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that's T-E-R-R-O-R-I-S-T-S

As the news slowly trickles in - and now that the sniper situation has calmed down enough for it not to be sensationalist, CNN and other outlest are finally giving Russia due coverage - there are reports of knockout gas being pumped into the theater before the seige began. Of course, I told you that 5:30 yesterday morning.

It's being said that most of the hostages who died, died from the effects of the gas.

It had to be done. While I feel deeply for the families of the hostages that did not make it out, this is a case where you need to look at the bigger picture. There were approximately 700 innocent people inside a theater rigged with bombs and mines. Two hostages had already been shot by the terrorists. The small number (relatively speaking) that died from the gas were a necessary casualty. Had the Russian commandos not been able to get into the theater, they would have ended up with 700 dead innocents, not 90.

Decision to use gas during storm of Moscow theater approved by hostages: Former hostages agree that if the gas used before the storm of a Moscow theater had not been sufficiently strong, the terrorists would have had time to blast their explosives.

"When gas seeped into the theater after the terrorists killed the first hostages, I saw that one of the terrorists, who sat on the stage, jumped up and tried to put on a respirator. He made several convulsive moves, trying to pull the mask over his face, and fell," a former hostage, currently undergoing medical treatment at a Moscow hospital, told Interfax, recalling the first minutes of the storm.

He said the terrorists had expected the use of incapacitating agents and brought in respirators and gas masks. "If they had not been incapacitated so quickly, they would have had time to carry their plans through," he said.

At least the former hostages and Interfax are referring to them as terrorists, unlike most U.S. news agencies.

newsday refers to them as hostage takers
cnn can't seem to say the word 'terrorist' either
fox news uses scare quotes
wapo gets a little closer to the heart of it

Let's turn to the non-U.S. press: from the Telegraph:

The Telegraph has learned that a number of Arab fighters, believed to be of Saudi Arabian and Yemeni origin, were among the group that seized control of the theatre...."There were definitely Arab terrorists in the building with links to al-Qa'eda," said a senior Western diplomat. "The Russians will now want to know how much help the Chechens received from bin Laden's organisation."

Mr Putin had claimed that "foreign elements" were involved and suspicions about al-Qa'eda's connection deepened after the Chechens broadcast a pre-recorded message on the Qatar-based al-Jazeera television network, which is frequently used by bin Laden and his lieutenants.

How are these people not terrorists? Why is the U.S. press so afraid to use that word? It's not a matter of semantics this time, as were my arguments with people over what to call the sniper. This is not only outright terrorism, but the more we learn about the murderers, the more we see the link between them and Arab terrorists. The Chechen 'rebels' are just one of many enemies in the war we are fighting.

As the links between Iraq and al-Queda grow, the lines between terrorist forces will become so blurred as to all but disappear. Our enemies are morphing into one giant killing machine. If you think that a hostage situation like the one in Russia could not happen here, you are sadly mistaken. If you think that terrorists world wide are not all being funded through the same channel, then I want to know what world you live in because it sure must be a nice, pretty place.

There are no peace signs in my little corner of the world anymore. You can march all you want, and refuse to use the word terrorist all you want and try to understand the psyche of our enemies (see, Horsefeathers), but I'm not playing that game anymore.

The world is a big, ugly place. It's getting uglier by the day. Playing nice and using euphemisms and pandering to the appeasers are not going to get us anywhere but dead.


Just in case you were having trouble with it.

Meryl weighs in on the same issue


Here's another delightful little fact that isn't being covered in the West--I just heard this on the Japanese news. Remember the picture of that poor dead woman hostage being dragged away? Initial reports had it that she tried to run out of the theater and was shot by the TERRORISTS.
Actually they caught her first, broke all of her fingers and her wrists by smashing them with a rifle butt, THEN shot her point-blank in the chest.
CNN, et. al....? That word again is T-E-R-R-O-R-I-S-T-S. Don't make us come over there and show you.

Already found a Guardian article that is not-quite-not-saying that the deaths are all the fault of the Russian gas and not-quite-not-implying that they shouldn't have gone in (you know how they are).
I made my own comments on that, and I've recommended this article.

Cowards....but it's got me thinking: could the US Government be pressuring the news media to avoid using the "T" word? So we don't get jaded by it? So it doesn't become a cliche? So we don't forget 9-1-1 as being the ultimate in terrorism by lumping it in with something as ordinary as a sniper killing only 10 people or a group of thugs simply holding 700 people hostage?

A parallel I draw is the new "terrorist alert system"...if it's always orange or yellow, then we effectively ignore it. Will it ever be blue or green? As it stands, the only way to get anyone's attention is to go to red...

Same with the word "terrorism." If we use it to define every act of violence against civilians, then it becomes ignorable. "Oh, another so-called terrorist. Whatever..."

The problem is that, as in the Russia case, terrorism is the most appropriate word to use, but they refuse to use it. And if Homeland Security or the Department of State or the CIA are asking the press not to use the word, then shame on them. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I've lived around DC enough to know that these people are very attuned to the impact words have. Why does so much emphasis get placed on speeches or press releases? "You'll notice, Dan, what the President DIDN'T say..."

I for one recongize the difference between terrorism and "regular" crimes, as do most Americans. Granted, most in the mainstream media have their political agendas, but I keep asking myself, What does the press have to gain by refusing to call them "terrorists"? Who else has something to gain?

Maybe what we need is a "terrorism level system," based on certain qualifiers: intent of "militants," stated demands, method of attack, body count....9-11 would be a Level 1 attack. Bali would be a Level 3 because the "combatants" killed less than, say, 300, whereas the Russia incident would be a Level 4 since the "hostage takers" were actually negotiating and only killed when their demands weren't met. The sniper would be a 5 since there was only one and he didn't use C4 or a bomb.

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