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« Back From Cambria | Main | The Permanent Campaign »

You Might Be A Terrorist...

Like Reuters, The Muslim nations are having a problem coming up with a common definition for terrorism.

The countries agreed to form a 13-member committee to "work toward an internationally agreed definition of terrorism'' under a U.N. convention to "formulate a joint organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestation.''

Well, I'm so relieved. I'll sleep much better at night knowing that there's a thirteen-member committee of Islamic nations working toward a definition of terrorism. Based on the following, though, one suspects that they may have some difficulty squaring the circle.

The declaration said the countries reject "any attempts to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people'' to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

"We reject any attempt to associate Islamic states or Palestinian and Lebanese resistance with terrorism,'' the draft said.

They then proceed to make just such a link.

The roots of terrorism, including "foreign occupation, injustice and exclusion'' should be addressed, it said.

While they're coming up with the definition, maybe one of them can explain to me how "foreign occupation, injustice and exclusion" are roots of terrorism, but that the supposed victims of these evils aren't engaging in terrorism.

To say that there are gray areas is not an excuse to avoid making calls on acts that are clearly black. There is a region between earth's atmosphere and space that is neither air nor space. That doesn't prevent us from saying that a Cessna 120 flies in the atmosphere, and that the Cassini probe to Saturn was in space.

There may be some acts that are open to interpretation by reasonable people as to whether they are terrorist acts or not, but they're not the ones that have been dominating the news for the last half year.

Hey guys, let me help you out here--it's clear that you're confused.

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, if you strap TNT to yourself and detonate it in a crowded pizza parlor, you might be a terrorist.

If you walk into a wedding party and start spraying it with AK-47 rounds, you might be a terrorist.

If you drive a rental truck full of high explosives into the basement of a skyscraper and blow it up, you might be a terrorist.

If you purchase airplane tickets, then slit the throats of flight attendants and commandeer the aircraft, and fly it into the side of that same skyscraper, you might be a terrorist.

And if you obfuscate the definition of terrorism, use illogical and inconsistent statements to defend the above behaviors, change the subject whenever anyone calls you on it, pretend that there's any justification whatsoever for them, ship weapons to those carrying them out, and provide large amounts of funding to the widows and family of the perps, you just might be a terrorist yourself.

In which case, you might want to at least consider recusing yourself from any committee dedicated to "defining terrorism."

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 02, 2002 04:10 PM
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You might be a terrorist if the gun rack in your pickup has an AK-47...

Posted by Dave Worley at April 2, 2002 05:13 PM

Nahhhh. That's just a drug dealer in Watts.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 2, 2002 05:32 PM

Absolutely beautiful, Rand. I hope you put that in your next Fox column.

Posted by John Cole at April 2, 2002 06:54 PM

You didn't happen to catch the opening sketch of Easter weekend's SNL, did you? Darryl Hammond as AG Ashcroft, outlining the Justice Dept.'s definition of "terrorist" using the exact same " might be a terrorist" template.

Of course, Will Ferrell as Dubya ambled on and pointed out to the AG that "yer startin' to sound like Jeff Foxworthy." Assured him that he actually liked it, and asked if he could give it a whirl.

In the flurry of riffing that followed, my favorite of all was, "If you have a long beard, and you hang out in the desert, and you are not in ZZ Top, you might be a terrorist."

Posted by Charlie Banks at April 3, 2002 08:20 AM

No, I didn't see that. I almost never watch SNL. The only time I see any of it is when Brit Hume repeats some of it at the end of his show...

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 3, 2002 08:30 AM

It was the Derek Jeter show, which was a repeat from December. Here's the transcript:

... which mentions Jeff Foxworthy, too!

Rand, nothing in your post seems directly derived from their sketch, but nothing in it would be out of place there, either.

Posted by lakefxdan at April 4, 2002 11:38 AM

That's one of the reasons that I didn't run it in this week's Fox News column. I didn't want it to look like I was plagiarizing SNL. I've got too much pride. ;-)

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 4, 2002 02:38 PM

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