16 June 2006

Definition of terrorism

Dear Jonah Goldberg —

Folks in Left Blogistan often poke fun at you. I've never taken much interest in the practice myself. But I was recently inspired to drop by The Corner, and there I read with interest your recent post in which you quoted Joe The Depleted Uranium Guy:

A terrorist is a combatant that does not discriminate between military or civilian targets. Either is legitimate, in the eyes of the terrorist, if it advances his goals. The fact that he may choose a military target on one particular occasion does not change his doctrine.

By this definition, if we reflect on the history of cities like Hiroshima and Dresden, it appears that the United States is a terrorist organization, or at least was during the Second World War.

You say this definition of terrorism was “nicely put.” I find that a definition of “terrorist organization” which includes the US is not a useful definition. Do you believe the US was a terrorist organization in WWII? Or is there profundity I'm failing to understand here?

Please help. We lefties are so easily confused!

Update: Actually, I happen to have a definition of terrorism ....

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