We have heard the claim way too many times, these are not terrorists, they are simply freedom fighters. As the terror database has increased four fold as reported in the Washington Post, perhaps this might be a good time to define the similarities and difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter.
There are many similarities between the actions and intents of terrorists and those of freedom fighters. Both claim to have a moral righteousness on their side. Both claim to be attempting to force out oppressive occupation forces. Neither one will usually have a distinct uniform with the exception of when in their secured area as a sign of strength and unity. Both will ambush, bomb, and otherwise attack the forces of the occupying force. Both will destroy the infrastructure that aids the occupation whether it is buildings and bases for housing the occupation troops or infrastructure of their own lands that serve the occupation forces. Both may even go as far as to attack those who cooperate with the occupation forces, especially when challenged. There are numerous and a stark similarity between the actions of terrorists and freedom fighters of which this is but a partial list.
Now comes the most crucial determination, what are the differences between terrorists and freedom fighters. If they both have similar methods and goals, how do we discern one from the other? The most glaring difference is that of target selection. Where both will target the occupation forces, freedom fighters attempt to avoid collateral deaths among the people they purport to be helping while the terrorists often target those they are supposedly assisting. Freedom fighters will often own up and apologize when their actions go awry and the indigenous population suffers from their actions while terrorists blame the occupation forces for forcing them to attack and kill the indigenous population. Basically this is the major and defining difference but it is a most serious and easily observable difference. The next time somebody argues that the terrorists are simply freedom fighters whose motives we happen to disagree upon, just tell them that the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists is denoted by their targeting strategy. If they have a narrow scope aimed at inflicting damage solely on the occupation forces, then they are freedom fighters, but if they target indiscriminately or intentionally target the indigenous peoples, then they are terrorists. It is that simple.
Beyond the Cusp