I guess my point here is that IED's are not a terroristic weapon. Yes, they do instill fear, but so do machineguns and artilery. Really, artilery is much more "indescriminate" than IED's since those firing the artilery cannot even see their target. 99% of IED's are "Command Detonated" - meaning there is a guy watching the kill zone that pushes a button or calls a phone number when there is a target in said kill zone. As a man that fought in Iraq and had several close calls with IED's, I can assure you, they are scary and deadly, but not at all indiscrimnate. They are weapons used to kill/wound specific individuals and destroy/damage specific equipment. For example, a Claymore mine like the one's our military uses, are just comercially made IED's.
Regardless, my point is not that early American Freedom fighters were Terrorists - my point is that the definition of a "terrorist", "terrorist act", and "terrorism" in general is often misunderstood, expanded, and sometimes even misused to simply ilicit an emotional response - very much like the word "Communist" or "Communism" was used in the 50's and 60's.
I guess IED was the wrong description for what I was thinking about. I was talking about 155 howitzer shells wired in the trunk of a car set to go off in a crowded market place and other such acts which are easily distinguished as acts of terrorism rather than attacks on legitimate military targets. I suppose it can be argued that the insurgents we face in Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly defined targets and a precise objective, so indiscriminate may not be their motive. Rather, I should rephrase it to include the intentional targeting of civilians and non-military targets to achieve a psychological response.
Before you ask, yes, I would propose that WWII style carpet bombing of residential areas is pretty close to outright terrorism, though perhaps necessary given the technology of the day. Minimizing collateral damage while achieving a strategic mission in WWII was much more difficult. The line, for me, becomes whether Dresden, for example, was bombed to achieve destruction of military targets or was done to intentionally target civilians for the purpose of inducing fear and reducing moral. My recollection of history is dim on this, but IIRC, Dresden was bombed for the factories it had, which are legitimate military targets. Civilian casualties then become collateral damage rather than primary targets, which is how I personally separate acts of terrorism from everything else.
Now maybe such accounts have be lost to history as the victors wrote it, but I don't recall hearing many attacks on civilian targets by Washington's army. I don't doubt that there were some incidents, but by and large, records I have read indicate such acts of terrorism were much more prevalent from the British.
I walked out because the professor was getting emotional
Please understand that this isn't personal for me. I mean no disrespect to you. But I say, let him get emotional. That's all his side of the debate usually has. Let him blather on with his rhetoric. It will be clearly embarrassing for him when he realizes that you are calmly presenting an argument based on fact while his argument becomes more desperate and emotional. Everyone will clearly see it as a lack of not only substance, but professionalism.
The number of things he can do to you for presenting an opinion when he opened the class to debate are limited. A failing grade, being dismissed from the classroom...none of this matters as much as the eyes you will open. And you will open eyes. I know because I've been there. If you let him vent he will reach a point where he can either admit defeat to retain the respect of his class, or kick you from the class/fail you, which everyone will see for what it is--childish and immature. Instead, you walked away. While not the case, it was probably taken as not only an admission of defeat, but of the appearance that you allowed emotions to get to you. Thus it was you who appeared childish and immature, and actions speak louder than words. Your parting shot means nothing in the wake of your retreat. It's like getting your butt stomped in front of your girl then talking smack to the guy that just lit your face up--its perceived as what it is--a weak and desperate attempt to save face.
Just like compliance is not consent in the case of rape, walking away is not diffusing the situation--it's merely avoiding conflict for the sake of avoiding confrontation. Some things need to be confronted. Patently false accusations and blatant lies are two such things.
If you're not going to stand up for yourself and your opinions in an open forum on a college campus every time some liberal blowhard gets emotional and tries to drown you out with the same tired rhetorical show of force, then I am afraid you're not going to stand up for yourself very often. And if that is the case, I have to ask, why are you there? This professor's tactics are standard operating procedure for his ilk. He was probably a hippy. He's used to feeling like the volume of his voice determines its validity. Common sense and reason may not always be the loudest voice, or the most popular choice, but sooner or later, someone has to make that choice and sound that voice. If not you, then who?