Monday, March 24, 2003

Guerrilla Vs. Terrorist

Andrew Sullivan talks in this post about the Iraqis using "terrorist" tactics in the ongoing war.

While the line between a guerrilla and a terrorist is pretty fuzzy, it seems that irregular surprise attacks by small groups upon military targets of an overwhelmingly superior invading army are textbook guerrilla tactics.

Although the distinction may seem fairly minor, semantic accuracy is important during wartime, when rhetoric on both sides escalates to white-hot levels.

This is especially true when the deliberate choice of words is itself part of a larger intellectual effort - in this case, the linking of Saddam's regime to terrorism.

While I would like this to be a solitary knock against Sullivan, the confusion (or deliberate obfuscation) between "guerrilla" and "terrorist" in this case is sufficiently widespread to merit a more broadly-targeted rebuke.

Sidenote: Does this mean I approve of the attacks in question? Of course not. These are attacks against my country's soldiers, and as such I absolutely condemn them. Anyone who would suggest otherwise is an idiot whom I would politely ask to go to hell and never visit my site again.

No comments: