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The Terrorism Scale

Reader comment on item: [Beslan Atrocity:] They're Terrorists - Not Activists

Submitted by David Guy (Israel), Sep 8, 2004 at 12:40

Dear Mr. Pipes,
I have always objected to the concept that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Rather than attempting to define the term and running into P.O.V. issues I prefer to put the 'act' on a direct military objective scale. The greater number of degrees of separation the action is from a direct military objective, the more likely is it to be a terrorist act.

At one end is the acceptable military action. I describe this as uniformed soldiers, operating on behalf of a state, killing each other for an objectively military purpose e.g. capturing a strategic hill.

At the other end is the terrorist action. I use the Bali Bombing as my extreme example. Javanese Muslims operating in a Hindu area kill Australian tourists and local Balinese service personnel while inspired by a Saudi Arabian (Osama bin Laden) living in Afganistan. The declared purpose of the action is to force the Americans out of Saudi Arabian Territory.

I count eight degrees of separation. If we allow for the mandatory protest about Israel in the 'occupied territories' then the separation is nine degrees.

Beslan - Chechen rebels and non-chechen supporters kill non-combatant Ossetians close to Chechnya but outside the borders to protest Russian actions in Chechnya. The apparent reason is to start a civil war between Chechnyans and Ossetians. Non-Chechnyans are inspired by a Saudi Arabian - Osama bin Laden and apparently are protesting American action in Iraq which Russia opposes. I count six degrees of sparation for Chechnyans and nine degrees for the non-Chechnyans.
Submitting....

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