Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Terrorists - Who and What Are They?

Terrorists. You can't open a newspaper or listen to ten minutes of a radio or TV newscast without hearing that word. Some military officers call terrorists "bad guys." A simplistic term used by men with limited intelligence. Such men are found in great numbers among the ranks of officers in any army.
A dictionary definition doesn't help much in identifying who they are or why they act the way they do. Some are readily identifiable. The men who flew planes into the World Trade Center or planted bombs in the London subway were definitely terrorists. But in places like Iraq the picture is a bit more murky. There one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The way in which you see that man depends upon who you are, where you are and why you are there.
To the British, the men at the Concord Bridge were terrorists. To the Germans, the Frenchmen or Russians or Serbs or Belgians who resisted their occupation were terrorists. To Southerners, the men in Sherman's army were terrorists. Alfred Marie, the man I have written about who relayed messages by radio to England prior to D-Day, was a freedom fighter to the French, a terrorist to the Germans.
Terrorists do things that kill innocent people. So do freedom fighters. Were the American and British airmen who bombed residential areas of German cities fighting for freedom or commiting acts of terror? The answer depends upon your nationality. When bombs are dropped or rockets fired on suspected terrorist sites in Iraq but civilians, including children, die as a result was the act a part of an attempt to bring freedom to that country or one of terrorism?
It's a damn complicated question.
It's also a question that confronts any military force occupying someone else's country. If a foreign army should occupy the United States some of us would resist, thereby becoming terrorists. That's just the way it is - inevitable.
So what's the answer to the question of terrorism in Iraq? You can't defeat them by killing them. For every one you kill, two will rise up to take his place. It won't die away of its own accord any more than it did in Montenegro where the fires of freedom were kept burning on mountain tops for 800 years of occupation by the Turks. Every night during all those centuries the Turks could look up and see the flames rising in the air.
So the terrorism, or freedom fighting, will continue as long as our army occupies Iraq. Eight days or 800 years, it doesn't matter. Stomp out a fire here and it rises that night on another mountain top. Eliminate bombings in one place and they occur in another, it's all the same.
When our soldiers leave, the two factions of Islam will battle it our for a while, then peace will finally spread over the land. Will anything have been accomplished? Of course. A helluva lot of people will have died.


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