Today the New York Times publishes an article that estimates that is critical of the use of air power in Afghanistan as it results in a high number of civilian deaths.  I agree with this.  It is very difficult to make the case that car bombs is terrorism but plane bombs aren´t.

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Simon on August 9, 2007  · 

It’s kind of like asking war not terrorism?
Civilians dies in wars, no matter what, mines, crossfire, mistakes, etc..
If no civilians died in wars no one would care, and I don’t really think you can win a war before the country you’re fighting is half destroyed and the people of that country is scared of you.

War itself should be called terrorism, I don’t think you can win “the war of terror” by invading a foreign country, I think you need to go after the _terrorists_ and not the areas they’re in.

What I’m trying to say is, land troops, tanks, airplanes, whatever, it doesnt’ really matter civilians will die anyway, or else it wouldn’t be a war.

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Doc on August 9, 2007  · 

The major difference is that the car bomb does not announce itself as a bomb prior to exploding, and is often mistaken for a non-bomb car. A plane bomb is effectively announced from a distance (even stealth planes make a sound as they approach), and are never mistaken for something innocuous (even a toilet dropped from a plane is dangerous and you should get out of the way).

I liken the difference also to New Orleans getting hit by the hurricane. You know it’s coming, you have a chance, and a choice to get out of the way. With a terrorist attack (by the definitions in use today), you don’t know it’s coming and therefore cannot get out of the way. People in a war zone are NEVER ignorant of this fact. I can safely say I don’t expect any military force to drop a bomb out of a plane anywhere near my house, I cannot say the same about a car bomb or terrorist controlled plane.

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Henrik Ahlen on August 9, 2007  · 

I think that they point that Martin wants to make is that it is not about countries in “classic” war with each other. Instead we now have many places where democratic countries like the US and Israel are fighting groups in other countries by air bombing and thereby causing a lot of suffering by innocent people living in these areas and this way effectively turning the civilians against their “saviors”.
At the same time terrorist are causing suffering with their bombs, this is to me a clear indication that violence never solves any problems. For every person killed there are grief and hatred that spreads the initial problem instead.

What would happen if the Americans spent all their military money on rebuilding conditions for everybody in Afghanistan and Iraq instead?

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Antoin O Lachtnain on August 10, 2007  · 

You should check out this quote from the film ‘The Battle of Algiers’. Well worth seeing to understand the (twisted) logic of terror.

Journalist: M. Ben M’Hidi, don’t you think it’s a bit cowardly to use women’s baskets and handbags to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?
Ben M’Hidi: And doesn’t it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our baskets.


Many people would say that the modern State of Israel was also established using terror tactics.

Re doc’s comment, bomb warnings and threats are an important part of the terrorist’s arsenal. The warnings can cause as much trouble as the bomb itself.

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Killy_from_China on August 10, 2007  · 

USA spend 530 billions a year for the army… (
Just imagine… they spend “only” 130 billions (which is already huge) and use the remining 400 billions to support development, fight global warming, etc… Everybody will see USA as the saviors of the world and it will be really hard for anyone to justify any terrorism attack to USA or the western world.

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Fabian on August 12, 2007  · 

I disagree with your comment and find your differentiation rather simple…
So, a guy is sleeping with his family…just hours before going to work to be able to provide his beloved with food, shelter and education…just like you and me.
Ten seconds before he and everyone else around are blown away in pieces, he hears 10 planes approaching dropping bombs at them.

Great. If that’s not terrorism, what is it? a patriotic act, perhaps?

Terrorism or act of justice is depending on which side is covering the story.

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Marcelo Levit on August 12, 2007  · 

Hard to define.
WW2, V2 falling in London, was that terrorism ?
Atomic bomb over Hiroshima, was that terrorism ?
Even in Israel, when the Kassam missils fall on Sderot, the enemy are considered terrorist, but the act in itself as war.
Must reconsider the definition I think.

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Josep M. Porta on August 16, 2007  · 

I think that any attack on civilians is terrorism, if attack comes from land or air the result is the same.

Although air bombing, in my opinion, it’s even more cruel than other ways to killing people.

For further reading:

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