The political implications of a choice of word
Terrorists or freedom fighters? Rebels or Liberation Army? Bandits or heroes? The western media have chosen the word "terrorist", the flavor of the moment, to label those Iraqi citizens who resist the occupation by foreign troops, while the same sources refer to the Chechens as "freedom fighters" or at worst, "rebels".
To call the Iraqi resistance "terrorists" is to label the French Resistance during the Second World War as terrorists, making De Gaulle a Gallic bin Laden.
Rumsfeld, Bush and Straw have repeatedly used this word to describe actions perpetrated by Iraqi nationals who do not like having a foreign army of occupation on their soil, especially one whose troops point their rifles into the faces of six-year-old boys and yell "Get ya f****** hands up, NOW!!"
Labeling the occupying forces as "an army of liberation" does no more than
repeat the labels used by all those who have tried to justify violence for
whatever reason in other parts of the world.
Many of these liberation armies indeed crossed the line and became the national armies of their countries, at which point the references to terrorism are summarily removed and the official armed forces are recognized, in time, by the International Community.
MPLA, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Angola and FRELIMO, the national front for the Liberation of Mozambique, are prime examples. Having fought the Portuguese for over a decade, they constituted the armed forces of their newly-independent countries and continued the fight against the rebel movements who had not won their respective fights for power, UNITA and RENAMO, now also integrated in the national armed forces of Angola and Mozambique, respectively.
The choice of the term "terrorist" or "freedom movement" is an attempt to justify or take away the legitimacy of an act.
Under international law, it is not justified to invent lies to serve as a pretext to launch a savage and barbaric military campaign against a sovereign nation, neither is it justified to murder thousands of civilians. By definition, the mass assassination carried out by the
Why is it not "terrorism" to illegally invade a sovereign nation, violating international law, and slaughter thousands of innocent people, maiming thousands of others for life? The definition of the term "terrorism" is "violent action to achieve political aims or to force a government to act".
Whatever the event, the term is not currently used to describe such violent actions carried out by a military force with a chain of command which represents a state and rules of engagement in battle. Following this precept, MPLA, FRELIMO and Laurent Kabila's rebels in Zaire/DRC were as legitimate as FARC is now, the difference being that the former won their wars.
It is therefore not the state of the force but the historical context which defines the label to be used; however, the practical results of the violence, whether perpetrated as an act of terrorism or an act of war, are the same.
For this reason, it would appear useless to carry on the argument as to where to draw the line between terrorists or freedom fighters, since the victim is human life in both cases. What is the difference between an American citizen being murdered by an Islamic fanatic flying a civilian aircraft and an Iraqi citizen being murdered by a
One has a uniform and the other does not? One yells "'Way ya go!" and the other, Allahu Akhbar!"