A Conversation for Terrorism

Terrorism: A330995

Post 1

blinko

Setting rules to wars justifies their existence, makes them seem like an acceptable or even noble endeavor. Were all international treaties and conventions regarding war ignored, war would be viewed less trivially. I make the argument that war should be far more atrocious, hence far less frequent. In keeping with this idea, i think terrorism is as just as war. Death is death.


Terrorism: A330995

Post 2

Ozymandias

Clausewitz stated that war in its purest form would indeed be truly terrible; i.e. it would be 'total'. However, as war is 'the continuation of policy by other violent means', war is not carried to its logical extreme. Exactly because it is used as a policy tool, war is limited in its aims (with the exception perhaps of WWII) and therefore in its application of violence. In that sense you are correct, war is similar to terrorism in that they are both vehicles for attaining political goals.

'War cannot for a single moment be separated form politics. Politics are bloodless war, war is the politics of bloodshed'.
- Mao Tse Tung



The Laws of Warfare

Post 3

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

The Law of War is very important, because it is the basis of forming a peace afterwards. The Law of War allows ambasadors to meet and try to end the fighting. It creates a certain level of trust between the parties so that when one side see that all hope is lost, the fighting can end. Otherwise, the fighting would continue until one side was obliterated.

It also keeps things from getting out of hand. It restricts soldiers from attacking civilians, wounded, and medical personell when it isn't required.

It allows soldiers to surrender when it is pointless for them to carry on. Once a soldeir is in a hopeless situation, he can surrender and know that he won't be unreasonably abused. This keeps both sides from having to lose more troops than necesssary when the outcome is already clear.

Americans make very effective use of this because we treat our Enemy Prisoners of War (EPS's) very well. In Desert Storm the conditions were better in our EPW camps than in the service of Iraq. We had people surrendering to us in droves, thus the fighting wasbn't nearly as bad as it might have been.

Like any law, it isn't always complied with, but it does maintain some civility, it makes it easier to find a peaceful solution, and it keeps the barbarism to a minimum.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 4

Ozymandias

"It restricts soldiers from attacking civilians, wounded, and medical personell when it isn't required".

I am not sure I agree with the 'when it isnt required" part of your post. Surely the whole point (in principle) is that the Law of Armed Conflict prohibits this entirely. Attacks on medical personnel and civilans are expressly prohibited and are not at the discretion of the protagonists.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 5

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

Civilians and others can make themselves combatants by taking up arms.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 6

Ozymandias

Yes, but then they stop being civilians and lose their protection anyway. Attacks on non-combatants are prohibited, full stop. I was questioning the 'when it isnt required' part of your post. When can it be 'required' to attack civilians and other non-combatants?


The Laws of Warfare

Post 7

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I think we're both saying the same thing. Civilians can make themselves combatants, but they're still civilians.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 8

Researcher 154044

Clausewitz, The West's primier philosopher on War, proposed a dichotomy that is in line with what you are both talking about. 'True War' is when rules of engagement are followed, civilians and medical personnel are avoided, POWs are treated fairly (eg Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990's). 'Real War' is when calamity and horror are total, barbarism reigns supreme, the only goal is the complete and utter destruction of the enemy in military, political, cultural, and civilian form (eg The Jewish Holocaust of WWII, 1939-1945).

With the end of WWII and the dawn of the Nuclear Age, I believe humanity has realized that the next war will be the Ultimate and will be 'Real" (very real indeed). Also, a nuclear war, by its very nature would be, in Clausewitzian terms, a 'Real War.' Because of all this, terrorism becomes one of the few viable military options, thus the increase in terrorist activity in the last half of the 20th Century..


The Laws of Warfare

Post 9

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I disagree. We've had several wars since World War II. Those wars were fought without nuclear weapons, and I don't see why we'd need those weapons now. Nations can fight wars without using their most terrible weapons. The Soviet Union, Israel, England, and the US are all examples of nuclear powers, but they have fought wars.

I think there's a realization that the use of nuclear weapons is a form of warfare that can only be justified to preserve a nation's existence or to respond to grave provocation. The only nation that might be crazy enough to use them without having their existence being threatened is China.

Nuclear warfare probably won't be as bad as all that. Very few nations have all that many nuclear weapons nor are there that many effective delivery systems. The only nations that are really capable of causing a holocaust would be the US and the Russians. We won't do it, and the Russians have probably sold or lost most of theirs smiley - smiley.

In reality, nuclear weapons are just big explosives with some nasty side effects. If you don't use them all that once, they're not that bad. Japan survived them.

I think terrorism is more of a result of powerlessness. If a population feels that it is powerless, and it's voice is not being heard, then it may resort to terrorism.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 10

Researcher 154044

I, too, feel that terrorism is an expression of powerlessness (on top of all I said previously). I believe that some of that powerlessness comes from the seeming omnipresence of american culture. It seems that the whole world is being offered/threatened with Coca-Cola, blue jeans, Ford Motor Company, and the latest razzle-dazzle from Hollywood. This may be why American interests seem to be the target of terrorist attacks so often. As the world smothers more and more under the blanket of american culture, the need for unique cultures to defend themselves will grow, the more powerless they will feel, the more terrorist attacks will increase.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 11

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

Another part of it is that we make a good target. We are the most powerful nation on Earth. Our realtivly unprotected citizens in other countries make good and eay targets. You get to strike at the mightiest nation on Earth with ease and conveinence.

I think the reason that terrorism is so limited in this country is that we are still pretty free and open. If someone wants to have their say, it's not all that hard. The KKK is an irrelvant group with less than 5000 members in a nation of nearly 300 million. Still everytime they march, they are surrond by more coutner protestors, law enforcement and press than the KKK could actually summon up for their protest.

Of course, our liberty has also led to our wealth and economic power which is why we're the most powerful nation on Earth. Therefore, we make an excellent target.


The Laws of Warfare

Post 12

Ozymandias

'The war of the flea'
The fact that the US has a habit of putting military forces where the local population might not like it is another reason why they get regularly hit. Though this is not necessarily terrorism; attacks on military units can be construed as guerrilla attacks rather than terrorism, recent examples: USS Cole; bombings of US bases in Saudi. The West just describes them as terrorism because it suits their agenda.


The Agenda

Post 13

oldpinkdog, Counselor of Alcoholic Culture Jammers(Banging their heads against the wall of willful ignorance)

AHHH, The Agenda. Yes, indeed. Increasingly, actions are labled "terrorism" if they conflict with the ruling power's Agenda. And we all know that the ruling power all over the world, with the possible exception of isolated agrarian cultures, is Big Industry. Regardless of whether the country is capitalist democratic or capitalist socialist, the governments and the leaders are all capitalists. And so anyone that attempts to get in the way of big industry, of consumer-culture, technology and the media who are waging war against our free minds, is a terrorist. The protestors of the WTO are considered terrorists. Greenpeace and Earth First. US ARMY death squads in South America are not considered terrorists. They are police. Drug Lords in Columbia are not considered terrorists. They are entrepreneurs. Nike, employers of child labourers, are just exploitative, although if the children don't work, their families starve. What terrifies me? All violence, regardless of agenda or label. It is still violence. The rape of the earth terrifies me. Population explosion. The fact that we would rather harm the environment to drill for oil than admit that we can make vehicles that run on electricity or water, that we can just walk, that there is no energy crisis. Diamond mines. Gold mines. Tire fires and plastic and polystyrene. Want to talk of a violent act, how about the destruction of the ozone. How about conditioning children to devalue human life with video games and television. How about throwing away half of the food we buy, as millions starve. Tobacco companies peddling cancer for dollars. Car companies selling defective automobiles that explode on impact. All part of the Agenda.


The Agenda

Post 14

Researcher 190442

Hi. It's a while (Quite a while!) Since someone posted here, but I thought I would bump this topic. With the Sept 11 attack, terrorism seems to be the only thing in people's minds. In that light, this is interesting...


The Agenda

Post 15

Researcher 196436

Veddy in-teh-resting.
Reading this thread well after 9-11, but seeing all the QUOTE dots UNQUOTE [which our "fearless leaders" claim they could not connect before the WTC bombings]is chilling. Am glad someone in Feb 02 picked up the thread.

This hiker's take is-- The Agenda poster is right...
>> It's all about the money ... the global corporation's bottom line ... the greed. If one can seduce global media into cutting the Earth Firsts! and Greenpeacers out of the Common - make them "domestic terrorists" - then one is free to designate any group of strangers [Xenos] and any hinderance to greater profit margins to be The Other. The Enemy. ERGO: Bombs away!!

In my country, which is unfortunately ruled by coup d'etat dictator, the dictator's father did exactly this in 1990. It was called Desert Storm: it did not remove "The Evil One" from power; it did kill many civilians [both directly thru bombs and indirectly thru bombing their infrastructure back to stone age status]. Ahhh ... didn't this discussion thread start with the issue of civilians and how attacks on them constituted "terrorism" or War Without Rules?

And what do we have now?? The dictator's son, whose handlers & managers want to harass anyone who says anything that questions the wisdom of the dictator, Twig. As noted by The Agenda poster: It's all about the money. We have daily revelations [time/pulsecheck: mid2002] that our dictator and his cronies gave millions of our tax dollars to the Evil Enemy [Al Quaeda terrorists] ... cuz they wanted to ram a pipeline across Afghanistan. The same folks who rammed hijacked aircraft into WTC hi-rises. It's about the petro-chemicals. The $$$.

Our "fearless leader" -- so current revelations document -- zig-zagged all over the country to save his own bucket in the first hour after the 9-11 attacks. Rather than perform his obligations as Commander in Chief of the armed forces (who cost us BILLIONS a year to maintain, billet, feed, house, arm etc etc).

>>What I'd like to see here ... the learned folks on this thread analyzing, thru Causwitz or Lao Tse or others, how an allegedly legitimate power [the un-elected US president] can also be a "terrorist" under the Rules of War.

Sure smells like one ...


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