Insurgency v. Terrorism

The latest episode in political theater has the right wing pitted against the Obama Administration, for the latter not labeling the Taliban as a “terrorist organization”….though they fit the very definition of an “insurgency”.

What do you think?

Who is playing semantic games this time?


33 thoughts on “Insurgency v. Terrorism

  1. Jonathan Karl (the fellow who asked the question) is one of the best White House Correspondents out there and, while, yes, that was one of the most tortured answers of recent memory, I do see your point (though I would have to say that both sides are playing with terms here) and a distinction should probably be made.


  2. There's certainly some grey area and undeniable overlap between the terms. But as expected, the usual mouth breathers are up in arms over NOT calling the Quetta Shura Taliban – “terrorists”.

    These same folks will neither ask themselves if the US backed la contrarrevolución, were terrorists, by virtue of the vicious attacks they conducted….nor why the previous Administration intentionally committed the QST from the list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

    All part of the ridiculous campaign of low information…..sort of like when they use Obama's middle name, because you know…wink, wink…


  3. It was a tortured answer, and to borrow from Bill Clinton, it depends on what the meaning of the word 'terrorist' is.

    I agree that they have little sway outside the Pashtun belt, so they are not a terrorist threat like AQ and such. If we want to really get down to brass tacks, are they even an insurgency? They were there before us. They ran the government for awhile.

    The crux of his question, if I remember properly was why the White House was not calling the Taliban terrorists when the Treasury Department has them on the list of terrorists to not do business with.

    One of the manifold luxuries of having a horribly bloated government is that it can contradict itself by talking out of various orifices simultaneously.


  4. The Islamic terrorists and the extremist muslim preachers say they are muslims and they cite Islam as the reason for burning, bombing, decapitating, waging war against others, throwing homosexuals off of buildings and stoning women.

    I take them at their word. Do you know something they dont?


  5. Yep, the Treasury has them on the Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) list……but State does not have them on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

    The QST fits the very definition of an insurgency; especially because they were there prior to our invasion. If the US were invaded by the Chinese, you and I would [I presume] immediately become insurgents.

    Government contradiction indeed knows no bounds.


  6. If you have a solution aside from fighting to eliminate them wherever they spawn……I think we're all ears.

    Though don't discount the fact that while most on the right support their elimination, many of us do/did not support the invasions and nation-building adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan….which did exactly what you proposed….giving them what they want.


  7. “it depends on what the meaning of the word 'terrorist' is.”

    An insurgent is someone who is fighting someone else. A terrorist is someone who is attacking you.
    That the Taliban has managed to live down it's association with and protection of OBL and company, is somewhat astounding. Roughly akin to the Austrians convincing the world that Beethoven was Viennese and Hitler was a German. Their refusal to do the right thing and hand those SOB's over is, after all, why we went in there in the first place.


  8. Harboring a fugitive is a crime in it's own right, as is obstruction of justice. Their choice to do both rendered them, IMO, accessories after the fact and equally culpable. That, at the time, they constituted the government of Afghanistan condemned them to a military response. It pays to remember that not all the decisions were made by us. They could have been allies against AQ but chose otherwise.


  9. None of that is arguable….but it doesn't provide a foundation for why the Taliban would be considered a terrorist organization, not an insurgency. The only night you gave above, indicates that your definition rests solely upon whether or not the entity is fighting against the US.


  10. My apology, I had intended that comment to be recognizable as snark.

    As for the Taliban, their behavior before 9/11, aided by AQ, was roughly comparable to what we're seeing today in areas controlled by IS, and as roundly condemned at the time. That it may be an effective means of establishing and maintaining what they consider 'order' does not make it a legitimate one.


  11. Just so no one thinks I'm dumb… My point on the definition of 'terrorist' was that our different bureaucratic departments of our government hold different definitions.

    Also, I understand the textbook military definition of an insurgency. My comment was more rhetorical/philosophical


  12. No apology necessary; I misread the statement. And I agree with your second point. Whether or not a group is doctrinally a terrorist organization or an insurgency, does not abrogate their actions. I juts wish we had a mature political class, not prone to unnecessary allegations based on poor semantic understanding.


  13. I can't speak for the usual drive-by suspects, but I'm not one to ever accuse you of being dumb. You brought up a good point; what are the metrics used by State to designate an FTO….versus that used by Treasury to designate SGDTs? My profession is entirely oriented to terrorist networks, but much more at the tactical level. I read utter ignorance to the bureaucratic machinations.


  14. This is not black and white. I'd be very, very, very skeptical of anyone saying they had “the solution” to all this. If I was king, I'd avoid them and would keep them away from my kingdom. But that's not a realistic answer either.



  15. @ Jersey: ” If I was king, I'd avoid them and would keep them away from my kingdom. “

    Amen and welcome to the club. That's exactly what I've been saying, and it is realistic. We could shut off muslim immigration tomorrow.


  16. CI said: “Yet, it was not the Taliban who attacked us”

    They were in lockstep with AQ at the time. The Taliban provided bases and material aid to AQ to support them and their missions.


  17. “I'm happy to hear that!”

    Jersey. speaking mainly on your points concerning “Islamophobia”. But also on your contempt for the MIC.

    It's too bad that you chuck your “questioning authority” and contempt for the abusive power of government on the window when it comes to firearm policy.

    There, as on so many issues, libertarians are a clear and consistent voice against government abuse of the people. Much more than the left/liberals.


  18. Silver said: “Amen and welcome to the club. That's exactly what I've been saying, and it is realistic. We could shut off muslim immigration tomorrow.”

    As soon as we torch the Bill of Rights. And the way things are going, that can happen “tomorrow” too.


  19. Silver, it's unrealistic in that the powers that be, like Big Oil, have a very different idea about that.

    dmarks, have you seen this yet?

    You libertarians can't enjoy the liberty of driving around with your obscene/confederate/obscure-Ayn-Rand-character-name bumper stickers if you live in friggin' Mad Max world.

    We can easily regulate the militia, we have a constitution that allows it, we just need to do it.



  20. Jersey, it's refreshing to know that you'll give as much credence to NRA or SAF press releases as you expect us to give to one from VPC. The fact of the matter is, the gun control cabal promised, and I quote “blood in the streets” if concealed carry passed in a plurality of states. This of course, has not happened.

    And you're correct, our Constitution does allow a way to regulate firearms ownership…it's called repeal of the 2nd Amendment. Since the premise of the Amendment is in no way solely dependent upon militia service, you're going to have an uphill battle with logic and reason.

    I have popcorn though….I'm ready to watch you try!


  21. Jersey: I read the story. It is a rotten shame that some use it to justify the fascist policy of stealing guns from law-abiding citizens and denying their basic human rights.

    Lax gun laws are a problem, of course: the leniency toward actual gun crimes.

    CI said: ” you're going to have an uphill battle with logic and reason.”

    Jersey is to be honest not well armed on this. He strongly takes the jackbooted thugs, crush people without any due process or justification or justice on this issue.

    He fails to see that protecting this basic human right is part and parcel of opposing other government abuses; the MIC, war on drugs, and the rest.

    As for the militia, the federal law, and state laws are chock full of regulations pertaining to firearms and their use. We have a massive amount of regulation, even in those “lenient” states.

    And Jersey? I do not own a gun. However, unlike you, I do not want to force my personal preferences on everyone. I respect basic rights, and the law of the land, and it is none of my damn business if CI chooses to pack. Nor is it yours.


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