Friday, February 15, 2008

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Hearings and Markup before the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, First Session, p. 66.

Ned Walker, Assistant to the Undersecretary for Middle East Affairs at the U.S. State Department
Lee Hamilton, chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East

Walker: The State Department definition which is included in the terrorism report annually defines it in terms of politically motivated attacks on non-combatant targets.

Hamilton: So an attack on a military unit in Israel will not be terrorism?

Walker: It does not necessarily mean that it would not have a very major impact on whatever we were proposing to do with the PLO.

Hamilton: I understand that, but it would not be terrorism.

Walker: An attack on a military target. Not according to the definition. Now wait a minute; that is not quite correct. You know, attacks can be made on military targets which clearly are terrorism. It depends on the individual circumstances.

Hamilton: Now wait a minute. I thought that you just gave me the State Department definition.

Walker: Non-combatant is the terminology, not military or civilian.

Hamilton: All right. So any attack on a non-combatant could be terrorism?

Walker: That is right.

Hamilton: And a non-combatant could include military?

Walker: Of course.

Hamilton: It certainly would include civilian, right?

Walker: Right.

Hamilton: But an attack on a military unity would not be terrorism?

Walker: It depends on the circumstances.

Hamilton: And what are those circumstances?

Walker: I do not think it will be productive to get into a description of the various terms and conditions under which we are going to define an act by the PLO as terrorism.

Regardless of what you attack, military of civilians, if it's us or our friends, you're a terrorist...

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