A discussion on state terrorism as a misnomer and its conceptual and practical utility

An Assessment', in Critical Studies on Terrorism 7 1: The full, published, version of the article is available at:

A discussion on state terrorism as a misnomer and its conceptual and practical utility

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March 16, Vicente Medina, Terrorism Unjustified: And its very title already gives us Medina's position: Before spelling out and discussing this position, Medina gives us chapter 1 a short overview of the history of terrorism.

In chapters he does what every good philosopher has to start with: Medina's main ethical discussion is structured by his distinction between "opponents or critics of terrorism" chapter 3 and "apologists of terrorism" chapter 4. He reserves chapter 5, the last, for an extended discussion of the deepest and also hardest problem of terrorism-ethics: There is a short postscript which seems to turn the book's main argument on its head, though Medina alludes to this turn from the very beginning: So, the book's deepest philosophical question in the end boils down to: Contrary to Medina, my vote would be no.

The distinction between opponents vs.

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I guess that these misnomers are connected with Medina's deplorable usage of two different terms opponents vs. Medina's offers his own definition of "terrorism" on the first page of his Introduction xi. This definition is dubbed "the Opponents' working definition of terrorism" 59confronted later with the following alternative "Apologist's working definition": The use of political violence by individuals or groups, provided they are not engaged in an interstate armed conflict, who deliberately inflict substantive harm or threaten to do so against their alleged enemies, aiming at influencing a domestic or international audience.

Both definitions are the result of an extensive and quite detailed discussion of alternative proposals made by some of the leading theorists in this highly contested field.

A discussion on state terrorism as a misnomer and its conceptual and practical utility

There is very much to be gained by reading this discussion very carefully, i. There is no better, or more effective, method for warming-up when seeking to develop a critical approach to our terrorism-discourse.

Unfortunately, this kind of preparation is already necessary for coming to grips with Medina's own not always sufficiently explicit and systematic conceptual arguments.

Which is the stronger or the weaker one, respectively?

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A question not put forward by Medina himself. This would depend on what aspect of each definition you are focusing on.


First, there is the level of context: And so it is with regards to the level of intentionality: On the third level of harm, it is the other way round: Lastly, there is the fourth -- and also from Medina's point of view for the whole moral issue the most important -- level of targets: Now, as already implied by the term "alleged enemies" my italics itself, "enmity" is a "deeply subjective" term 95whereas "innocent non-combatants" has and is intended by Medina to have a strongly objective ring.Many medieval Christian theologians both broadened and narrowed the basic concept of Good and evil until it came to have several, sometimes complex definitions as his discussion of the My Lai Massacre and its attempted coverup illustrate.

acts of criminal . Beyond its potential economic utility, state terrorism has also been linked to political and strategic interests (Stohl, ).

Thus, it may be employed to destabilize the ruling regime of a competitor state, as with Iraqi support for Mujahedin-e-Khalq under Saddam Hussein. What Is Criminal Restitution?

“restitution” refers to what is more aptly termed “victim compensation.” 19 The continued use of the misnomer “criminal restitution” deflects attention away from how significant a of which restitution is but one.

35 The definition around which this discussion . Deterring Nonstate Terrorist Groups: The Case of Hizballah to which they can be exploited by the state. Despite its theoretical and practical importance, the question has not been.

Evidently, following the recognition of state terrorism as a valid concept, then its criminalization should come as a natural consequence, a fact that increases my scholarly motivation. The Chinese revolution led by Mao Zedong was an insurgency, following a conceptual model about which he wrote extensively.

The term “war on terrorism” is a misnomer, resulting in distorted ideas of the main threat facing Insurgency and its tactics are as old as warfare itself.

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