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July 18, 2006

Terrorists 9/11, "War On Terror"  Palestine/Middle East

Larry Johnson, formerly of the CIA and the State Dept. Office of Counterterrorism, on Israel's attacking Lebanon:

[Hamas and Hezbollah] are not terrorists. They carry out terrorist attacks, but they are not terrorists. They are something far more dangerous. They are fully functioning political, social, religious, and military organizations that use terrorism tactics, but they are far more formidible than terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or the Basque Terrorist Organization. They do have the resources and the personnel to project force, sustain operations, and cannot be easily defeated. Unlike the Egyptian and Syrian armies in 1973, Hamas and Hezbollah will not easily fold and cannot be defeated in a seven day war. If that is the assumption among some Israeli military planners it is a crazy fantasy.

While most folks in the United States buy into the Hollywood storyline of poor little Israel fighting for it's survival against big, bad Muslims, the reality unfolding on our TV screens shows something else. Exodus, starring Paul Newman, is ancient history. Hamas and Hezbollah attacked military targets — kidnapping soldiers on military patrols may be an act of war and a provocation, but it is not terrorism. (And yes, Hezbollah and Hamas have carried out terrorist attacks in the past against Israeli civilians. I'm not ignoring those acts, I condemn them, but we need to understand what the dynamics are right now.) Israel is not attacking the individuals who hit their soldiers. Israel is engaged in mass punishment.

How did Israel respond? They bombed civilian targets and civilian infrastructure and have killed many civilians. Let's see if I have this right. The Arab "terrorists" attack military units, destroy at least one tank, and are therefore terrorists. Israel retaliates by launching aerial, naval, and artillery bombardments of civilian areas and they are engaging in self-defense. If we are unable to recognize the hypocrisy of this construct then we ourselves are so enveloped by propaganda and emotion that, like the Israelis, Hezbollah, and Hamas, we can't think rationally. We can only think in terms of tribalism and revenge. [Emphasis added]

Language matters. Not everyone who opposes the US or who opposes Israel is a terrorist. But the T-word is used indiscriminately in order to condition us to lump everyone so labeled into a single undifferentiated, faceless mass of dark, feral creatures with incomprehensible motives. Evil-Doers. Freedom-Haters. Terrorists. All such labels are the enemy of rational thought. These days rational thought is in dangerously short supply.

Posted by Jonathan at July 18, 2006 11:57 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Comments

If you engage in terrorism, you're a terrorist regardless of any accompanying political, social, religious, and military organizations.

Threatening to "blow Israel off the map" makes Iran, by definition, a terrorist state.

When Bush said "You're either with us, or against us" he made the U.S. terrorists given the context of this statement (that there would be consequences if you were against us). Why should any country that keeps its own backyard free of terrorists be forced to align itself with the U.S.? They shouldn't.

Language matters, but the truth matters more. Those who know the truth are able to cut right through semantics.

Posted by: Jeff at July 24, 2006 11:27 AM