America’s Sham War on Terrorism

Saturday, September 17, 2011
By Paul Martin

by James Bovard

Almost a decade after the 9/11 attacks, the war on terrorism continues chugging along. Despite the trillions of dollars that the U.S. government has spent supposedly in response to 9/11, few people have raised questions about the fundamental definition of what the United States is fighting. The U.S. government’s definition of terrorism almost guarantees that the so-called war on terrorism will be a failure — and will last forever.

Federal agencies have an array of definitions for “terrorism”:

The Defense Department defined terrorism as “the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a revolutionary organization against individuals or property, with the intention of coercing or intimidating governments or societies, often for political or ideological purposes.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation defined terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

The State Department defined terrorism as “the use or threat of the use of force for political purposes in violation of domestic or international law.”

Since government use of force (based on government edicts and sovereign immunity) is almost automatically lawful, governments by definition cannot commit terrorist acts. For decades, U.S. representatives to the United Nations have been adamant that “state terrorism” is a near impossibility. Private cars packed with dynamite are evil, while guided missiles launched from government jet fighters that blow up cars driven by terrorist suspects are good, regardless of how many children are in the back seat at the time of the “surgical strike.”

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