Calling A Spade A Spade
Aamer Jamali examines whether or not the US Solider who recently opened fire on several Afghan civilians should be considered a terrorist.
The question then becomes, is this US soldier a terrorist? Here is a person who has targeted innocent civilians and killed them in cold blood. If his motivations were motivated by pure psychopathy then he is nothing more than a deranged cold blooded mass-murderer. If, however, his motivations included any element of religious or political ideology, then his actions must be considered an act of terrorism.
When Major Nidal Hasan (also a member of the US Military) opened fire at Fort Hood, he was immediately branded a terrorist. He had, after all, murdered innocents (sort of–members of the military industrial complex are considered reasonable targets by the Geneva Convention) and was motivated by political ideology. But, when Joseph Stack flew his plane into the IRS building (sound familiar?), clearly motivated by a political ideology, he was branded a deranged anti-government crusader and some Americans even considered him a hero. In fact, in an official statement “government officials were quick to rule out any involvement of terrorism in the incident.”
Let us hope that we have not devolved so much as a society as to believe that the definition of terrorism is inherently related to one’s own religion, or the nationality of the victims. While this seems clearly to be the case with the news media, the FBI official definition of terrorism includes no such reference:“the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)
While it is a major tenet of US law that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, it is a painful fact that if in fact our soldier was motivated by any religious or political objective then he has committed an act of terrorism. If we are to maintain consistency with our rule of law, not to mention any semblance of credibility in the global community, then we must have the strength to call a spade a spade.