Terrorism has different meanings
I read an interesting article on the Christian Science Monitor about the percentage of people in Muslim countries who favor bombing civilians, and the numbers reveal far more Americans are willing to commit this act than they are.
If you need this put in perspective, consider the image we have in the West of a terrorist is a Muslim guy wearing a dynamite covered belt bomb, while in Muslim countries a terrorist is simply the guys firing missiles at you from 5000 miles away. Both are caricatures, but they reflect the fact that how we perceive terror is different specifically because we have been conditioned to fear one another.
There aren’t many Americans who would consider themselves terrorists, but that isn’t a label anyone chooses for themselves. Freedom fighter is a far more popular nomenclature, and it’s the other side of the terrorist coin. When the US invaded Iraq and dropped thousands of cruise missiles, were the innocent civilians who died any less terrified than the victims of 9/11?
The problem is we believe terrorism is only the result of fringe groups bombing innocent civilians for no reason other than to scare the shit out of them. The truth is terror is just as likely to come from your own government than from guerrilla warriors. What frightens us is the image of the modern religious fanatic who takes his own life to kill, harm, and injure others, but it is no less frightening than a political nutjob who kills those of a different political creed. The issue here is that of these people are willing to use the innocent as targets in their struggle. That a modern, civilized country like America can have 24% of its population in favor of this type of action chills me to the bone.
We cannot sugar coat the fact a significant portion of Americans would gladly bomb Iran, Saudi Arabia, and any other nation they consider ‘rogue’ without batting an eyelash. Is this form of terror any less real to its victims? When are we going to learn when fighting our enemies we must never become like them?