Terrorists or Freedom fighters? | Head to Head

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    • #135822

        This is very interesting. I found it as part of searching for videos of IRA training / operations. I’m not going to comment so you can watch with an open mind. This seems relevant with potential spicy times coming up in Virginia.

      • #135826

          Some context:

        • #135834
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

            I’m not going to comment so you can watch with an open mind. This seems relevant with potential spicy times coming up in Virginia.

            I started watching and will finish after this post. I have discussed this here on the Forum before and have given it a great deal of thought.

            I know the difference and can thoroughly articulate it in detail.

            It goes well beyond something as simple as it being a matter of perspective or what side you are on!

            However in the interest of discussion; this being a forum after all, I will wait until others have given their thoughts.

            However I will pose another question for consideration…

            Is there a difference using an act of terror and terrorism?

          • #135835

              Terrorism is a form of warfare, ie guerrilla, assassinations, hit and run etc. usually used by an adversary without strong conventional forces. Examples: Boers, IRA, early Zionists, Hezbollah, Mosby’s Rangers.

              Act of Terror is targeting civilians and non combatants for psychological impact.

              Two different things. You could be a freedom fighter utilizing terrorist forms of warfare and NOT target civilians or commit act of terror.

              However, country media will blur these two things for propaganda purposes.

              I know a naturalized US citizen from Ireland (Catholic). And he views the IRA as freedom fighters. However, Brits and Protestant Irish consider them Terrorists. Both are correct.

              HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
              HEAT 2 (CP) X1
              FOF X3
              OPFOR X2
              CLC X2

            • #135950

                As I’ve previously recommended, Waging Insurgent Warfare by Seth Jones is a great book also, Max Brooks. (He prefaces that insurgent is not really the most apt term, but uses it because it is the most commonly used during the time of writing) His writing and research covers all “insurgencies”

                In it, he defines three strategies used:
                1) Guerrilla warfare
                2) Conventional warfare
                3) Punishment

                Among common tactics used (ambush, raid, sabotage, subversion, assassination, mutilation, bombings, etc) those that harm the local population or receive international condemnation are historically losing strategies. They don’t work!

                Anytime an actor willingly causes harm to bystanders- that’s an act of terror/terrorism- it doesn’t matter what “side” the person(s) is on. They could be a government worker, a rebel, contractor, etc.

                I am excluding collateral damage. I am also excluding psychological warfare, as long as acts of terror are not used.

                Victim initiated explosives, especially ones that don’t degrade (like land mines), depending on how they are employed, are an interesting subtopic.

              • #135972

                  I’m already a terrorist if you ask the Turks so this is a bit closer to home for me. ;-)

                  I would generally refer to armed groups as insurgents unless they use attacks on civilians to incite terror for a political objective. (“Violent non-state actor” is even more neutral but a mouthful.) Usually any group opposed to a government gets labeled as terrorist whether they use terror as a tactic or not, most FTOs on the US list are there not because they pose a risk to Americans but for reasons political or financial.

                  As I write this I have British comrades (or their families, when they can’t find them) rotting in jail cells or living in exile because the UK is done working with YPG against ISIS so it’s now time to placate the Turks since they need a market post-EU. Freedom fighters one day, terrorists the next, based on expediency.

                  Terrorism is usually a poor tactic used by the desperate, even the commie guerrilla warfare manuals admit as much. There’s really no need for it, the only grey areas are civilians assisting enemy forces in a non-military capacity such as the cook forced to drive a car bomb as mentioned in the video. I would still say it’s a bad move.

                  I will admit it seems a bit ham-fisted that the IRA as an organization can’t admit they made mistakes as a movement in conducting attacks against civilians. That being said I don’t know if criticism/self-criticism is as deep in Provo ideology as it is in the Kurdish liberation movement.

                • #135985
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                    So how about some definitions…

                    One who uses unlawful force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.

                    Freedom Fighter (insurgent)
                    A person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions).

                    Ultimately labeling any person or group as a “Terrorist” is primarily a tool of propaganda, however the direct targeting or disregarding the lives of innocents is a morally accurate label of a terrorist.

                    So what separates a terrorist from a freedom fighter?

                    The methods used are the most obvious!

                    A Terrorist has accepted “by any means necessary” as the chosen path!

                    Targeting civilians and/or ignoring civilian casualties is acceptable for the “greater good!”

                    Targeting innocents whose only “crime” are the actions of their family members.

                    A Freedom Fighter recognizes “how they win is as important as actually winning!”

                    “Collateral Damage” is to be avoided; while a fact of armed conflict, and will be avoided to the best of human abilities.

                    Holds members of its group and other related groups accountable for their actions. Use of legal and extralegal methods are acceptable to enforce this accountability.

                    From February 4, 2015…

                    The recent discussion and attacks by some at WRSA help to demonstrate the fallacy of “The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend.”

                    The character and goals of those we associate with are far more important than the perceived value of additional numbers to the goal of restoring Rightful Liberty. Yes the idea of compromise can be wise and fruitful, however not at the expense of our core values and goals.

                    There are many in the so called “Patriot Community” that don’t want Rightful Liberty; they want a Nation that would conform to their beliefs and would use force of arms to demand obedience to them, this is the antithesis of Rightful Liberty.

                    They talk “Victory at any Cost” in their quest for power. Yet they are really just Cowards like any school yard bully. This is demonstrated by their proposed methods and statements. This was very apparent when discussing the possibility of a contract to fight ISIS. The how dare we consider fighting Evil abroad while leaving them alone, as if they expected us to fight in their place here at home.

                    I’ve read comments by these cowardly “keyboard kommandos” advocating atrocities against innocents in a variety of ways. They have proposed targeting woman and children for the crime of being related to a member of a future OPFOR. Then hide behind such euphemisms as “All is fair in War” or “The End Justifies the Means.” These fools are either so deluded by their own fantasy visions or are true sociopaths. Of course it’s easy for them to think such is the bravado of a warrior when the closest they have been combat is video games and movies.

                    These cowardly little men are easily intimidated by real Warriors. They make tough comments behind their keyboards pretending to be men. Many of us see through their lies, this is what really terrifies them.

                    So regardless where they come from there can be no compromise or alliance with these people. They cannot be trusted now when times are easy, imagine them when times are hard!

                    In this case the “Enemy of my Enemy” is just another damned Enemy!

                  • #138181
                    D Close

                      Based on these definitions are attacks on cities that destroy civilian populations lawful? Would they not be considered terrorist? Examples: Dresden, Tokyo and other cities firebombed during World War II? Can nation state military forces legitimately target civilian population centers? What about areas deemed sympathetic to an enemy? There were areas in Vietnam that were considered so sympathetic to the Viet Cong that they were considered red zones. People’s livestock and food stores were destroyed and populations displaced to camps in the drive to pacify an area.

                      The scale of those attacks far outstripped any casualties the IRA was able to inflict on the UK population. It seems to depend on scale and who wins. I am not arguing or advocating for targeting civilians. It seems that in these conflicts there are going to be impacts that cause civilian discomfort or death. Collateral damage could be fairly widespread yet still determined to be lawful. As Joe notes above, the amount of effort to avoid such consequences is important.

                      It seems that during conflicts, nations and armies are tempted and often do, bend the rules to suit their strategy.

                    • #138190
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                        As Joe notes above, the amount of effort to avoid such consequences is important.

                        An often overlooked point to this is post conflict.

                        As an example Sherman’s March to the sea. While many thought it’s value in taking the fight out of the South was worth it, in fact to this day there are still lingering negative cultural effects.

                      • #138198

                          As one who is interested in WW2 in Europe and its aftermath, I’ve read that there were almost as many civilian deaths in Eastern Europe after the German surrender as there were during the war. The civilian refugee exodus started before the war ended. Civilians fleeing the advancing Soviet Army began flooding into Germany proper and it is estimated that between 3 and 5 million people were on the move at the peak, after the war ended.

                          The causes were many. Red Army vengeance on anything “german”, food shortages, infrastructure that simply didn’t exist anymore, the Allies restricting civilian refugee movement into their zones, on and on.

                          The aftermath of this is that Eastern Europe was changed forever. Areas of what is now Poland that was “Germanized” in 1100-1200 AD were completely “cleansed” of anyone who had German ancestry. 800 years of history gone.


                        • #138218

                            None of it really matters; it’s all just words. Both sides are going to be the “good guys” and the other side is the “terrorists”.
                            There are simply legitimate targets and non-legit targets.
                            The only difference is the legitimacy of various targets is going to vary based on the type of conflict being waged. :unsure:

                          • #138275

                              I have a hard time with this myself. Especially concerning “The Troubles” because I see both sides of the argument.

                              Being an Airforce brat, I grew up reading about the strategic bombing campaigns, as an article of faith in “airpower”! It was only many years later that I realized the true cost to aircrews, and the destruction caused to the enemy, including civilians. So for me to admit this is very painful, but what right does a nation state have to cause wanton death and destruction, that we deny a free man, to defend his own self-interest?

                              You can’t have it both ways, IMHO. A man becomes a “terrorist” because his interests do not align with the powers that be. But a man becomes a hero if he burns a whole city down for his nation state.

                              Now we are getting into the territory of who has right to use deadly force against those who are of no immediate threat. If I swore an oath of allegiance to my “tribe” instead of a nation state, do I not have as much “right” to defend my tribe from all comers? This becomes the key question. Where is my allegiance these days, and is it not rightful liberty?

                              I see this as the crux of the issue today, especially in light of events in VA. To stand up the this tyranny, you will be labeled a domestic terrorists. Doesn’t matter whether you only target those that deserve it, or not.

                              For the record, I do not believe in the wanton killing of civilians to further my cause, although I acknowledge that some collateral damage is always possible. But human nature being what it is, you may be forced to that point. For example, women and children scouting for their men, pointing out your positions, retrieving weapons, and so forth.

                              No easy answers here.

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