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Terrorism is a tactic, not a movement

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

Submitted by Bill Keane (Australia), Sep 15, 2004 at 03:28

It is wrong to write of "terrorists" as if they are members of some defined static group. Terrorism is a tactic, not a movement in itself. To put it succinctly, terrorism is to militant islam what extortion is to organised crime. I'm not sure if the press is reluctant to use the word. This kind of thought is exactly the type of black/white moral simplicity that promotes a "War on Terror", which is a little like conducting a war on violence. Terrorism is a crime that should be punished, but let's not do it any favours by failing to see the complexity of the issue. On most people's definition, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist.

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Daniel Pipes replies:

I have written extensively on this point. See for example http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1978.

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