Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Terrorist Anniversaries

This week commemorates three great anniversaries of terrorism.

Yesterday (Feb. 12) was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Birthday. At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. William Wilberforce abolished slavery in Great Britain without killing anyone. But then, Lincoln's primary goal was not ending slavery.

Today (Feb. 13 -- actually, Feb. 12-14) is the anniversary of the Allied (U.S. and Great Britain) bombing of the capital of Saxony, an art city, “the Florence of the Elbe,” Dresden.

Doug Wilson draws the parallels and makes an interesting point about Ahmadinejad and Terrorism:

Yesterday (9/24/2007) I saw a talking head on television waxing indignant over Ahmadinejad's visit to New York. One of the things he was angry about was the fact this man, a terrorist, engaged in killing American soldiers, was able to come over here and say his bit.

We have to be careful not to let the passions of war run away with careful definitions. Admadinejad waging war on our soldiers is not terrorism. That is what enemy combatants do, they fight. To blow up an American armored vehicle is not terrorism. To shoot down an American heliocopter is not terrorism. It is war.

Now Admadinejad is a terrorist -- say a bunch of Iraqi civilians at a bus stop are blown up, civilians deliberately targeted in order to demoralize the opposition -- that is terrorism. If that is why he is being called a terrorist, then that is accurate, and be my guest. But this fellow on television was calling him a terrorist, it appeared, for no other reason than that he was fighting us.

But the problem with defining terrorism carefully this way is that it sometimes includes people we don't want included. When Lincoln let Sherman conduct his infamous march to the sea, what was that? When the Allies firebombed Dresden in the Second World War, what was that? According to Paul Johnson, in his magnificent book Modern Times, the bombing of Dresden was pointless carnage. Unless the point was to wage war directly on civilians in order to demoralize all of Germany -- but that makes it terrorism.

Finally, tomorrow (Feb. 14) is "Valentine's Day," which commemorates another act of state-sponsored terrorism: the execution of St. Valentine. Here is The Hidden History of VALENTINE'S DAY -- Murder and Empire.

The greatest terrorist organizations on the planet are those we call "governments."

The good news this week is that many conservatives are thinking seriously about not voting for anybody for President this November. The Right's leading lights are urging conservatives to reject McCain. Republican turnout in several primaries was only half that of Democrats. It's a good thing to vote for Nobody. Perhaps they'll come to the same conclusion in other races besides President:

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