Words mean things and without a common understanding of the meanings of words we are going to have a problem understanding each other.
What Americans need to realize is that there really is no such thing as terrorism; there are revolutions you support (freedom fighters) and those that you don’t (terrorists). But to label a person or a group “terrorist” is to say nothing more than that you disagree with their claims and their cause. For Alam to eschew the terrorist label when dealing with al Qaeda is quite accurate in actually quite helpful. [Leopold Stotch. Hysteria over Shahid Alam. Outside the beltway. 31 December 2004]
A terrorist is one who governs by terrorism or intimidation. A revolutionist is one engaged in effecting a change of government. Terror is a process while revolution is an end. Confusing these two concepts can only lead to misunderstanding.
We have in front of us people whose goal is religious more than governmental. They seek not to overturn a government but to keep certain governments. The methods they use include and emphasise those of terror and not those of structured combat. It only takes the correlation between those whose tactics include kidnapping, intentional bombing and targeting of civilians, and beheadings with opposition to established forms of self determination to see that the issue is not one of revolution nor of freedom fighters.
When people argue that those who fought the US Revolutionary War were the same as terrorists, they insult the honor and the mission of the combatants. It is a glorification of ideologies, the ideology of terror, that is anathema to civilization. This is why outrage about such comment is deserved. It is necessary to take a stand for basic values. Are you for peaceful self expression in government or are you for terrorist control of populations?