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  1. #1
    AIZ's Avatar
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    What is "Terrorism"?

    This is one of my areas of studies and I'd like to see how you guys define the term. You should know that academic research has shown that there are 109 varying definitions of the word. So, just post your definition of what terrorism is. I'll post later the most "commonly accepted" definition that the international community stands by.

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    I don't really care what the commonly accepted definition is (internationally). I've seen it in its various forms. Be it here in Ireland with car bombings on the streets of Dublin & Belfast or a British soldier looking down the barrel of his gun and calling us (Irishmen and women) terrorists whilst terrorising and killing innocent Irishmen and women (example Bloody Sunday in Derry).

    Or be it in Israel. I was there for both Infada I & II. When I wondered if the bus I was on would explode or the bar I was drinking in would be singled out for a suicide bombing. To the hills of Lebanon where I helped civilians terrified by IDF/SLA indecriminate shelling of their villages.

    Incidently a comparision I'll draw between Lebanon and Ireland was that they were/are lands under foreign occupation where its risen people were called terroists by an (aggressive) army of occupation!.

    These are the forms of terrorism I've witnessed and I don't need an international think tank on terror to define it further, or try to tell me I'm wrong.

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    It's not about telling you that you are wrong. Rather, its about finding common ground on a very difficult topic; there is a need to define "it" so nations can work together to fight "it". By the way, what you wrote was not wrong. They were very good examples. However, you didn't try to define "it".

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    Terrorism is the unconventional use of violence against civilians for political gain. It is a strategy of using coordinated attacks that fall outside the laws of war commonly understood to represent the bounds of conventional warfare.

    By the way, is there any internationally accepted definition of Terrorism? As far as I know, there is no such definition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex2
    Terrorism is the unconventional use of violence against civilians for political gain. It is a strategy of using coordinated attacks that fall outside the laws of war commonly understood to represent the bounds of conventional warfare.

    By the way, is there any internationally accepted definition of Terrorism? As far as I know, there is no such definition.
    That's a great answer!

    No, there technically is not an internationally accepted definition of terrorism. There has been a very recent proposal by Kofi Annan, which was finally accepted without reservations by the Arab League. However, the Arab League is not the same as the Arab Bloc in the U.N. and this is where the problem lies. The U.N. has been very vague, even contradictive, when attempting to address terrorism. Many U.N. resolutions demand that nations do all that is possible to fight terror yet the U.N. has yet to define terror. So, how can a nation fight terror (according to resolutions) when there is no definition?

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    I dont believe that is a great definition. As some have stated, that the definition is vague and can be defined in numerous methods and for numerous circumstances. Where my accordance fails is with this "Terrorism is the unconventional use of violence against civilians for political gain."

    1)It doesnt have to be violence specifically against civilians. e.g blow up a bridge
    2)It doesnt have to be for political gains neccessairly.

    Where I would agree somewhat is that the definition of terrorism was somewhat redefined after 9/11, making it quite broad. Also the stated definition closely resembles todays actualty.

    This is why it is so difficult to define it. What is unconventional? What would be considered political versus non-poltical, social. If a black american blew up a church in 50-60s, was it political? Or social? Was it terrorism?

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    Very good point Prada. It is very hard to define a term like "unconventional" precisely.

    About the second point or what you called it "social terrorism", I believe it is more convenient to call it riot rather than terrorism. Just my 2 cent.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prada
    I dont believe that is a great definition. As some have stated, that the definition is vague and can be defined in numerous methods and for numerous circumstances. Where my accordance fails is with this "Terrorism is the unconventional use of violence against civilians for political gain."

    1)It doesnt have to be violence specifically against civilians. e.g blow up a bridge
    2)It doesnt have to be for political gains neccessairly.

    Where I would agree somewhat is that the definition of terrorism was somewhat redefined after 9/11, making it quite broad. Also the stated definition closely resembles todays actualty.

    This is why it is so difficult to define it. What is unconventional? What would be considered political versus non-poltical, social. If a black american blew up a church in 50-60s, was it political? Or social? Was it terrorism?
    Actually, yes, it must be politically motivated to be considered terror. This is the view held by the top in the world; including the Arab League, the ICT, RAND, the U.N., etc. Don't be fooled by thinking that religious men who are terrorists are not politically motivated...they absolutely are. Case in point: UBL: What is his main goal? To establish a caliphate? No. It is to remove U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia and any other Muslim holy land.

  9. #9
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    I disagree with you Prada.

    It HAS to be against civilians. If I, as a soldier, blow up a bridge, I am denying the enemy free movement.

    If I, as a soldier, blow up a bridge while civilians are crossing it, and we know that no soldiers or enemy combatants are in the area, then it is terrorism.

    Political gains...well, darn near everything that a terrorist group does is for political gain either directly or indirectly.

    you bring up a good point in your last paragraph, terrorism is very difficult to define.

    What it gets down to is the target. What is the intended target, who died/was injured, and who was *supposed* to die/get injured?

    Accidents happen. Muslim mortar teams (Which are darn good, by the way) in Iraq have misfires from time to time. They usually are shooting at our Forward Operating Bases, or Stryker/Abram/Bradley groups that have been hanging around a little too long. Sometimes, they screw up and drop mortars in the wrong place. That is not terrorism, that is one enemy combatant group (the Al Qaeda/Ba'athist pukes) firing upon another (US/Iraqi soliders)

    When the same mortar group would carjack some random person driving by after we nail one of their vehicles in the mortar team (usually travel in 2-4 vehicles per team) then behead him in the street, claiming that he is "an apostate", then THAT is terrorism and cowardly.

    Attacking an enemy then using human (civilian) shields to protect them is terrorism and cowardly.

    Detonating oneself after driving into a crowd of children just to possibly injure 1 enemy soldier is terrorism, and is cowardly.

    The bastards are screwing themselves over though, at least in Iraq. They're getting desperate for suicide bombers, so they are creating unsuspecting suicide bombers. Jihadists come across the border from Syria into Iraq to "fight the Great Satan", and are told they are going to become suicide bombers, and if they don't, they'll get beheaded. So instead of being issued his AK47 up in Tal Afar, he is given driving lessons.

    Others are being told "drive this vehicle from here to there to drop it off", and a second, trail vehicle detonates the first (unsuspecting) vehicle at the "right" time.

    Thankfully, car bombs don't always fully detonate, and several of these unsuspecting bombers have gotten away. Funny how much these guys are willing to talk to us while we patch them up in our hospitals. Great intel from these fellas. This little 'tactic' is getting out, and as a result, recruiting for QJBR was getting difficult when I left (october)

    but I digress...

    think about it though. what separates a terrorist from a mass murderer? the political/social impact. A mass murderer just kills, usually randomly because they enjoy killing. A terrorist kills, sometime randomly, frequently because they enjoy killing, but with an intended goal, and it's not just carnage.

    When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma gov't building, it wasn't just to kill tons of innocent people, it was to kill tons of innocent people and "send a message" to a government he thought was corrupt.

    When Hamas sends a terrorist bomber to blow him/herself up in a crowd full of civilians, they aren't doing it just to kill. They are doing it to kill Jews/westerners/anyone else around, but they also want to get Israel to retaliate, so that they, in turn, can justify their terrorism by saying "look at the Israeli atrocities!" and this, in turn, drives recruiting and funding.

    When QJBR (Zarqawi's branch of Al Qaeda) sends a terrorist bomber into a crowd of innocent people killing women and children as well as non-combatant men, it isn't just to kill, it's to demonstrate that the US is not able to provide security for Iraq. It is to intimidate the local populace into being more afraid of the terrorists than the US soldiers (this is their most useful and effective ploy, unfortunately)

    I suppose that'll be my definition of terrorism.

    Terrorism is "Cowardly mass murder purposely directed against noncombatants committed with a political/social motive."

    Personally, I sincerely hope that God has 72 virgins waiting for these terrorist bombers. 72 virgin bulls, just waiting to ass**** the terrorists for eternity, for committing such atrocities in His name (which is, of course, blasphemy).

  10. #10
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    Terrorism is the killing of civilians, intentionally or unintentionally.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    Terrorism is the killing of civilians, intentionally or unintentionally.
    Actually C, it's deliberate and it makes a difference in the definition. It is the deliberate killing...

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    "Defining Terrorism:Is One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter? "
    http://www.ict.org.il/articles/define.htm

    Well see, that is why it is difficult to define. We (4-5 of us) somewhat disagree.
    We know that at present, an Israeli's definition wil be diffrent from a member of Hamas. How about Alqaeeda's versus the pentagon? See everyone wants to define it IN THEIR WAY. That is a slight exagerration that in comparaison but it is to prove a state in point. It is important because. for legal purposes, it justifies your actions ro holds you accountable. As the article states the comparaison between guerilla warfare and terrorism. Is the people of Nepal commiting acts of terrorism or freedom fighters agaist China? What about the Afghans against the soviets? It wasnt frowned upon by the US in those days. Now when the taliban blows up a convoy its an act of terrorism. Is it really, terrorism or act of freedom? Wait a minute, YOU ARE THE ONE IN THEIR COUNTRY. What about the Chechens? Blowing up a russian tank? Terrorist or freedom fighters? Justified or unjustifed?

    Would maybe defining who the "aggressor" help? Oh, but wait a minute that cant even come to a consensus on that. The US is the aggressor for attacking Iraq. No, Iraq is the aggressor for sending/supporting terrorist to blow up WTC. No the US is the aggressor for having an anti-islamic foreign policy. No, Iraq is the aggressor for not selling oil to the US and instead shipping it off to Russia and trying to acquire Nukes. No US is for itself having Nukes and not letting others have any.......Where does it end?

    Everyone, with some intellect, will define it in a way that is in accordance with their interest, sovreignty and legality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AIZ
    Actually C, it's deliberate and it makes a difference in the definition. It is the deliberate killing...
    But that is my definition, if you kill a civilian by mistake, that is also terrorism, and causes terror to the victims and families.

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    You are making good points Prada. We obviously cannot agree on the definition of terrorism so we are trying to discuss different definitions, may be?

    I agree with you "the strongest rules" and we know based on International Law, Saddam is STILL the president of Iraq regardless whether he was a dictator or no, so I believe we should concentrate on "what you think the most accurate definition of terrorism" and why you think that definition is the most accurate (from your point of view)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    But that is my definition, if you kill a civilian by mistake, that is also terrorism, and causes terror to the victims and families.
    Don't you think that is a bit harsh? Even in different religions (including Islam) killing a person mistakenly is different from killing him intentionally.

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    Yes, but if in cases were a country bombs a building with 20 civilians to kill 2 terrorists and then says it was a mistake, that is terrorism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    But that is my definition, if you kill a civilian by mistake, that is also terrorism, and causes terror to the victims and families.
    Uh, I don't think there is such a thing as "unintentional terrorism". No one calls an accident terrorism, or the party that did it a terrorist. If I am messing with the gas lines in my apartment building trying to fix it and I accidentally make it spring a leak, when the apartment building explodes killing the people inside they don't call me a terrorist.

    If this kind of accident happens it's called "collateral damage."

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    injuring people or a society, physicaly or economicaly to bring attention to a religious or political message.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    Yes, but if in cases were a country bombs a building with 20 civilians to kill 2 terrorists and then says it was a mistake, that is terrorism.

    1) Terrorists, like the cowardly pigs in Iraq, use the civilians as human shields. They also use mosques because they know we do our best not to attack those areas, so they fire from the mosques. Hell, we got the best weapons caches recovered from mosques

    2) The country to which you are referring does its best not to attack civilians, and we were instructed that it required a high-level commander (no more details) to authorize any type of attack on a mosque or an area where there are civilians

    3) It sickens me that you would decide to use the US as an example when the jagoff cowardly pig terrorist muslims in Iraq PURPOSELY attack women and children with car bombs. They kidnapped a 60-year old female CARE worker and shot her in the head after videotaping her.

    But that is not the example you chose to use. You are a terrorist sympathizer, Caucasian. You are sickening in your hypocrisy.

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    sometimes the rebels in iraq purposly attack civilians-usually in an area where the people are perceived to be working too closly with the occupation authority..the americans & allies (military&contractors) also have intentionally killed iraqi civilians-and have rarely been brought to justice for doing so..

    the "cowardly pig terrorist muslims" don't have an air force to liberate their country from occupation, they fight high-risk often suicidal missions so that they can score hits on the americans-call them anything but cowards because you or any other american would never join the US military if you were faced with risks so great..the occupiers have armored plating and armoured vehicles backed by an air-force..they have a ragtag militia..there's is an uphill battle--a battle they are sure to eventually win as the americans pull out and the iraqi govt crumbles along with it's fledgeling security force.

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    The deffinition they teach American troops is this, "the unlawful use of - or threatened use of - force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."

    FBI defines is 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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    Quote Originally Posted by BOUNCER
    I don't really care what the commonly accepted definition is (internationally). I've seen it in its various forms. Be it here in Ireland with car bombings on the streets of Dublin & Belfast or a British soldier looking down the barrel of his gun and calling us (Irishmen and women) terrorists whilst terrorising and killing innocent Irishmen and women (example Bloody Sunday in Derry).

    Or be it in Israel. I was there for both Infada I & II. When I wondered if the bus I was on would explode or the bar I was drinking in would be singled out for a suicide bombing. To the hills of Lebanon where I helped civilians terrified by IDF/SLA indecriminate shelling of their villages.

    Incidently a comparision I'll draw between Lebanon and Ireland was that they were/are lands under foreign occupation where its risen people were called terroists by an (aggressive) army of occupation!.

    These are the forms of terrorism I've witnessed and I don't need an international think tank on terror to define it further, or try to tell me I'm wrong.

    Excellent

    Terrorism is a natural result of occupation and being outgunned.

    What would a person to do if they were in a small country occupied by an overwhemingly strong adversary? Sit there and have their whole way of life destroyed? Or stand in a line..... attack and be slaughtered?
    The real chickens are the men that fight in a dominating force.......or get deferments or hide out in the guard from fighting in a dominating force.
    These are the kind of people that enjoy watching squirrels explode after being shot from long range with a 300 Wthrby magnum.......sick wierdos that think they are something because they have the best weapons.
    The only comfort is that these young studs with the big guns will grow old and be pissing down their legs just like every other old man.......little smelly guys at the VA that thought they were heros........and life goes on.

  23. #23
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    so someone on the winning side is by your definition a chicken simply because they happen to have more buddies around them. Should the real men switch side just to be able to fight the real fight??

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    Quote Originally Posted by keth'naab
    1) Terrorists, like the cowardly pigs in Iraq, use the civilians as human shields. They also use mosques because they know we do our best not to attack those areas, so they fire from the mosques. Hell, we got the best weapons caches recovered from mosques
    Insurgents are like Minutemen, they are the people, they are civilians who feel they have the right to defend their country from a foreign aggressor. When the British were fighting the early Americans, the British stood in organized lines and fought conventionally, while the early americans used ambushes and other guerilla techiques.

    What was Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Was that because there were terrorists in civilian areas?

    3) It sickens me that you would decide to use the US as an example when the jagoff cowardly pig terrorist muslims in Iraq PURPOSELY attack women and children with car bombs. They kidnapped a 60-year old female CARE worker and shot her in the head after videotaping her.

    But that is not the example you chose to use. You are a terrorist sympathizer, Caucasian. You are sickening in your hypocrisy.
    Those type of actions are expected of terrorists but not soldiers of a soverign country. You want me to compare the US army with Al Queda?

    Its Causasian not Caucasian.

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    So according to these definition the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the biggest terrorist attack in the history of the universe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    So according to these definition the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the biggest terrorist attack in the history of the universe.
    Hmmm... Pearl Harbor ring a bell? - that was a War between nations... not terrorism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    So according to these definition the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the biggest terrorist attack in the history of the universe.
    I believe so. I hope nothing like that ever happens again. It was horribly tragic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior
    Hmmm... Pearl Harbor ring a bell? - that was a War between nations... not terrorism.
    Pearl Harbor was an attack on a military target. The bombings were, for the most part, not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scriptfactory
    Pearl Harbor was an attack on a military target. The bombings were, for the most part, not.
    Yes, Pearl Harbor was a total military target, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki werent.

    The bombings of those two cities, fits all the definitions of terrorism provided on this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    Yes, Pearl Harbor was a total military target, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki werent.

    The bombings of those two cities, fits all the definitions of terrorism provided on this thread.
    Historians have agreed that if the U.S. had not dropped the bombs, a mainland invasion would have caused greater casualties on both sides...millions would have been killed. Sadly, and I say SADLY, the bombs actually saved lives on both sides. Japan was a different nation back then. They were not about to stop fighting and would have used every last man, no matter the outcome.

    By the way, yes, it seems that the two bombs would be categorized as terror. However, look at the alternative and you decide which was better

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    Quote Originally Posted by AIZ
    Historians have agreed that if the U.S. had not dropped the bombs, a mainland invasion would have caused greater casualties on both sides...millions would have been killed. Sadly, and I say SADLY, the bombs actually saved lives on both sides. Japan was a different nation back then. They were not about to stop fighting and would have used every last man, no matter the outcome.

    By the way, yes, it seems that the two bombs would be categorized as terror. However, look at the alternative and you decide which was better

    So you can logically endorse terror??......
    Maybe historians will say that terrorism was the only way for Iraq to resist western imperialism??
    Terrorism was the only way the Afghans resisted the Russians.......that was ok right???


    The better way would have for US to never have taken Indian land and then condemn Japan for doing the same thing in China........read "Flyboys"

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    Quote Originally Posted by johan
    so someone on the winning side is by your definition a chicken simply because they happen to have more buddies around them. Should the real men switch side just to be able to fight the real fight??
    Kind of......at least have a fair fight. This shooting a guy armed with a hammer is not real impressive.

    As far as "civilian"........I believe there in actuality might be no such thing......for we in the US are ALL part of an economy that produces
    this dominating war machine.......we are all participants in oppression......
    whether real or perceived as such by our world wide presence.

    Some people just get sick of somebody being in their yard all the time.

  33. #33
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    i have never had an issue with the IED attacks on the US. I don't have an issue with the car bombs detonated against Strykers. I don't have an issue with, even, the terrorists kidnapping soldiers. I don't have an issue with the techniques that AQ uses to fight US SOLDIERS.

    What i don't get is how a bunch of Syrians, Jordanians, Saudis and Turks can smuggle their way into Iraq and kill the local nationals there. Come after us!!! *waves his hands wildly in the air* US, see us? We're the soldiers!

    They spent as much time (if not more) murdering local nationals (read: iraqi civilians) as they did attacking US forces. If you really are so concerned with the "occupying forces", then why the hell are you attacking the local citizenship?

    The biggest problem we had up north during the year I was there was trying to keep the terrorists from randomly killing civilians there. I just don't get it.

    If you hate the US, then fine, no problem. Why the hell kill your own people?

    On a side note, I was not purposely spelling your name wrong Causasian. *blink* Apparently I need new glasses.

    As far as the nuclear bomb attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the way war was fought "back in the day" was totally different. The 4th treaty of the Geneva convention came into being after WWII to prevent the type of bombings that occured during Europe and especially Japan. Whole new world, new rules, etc. That type of stuff wont' happen now, but it was something that EVERY country with any type of air force did during WWII.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    Yes, Pearl Harbor was a total military target, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki werent.

    The bombings of those two cities, fits all the definitions of terrorism provided on this thread.
    I don't think so. Japan and The United States had declared War on each other - two nations, two militaries. Japan apparently needed more resources or felt they were getting screwed during the World's colonization periods, I don't know - they intitiated it, and we finished it. No unlawful use of force was used - it was all under an OFFICIAL declaration of war. No kill-and-go-hide BS...

    We fought through the Pacific for years to get to their homeland. And it was a target to end the war... a basically "tag - you lose" type situation. Were the bombs use exessive - seems to be so... but the War finally ended and a lot of American troops got to go home vitorious.

    Call it terrorism or what ever you want - the fact is Japan and the US went to War and the US ended it with those bombings...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior
    I don't think so. Japan and The United States had declared War on each other - two nations, two militaries. Japan apparently needed more resources or felt they were getting screwed during the World's colonization periods, I don't know - they intitiated it, and we finished it. No unlawful use of force was used - it was all under an OFFICIAL declaration of war. No kill-and-go-hide BS...

    We fought through the Pacific for years to get to their homeland. And it was a target to end the war... a basically "tag - you lose" type situation. Were the bombs use exessive - seems to be so... but the War finally ended and a lot of American troops got to go home vitorious.

    Call it terrorism or what ever you want - the fact is Japan and the US went to War and the US ended it with those bombings...
    Osama Bin Laden had declared war on America. And he felt that if he didnt send a "message" to the US, the US would kill tens times as many Muslims.

    Would he be justified then to cause the terrorist attacks?

    As I said, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks fit the defintion of "terrorism" posted on this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
    Osama Bin Laden had declared war on America. And he felt that if he didnt send a "message" to the US, the US would kill tens times as many Muslims.

    Would he be justified then to cause the terrorist attacks?

    As I said, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks fit the defintion of "terrorism" posted on this thread.
    Technically, that fits the definition of "state-sponsored terrorism". There clearly is a difference. However, I have to agree that in times of war, rule unfortunately change. Many would agree that is could be defined as terrror while others would tell you that Japan declared war on the U.S. and this is simply one of the consequences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerman
    So you can logically endorse terror??......
    Maybe historians will say that terrorism was the only way for Iraq to resist western imperialism??
    Terrorism was the only way the Afghans resisted the Russians.......that was ok right???


    The better way would have for US to never have taken Indian land and then condemn Japan for doing the same thing in China........read "Flyboys"

    Iraqis aren't resisting what you call "imperialsim". Rather, the majority of attacks are carried out by Sunni and Foreign Arab fighters, whose attacks have killed more Muslims than anyone.

    As for logically endorsing terrorism: no

  38. #38
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    people seem to forget this.

    the vast majority of innocent civilians killed in Iraq since 2003 have been as a result of Sunni extremism, not US "imperialism"
    Last edited by keth'naab; 12-26-2005 at 10:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keth'naab
    people seem to forget this.

    the vast majority of innocent civilians killed in Iraq since 2003 have been as a result of Sunni extremism, not US "imperialism"
    You should have bolded and underlined "vast majority of civilians"

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    indeed

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