[FoRK] Ugh. "Don't Feed The Terrorists!"

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Mon Mar 15 11:36:32 PST 2004

RT asks:

> Jeff Bone:
> >The Taliban was never completely legitimate because
> >it never represented the broader interests of those
> >it would rule. ..
> How is that different from any number of tyrannical
> regimes? Including, by one example out of many,
> Saddam's, who reflected at most the interest of a
> minority of those in Iraq.

It's not that different...

Look, I'm not trying to build or normatively impose a taxonomy, here.  
I'm just asserting that (a) there *is* at least one hypothetical 
taxonomy in place that already draws some distinctions between *some* 
of these things, and (b) that the failure to elaborate a complete 
taxonomy does not imply that we should just assume that there are no 
distinctions and just throw our hands up in the air and refer to anyone 
struggling in any way against an established government as a 

This is tricky stuff.  It's as though we've only had a few words for 
"snow" or "ice" and suddenly find ourselves in the Arctic.  The answer 
isn't to dispense w/ all the terms we *do* have and call it all 
"funnyfrozenwaterstuff!"  Indeed, it's to suss out those distinctions 
and give them their own first-class terms in our language.

Put more directly: no offense intended to Owen, but saying that 
"terrorists are just revolutionaries who haven't won yet" is profoundly 
stupid.  It de-legitimizes "good" revolution and legitimizes 
"terrorists" --- and as an added side-bonus it legitimizes all 
establishments just on the basis that they happen to be the 
establishment today.  Bad idea.  Bad, bad idea.


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