Terrorism's War with America: A History

By Dennis Piszkiewicz | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

Nationalists, Communists, and Insurgents

Terrorism is probably as old as war itself. Our ancestors made no distinction between warriors and civilians when it came to slaughtering the enemy. Modern humankind considered itself civilized and—at least theoretically—distinguished between combatants and noncombatants. The Geneva Conventions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries formalized the treatment of combatants and civilians, and those who committed terrorist acts were classified as war criminals. That construct served for dealing with a few dozen major villains of World War II but has had limited utility since then. The terrorists of the second half of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first were not aligned with warring nations; they were free agents fighting in relatively small groups against nations and governments.

From the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the nature of the war by the leftist causes against the established powers of the West changed. Communist-backed insurgencies gradually gave way to international terrorism. The enemy was no longer the Viet Cong or the indigenous communist parties of Central and South America. He had once worn black pajamas and a coolie hat, or he wore fatigues and smoked a cigar. Now the enemy was more likely to be dressed in mufti and carrying an assault rifle or driving a truck loaded with explosives. The names of the new enemy—those that became commonly known and elicited fear and hatred in the West—were no longer Patrice Lumumba, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro, but Muammar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden.

Modern terrorism evolved in the late 1960s. The Western, capitalist countries saw a growing wave of bombings, kidnappings, murders, bank

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Terrorism's War with America: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter 1 - Skyjackers 1
  • Chapter 2 - Who Are the Terrorists? 9
  • Chapter 3 - Nationalists, Communists, and Insurgents 15
  • Chapter 4 - The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 21
  • Chapter 5 - The Holy War 37
  • Chapter 6 - Reagan Takes on Terrorism 43
  • Chapter 7 - Muammar Qaddafi 61
  • Chapter 8 - Saddam Hussein 71
  • Chapter 9 - The Blind Sheikh and the Mastermind of Terror 83
  • Chapter 10 - America in Retreat 99
  • Chapter 11 - Osama Bin Laden 107
  • Chapter 12 - Al Qaeda’s War 113
  • Chapter 13 - The Past and the Future 127
  • Epilogue 137
  • Appendix 1 141
  • Appendix 2 145
  • Appendix 3 147
  • Appendix 4 165
  • Selected Bibliography 191
  • Index 195
  • About the Author 203
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