Terrorist as non-state actor?
Way back on September 20, 2002, Adam Garfinkle reflected on "What Our Children Should Learn About 9/11/2001" (Foreign Policy Research Institute), and among other things, he put forward this generally accepted point:
A pertinent example: Those who shun moral judgment often say that "terrorist" is a meaningless word because "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." But a terrorist can be defined with reasonable precision, as a non-state actor (i.e., an actor unaccountable, democratically or otherwise, to a larger community) who deliberately kills innocent civilians to advance a cause. Whatever the cause and however one feels about it, there is still nothing amiss with our children reaching the moral judgment that such behavior is always wrong.In light of the Islamic State's existence, can we still define terrorists as non-state actors? Reality is in constant flux, as Heraclitus would often note, so our definitions necessarily change over time. That would seem to have be the case in this example, because the IS has sent jihadists to Europe to attack whatever they can.