Once upon a time, there was a mighty country. Economically prosperous, well-travelled, and graced by God, the country had the most advanced technology, the best military, and some of the happiest citizens in the world. The people were proud of their country, and they loved their leader, whose name was George.
Being the head of state of such a powerful and wonderful nation, it was George's duty to do what was best for his country and his people. One day he received reports from his advisors that a small group of discontents, far away, were planning to do terrible things. Things that, if allowed to happen, would have dire consequences to George, his country, and his people.
George was troubled. He had heard of these provocateurs before -- they did not necessarily have large numbers, but they were angry, and they were able to convince others to be angry as well. Many of them were motivated by strong religious beliefs. George had initially dismissed these rabble rousers as being unimportant, but his advisors were telling him that things were getting heated up.
So George dispatched some ambassadors and negotiators across the ocean to meet these people, in the hopes that they would come to some sort of agreement. For a brief time, his plan worked, and things were calm again.
But soon, the malcontents became restless once more, so George decided to try economic measures against the malcontents and their leaders. It was his hope that they would see reason, but it only angered them more, and their numbers grew. At one point, the rebels, in their wrath, destroyed some valuable property belonging to George's country. They engaged in terrorist activity, using fear, violence, and intimidation against George's countrymen and territory.
This angered George. He made an official declaration that the agitators were a a threat that had to be stopped. He sent troops across the ocean to pacify these insurgants, and enlisted the help of other countries to assist him.
But the radicals fought back. They didn't have much in the way of an organized military, so most of them didn't have uniforms. They simply wore their normal clothes, and blended in with the civilian population. They fought using improvised weapons, guerilla warfare, and hit-and-fade tactics.
George and his troops decried these methods as unfair and cowardly. They caught spies and imprisoned or executed them for war crimes. They conducted raids and checkpoints to filter out the civilians from the militia. On rare occasions, George's troops would do something immoral resulting in the deaths of innocent people, but these incidents were isolated and explained away as being part of the unfortunate price of war. The larger picture was at stake here -- these rebels had to be put down once and for all.
The war dragged on for quite some time. Battles raged, fires burned, shots rang out. Soldiers on both sides became weary, then determined, then weary again.
By the time it was all over, thousands on both sides had been wounded or killed in combat, along with civilian lives and property claimed by "collateral damage". The political ramifications were far-reaching and had profound impact on the world for years and decades to come.
If this story sounds familiar, it should. George was also known as King George III of England. The people he called terrorists or treasonous were people like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamen Franklin, and George Washington. And the conflict I have just described is not the "War on Terror", but the American Revolutionary War.
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Never forget that.