How would you explain the difference between war and terrorism to a space alien?


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America also doesn’t torture.


That’s excellent exposure of the grotesque American underbelly that most Americans ignore because it’s tucked away, beneath an American flag t-shirt.

War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Terrorism is what our victims do when they fight back.


“War on Terror” says it all.


There is no real difference. Terrorism is the warfare of a people without the means to meet their enemy on the battlefield.


It’s up to the attitude of the target.

Consider the targets of Orlando Bosch. Bosch was responsible for bombings from South America to Florida to Canada, and even a car bomb in Washington DC. His “greatest hit” was bombing an airliner out of the sky, killing 73 people. Jeb Bush arranged his pardon and residency in the US with his dad, and Bosch lived happily ever after in the US through the Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and into the Obama presidencies. (Bosch’s supporters were the same Cuban-Americans in Miami who were supporting Jeb’s real estate business there.)

It was war, not terrorism, because the people on the airliner were yearning to be free.

Likewise dropping bombs in downtown Baghdad was “Shock and Awe”, not “terrorism”, because America was going to be welcomed as liberators.


War - industrial scale slaughter - is an infinitely more serious business than terrorism. I don’t see the appeal in trying to downgrade the term by muddling it so.


It didn’t take me long to start wondering when we’re going to bomb the Martians just to shut them up.


Seems to me that the term being brought into question, and rightfully so, is terrorism, not war.

As for anything in all of this being “infinitely serious,” I think the fighting back that gets called terrorism is just that – infinitely serious for those fighting back.


Martian: We have a joke on Mars…we like to say, “Iran must want war, otherwise why would they have moved their country so close to America’s military bases?”

I’m crying in my coffee over here!


He forgot that other bit of new-speak, “asymmetric warfare”, where those who use this term bring a bomb to a waterfight, a knife to a fistfight, a gun to a knife fight. The side with the inferior weapons often call it “massacre”, or “slaughter”, or “genocide”.


I would say that space alien Nevar Forget AIC (ab imperio condita) 19, when those dastardly Rebel Scum blew up our glorious Death Star . . . that’s terrorism, my alien friend. The nerve of those Rebels styling it as Year Zero of their new calendar!

Whereas the heroic and necessary destruction of Alderaan by the aforesaid late-lamented Deadly Satellite . . . an act of war, taken by compulsion to avoid further acts of terror by Rebel forces. If only Yavin had suffered a similar fate. . . .


Sad how this thread has so few American voices in it compared to the latest “Let’s make fun of Trump again!” ones.


I kind of feel the Martians said it all. Not sure what to add. Socratic method is best method.

But still, avoiding latest Drumpf thread on principle.


How would Trump explain the difference between war and terrorism to a space alien?


level two is to explain the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters


Exactly. Terrorism is a form of war when carried out by non-state actors. There is no more to it than that, except propaganda.


Pretty straightforward:


I’m not going to define war. How about the following for a definition of terrorism:

  • Violence
  • Against civilians
  • For the purpose of political change

On the second bullet point: if violence is against the military, it could still be terrorism, or war, or neither, but a definition of war is required for that.

The FBI defines terrorism to include crimes against property which I would call crime, or war, or potentially neither, but never terrorism.

The FBI requires violence to be “unlawful” to be terrorism. This definition does not.


That’s a much more complicated question. It’s not hard really to distinguish armies from terrorists, even if you don’t like the armies in question. But the French Resistance were terrorists from the German/Vichy perspective even if they were “freedom fighters” to everyone else.