Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Lies, Damned Lies, and ... Propaganda

The Detroit Free Press version of the AP report on Bush's new definition of terrorism includes a detail not included in the report I posted earlier today:
The new definition includes politically motivated violence carried out by extremist groups within a country. The previous definition focused on international terrorism.
Hmmmm. In what country in particular is there a lot of "politically motivated violence" carried out by "extremist groups"? (Here's a hint: begins with an I, ends with a q as in "quagmire".) I bet $100 the Busheviks changed the definition of "terrorism" to justify their claim that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is a part of the War on Terror. Any takers?
I think I'll take that one, MEC.

While you're technically correct that this definition redefines the Iraqi resistance as terrorists, the world sees the kind of war that the resistance is fighting as terroristic in its nature... just as they see certain US actions such as the devastation of Fallujah as terroristic in nature (but see Ramadani's article, which I'll excerpt).

The obvious target of that definition of terrorism is Hizbollah. To the degree that Hizbollah is engaged in the Iraq resistance, your statement is again correct. But I think Hizbollah is not much involved in Iraq, in the turmoil that is developing in Lebanon, or anywhere in the region.

The definition also serves as a warning shot over the bow of Hamas, the IRA, ETA and so on. But again, this is incidental.

However, I think the *primary* target of that definition is American dissenters. If one member of a group engaged in dissent does so much as throw a rock at a police officer-- even if the rock thrower is himself a government informant-- the entire group can be dealt with extrajudicially.

Almost immediately after 9/11, one of the *first* steps taken by the US government was to threaten to shut down the ISP of the guy who plays Grandpa on the Munsters, Al Lewis,apparently because they hosted a radio show that featured an IRA speaker. This was based on a plainly unconstitutional executive order.

So, you're not exactly wrong, but I would look to the effect of this definitional change to how intelligence/law enforcement agencies operate *inside* the United States for an understanding. Much of what happens in the "war on terror", whether acts by bin Laden or by Bush, are targeted at American public opinion.
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