August 18, 2002

DEFINING TERRORISM DOWN: Charles Johnson is unhappy with this article by Molly Moore and John Ward Anderson in the Washington Post.

What causes Charles to label this article “appalling” is its cold-bloodedly neutral assessment of suicide bombers’ attacks on innocent civilians as purely a question of military effectiveness. If Israel or the United States chose to attack primarily Arab schools and shopping centers, would the Post take the same tone?

Of course not. And like all those who hold Arabs to a lower moral standard, the Post is being discriminatory — some would say “racist,” though Arabs are caucasian — in doing so. But it’s certainly condescending. “What can you expect from the wogs?” is the implicit assumption behind such treatment.

UPDATE: Sasha Volokh disagrees, sort of. He says he loves dispassionate military analysis, though he agrees that the Post probably wouldn’t be so dispassionate about U.S. or Israeli actions deliberately targeting civilians for the sake of inspiring terror. Which was my point.

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