The media and other commentators often report terrorist attacks as “revenge” for this or that act by the government the terrorists oppose, usually based on the claims of “revenge” by the terrorists themselves. The media and other commentators should cease reporting uncritically such misleading statements by the terrorists.
As I noted again in my last post, terrorism is the targeting of innocent civilians by violence or threat of violence in order to intimidate the populace to pressure their government to give into the terrorists’ demands. Innocent civilians are those who are not responsible for a government’s policies. Therefore, no terrorist attacks are committed out of revenge. As the deliberate targeting of innocent victims, terrorist attacks are morally unjustifiable acts of evil. Revenge against innocent people would be a contradiction in terms, for one cannot gain vengeance by attacking the innocent.
Making a claim of “revenge” is a terrorist propaganda tactic for justifying their immoral acts by blaming the government the terrorists oppose in the first place for the results of the terrorism. Moreover, as in the case of the recent Norwegian attacks, some claims of revenge, such as an Islamist group’s claim of responsibility for the attacks as punishment for Norway’s participation in the Afghan War, are false. Such false claims reveal both the terrorists' desire to intimidate the populace into giving into their demands, as opposed to exacting revenge, and the terrorists’ lack of credibility, as should be obvious. Indeed, it is not reasonable to expect that those who target the innocent for violence would ever be honest. The terrorists' claims of “revenge,” whether or not they are responsible for the acts for which they claim responsibility, are lies.
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