- Thomas Jefferson.
வல்லான் சொல்லே வாய்மை. Truth is what the strong say.
- Tamil proverb
[Though Jefferson said it to elevate the right over the wrong, I am going to twist it a lot for my argument's sake. My apologies.]
I don't find any difference between the two. And here, I explain why. In the civilized world, we have precisely defined codes for life; more formally, The Law. Law, though it differs between countries, is for one purpose. Define order and discipline in the little world we live. Enforcing law is totally a different task [which is outside the scope of this blog]. So, it takes a lot for someone to deliberately go against the Law; unless that someone is 'The Strong' - like the United States; or that someone is 'Powered by The Strong' - like Isreal.
To quote some more - US Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, Indian Military in Operation Green Hunt - it hunted down armed tribal Maoists who are indeed Indian people; the Intelligence organization of Pakistan - ISI - whose notoriety, everyone is aware of; Taliban of Afghanistan until 1996 - till then was funded by the United States, LTTE of Sri Lanka until 1991 - till 1991 (LTTE was funded and trained by the Indian Military and RAW till 1987). The motives and actions of the above mentioned organizations won't stand an argument if they are not themselves a legitimate branch of the government or acknowledged by a government as one. The point I am trying to make is that a terrorist organization is termed so because they are neither 'The Strong' nor 'Powered by The Strong'.
Many of the terrorist organizations of the current era were once freedom fighters - either explicitly or indirectly recognized and supported by democracies like India, the US, etc. So, a government, especially a democratic one like India, has the power to almost instantly legitimize or illegitimize an organization. Let us dig a little deeper.
Why did US support the extreme right winged - women abusing - maniacs by supplying arms and ammunition, money, etc. Is it an ideology that US agreed on? No! The US did take a wrong policy by principle - deliberately, not worrying about the consequences. India's case is slightly different though - India did not have the problems of distance, inaccessibility, etc. The island country (Sri Lanka) is merely a hundred kilometers for one of the Indian Naval Bases. But still played its game through Tamil people of Sri Lanka. I wish to believe that the Indian government thought it was the right of the fighting people to have equal social and constitutional rights. I wish!
Between the years 1987 and 1991, India quickly changed its policy towards Sri Lanka and hence the LTTE - which seems to have had the LTTE so hurt, high and dry, that the LTTE made their biggest mistake in retaliation, if it was really them - killing the PM of India. The LTTE may have had some pressing reasons, which may be justified for them. But it was grave and a mistake of massive magnitude. Surprisingly, India did not make an effort to storm into the LTTE occupied areas of Sri Lanka - unlike what the United States did in Afghanistan. India held the LTTE responsible and declared it 'a terrorist organization', convicted were given death sentence. And that is all it did!
LTTE fought the Sri Lankan government and indirectly the power of India - but fell in the year 2009. If there is something that I would like to insist at this moment, it is this - "Policy decisions of the above mentioned sort are NOT based on the principles that the governments believe; it is based on the incentive of strategic positioning, weakening an enemy, domination in the neighborhood and all other bureaucratic BS"