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Yes, they are mixing up terrorism and asymmetric conflict

Reader comment on item: Do Attacks on Soldiers Constitute Terrorism?

Submitted by Alain Jean-Mairet (Switzerland), Apr 26, 2006 at 07:03

There’s hardly anything you can do to soldiers (apart from torture) that will produce terror. Terror is an extreme fear, mixed with helplessness, generally appearing in many people simultaneously, leading to panic, and demoralization. It doesn’t affect genuine fighters under attack, because they are trained, equipped, and quite capable to defend themselves, and to retaliate. They know how to respond to fear and thus even profit from the adrenaline rush produced by action.

But if you deliberately target the weak of society, the unprepared, unarmed, most notably women and children, but also totally unconcerned people (tourists), you sure will create terror, even, actually, if the victims are on your side (as most horribly shown by the example of the Iranian Basiji).

Terror is a terrible weapon indeed, one that crushes heart and mind for a long time. And all you need for being seemingly victorious by terror is an ideology which justifies that means.
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