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America the Terrorist State
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I had dinner with some international students recently...from Chile, Egypt, and China. It was interesting, and disturbing, to hear some of their opinions. In particular, they basically seemed to think 9/11 was, if not justified, understandable. They didn't really distinguish it from many aspects of American warfare over the last century.

We had the whole "what is terrorism" discussion, and most of them thought America was a terrorist state.

I proposed a definition of terrorism as a tactic with the intent of maximizing civilian casualties, as opposed to minimizing them.

What about Hiroshima? they asked. Yes, we knew the city was populated with many, many civilians. Was it a terrorist act? Actually, I think that's a fairly debatable point. I would say was morally questionable, but not terrorism.

From Wikipedia:

The decision to drop the bombs was made by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, and followed controversial bombings of cities belonging to the Axis powers, like the bombing of Dresden, which cost about 35,000 civilian lives. It also followed the loss of around 400,000 American lives over 3½ years of direct U.S. involvement in World War II, around half of which had been incurred in the war against Japan. About 60 Japanese cities had been destroyed by then through a massive aerial campaign, including large firebombing raids on the cities of Tokyo and Kobe. Truman's officially stated intention in ordering the bombings was to bring about a quick resolution of the war by inflicting destruction, and instilling fear of further destruction, that was sufficient to cause Japan to surrender.

In the months prior to the bombings, the Battle of Okinawa resulted in an estimated 50–150,000 civilian deaths; 100–125,000 Japanese or Okinawan military or conscript deaths; and over 72,000 American casualties. An invasion of Japan was expected to result in casualties of many times those numbers.

The stated intent was to instill fear. According to this page, 90% of the casualties were civilians. One could certainly make a case that this was terrorism.

But then, I've already stated my opinion...anyone else?

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