If the BBC and the U.N. cannot define this little word, neither can anyone else, including politicians, the police and specialists. One study, titled “Political Terrorism,” lists 109 definitions for terrorism and debates over its meaning. The concept just involves too many moving parts — personnel, weapons, tactics, networks, and goals.
An American security specialist, David Tucker, urges those who would define it instead to simply “abandon hope,” like those entering hell. His Israeli counterpart, Boaz Ganor, jokes that “the struggle to define terrorism is sometimes as hard as the struggle against terrorism itself.”
Does it make sense to soldier on, fighting a semantic battle that will never be won? Why argue for a word that everyone agrees is confusing and some find loaded?
Therefore, I too have stopped using “terrorism” and “terrorist” (“counterterrorism,” however, is a tougher word to drop). It’s not worth the fight. Better to use words like “violent,” “murderous,” “Islamist,” and “jihadi,” words that do not generate a definitional uproar. Better not to have to waste time arguing that the U.S. or Israeli governments are not terrorist.Faint hope. If Pipes thinks that eschewing these two "t" words will ameliorate and/or clarify things--including the way leftists and Islamists think of the U.S. and Israel--he's dreaming in Technicolor, VistaVision and Dolby Stereo.
Update: Pipes sings:
No "terrorists" for me.
The UN balks at defining it.
The use of it can induce a fit.
Let's make it go away
It's great to champion "clarity"
No "terrorist" for me.
Hope it won't make you glum.
No "terrorist" for me
Barack Obama can't say the word.
He calls it "violence"--how absurd!
It's clearly a jee-had.
Tho' some say jee-had's internal strife
It's holy war than could end your life.
And in our world the jee-had is rife.
No "terrorist" for me!...