When I first heard our leaders use the word “terrorist” I predicted from the pulpit that they would never define specifically what they meant when they used that word. When they began to use the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” I expected (and received) a similar obscurity. Like the word “torture” these terms are used only for the actions of our enemies and never for our own.
Even if we commit the same acts of violence, and use weapons infinitely more deadly, the different terms we use for ourselves and our enemies will always cast us as heroes and them as villains. They are “militants” we are “soldiers.” All of our military action falls under the category “defense” no matter how far away a war may lie.
In typical clarity, Gleen Greenwald writes his own insights on the subject of propagandist words like “terrorist.”