An insurgent by any other name still stinks of terrorism


When is an insurgent not an insurgent?  When is a militant no longer a militant?  When does an activist cease being one?
The Dallas News answers.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are — terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or "open—minded," we've resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them "insurgents" insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

Perhaps this is the legacy of the London bombings and the slaughter of Iraqi children being treated to sweets by American soldiers: that yes, we are all vulnerable, yes, evil is among us.

Ethel C. Fenig   7 15 05