Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why is this Guy a Terrorist...

... and not just some flipped out loon with a bulldozer?

Israeli authorities are investigating why a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem rammed his bulldozer into several cars and buses Wednesday, killing three people before Israeli police shot him dead. Israeli authorities are labeling it a terrorist attack, although they say there is no clear motive and the man -- a construction worker -- acted alone. It is not known if he had links to any terrorist organization.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN the bulldozer operator drove down a busy thoroughfare in West Jerusalem, crashing into four cars and two buses, before heading toward a crowded market.

"We believe he acted on his own and tried to kill as many people as possible," Rosenfeld said.

Gotta get a grip on the increasingly homogeneous term "terrorist."


Dan tdaxp said...

If by loon you mean abnormal, then definitely, but then again, most terrorists (not to mention politicians!) would qualify.

The question is presumably whether he is a substate actor seeking to inflect violence to affect policy. The deeper psychological motive would be irrelevant.

So, in all likelihood, a terrorist, and a loon.

Anonymous said...

We make these movies about men who "can't take it anymore" and snap. But they're not "terrorists" just angry men.

And what makes this incident any less kooky than the guy who stole a tank in South CA and drove around smashing things up?

I think we're too quick to label all brown people as terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is where we are going. Enough object to treating the terrorists threat as a matter for law enforcement, believing a military response is best. And now we can call every wacko, every violent criminal a terrorist: Woo-hoo! Justification for a militarized society, police force, etc.

But then the blurring of SEI's, GG's, and so forth, which the future may be bringing, might make the distinction moot.


Purpleslog said...

We should know more on this guy soon and see if he was part of the dispersed "Leaderless Jihad".

Anonymous said...

It also goes to show that perfect defense is impossible. Strip your enemy of bombs and rockets and he will come at you with improvised weapons. The Israelis will face many more of these individuals until they fix the basic flaw in their grand strategy.

Dan tdaxp said...

Anonymous is quick to play the race card, perhaps the last refuge of the scoundrel.

phaticcommunion makes a good point on the intersection of crime and terrorism.

PurpleSlog also makes a good one, noting that terrorism does not always need a command-and-control system.

AE's post begins well (a perfect defense is impossible), but ends poorly (implying that a change of grand strategy actually can make a perfect defense).

Jay@Soob said...


By loon I mean insane. If we're going to make it a policy practice to lump acts of pure lunacy into the definition of terrorism then our Long War is very much longer than I'd originally thought. However, as Pslog and yourself mention this may have been an example of calculated jihad, completely disconnected (excepting ideology of course) from the command and control structure of Hamas.

The Southern CA tank debacle is a good counterexample to the logic of labeling this guy a terorist. However, I don't see the racial connection. Ted Kazynski (sic) and Timothy McVeigh were both labeled "terrorists" and neither was a minority.


Interesting. What cadre would embrace and promote such a militarized society? I rather think it's born of both wanton ignorance on the part of policy makers (it's easier to deal with the likes of Hamas and AQ if you lump them togeth. One policy fits all and all that) and sensationalism by the media. Terrorist bull dozer attack has a much nicer ring to it. Further, the Israeli leadership will cash in on the term to deflect criticism and focus the attention on the individual rather than the macro-scopic situation.

Jay@Soob said...

I took Adams comment to mean that Israel could better their situation through a revised strategy more reflective of the situation as a whole. That's not necessarily a "perfect strategy," but a better "strategy." The Israeli policies have, at times, been completely self defeating.

Ymarsakar said...

If all crazy people are chanting Inshallah Allah and Allah Akbar, then terrorist is just as good a name for them as anything else.

Terrorist bull dozer attack has a much nicer ring to it.

That wasn't the MSM news headline.

the Israeli leadership will cash in on the term to deflect criticism and focus the attention on the individual rather than the macro-scopic situation.

Like Olmert's policy of trading a serial killer and child murderer for 2 dead Israeli bodies?

Jay@Soob said...

Ymarsakar, Yes! And I'm not being glib. Olmert's misadventure into Lebanon nearly cost him his job and was very much a self defeating enterprise for the nation as it had the opposite effect of its intentions.

The tradeoff you speak of partially settles the catalyst for the misadventure in a most microscopic fashion. In short, Olmert achieves a partial "goal" of his war with Lebanon and shifts the public attention away from the "real" failed goal, which was to deliver a crushing blow to Hezbollah.

Jay@Soob said...

In addendum; such micro resolutions are much needed given Olmert's current political dire straits. On a personal note, Sharon's health related retirement from office and the residual (and prospective) fall of Kadima was very, very much unfortunate.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Now the question whether the guy was a loon or a terrorist is interesting in this specific case.

The family lawyer put up the temp. insanity defense immediately. The reasoning was simple: protect the house that will get destroyed otherwise.

The other side doesn't have a lot to put against this defense, aside of the "Allah Akbar" ("God is great") shouted repeatedly by the murderer.

But then, if you take a broader view - a youngster, brainwashed by his Hamas / Islamic Jihad / ... you name it handlers to the state where his/her life is easy to cast away - couldn't any such youngster be considered temporarily insane with some measure of truth in it?