no no no, terrorism is what THEY do

(7 comments)
March 18, 2003
I'm trying to think of what our country's practical definition of terrorism vs. waging war is. Obviously, though we won't admit to it, some part of the working definition involves "we don't conduct terrorism"--so, any operation we undertake is, by likely definition, not terrorism. The only other reliable differentiators I can think of is purposefully killing a dozen civilians as your primary target is terrorism, killing hundreds of civilians as "collateral damage" is war...it's all about intention, you see. Plus, traditionally war gives a bit more warning, terrorism relies more on surprise. Given our military's "shock and awe" approach, I think we've lost the difference that terrorism is meant to terrorize and war isn't.

Oh, and terrorism is cheaper and more resourceful in some of its tools. This and the lack of warning are the only way we have of calling ramming a speedboat into a US Cruiser "terrorism"...I mean hell, the people on the boat thought they were at war. Also, it's not like surprise is exclusively the domain of terrorism, individual battles in normal war often rely on it as well.

I mostly mention this because "we don't negotiate with terrorists", but we kind of hope Iraq will see the force we're presenting.

Anyway. Move over Bert, it's time for threat level Ernie...how I've missed him...

Gaming Article of the Moment
Salon has a piece on Dani Bunten who made the all time classic computer game M.U.L.E. She was Dan at the time, but I that might not explain how poorly the industry treated her in the years after.

Link of the Moment
Yahoo's most e-mailed photos makes for some interesting browsing. As does Yahoo Italy's, which tends to have a bit more skin.

Speaking of skin...yesterday I saw my first exposed shoulders and back of the season, a young woman in a dress at Alewife T-station. Man, that really gave me hope for the season changing.

Grammar of the Moment
"This is going to be quantum times more accurate and quantum times more lethal in the first 24 hours of this war than it was in Desert Storm."
--Retired Admiral William Owens, former vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, quoted on the front of today's Boston Globe. Look, I can deal with quantum meaning metaphorically large, even though quantum is generally the very very small, because maybe people really understand the concept of "quantum leap". But "quantum times"? Yeesh.

I gotta wonder...if we're gonna work so much "shock and awe" in so quickly, how will that whole "our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed" thing work out?

Hey, remember when it was "Desert Shield", and everyone thought the next phase was going to be "Desert Sword", but it turned into "Desert Storm" instead? Man, those were the days.