Liberal Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn argued today that while Bill Ayers violent past must be condemned, it is improper to label him as a domestic terrorist (emphases mine):
My view is that one can unequivocally condemn the campaign of destruction and bomb-setting waged by the Weather Underground and still ask whether "terrorism" is or was the right word to describe that form of violent guerrilla protest.
To me, a terrorist is one who attempts to create malleable fear in a population through random acts of mayhem; someone who uses his own amoral unpredictability to magnify the power he is attempting to exert in an effort to create change.
Someone who bombs an abortion clinic or animal-research facility, say, in the middle of the night is not a terrorist, by this definition, because the purpose is not to prompt employees or clients to fear for their safety.
Wait, terrorism is "an effort to create change"? Using the term "change," a buzz word of the Obama campaign, was probably not the wisest word choice here.
Zorn continued his October 8 "Change of Subject" blog post by quoting Ayers's defense of his bombings, wherein the leftist radical and Obama backer noted the "checks and balances" the Weather Underground undertook to prevent civilian deaths.
After quoting Ayers at length, Zorn wrapped up his post asking for "thoughtful, civil and... thoughtful" comments in reaction to his protest that Ayers was never, in the truest sense, a terrorist.
Now. Let's stipulate that such activity was nevertheless illegal, unproductive and wrong (though here's a side question for you, are there any circumstances, and wrongs so egregious and apparently intractable, that you would endorse the use of such tactics?). Was it, Ayers' view notwithstanding, terrorism?
Again, please try to be thoughtful, civil and as non-partisan as you can possibly be in leaving a response. There are plenty of other places on the Web for indignant rants. Thanks.
Graphic via Chicago Tribune.