When Nuclear Terrorism Isn't Terrorism
Wait, is this one of those articles that tries to justify terrorism as a legitimate tactic for a people fighting an occupying power? No, but we are questioning why atrocities committed by a state don't qualify as terrorism. After all, as Jim Holt wrote at Slate in 2002 of terrorism . . .
The broadest definition is the deliberate killing of noncombatants. That, for example, is how Caleb Carr characterizes terrorism in his recent book The Lessons of Terror. For this he was taken to task in the New York Times Book Review by Michael Ignatieff, who insisted that if the slaughter is carried out by "a state army under regular command, as part of a formally declared campaign to defeat another state," then it ought not to be called terrorism.
In other words, wrote Holt, "The decision to reserve 'terrorism' for nonstate acts of terror, or to extend it to state acts, is a semantic one."