Legal limits on manipulations of language

February 17, 2013 12:58

A terrorist by any other name is still a terrorist

Palestinians hold a flag in the West Bank

Palestinians hold a flag in the West Bank 370. (photo credit: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

From the standpoint of binding international law, there is no merit to applauding linguistic transformations of murder. No matter how hard they may try, those who would identify the willful maiming and execution of noncombatants in the name of an abstract ideal, any ideal, are defiling law and justice. When Palestinian insurgents insistently claim the legal right to use "any means necessary" against an alleged "occupation," their claim is disingenuous and contrived. 

Even if their indignant calls for "national self-determination" were actually grounded in law, there would still remain very serious evidence of wrongdoing. Under international law, all insurgents, even those with supportable "just cause," must meet firm jurisprudential limits on (1) permissible targets, and on (2) permissible levels of violence.


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