Wright from Washington City
October 16, 2000
By DAVID T. WRIGHT
Well, it finally happened, and sooner than I expected. Some people in the Muslim world got angry enough at American collusion with the Israelis in the continued oppression of the Palestinians to blow themselves up and the U.S. destroyer Cole along with them.
The men who did it have been denounced by President Clinton as "cowards." But, as Steve Sniegoski pointed out to me, that seems an odd thing to call people who sacrificed their own lives for what they believed in. Nobody, says Steve, called the Kamikaze pilots cowards.
But that's not the only example of Newspeak being bandied about. According to everyone in the news, the Cole explosion was a "terrorist" attack. And here for years I've been under the impression that terrorism consists of attacking civilian noncombatants, with the purpose of terrorizing and demoralizing them. As Lenin supposedly said, "The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize": as the Baader-Meinhof Gang did, as the Provisional IRA did in bombing pubs and shops and as the Allied air forces did in their terror bombings of Cologne, Berlin, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, etc. And that's not to mention the bombing of passenger trains, sewage-treatment plants, TV studios, and power stations that a certain World's Only Superpower has engaged in recently.
Well, now it turns out that "terrorism" really means hitting a military target. But, using that definition, two armies fighting each other would amount to terrorism. That can't be right. So I guess terrorism is civilians hitting a military target using unconventional methods, because they don't have access to expensive things such as cruise missiles, submarines, tanks, and fighter-bombers.
Terrorism is actually the exact opposite of what I thought it was. If you use a U.S.-built Cobra helicopter gunship to rocket a civilian police station or to try to murder a civilian leader such as Yasser Arafat by destroying his headquarters, it ain't terrorism. Using a small boat filled with explosives to blow up a warship that's terrorism.
Under that new, creative definition, the character played by Mel Gibson in the movie "The Patriot" was the terrorist not the evil English colonel who torched people's houses and burned a church with the congregation inside. Gibson's character even used a small boat to blow up a warship. And all this time, I thought he was a hero.
Proceed directly to "Life and death in Bizarro World" from October 7, 2000.
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