Terrorism, Freedom Fighters and Patriotism

Depending on which side you are on determines which word or phrase to use. One world's "freedom fighter" is another world's "terrorist" and both sides are considered "patriotic" for the support of measures taken on or about these terrorist/freedom fighters.

The Boston Tea Party, as an example. A tax was levied on tea by England against the English colonialists in North America. As an act of “expression and outrage” against this tax some colonialists dressed up as Indians, sneaked aboard a private British ship and dumped the contents of the tea being sent by a private, capitalistic company to American into the water, rendering the tea useless and hurting the trade of the company to a minor degree (any major company that can’t survive a single shipment being destroyed is severely under capitalized).

From the point of view of the company that sent the tea, the banks that financed the venture and the English government this was probably perceived by some as an act of terrorism, done to evoke a response. The response being the repeal of the tax.

From the view of some North American colonialists this was an expression of social protest against an unfair tax caused by the fact that the North American colonialists were not being represented by the British Parliament, as the colonialists had no vote nor representation.

Much of the U.S. revolutionary war was based on “freedom fighter” or “guerilla warfare.” The British soldiers played the game by the strict rules of war. They marched in formation, tooted their horns and engaged the “enemy” (the colonialists) in face to face combat.

Many colonialists, however, took to the trees, with training from native American Indians who taught them to be one with nature, hide and move with stealth, then attack suddenly from out of nowhere and vanish back into the woods in the same manner. Hit and run tactics. Sideswiping.

One of the greatest saga’s of the Revolutionary war is all about Francis Marion, originally a Colonel and later a General in the Revolutionary Army. His nickname was the Swamp Fox and his band of people practiced hit and rut tact’s in the middle of the night against British forces.

In strict rules of warfare most targets are supposed to be of a military nature. Weapons depots and manufacturing plants, military airfields and command centers. In practice during World War II Germany’s V1 and V2 bombings were by their nature random, as the concept of a truly “guided” missile was not yet designed. We didn’t have “smart bombs” back then so they simply launched these weapons and let them land where they might.

When the Allies invaded France and Germany they shot at anyone who shot at them. It didn’t matter if the gunfire came from a church or a private home. You were shot at, you returned fire and did all you could to root the enemy out, even if it meant throwing a bomb into a house or church.

For decades there has been great strife between the Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland, which has cooled down a lot in recent times. Unlike Ireland and Scotland, which are independent members of the British Commonwealth, Northern Ireland is still a British domain and there are claims of persecution and prejudice between the Protestant and Catholic factions. Britain is a Protestant nation, that basically invented the concept by breaking away from the Catholic Church and creating their own Church with different rules, but some similar concepts.

The IRA is a group of “freedom fighters” who are making “social protest” against the unfair and unjust conditions in Northern Ireland, by bombing the British Royal family and private citizens of London by placing bombs in private department stores. Some brand this as terrorist activities. The IRA says they’re trying to survive through decades of neglect due to the slow nature of political reform and lack of proper representation in the Parliament of Great Britain. Sounds a little like the plight of the American Colonialists who destroyed a batch of tea (but didn’t bomb the boat and kill all the crew members).

In the Vietnam war American soldiers were much like the British solders of Revolutionary war times. They marched in formation, in full dress uniform and attacked the enemy face to face. The Vietcong, however, were like the American Revolutionary forces, hiding behind trees or in underground caverns and practicing hit and run tact’s in the middle of the night. These Viet Cong considered themselves “freedom fighters” and their ranks included women and children who would violently attack U.S. soldiers and positions from within by using their wiles to gain confidence (spying or being a “mole”).

A variety of Arab organizations began forming in the early part of the 1900’s to combat the taking of Arab lands by Jewish settlers and edicts from Great Britain granting the Jewish settlers a homeland in Palestine. One of the most major of these has been the Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO headed by Yassir Arrifat.

The PLO considers themselves to be “freedom fighters” who are doing whatever it takes to make sure that the Palestinian Arabs, too, have a homeland.

Many Palestinians were driven out around 1949 by the outbreak of war between Arabs and Jews who received their formal homeland of Israel. These Jewish settlers are referred to as Zionists, which means basically Jews who insist that Palestine is their homeland through edit of either God or third party nation such as Great Britain. The fighting between Arab and Jewish factions frightened civilian natives of Palestine who were largely Arab (though not necessarily Muslims) who fled the area to avoid being killed or injured and lost their homes and property in the process. Many of these people and their decedents are still, by and large, “refugees” living away from their original homes.

In Lebanon there was a civil war between Islamic and Christian factions, as also occurred in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia in recent times. Here the fight was which sect would prevail and run the country. Muslim or Christian? Neither wanted the other to rule, neither wanted a coalition.

A coalition government is one that compromises. For example, at one point in time to get enough votes to run the country the Government of Israel agreed to a demand of the very minority conservative party to close the Israeli national airlines El Al on the Sabbath (every Friday to Saturday night). In this situation just a few votes out of hundreds was able to effect major policy on the government.

Those in Lebanon and Serbia or Bosnia didn’t want to face the same situation.

In Iran, for example, under the Shaw the nation was rather liberal and Western in nature. There was Western music, clubs, entertainment, movies and a liberal dress policy. After the Ayatollah came to power ultra conservative Islamic tenants were put into place and all the music and entertainment stopped. Women were required to wear clothing in the Islamic style and keep covered at all times. Anyone who violates the dress cost in public faces harsh criminal charges.

Within their own sects, Islam faces tension. The Shiite faction doesn’t want to make great concessions to the Sunni faction and vice versa. Neither faction wants to see the Kurds get major control over the Iraqi area that borders with Kuwait.

The American Freedom Fighters or Terrorists, depending on which side you are on, are considered to be Patriots in the United States. It’s not too clear how the British feel about them when they teach history in school.

To Mexican’s Santa Ana taking the Alamo was a great victory. To those inside the United States it was a horrible act that killed many great Americans and when we retaliated our battle cry was “Remember the Alamo!”

One of the new twists is the public beheadings carried out by extremist factions. Many of these same extremists would criticise America if we kidnapped somone, say Osama bin Laden, kept him for a week, then beheaded him on CNN. But when they do this, they are in the right and very little of the Arab or Islamic world is coming out with their own sidestep rhetoric. So this is not only a war of rhetoric but a war of silence in which symapthetic factions hold back and remain "neutral" while letting the extremists do the dirty work.

The idea behind “terrorism” is to strike at the soft white underbelly so as to get people to rally their leadership to make it end, by any means. That is what the U.S. revolutionary forces hoped to do with Great Britain, that is what the IRA hoped to do with Great Britain, that is what the Viet Cong hoped to do with the French Army and later the United States Army, that is what the PLO hoped to do with Israel and that is what Al Quaeda and the Iraqi insurgents hopes to do with the people of the United States.

In the War of Rhetoric both sides get to claim victory. “Peace with honor” stated President Richard Nixon just prior to our withdrawal from Vietnam, which fell to the communists a few weeks later. Those who remain silent may not look like saints but they don't look like sinners either. As of this writing there is talk of letting all Iraqi "insurgents" go free with amnesty. Even those who killed American soliders, although it is unclear if those who beheaded hostages will also get amnesty. Least all of us forget President Gerald Ford awarded amnesty to President Richard Nixon. And the United States eventually gave some amnesty to draft dodgers who moved up to Canada.

It will be interesting to see what all sides have to say when the dust of the Iraq invasion finally ends in a year or two...

Our Look At Terrorism, War, Politics and Religion
Continues with...
War of Rhetoric | Osama bin Laden | About Islam | The Crusades
Terrorism | Saddam Hussein
Can We Survive? | Both Ways | Military Accountability | Government 1
Origin of Religion | We Cannot Lose To Racisim

From our past issues...
Prisoner Abuse | Court Martials | Military Way
History of Abuses | Under God? | Attack on US
WTC Comments | Interview with Soldier | Crisis In Jerusalem

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