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State Terrorism

Read "The Threat of Global State Terrorism: Retail vs. Wholesale Terror" by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson.
1. According to Herman, what is the REAL terrorist threat?
2. Is the US a terrorist nation?

Your response should deal with your opinion on the difference between traditional definitions of terrorism and what many people now see as state terrorism.

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"Retail" terror deals with the smaller groups that are not backed by any specific state apparatus. The state, on the other hand, has infinitely more resources than the IRA or Shining Path - there is no comparison. Terrorists (so called) operate from a position of weakness, not strength (that's why they resort to terror in the first place).

Terrorists might kill a few people - governments slaughter millions. This is "wholesale" terrorism. It's a good distinction to make. When a terror group hits a government building in an enemy country, it is "terror." When the US Air Force does the exact same thing, even on a much greater scale, it's called the "defense of human rights" or the "war against terror."

This is the main point.

The concept of "terror" has no real meaning - except as the enemy of any particular state. Terror is a normal part of war - so what does the IRA-style terror have that is different? - the only difference is that those small groups act on a small scale. The US (for example), works on a global scale.

The authors state that the US behaves in this way because there are no countries ...

Solution Summary

Retail versus wholesale terror are examined in the United States terrorist nation.

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