Would terrorism by any other name smell as foul?

Well, yes, fouler in fact cuz you’d have a combination of terrorism combined with the stinking hypocrisy of calling it something else.

Friedman trying really hard to look earnest and intense.

Friedman trying really hard to look earnest and intense.

Glenn Greenwald does a beautiful job of taking Tom Friedman to task over his defense of Israel’s tactics in Gaza. Friedman basically attributes to Israel the desire (and this is just Friedman’s interpretation) to “educate” Hamas  “by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population.[emphasis Greenwald’s]

Quite rightly, Greenwald points out, ummmmm….that’s terrorism. Like, by definition. Here’s the guts of it:

The war strategy which Friedman is heralding — what he explicitly describes with euphemism-free candor as “exacting enough pain on civilians” in order to teach them a lesson — is about as definitive of a war crime as it gets.  It also happens to be the classic, textbook definition of “terrorism.”  Here is how the U.S. Department of State defined “terrorism” in its 2001 publication, Patterns of Global Terrorism:

“No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance. For the purposes of this report, however, we have chosen the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). That statute contains the following definitions:

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant (1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. . . .

(1) For purposes of this definition, the term “noncombatant” is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty.”

Other than the fact that Friedman is advocating these actions for an actual state rather than a “subnational group,” can anyone identify any differences between (a) what Friedman approvingly claims was done to the Lebanese and what he advocates be done to Palestinians and (b) what the State Department formally defines as “terrorism”?  I doubt anyone can.  Isn’t Friedman’s “logic” exactly the rationale used by Al Qaeda:  we’re going to inflict “civilian pain” on Americans so that they stop supporting their government’s domination of our land and so their government thinks twice about bombing more Muslim countries?  It’s also exactly the same “logic” that fuels the rockets from Hezbollah and Hamas into Israel.

You go Glenn Greenwald!

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