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Tuesday, October 28, 2003
“Freedom Fighters”

By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

An oft-quoted cliche is that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” This sounds all nice an equalitarian, or, at least, tolerant and non-judgemental.

However, before anyone decides to label any of these attacks in Iraq as the work of “freedom fighters” battling a foreign occupation (a quick Google news search provides at least one such example on the blog Notes from Another Country), let’s consider a few facts:

  • If we assume that these are pro-Saddam forces, it is rather difficult to argue that they are fighting for freedom.
  • If they are al Qaeda-esque jihadists, the same is true (unless anyone wants to argue that a regime along the lines of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan constituted freedom).
  • If one is attacking civlians (via car bombs), aid facilities (like the Red Crescent or UN), and infrastructure needed by everyday Iraqis, then one has to wonder about motives. (And yes, I understand the idea of destabilization as a means of causing civlians to put pressure on the Americans, but at what cost if one is truly dedicated to the Iraqi people?)
  • Plus, surveys have shown (crude as they may be) that the vast majority of the Iraqi population wants to US to stay and be successful in their mission.

    I do think that there are times that guerrilla warfare against a brutal government or occupier can be justified, and that some collateral damage is to be expected. However, the use of terror against civilians is not the tool of a freedom fighter, plain and simple.

  • Filed under: Iraq

    Click here to go to the main page.

    9 Comments»

    1. You make some good points but miss a key point: The term “freedom fighter” was being used by an American soldier working in an Iraq police station… not by pink pantied liberals or Iraq’s themselves… it was something of a Freudian Slip!

      The attacks in Iraq against the Red Cross and civilian organizations are horrible… and the fact is we just don’t know who is doing the attacking; however, the ANC was at one time a terrorist organization that attacked civilians in South Africa… which is not so much to justify it as to point out that war is a dirty business.

      Our bombs killed plenty of civilians in Iraq during this war and the last. Shock and Awe was meant to reduce American military deaths… not Iraq civilian ones. Is bombing a civilian city and act of terror? Does it matter if the bomb is delivered by plane or car?

      Comment by Thomas Stubbs — Tuesday, October 28, 2003 @ 10:15 am

    2. You make some good points but miss a key point: The term “freedom fighter” was being used by an American soldier working in an Iraq police station… not by pink pantied liberals or Iraq’s themselves… it was something of a Freudian Slip!

      The attacks in Iraq against the Red Cross and civilian organizations are horrible… and the fact is we just don’t know who is doing the attacking; however, the ANC was at one time a terrorist organization that attacked civilians in South Africa… which is not so much to justify it as to point out that war is a dirty business.

      Our bombs killed plenty of civilians in Iraq during this war and the last. Shock and Awe was meant to reduce American military deaths… not Iraq civilian ones. Is bombing a civilian city and act of terror? Does it matter if the bomb is delivered by plane or car?

      Comment by Thomas Stubbs — Tuesday, October 28, 2003 @ 10:17 am

    3. As I always say, one man’s terrorist is another man’s terrorist. Terrorism is a means, not an end.

      Comment by James Joyner — Tuesday, October 28, 2003 @ 11:06 am

    4. That fact that this is even debated shows how sick and pathetic some people are.

      If that shoe sits you…. too damn bad.

      Paul

      Comment by Paul — Tuesday, October 28, 2003 @ 11:10 pm

    5. Plain & simple, “freedom fighters use methods they adopt to fight for freedom. They might elect to engage in outrageous and immoral acts, such as destroying infrastructure, destroying air defense systems before launching an unjustified attack, or even withholding medicines and other vital materials to weaken the enemy before attacking him. Freedom fighters may use lying techniques of propaganda to mold delusional beliefs.

      Who are the defenders of such outrageous and immoral acts, who are the propagandists. I believe propagandists are the slime of the earth, for they know exactly what their lies are intended to do, they help justify immorality and murder.

      Who are the propagandists?

      Comment by Don — Monday, November 3, 2003 @ 9:45 pm

    6. The term:

      “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” does not imply that one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. It isn’t saying that freedom fighters and terrorists are the same thing, merely that terrorists tend to be freedom fighters.

      It has been correctly (I believe) asserted that “freedom fighter” refers to the motivation, and “terrorism” refers to the means. However, they are both different things. Similarly, a pianist is a musician, but a musician is not neccesarily a pianist.

      Comment by Jack — Wednesday, March 17, 2004 @ 3:39 pm

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