Thursday, April 18, 2013


When “terrorism” isn’t


$$s, not bodies determines


POTUS claims the bombs in Boston are an act of terrorism. (

The insurance companies say “Not so.”

It’s not “terrorism,” the insurers claim, until the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, AND the U.S. Attorney General together agree that an event is “terrorism.”

So far, that has not happened. As POTUS appointees they should be expected to do as their master instructs them to do, but is there any evidence that POTUS as given his appointees directions to declare the bombings as terrorism, despite his public pronouncement. Writing in the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, a Jacob Gershman article headed Certifying an ‘Act of Terror’ ( notes that “Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group, said he believed the Boston attack caused minimal property damage, making it unlikely that property and casualty insurance losses would top $5 million. That’s the threshold dollar amount for classifying an attack as terrorism under the insurance law. Below $5 million, Mr. Lew can’t certify — even if the purpose of the bombing was to coerce the government or intimidate the American people.”

On the other hand, Mark Russell, writing for Newser ( notes that “while property damage may not rise above $5 million, medical costs could easily top $9 million, says NBC News. Boston's hospitals have been lauded for the amazing job they did in treating more than 180 wounded, but that sort of response costs big money, and the prosthetic devices and rehabilitation that will be needed will increase costs even more over time. Each emergency room visit costs an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 and longer-term hospitalizations can cost upward of $200,000. Hospitals might reduce their rates for some hardship cases or not bill entirely, but administrators say they have not begun to think about costs. “This is going to be really expensive," says one health economist.

Whether something is, or is not, “terrorism” for non-government folk apparently is defined by the dictionary source the person prefers.

Merriam-Webster Online ( defines “terrorism” as the Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective..

My Webster’s Unabridged (©2001) defines the word as
1. The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce sep. for political purposes,
2. The state of fear and submission produced terrorism or terrorization,
3.A terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

Wikipedia ( tells us that “There is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the definition of the term "terrorism". Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of "terrorism". Moreover, the international community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed upon, legally binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged.”

According to the U.S. Law Code (, ”(2) the term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents;”

I understand Google has its own, unique definition for “terrorism,” but I was unable to find it – ‘course I use Dogpile as my default search engine.

The “bottom line” may be that to you the Boston bombing is terrorism, to POTUS the Boston bombing is terrorism, and to this scrivener the Boston bombing is terrorism, but to the Terrorism Insurance Program and to private insurers, until it costs more than $5 million, it is not terrorism. But if not terrorism, then what?

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