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> Terrorists and Freedom Fighters, What should we call Iraqi fighters?
TragicClown
post Dec 1 2003, 06:22 AM
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I read this article in the LA times:
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/o...la-news-comment

If you hate them you can call them thugs, assassins, maybe terrorists. If you like them they're freedom fighters, patriots, maybe mujahideen. The non-partisan news media says resistence, guerrillas, insurgents, sometimes feyedeen or rebels.

So, the question is, what is the most fair non-political way to term Iraqi fighters?

(or, for that matter, what should we call the American fighters in Iraq? In an article I saw in Time today they called Bremer the American proconsul, which is an explicitly imperialist colonial term. He is often called administrator but that seems a little vague. To say "coalition" is supportive of the occupation since "coalition" is the way the US likes to address itself, using the term "allies" being even more biased since it sounds WWII like. )

This post has been edited by TragicClown: Dec 1 2003, 06:33 AM
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amf
post Dec 1 2003, 01:29 PM
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Indigenous guerrillas.

These are locals fighting us because we're occupying their country. For the most part, they aren't al Qaeda, according to our own generals. They're locals who are *** NOTICE: THIS WORD IS AGAINST THE RULES. FAILURE TO REMOVE IT WILL RESULT IN A STRIKE. *** off and dangerous.

What we call our troops over there is this: sons, daughters, friends, loved ones. What the Iraqis call us is up to them.
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turnea
post Dec 1 2003, 05:13 PM
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I started a very similar topic a while ago.

I lay out the reasons why the term "terrorists" applies there.

Freedom Fighters
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Ted
post Dec 1 2003, 07:15 PM
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The war is simply not over. These folks are either feyedeen or soldiers who dropped their uniforms and are fighting on. The ex loyalists have little to lose since their support is largely gone.

Once they are captured or killed the country will be better off.
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turnea
post Dec 1 2003, 08:40 PM
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Since it seems we can pick up the debate here I'll post the gist of the justification for "terrorists"

QUOTE(turnea)
I don't believe the majority of Iraqis conducting attack are simply "freedom fighters" in the sense that there attacks are targeted solely (as opposed to ultimately) forcing coalition troops out of Iraq. I believe that they are terrorists in the sense that many of their attacks are targeted toward creating suffering for the larger Iraq population rather than simply against US troops. In that way, they terrorize the Iraqi people. The use of the word "majority" may draw some deserved criticism. I don't know any thing about the actual proportion, that part of my argument is intuitive. I stress, however the evidence that many of these attacks are meant to terrorize civilians.


QUOTE
The Baghdad utility director, Nafeaa Adel Sadah, told community advisory councils Sunday that extensive repair and maintenance problems meant Baghdad residents should not expect full service "for a long time."

"I hope in one or two years, we will be able to have 24-hour service," Sadah said.

A major transmission line from a power plant in Basra, which would boost electricity to Baghdad, cannot be fixed in fewer than four months, engineers and coalition officials said. Baghdad's electrical system was sapped by poor maintenance by the past regime, bombing during the war and extensive looting and sabotage over the past four months.

Baghdad faces months of on-and-off electricity
QUOTE
From attacking U.S. soldiers to sabotaging Iraq's power grid, well-armed remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime are waging a campaign that is stalling America's reconstruction efforts and undermining popular support for its presence in Iraq, senior U.S. civilian and military officials here say.

"There are still regime elements out there that are actively, aggressively seeking to impede, discredit or disrupt coalition operations," Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, said yesterday. "They destroy infrastructure repairs made by the coalition and the Iraqis."..
Restoring electricity to Iraq is crucial to U.S. efforts to win the peace. Iraqis and Americans are working to repair the grid, but officials say they have been plagued by sabotage, physical attacks and theft by hard-line members of Saddam's Baath party.

In the past two weeks, officials said, saboteurs have shot out key insulators and power lines, looted critical parts from power plants and relay stations, stolen more than 40 cars from the national Electricity Commission, carjacked one of its commissioners at gunpoint and raided construction sites for 26 transmission towers needed to restore the backbone of the grid.

The lack of full electrical service is the biggest cause of delays in the effort to rebuild the country and win the public's confidence, according to U.S. officials and a broad sampling of Iraqis.

Blackouts that last hours have encouraged a crime wave in the capital.

"They want to keep the chaos going. It's a way to leverage and retake power," said Jim Lanier, who is in charge of Iraq's power sector for the U.S. Agency for International Development and blames Baathist saboteurs for delaying repairs.

Saboteurs hinder rebuilding in Iraq

QUOTE
Fire engulfed a section of the newly-reopened pipeline from Kirkuk, forcing it to close again for repairs that officials warn could take weeks.

Meanwhile, around 300,000 people in Baghdad were deprived of water after an attack breached an important water pipeline, flooding many streets in the city.

US governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer, has warned that continuing sabotage attacks on Iraq's infrastructure will hit the country's economic recovery.

In other developments:...
A Danish soldier has been killed after a truck carrying armed Iraqis was stopped during a routine patrol near Basra - two Iraqis also died...
A fire at a sewage treatment plant in the south is also suspected sabotage

and the most clear example of terrorism against the Iraqi people...
QUOTE
Suicide bombers have killed at least 34 people in a series of apparently co-ordinated attacks in central Baghdad.

The attacks, which wounded at least 224, targeted the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross and four police stations across the city on Monday.

The attack marks the first time a suicide bomber has struck the famously neutral international aid agency in its 140-year history. ..
The ICRC expressed outrage at the bombing.

A spokeswoman in Baghdad, Nada Doumani, said: "We only have a few foreigners here, as we rely on our Iraqi brethren.

"This is a hideous act, a reprehensible act against the ICRC."

Baghdad terror blasts kill dozens

The term terrorists is crucial to understanding this situation this isn't US vs. Iraqi people.

Rather
Coalition+Iraqi people vs. a group of murders

as a rule, there may be exceptions of course but this isn't a fight for freedom at least not on their side...

QUOTE(TragicClown)
To say "coalition" is supportive of the occupation since "coalition" is the way the US likes to address itself, using the term "allies" being even more biased since it sounds WWII like.

That's because forces in Iraq are members of a coalition... rolleyes.gif.

This isn't about political support it's about accurately describing the situation so that it might be better dealt with.
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nebraska29
post Dec 1 2003, 09:10 PM
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I would have to say "terrorist" is perhaps an inappropriate term. At best, they are resistance-opposition fighters. The word "terrorist" is used way to promiscuously to connotate anyone who dares oppose us.
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turnea
post Dec 1 2003, 09:16 PM
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QUOTE(nebraska29 @ Dec 1 2003, 03:10 PM)
I would have to say "terrorist" is perhaps an inappropriate term.  At best, they are resistance-opposition fighters.  The word "terrorist" is used way to promiscuously to connotate anyone who dares oppose us.

Whether or not the term is misused in other cases I believe the evidence I've put forth justifies it's use in this case. Terrorism is a term with an objective definition, the actions of these attackers in Iraq fits that definition so we can conclude they are terrorists.
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nebraska29
post Dec 1 2003, 09:41 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ Dec 1 2003, 09:16 PM)
Whether or not the term is misused in other cases I believe the evidence I've put forth justifies it's use in this case. Terrorism is a term with an objective definition, the actions of these attackers in Iraq fits that definition so we can conclude they are terrorists.

I would disagree, it's more subjective if you ask me. The British viewed the colonists in the same light. One's definition of "patriot" and "terrorist" depends upon which side you are on. If terrorism is an act by a nation towards others that harms them, then I'm sure that you could say that we are terrorists ourselves. Overthrowing democratically elected leaders, supporting ultra-right death squads in El Salvador(who have a propensity for killing priests and nuns) as well as being convicted in the world court for mining Managua harbor is evidence alone to support the theory that the U.S. is a rogue state.
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ConservPat
post Dec 1 2003, 10:22 PM
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They're terrorists, plain and simple. They are killing their own people, civilians. They are fighters for a dead TERRORIST REGEME. Freedom fighters makes them seem like they're victims in all of this, and they're not.

CP us.gif
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nebraska29
post Dec 1 2003, 10:37 PM
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QUOTE(Conservpat @ Dec 1 2003, 10:22 PM)
They're terrorists, plain and simple.  They are killing their own people, civilians.  They are fighters for a dead TERRORIST REGEME.  Freedom fighters makes them seem like they're victims in all of this, and they're not.

CP  us.gif

Killing their own people? We call that "collateral damage" The officials and police officers? The colonists did the same thing to Tories and their property. Iraq was a terrorist state? Then what does that make us? We gave them money and military aid all throughout the 1980s. We even were responsible for killing a U.N. provision condemning the Baathists for gassing the kurds. We provided military intelligence so as to prevent Iran(who was justified) from taking Iraq. Rumsfeld gave Saddam a pair of golden spurs. Are we too cozy with dictators? In regard to your last assertion, I never stated in any post that they were freedom fighters. I stated that they are resistance/opposition fighters, which is what they are. The term "terrorist" is still very subjective in this case. Iraqi teens throwing rocks at occupation forces are not in the same league as the "pilots" who flew their planes into the trade towers.
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turnea
post Dec 1 2003, 10:52 PM
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The Dictionary Master strikes again devil.gif ...

QUOTE(The American Heritage Dictionary as provided by Dictionary.com)

terrorism
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.


The reason terrorism seems subjective is because no one actually examines what it mean. What is important is not simply the act put the purpose, to "intimidate societies"

The terrorists have attacked Iraq water, power , and the red cross. This was not a case of collateral damage, the military wasn't hurt, just ordinary Iraqis trying to get on with their lives.

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Ultimatejoe
post Dec 1 2003, 11:01 PM
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You're not suggesting that undermining Iraqi society doesn't undermine the American occupation are you?
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turnea
post Dec 1 2003, 11:06 PM
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QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Dec 1 2003, 05:01 PM)
You're not suggesting that undermining Iraqi society doesn't undermine the American occupation are you?

I suggesting that it does so by use of terrorism. wink2.gif

Terrorists use attacks to intimidate Iraqis which makes it hard for the American occupation.

Once everyone involved understands this,
*that it is the Iraqi's future that must be protected
that these terrorists are clearly not out to protect it and indeed intend to harm it and *that this one of (if not the) single most dangerous threat to the Iraqi people (not occupation, which rather than being the problem is part of the solution)...

then the world can make efforts to support Iraqis effectively.

This post has been edited by turnea: Dec 1 2003, 11:10 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Dec 1 2003, 11:07 PM
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I find it hard to consider a group which bombs the Red Cross as a legitimate resistance, non-terrorist effort. A 'militia' whose modus operandi depends on the goodwill of its adversaries...throwing grenades from hospitals and school houses, for example, with the knowledge that their strongest offense is through the direct endangerment of their own civilian population because the enemy attempts to protect them, certainly needs its own definition. But I can't think of any at the moment that wouldn't violate the rules for profanity.
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NiteGuy
post Dec 1 2003, 11:52 PM
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Does it really matter, in the end what we call them, or what they choose to call themselves? The fact is that regardless of name or description, they are ambushing coalition forces, and blowing up politically or economically important buildings. They just need to be dealt with in the most efficient manner possible, be that arresting them, or, if in battle, killing them.
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Ted
post Dec 2 2003, 12:28 AM
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QUOTE(NiteGuy @ Dec 1 2003, 06:52 PM)
Does it really matter, in the end what we call them, or what they choose to call themselves?  The fact is that regardless of name or description, they are ambushing coalition forces, and blowing up politically or economically important buildings.  They just need to be dealt with in the most efficient manner possible, be that arresting them, or, if in battle, killing them.

Niteguy has it right. Names are meaningless. They are what is left of one of the most represssive regimes in the world and they appear to be resisting the loss of their power.

Killing them may be our best option since they really don't have a future in Iraq anymore than known SS troopers did in post war Germany.
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turnea
post Dec 2 2003, 12:52 AM
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QUOTE(NiteGuy @ Dec 1 2003, 05:52 PM)
Does it really matter, in the end what we call them, or what they choose to call themselves?  The fact is that regardless of name or description, they are ambushing coalition forces, and blowing up politically or economically important buildings.  They just need to be dealt with in the most efficient manner possible, be that arresting them, or, if in battle, killing them.

Excellent Point!

Though as obvious as this may seem to you and I, there is a school of thought that these people must be appeased (brought on by the mistaken assumption that these terrorists represent a significant section of Iraqi opinion). The administration may have fallen for this to some extent with their new plan to turn over sovereignty (which really doesn't address the true problem.)

That is why the language we use is so important, accurate descriptions of a probelm help to form successful solutions.

These aren't freedom fighters, not home-grown opposition to failed US policy, they are terrorists.

If language wasn't important then I know a lot of professionals would be out of a job... tongue.gif

This post has been edited by turnea: Dec 2 2003, 12:58 AM
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imalex13
post Dec 2 2003, 03:11 AM
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You can't call them terrorists. That term is propaganda of the Bush administration used to name anyone who opposes the US, as has been posted before. As long as the United States, not the United Nations, heads the Iraqi rebuilding process, any attacks are not terrorist attacks, but the attacks of a nation whose sovereignty has been violated by another sovereign nation.
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pennDerek
post Dec 2 2003, 04:19 AM
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This is kind of a rhetorical post, but why call them by some broad, stupid, inaccurate label? On a practical level, I understand the need to call all the combatants something, but I think having some pointless philosophical debate on whether you can be a freedom fighter while trying to restore a cruel despot or a terrorist when your target is an occupying military. In the rare instances where we know who was fighting, can't we acknowledge the complexity of the situation by referring to former Republican guard, Fedayeen, foreign terrorists, disgruntled Shi'ites, etc.? I honestly believe it's perfectly fine to call the above mean names, but insisting on it seems abit childish, just as asserting noble motives to Al Qaeda elements taking advantage of situation is abit, well, "headgear-and-short-bus-special".
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turnea
post Dec 2 2003, 04:55 AM
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QUOTE(imalex13 @ Dec 1 2003, 09:11 PM)
You can't call them terrorists. That term is propaganda of the Bush administration used to name anyone who opposes the US, as has been posted before. As long as the United States, not the United Nations, heads the Iraqi rebuilding process, any attacks are not terrorist attacks, but the attacks of a nation whose sovereignty has been violated by another sovereign nation.

Disregarding the fact that the administration does not of course refer to everyone who opposes the US as terrorists rolleyes.gif ...

Who in charge of Iraq doesn't matter terrorism is violence used to terrorize a populace, their have been a number acts of terrorism committed in Iraq and there perpetrators are terrorists by definition. Objective not subjective.

QUOTE(PennDerek)
This is kind of a rhetorical post, but why call them by some broad, stupid, inaccurate label?

1. Because we can't be sure who's committing what attack.

2. Because occasionally we might want to refer to the attackers as a whole.

If this is an organized campaign (and it seems that it is) then it is certainly accurate to call them terrorists because they engage in acts of terrorism against Iraqis. As I've said before once this is understood the true problems in Iraq can be seen and rectified.

Attacks targeting coalition forces are not terrorism, of course, but those are not the only types of attacks going on. Indeed, in my opinion, they are not the most seriously threatening to the future of the Iraqis.

It's a matter of focus, using "terrorist" as a term places focus on the plight of Iraqis (where it should be).
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