Difference between Insurgent and Terrorist

julio
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Difference between Insurgent and Terrorist

I don't know. Is an Insurgent a Terrorist? Or is a Terrorist an Insurgent? We hear the two terms on the news all the time. I am confused!


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 A terrorist is someone who

 A terrorist is someone who targets the civilian population to cause terror. An insurgent is someone who rebels against the established government power but are now part of an internationally recognized power themselves. So you can be an insurgent but not be a terrorist but if you are a terrorist you are an insurgent. In Iraq, many of the insurgents are also terrorists but I wouldn't classify all of them as terrorists. For example, the person who launches rocket attacks against American and Iraqi government forces is an insurgent. The person who drives a car bomb into the middle of the civilian market is a terrorist.

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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If America invades another

If America invades another country and causes immense suffering I cannot call America a terrorist country, can I?
Hamas and/or Hezbollah are what?
Terrorists or Insurgents?
And when Israel attacks civilians and kills them?
What should I call the Israeli soldiers?

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julio wrote:If America

julio wrote:

If America invades another country and causes immense suffering I cannot call America a terrorist country, can I?

Well since America puts its soldiers at extra risk to avoid killing civilians I should say not. There is a big difference between intentionally targeting civilians and the suffering caused by being in close proximity of war. 

 

julio wrote:

Hamas and/or Hezbollah are what? Terrorists or Insurgents?

Neither are insurgents because both are politically recognized resistance movements. I am inclined to consider both terrorist organizations although Hezbollah has been declared by Lebanon to be a state authorized paramilitary force. They both use terrorism tactics. 

 

julio wrote:

And when Israel attacks civilians and kills them? What should I call the Israeli soldiers?

Soldiers. While Israel has had incidents where civilians have been killed, there is a big difference between intentionally targeting civilian only targets and killing civilians while attacking a military target. It is especially complicated when the enemy is known to wear civilian clothes. I don't really want to get in an argument about Israels tactics but I can guarantee you have never heard of an Israeli strapping on a bomb and blowing up a bus at a shopping mall. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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"...but I can guarantee you

"...but I can guarantee you have never heard of an Israeli strapping on a bomb and blowing up a bus at a shopping mall."

But is it on moral grounds they don't resort to those terrorist tactics or because the time has not yet arrived to do it?

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As far as I am concerned, I

As far as I am concerned, I don't see any difference in war strategies between Israel and Palestine. Both want to eliminate the other. The difference in in the quality of weaponry. In that light, both are terrorists from either side, I would guess. Am I wrong?

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 julio wrote:"...but I can

 

julio wrote:
"...but I can guarantee you have never heard of an Israeli strapping on a bomb and blowing up a bus at a shopping mall."

 

But is it on moral grounds they don't resort to those terrorist tactics or because the time has not yet arrived to do it?

 

Well, that is an interesting question. It points out one thing which is worth some consideration. Specifically, that a too simple definition will never be adequate as one can always come up with examples that stretch the definition beyond what it is really meant to encompass.

 

So if the example definition was “Targets civilians without regard”, then what of WW2? Were the winners the nation that had the best terror targets? I have the London Blitz, the fire bombing of German cities and the British Dam Busters in mind here. Or why was 9/11 a terrorist act and Pearl Harbor not one?

 

Personally, I see the label of terrorist as something that is attached after the fact, not one that is inherent to the act. Of course, even that is probably going to have counter examples. The idiots who attacked the cruise ship in the Mediterranean during the Reagan presidency can't be anything other than terrorists as far as I can tell.

 

Against that, in the 60's, there were anti-organization protestors who would bomb buildings in the USA. As far as I know, they were not called terrorists (at least not at the time). Perhaps it is somehow a lesser criminal act if you phone in the bomb threat a sufficient time before it goes off to evacuate the building? (well if everyone gets out safely ten minutes before the bomb goes off, then DUH! But that is not part of my point).

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All is fair in war. What

All is fair in war. What people call moral is what and who wins at war.

 

George Washington was a terrorist/insergent/war criminal until he won. Then he became a patriot.

 

FDR/Truman were brave patriots because the USA won. SS Nazis and Japanese military were cowards/war criminals because they lost.

Might makes right.

 

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What about this definition

What about this definition [from another forum]:

"Insurgents and freedom fighters are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them (like Afghanistan resisting the Soviet Union's invasion).

Terrorists are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them (like Afghanistan resisting the Unites States's invasion)."

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julio wrote:What about this

julio wrote:

What about this definition [from another forum]: "Insurgents and freedom fighters are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them (like Afghanistan resisting the Soviet Union's invasion).

Terrorists are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them (like Afghanistan resisting the Unites States's invasion)."

 

Sounds like the difference is all political.  Who is on whose side. 

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julio wrote: I don't know.

julio wrote:
I don't know. Is an Insurgent a Terrorist? Or is a Terrorist an Insurgent? We hear the two terms on the news all the time. I am confused!

 

 The question reminded me to reference a book of mine called Encyclopedia of  the U.S. Military, copyright 1990, Harper and Row.    On page 335 under "insurgency" it reads "A struggle between a constituted government and organized insurgents frequently supported from without, but acting violently from within, against the political, social, economic, military, and civil vulnerabilities of the regime to bring about its internal destruction or overthrow. Such wars are distinguished from lesser insurgencies by the gravity of the threat to government and the insurgent object eventual regional or national control. [ Army Dictionary, p. 144] "

 

  On page 675 of the same book under "terrorism" it states " 'The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political , religious or ideological objectives' [Approved definition for future volume of JCS Pub 1 in Joint LIC Final Report, Vol. 1, 1 August 1986 ] "

  

  I have no idea if the above military / governmental definitions have been altered or revised ( eg, enemy combatant )  from the time the source was published and events following 911.  

   The seems to be a lot of overlap in meaning.  Confusing...what we need are some experts on defining concepts.   Perhaps when Blake and jcgadfly are through examining the atheist / agnostic quagmire they could pop in on this thread and clear away all the disinformation.

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 julio wrote:What about

 

julio wrote:
What about this definition [from another forum]: "Insurgents and freedom fighters are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them (like Afghanistan resisting the Soviet Union's invasion). Terrorists are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them (like Afghanistan resisting the Unites States's invasion)."

 

Here, let me take that one down to the bones and see what it really says:

 

julio wrote:
Insurgents and freedom fighters are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them.

 

julio wrote:
Terrorists are people who bravely oppose another nation invading them.

 

OK, since I did include the original, it should be abundantly clear that all I did was remove words that did not add to the substance of the definitions at hand. So if there is any difference between the two, it will be found in the qualifiers and not in the main body of each sentence.

 

Personally, I prefer my definitions with rather less weak sauce.

 

 

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