For all his education and high professional standing, Juan Cole can’t seem to figure out the obvious and basic difference between guerrillas, who practice irregular warfare against soldiers and are protected by the Geneva Convention, and terrorists, who target civilians and are not so protected. Here are some bits of yesterday’s news roundup on Cole’s nothing-but-bad-news blog:
Guerrillas fired 10 mortar rounds into a bustling market in central Mosul on Thursday, killing 3 and wounding 52. Then they fired more rounds later on, killing 2 and wounding 7.
Guerrillas in Baghdad killed 3 barbers on Tuesday, it was announced early Thursday. Salafi radicals consider it a crime to shave a Muslim man, who they think should wear a beard in imitation of the Prophet Muhammad.
Since the words are neither indented nor in quotation marks, they appear to be Cole’s own paraphrase of his sources. As such, they are either grossly ignorant or deeply dishonest, especially one particular word. “Guerrillas”? When you’re firing mortars at a market full of unarmed civilians, or murdering unarmed barbers, you are a not a guerrilla, or even an unlawful combatant, but a common murderer. And when you do it to terrorize the general population, as is quite obviously the case here, you are a terrorist. Why can’t Cole use that word?
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