The PETA thread suggests that for most people (on Mn anyway), regardless of the rights and wrong of PETA's arguments, their tactics and campaigns make them well beyond the pale.
Do you feel there is ever a justification for acts of terrorism? What about the ANC, the IRA, ETA etc. Were they not fighting for something that most of us could at least in part sympathise with? Or does the act of placing a bomb, or targetting a scientist involved in vivisection, instantly and irrevocably deny any validity to their cause?
"Or does the act of placing a bomb, or targetting a scientist involved in vivisection, instantly and irrevocably deny any validity to their cause?"
It does a bit for me. Like if you lose your temper, you've lost the argument. But it's all very tricky to think about. We're lucky with our lives here. Is terrorism worse than war? I think many terrorist organizations see themselves as being at war.
I don't think there is ever a justification for terrorism when it's perpetrated against people.
On the other hand, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter (N. Mandela being a good example). So perhaps terrorism in this sense can be justified (again, provided no-one gets hurt) if it's directed against a government/practice which is undemocratic or against fundamental human rights, e.g., apartheid/a dictatorship.
Which will of course get me tangled into all sorts of definitional knots...let me think this further.
Nothing justifies an act of terrorism, as far as I'm concerned. I was going to say something about Gandhi and the potential effectiveness of non-violent protest, but Lenin's point re bastard regimes making that impossible is a good one. Should the North Koreans want to rise up against the regime there in a non-violent way, they wouldn't have a chance. So I don't know what the answer is.
I certainly think when the acts of terrorism are against innocent uninvolved people, there can be no justification - eg IRA bombings of towns on mainland UK. Their argument that all UK civilians were supporting the regime by their silence didn't even begin to justify those actions.
But terrorism against the police/servicemen of an unjust regime... I'd never say that violence was ok, and yet if I was struggling under a corrupt regime, then I'd probably think their direct, paid, employees, who were deliberately acting to subjugate normal people who wanted democracy, were fair game.
I don't mean that it is justified, just that sometimes a bad action is the only available one to try to get rid of something worse.
It depends on what we define as 'terrorism'. Slightly silly example, but last year I took part in a 'garden terrorist' scheme. This involved taking packets of wild flower seeds and sprinkling them on wasteland and next to roads. We didn't have permission, and no one had asked us to do it. We did it because we thought it would improve our environment. No one was hurt, but we still didn't go through proper channels to get the end result IYSWIM.
If a bomb/attack is aimed at 'non-combatants' it is an illegal terrorist attack (even if carried out by a legitimate government). There are undoubtedly grey areas of terrorism (one man's freedom fighter... etc.), but the fundamental rule is that there is NEVER any justification for attacking the innocent... ever.
The IRA believed they were fighting a war which was just. They had been formed in direct response to the British government invading sending the army into their country. So who is the terrorist there?
I am not in anyway shape or form defending the IRA tactics but it is every so simple to judge asituation with out knowing the history behind it.
Nelson Mandela has certainly got fingers in violent pies, as did Gandi. Are they terrorists?
It is easy to brand people as terrorists with out appreciating the history.
It is different with the new breed of suicide bombers. They are recruited to kill indescriminantly. There is no real desire to change things just kill people. Like bombing tube trains in London with make the army leave Iraq/Afganinstan? They also didnt bother to read/learn much about English history.
Maybe if history was taught properly in this country our young would know that we are often the first in last out. and we dont give in too terrorists.
The IRA didn't follow the conditions for a Just War though, and they deliberately targeted their own people. Enniskillen wasn't aimed at the British Army was it? The kneecapping of Irish teenagers in NI after chucking out time wasn't aimed at the Services either; neither was the bomb that killed the little boy in Warrington, so that argument doesn't stand up.
I think the aims of terrorist organisations can be just, without that meaning it justifies whatever actions they take to achieve that aim.
So, yes, the IRA had a point. But that didn't make it ok for them to plant bombs in town centres and other places. They may have decided that they were at war with the whole of the UK population, but most of the UK population didnot join the army and invade N. I., so they were not legitimate targets for the "war".
Those terrible events happened in NI. Technically not their country. It was aimed as a punishment for chosing to be part of UK not their own country of Eire. Please dont think I am making excuses or trying to justify what has happened. I am not.
I was making the point about how you have to look back at the historical details to understand how things have evolved.