Q:Could you very briefly define the political uses of terrorism? Where does it fit in the doctrinal system?
A:The U.S. is officially committed to what is called “low–intensity warfare.” That’s the official doctrine. If you read the definition of low–intensity conflict in army manuals and compare it with official definitions of “terrorism” in army manuals, or the U.S. Code, you find they’re almost the same. Terrorism is the use of coercive means aimed at civilian populations in an effort to achieve political, religious, or other aims. That’s what the World Trade Center bombing was, a particularly horrifying terrorist crime. And that’s official doctrine. I mentioned a couple of examples. We could go on and on. It’s simply part of state action, not just the U.S. of course. Furthermore, all of these things should be well known. It’s shameful that they’re not. Anybody who wants to find out about them can begin by reading a collection of essays published ten years ago by a major publisher called Western State Terrorism, edited by Alex George (Routledge, 1991), which runs through lots and lots of cases. These are things people need to know if they want to understand anything about themselves. They are known by the victims, of course, but the perpetrators prefer to look elsewhere.