with both sides equally. Also, I fail to see why you would seek to distinguish so absolutely between the UK and the USA, after all we have supported the USA to a fault in its foreign policy, hence the overwhelmingly anti-"special relationship" feeling growing in this country.

    (Original post by Richy_Boi)
    No, they did have a choice. In our society everyone has freedom of choice, the notion that it doesn't exist in the UK is ridiculous.
    I think you enjoy reading what you think is there rather than what is actually written a bit too much. I never said they didn't have a choice - what a preposterous notion. I said they feel they have no choice. Clearly that is how many Palestinians feel, otherwise they wouldn't be blowing people up would they? Israel has ignored many EU instructions with regard to its conduct, so it's no wonder Palestinians feel the UK are biased and treating them unfairly. I think it's fairly obvious that that frustration has spread to other Muslims who aren't necessarily directly involved or living in Gaza/wherever and I don't find that surprising. I know I was humble before but you will do me the decency of addressing me like the adult I am. I might not be studying for a degree in politics or history but I won't be patronised so transparently
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    That's right, lets ignore the stated goals of Islamism and pretend that its all actually our own fault. Lets ignore the fact that all bounds of rationality are broken between whatever we've done and what they do and that they've been building terror cells and carrying out terror attacks for at least 15 years now. Self-blame is fun, right? And it's a lot less scary - if we decide we're to blame then we imagine we can have some control and influence over these terrorists.
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    (Original post by JonathanH)
    That's right, lets ignore the stated goals of Islamism and pretend that its all actually our own fault. Lets ignore the fact that all bounds of rationality are broken between whatever we've done and what they do and that they've been building terror cells and carrying out terror attacks for at least 15 years now. Self-blame is fun, right? And it's a lot less scary - if we decide we're to blame then we imagine we can have some control and influence over these terrorists.
    Let's ignore the concept 'blowback' and one of the 7/7 bombers blaming the invasion of Iraq for his actions. Sleeping face down in sandpits is fun, right?
 
 
 
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