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Israel recently 'assassinated' an Hamas leader in Damascus, using an ignition-wired car bomb. I wonder, how many of the media reports called this an act of terrorism? According to Google, not many.

It fits so many of the definitions of terrorism: striking fear, acting across borders with massive force and no regard for civilian life. Certainly, assassinating political group leaders in another country ('political' is debateable here) would be a heinous crime otherwise...

Now, turn the players around, imagine the fallout if Palestinians assassinated an Israeli politician in like manner. Imagine the reprisal attacks. Imagine the headlines. Who's exploiting the use of the word Terrorist? There's always goons like this (and there are countless op/eders like him) who who follow the jargon line and don't really consider their terms. The abuse of the term Terrorist and its broad tar-brushing effect is one of the first reasons why the problem won't go away. It keeps alive the hypocricy.

posted by rino breebaart  # 1:19 pm
Regardless of how you feel regarding Israel / Palestine, notching up death in an op-ed piece - "score one for the good guys" - is the foulest kind of obscenity. It renders people stupid and insensitive to complex, ambiguous politics. It's that same stupid grin Bush pulls out to reassure the voters on his nationwide "I'm for real because my sleeves are rolled up" tour. All those snide Kerry flip-flop jokes, followed by the terse, comically amused "the terrorists just don't understand. We're not joking around. We will not relent." In all of this there is no acceptance of the fact that every day people are dying - the bad guys and the good guys. It's not a little inhuman and cynical.

The assumptions behind the NYP editorial are just plain wrong: killing terrorist leaders doesn't reduce the effectiveness of terrorist organisations; and striking terrorists in other countries hardly reduces the threat of terrorism - if anything it inspires it. After all, the threat of assisination is hardly a deterrent to Islamic terrorists! Anyone who knows how terrorist organizations are structured knows it doesn't work. Israel knows it doesn't work - they've been doing this kind of tit for tat for thirty years; and the suicide bombings last week prove that the previous assisinations didn't work. The fact is if you kill one Hamas leader there are twenty to take his place - I wouldn't be surprised if Hamas is eventually strengthened by this kind of policy. But if you're an Israeli PM seeking reelection, I guess there are short term benefits. Moreover, the U.S. knows it doesn't work (cf. Rumsfeld's memo about creating more terrorists than they're stopping). And just pause for a moment to consider the logical extension of the editorial's argument: Russia assasinates Chechyan politicians in the streets of London; India sends in troops to Kashmir, and Pakistan retaliates with a nuclear strike against Delhi; Iran pre-empts a strike by Isreal by striking first; etc. etc. It's the Wild Wild West with Bush as the Sheriff! No thanks.

I realise I'm not addressing your point about the semantics of "terrorism" - but we're talking about the Post here. It's not really making a reasoned argument, it's just running a Murdoch line: one which I'm sure nobody, not even Murdoch, takes very seriously.
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