Should terrorism ever be considered an acceptable form of warfare?
I define terrorist tactics as any tactic that creates terror on the civilian population.
Terrorism should never be considered an acceptable form of warfare because it violates the rules of warfare (Geneva convention, and other treaties) that were put in place in order to protect civilian women and children from the horrors of war (something both combatants seek).
Everyone knows that war is hell. Here we are in the 21st century and we still haven't eradicated war from this planet. So, if war is hell and we haven't been able to eliminate war, then the next best logical option is to try and constrain and contain it. All combatants agree on this and thus drafted treaties in order to achieve this goal.
Terrorism is also bad in that it dehumanizes the population that condones and sustains terror tactics. Terrorism can only be sustained if the civilian population can be brain washed into offering up their sons and daughters as sacrificial lambs. I can't think of a single cause that would make me want to martyr my children.
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Let me just say this up front, I'm not for wars or terrorism. What kind of war is it without terrorism. Just the fact that someone is at war with someone else makes it terror enough. If your definition is correct then anytime something planned happens and scares civilians then it's a terrorist attack.
All terrorist attacks don't have to be someone sacrificing their lives. When countries bomb each other that is a form of terrorism because it puts the civilians at risk and they are afraid of what may happen.
The problem with your argument is that you're trying to equivocate two things that are not the same thing: war and terrorism. Just because war may cause a psychological effect of "terror" to a bystander does not make it terrorism. War is traditionally defined as "the use of violence and force between two or more states to resolve a matter of dispute." Terrorism does not require a formal declaration of war nor a State (ex. Al Qaeda). Terrorists are not bound to the rules of warfare as outlined in the Geneva Convention. (ex. Signatories to the GC cannot intentionally target civilians during warfare nor totally disregard their presence). While war may be terrifying, it is not terrorism.
NATO already views terrorism as a military tactic. However there is no general rule as too what constitutes terrorism.
Terrorism is a tactic that you use to scare the enemies populace into submission, that's terrorism a military tactic that focuses on scaring rather than actual trying to win the battle/war. A terrorist is one who works with terrorism as a viable tactic to get the job done.
Another thing to add would be that of guerrilla warfare which is where you use speed and maneuver rather than firepower and resources. This is what is primarily being used by the Taliban.
You defined terrorism as tactics that ensue fear within the native population, and we've done it before. Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be considered a terrorist act. Through the utilization of atomic bombs we were able to ensue fear to the living Japanese, countless were killed, and the aftereffects were felt by the nearby and native populations for a long time afterwards. Not to mention that that is how we got the Japanese to surrender ( we lied and said that there were more bombs and we were ready to use them if they didn't surrender). In that case that WAS warfare.
A more recent example are the drones that drop bombs were ever insurgents are presumed to be. This too ensures fear in the native population, therefore that is terrorism? (by your definition anyway).
911, was an act of terrorism that led to the war. Surely the Iraqis knew that after that the Americans were most defiantly going to war. If not, they must not have read about pearl harbor.
Main Entry: ter·ror·ism
Pronunciation: 'ter-&r;-"i-z&m;Function: noun
1 : the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion
2 : violent and intimidating gang activity terrorism> —ter·ror·ist /-ist/ adj or noun —ter·ror·is·tic /"ter-&r;-'is-tik/ adjective
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
No, intentionally targeting or having little to no regard for civilian casualties is not an acceptable form of warfare.
The term terrorist seems to be applied to a group of people that keep on fighting even after it is clear that they can't win. When I say "they can't win" I mean that if the rules of engagement were removed, they would be annihilated. The only thing keeping them alive is the restraints that are placed on the stronger combatant. The restraints should NOT be removed from the stronger combatant, but the weaker combatant has got to come to terms with the situation and learn to deal with it in a constructive manner, instead of living in denial.
Well you could also argue that the only rule in warfare is winning. Personally I think if one group expresses unwillingness to abide by the rules of engagement then I feel we should do the same. Before anyone goes so you advocate using human bombs, or some crap like that, no I don't, but I don't see why we should act overly sincere, or pretend war is some sort of violent game. War is war, and it is very ugly, and some people cannot come to terms with the fact they have lost, so terrorism is just another form of an already horrifying subject.