I normally don’t do posts aimed purely at sharing other posts, but there was a really excellent piece in Sunday’s New York Times that warrants sharing. Tomis Kapitan, in “The Reign of ‘Terror’”, examines how the term shapes our ability to ask serious questions about how to deal with incidents that we characterize as terrorism, but also shields our own government from criticism of its many atrocities.
Here’s one passage that is an important takeaway, particularly in light of efforts of the Obama administration to cover up the crimes of George W. Bush and his administration, and also to obstruct our justice system as it attempts to document and perhaps check the machinations of our increasingly lawless military and security complex:
“The State Department cites a legal definition of “terrorism” as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.” It adds: “The term ‘noncombatant’ is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed or not on duty.” Thus, by means of linguistic gerrymander, members of uniformed government military forces acting under government authorization are incapable of committing acts of terrorism no matter how many civilians are ground up in the process”.
It’s a great piece, and deserves to be widely read by people of all political persuasions.