I posted this over at a web site called "liberals against terrorism" They ask, What is terrorism? Who is a terrorist?
There is a short hand answer to what terrorism is:
If they attack us, it is terrorism.
If we attack them, it is not terrorism.
Most of the arguments about terrorism are simply arguments trying to conform with the above definition. Twisted logic is used because any honest definition of terrorism exposes the ugly reality of what "we" are doing. What must be avoided is any conclusion that exposes what "we" are doing is terrorism or what they are doing isn't terrorism. "Terrorism" and "terrorist" are politically charged words used for propaganda purposes, that is why it is so contentious. People defining the word "terrorism" know the goal is to conform to the short hand definition I mentioned above, the only question is what "reasoning" needs to be used to get there.
We all agree that ending the killing of civilians is our objective. It is time then to admit that saying you "had to" kill civilians does not change the facts on the ground. Facts that people have imposed on their lives and facts that result in the deaths of others. Saying that you "had to" kill civilians does not absolve you of the crime. I agree with the point that "Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation" The UN definition is fine but it does mean that the US is engaging in terrorism.
I don't see how the the attacks on the Cole could be considered terrorism since civilians were not targeted at all. Also, not all of those that are fighting against the specific US foreign policies are willing to kill civilians nor do all of them approve of killing civilians. Mir Aimal Kasi went to the CIA headquarters in Langley,Virginia and shot CIA employees Frank Darling and Lansing Bennett outside in 1993. Mir Aimal Kasi said, "What I did was a retaliation against the US government for American policy in the Middle East and its support of Israel ." Mir Aimal Kasi once professed a love for this country, his uncle testified. "He always say that 'I like America, I love America and I want to go there,'" Amanullah Kasi said at a sentencing hearing for his nephew, Mir Aimal Kasi . Kasi's roommate, who had reported him missing after the shootings, told police that Kasi would get incensed watching CNN when he heard how Muslims were being treated. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Kasi said he did not approve of the attack on the World Trade Center because innocents were killed. He understood, however, the attack on the Pentagon, the symbol of government might. Motives for 9/11 Terrorist Attacks