Saturday, January 21, 2006

What is a Terrorist?

It seems to me that the general policy for the BWH is that if someone is a terrorist or part of a terrorist organization, then we have carte blanche to spy on them, take them prisoner (with no chance of trial), torture them, and kill them with missile strikes no matter where they may be (this includes on foreign soil).

So, I've got a question for you. It's a simple one: "What is a terrorist?" I mean if we as a people are allowing our government this latitude (and I would vehemently argue that all of the red staters and a portion of us blue folks do in fact give this latitude out) we should know what we are allowing shouldn't we? I mean, the BWH considers Quakers terrorists!

Ok. I found two definitions of "terrorist" online and I would assume that in a paper dictionary I would find similar:

a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; usually organizes with other terrorists in small cells; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities


One that engages in acts or an act of terrorism

This leads me to a fundamental question. How does one know someone is a terrorist unless that person actually commits a terroristic act? Since we as a people and government seem to be most concerned with the "terrorists" of the major variety (i.e. the types that blow themselves up), I would postulate that they can only become terrorists after they are dead.

That would mean that the people that the BWH is targeting are simply potential terrorists. And it seems to me that when one doesn't have a strict definition (and I'm sure nobody does have a definition of "potential terrorist") there is a huge potential for abuse in the system. And indeed one could argue that all the examples I offered in the first paragraph are grey area abuses.

Look. I'm all for keeping Americans safe. I mean, I believe that this is a problem that the federal government is very suited to. The thing that I'm against is the fact that we are allowing the government to use this pretense to do whatever they want. By having no objective standards to follow, we are allowing everything and that is simply not right.

People! Think! Do something to fight this. Or I guarantee you that 1984 will be here sooner than we think.


Lingo Slinger said...

I think the governement definitely needs to be policed in regards to this issue and they should not be stepping on peoples human rights in pursuit of "keeping America safe".

Racial profiling is a terrible thing for non-white Americans to have to deal with, especially when they are upstanding citizens who work and pay taxes and are trying to fit in.

This is one of those difficult subjects because terrorism could strike at any time and in any place. The terrorist could look like you or me, we don't know... that's the danger. If we could answer the question "what is a terrorist?" I don't think we'd have a problem. The mere fact that we cannot answer that question IS the problem.

trace said...

Well, that's kind of my point. We can't define what a terrorist is so we shouldn't be doing things in the name of "protecting ourselves from terrorists". I mean, think about it from a real terrorists point of view.. it's frighteningly easy to plan and execute an attack. I mean I can think of a dozen great attacks off the top of my head.. why can't someone more determined do better?

We can't stop attacks. What we can do is try and stop people from wanting to attack us by looking at the root causes of America Hating. To me, that would be a much better plan. But what do I know...