Justification for terrorism


Justification for terrorism

Justification for terrorism refers to the act of defining motive or justification for instances of terrorism. It can also be used as a reference to intentional misrepresentation or denial of events of terrorism.

Definition of terrorism

One of the key factors in studying terrorism is the lack of a universally accepted definition. The "terrorist" from one side is usually another side's "freedom fighter". This makes any agreement on ethical norms that can be applied to armed conflicts between any government and its opponents very difficult. There are instances in history when violence against established governments was (and still is) not condemned, such as the American Revolutionary War and the struggle in South Africa against apartheid. In contrast, it cannot simply be said that violence is justified only when it succeeds. [ Dr. Ted Goertzel, [http://crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/terrorandrevolution.htm The Ethics of Terrorism and Revolution] Published in Terrorism: An International Journal, Volume 11, pp. 1-12, 1988.]

The word "terrorism" was first used in reference to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. A 1988 study by the United States Army found that more than one hundred definitions of the word exist and have been used. [Dr. Jeffrey Record, [http://carlisle-www.army.mil/ssi/pubs/2003/bounding/bounding.pdf Bounding the Global War on Terrorism] (PDF)] Among these definitions there are several that do not recognize the possibility of legitimate use of violence by civilians against an invader in an occupied country and these definitions would thus label all resistance movements as terrorist groups. Others make a distinction between lawful and unlawful use of violence. Ultimately, the distinction is a political judgment. [Ali Khan, [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=935347 A LEGAL THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM] Published in 19 Connecticut Law Review 945-972(1987)]

Definition of terrorist groups

The difference between armed struggle and terrorism can in some cases be difficult to determine. The right of racial and ethnic groups to defend themselves against genocidal attacks, the fundamental right to self-defense, is almost universally accepted. There is also a large consensus, mainly on utilitarian grounds, about the right of racial and ethnic groups to resort to armed struggle if they are denied equal participation in political and social life. [ Dr. Ted Goertzel, [http://crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/terrorandrevolution.htm The Ethics of Terrorism and Revolution] Published in Terrorism: An International Journal, Volume 11, pp. 1-12, 1988.]

Numerous governments and non-governmental organizations, specifically the media, have different standards which define what groups or organizations are considered terrorist groups. For example, the US air force has one [ [http://www.au.af.mil/au/aul/bibs/tergps/tg98tc.htm list] ] with discrepancies from the US state department [ [http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/fto_info_1999.html list] ] , and the Israeli ICT maintains a separate [ [http://www.ict.org.il/organizations/intnl_org.cfm list] ] . There is no uniform consensus on how to label an individual group, or whether or not the actions of a state qualify the state as a "terrorist state".

Motives and Ethics of terrorism

History of terrorism

Revisionism of terrorism

Terrorism denial

This is not necessarily the act of denying that terrorism exists, but rather the kind of revisionism which partially suggests that acts of terrorism may be justified, or through euphemism conceals the atrocity of those acts. It is a very widely used de facto prejudice.Who|date=July 2007

Such recognized terrorist [ [http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress03/pistole092403.htm Federal Bureau of Investigation - Congressional Testimony ] ] organizations as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ETA, Irgun, Kach, Provisional Irish Republican Army etc. are commonly labeled by their supporters as a political organization or militant group. The denial has roots in prejudice, or at least in severely biased coverage.

Methods of revisionism

When seeking to revise the narrative about a particular group, members or sympathizers of a group will campaign to:
* Equate the actions of the enemies of the terrorists as terroristic too (in many cases this may be true).
* Have references about the group labeled in a specific euphemistic way
* Have items of historical fact removed from the narrative about the group
* Insert additional information to distract from being labelled as solely a terrorist organization
* Exaggerate accidental civilian casualties in order to increase sympathy for terrorist organizations.

ee also

* 9/11 conspiracy theories
* Sociology of terrorism

References


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