A terrorist by any other name ... Part II

Continued from last week’s column:

Insurgents, my Webster’s Dictionary has advised, attack a “civil authority or an established government.” They attack armies, soldiers, military airplanes, tanks, ships, or bases. Maybe, when they’ve nicked themselves shaving or had a particularly bad breakfast, they assassinate a general or try to blow up a military arsenal. Rightly or wrongly, their grievances are directed at a defined enemy – a government. Those who represent that government are their intended victims.

Al-Qaeda, to the contrary, targets civilians. Nevertheless, the media exclusively refers to them as “insurgents.”

From recent news reports of massacres in Iraq:

“Twin suicide bombers have killed at least 35 people and injured 65 in an attack at a market in the Iraqi province of Diyala.”

“Iraqi families were shopping and preparing for evening prayers in the town when the bomb blew up. More than ninety civilians died, including women and children. More were badly burned or pierced by shrapnel. ‘I saw how the flames swallowed the panicked people as they ran away,’ a local teacher said. ‘The fire chased the people down and ate them alive.’

“At least 30 people were killed and many wounded in a suicide attack on a crowd of mourners in Iraq. The attacker detonated his explosives near the city of Baquba, north of the capital, Baghdad.”

When Iraqi citizens are out shopping at a market, praying at a mosque, or mourning at a funeral, they are like MOVE’s blamless neighbors on Osage Avenue: Convenient third parties targeted by terrorists to coerce a government and manipulate the news.

Both Arab groups on which the world press bestows unlimited attention – al-Queda and Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) – practice textbook terrorists strategies. You will recognize all of them:

Disregard of the law, due process, and representational governments. They attack politics, per se.

Advocacy of hopeless and often incomprehensible causes.

Effective refusal to negotiate by making impossible demands and/or changing demands in mid-negotiation.

Staging dramatic situations designed to have public impact.

Dependence upon and often manipulation of the news media to draw attention to their cause.

Deliberate intention to provoke tyranny in order to use their oponent’s strength against them.

Use of political and psychological warfare against their enemies.

Use of violence (suicide bombing, decapitation, dismemberment, torture) to intimidate, coerce, and cause fear.

One last quote from Terrorism, Theory and Practice by Paul Wilkenson, and then I promise to stop. “Terrorists recognize no ethical or humanitarian limits to their use of violence ... Any means are permissible and everyone (including civilians, women, children, and neutrals) is expendable ... Thus, terrorists neither recognize nor observe any rules or conventions of war. They assume a license to savagery.”

For years now, it has bothered me that murderers of innocents have been dignified by the word “insurgent.”

Whether they are murdering secretaries and stockbrokers in the twin towers, students sipping coffee in Israel, party-goers out for a night of clubbing in Bali, travelers on trains in Madrid, or commuters on the London underground, these people are not insurgents. They are not soldiers. They are not warriors. They are not gladiators. And they certainly are not principled individuals fighting for a worthy cause.

They are blood thirsty savages.

OkK. Got that off my chest.

Now you can go back to what you were doing.

I’m done.

Shelly Reuben is an Edgar-nominated author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit: shellyreuben.com.

Copyright © 2008, Shelly Reuben

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