The number of terrorists targeted by the U.S. just grew by 125,000 men, said Robin Wright in The Washington Post. That's the strength of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's elite military unit, which President Bush, by amending an earlier executive order, will soon brand as a 'œspecially designated global terrorist.' By slapping the guard with the terrorist label, the administration is giving itself authority to crack down on the guard's vast network of military-related businesses and financial operations, and hold companies and nations that do business with it accountable. The U.S. contends that the guard is helping to finance Iran's illegal nuclear program and that it has sent 50 specialists into Iraq, to help train Shiite extremists to make armor-piercing IEDs to kill Americans.
Clearly, the guard consists of some very bad actors, said Georgie Anne Geyer in the Chicago Tribune. But consider the implications of this decision. 'œPreviously, the word 'terrorist' always meant 'non-state actor.'' Now, for the first time ever, the White House is using this very loaded designation for the armed forces of a sovereign government. By this logic, 'œany army on the face of the earth' opposed to U.S. interests could be branded 'œterrorist.' Such sloppy reasoning may well backfire, said The New York Times in an editorial. First of all, Iran does little direct business with the U.S., so this designation will have minimal practical effect on the guard's financial operations. Using the term 'œterrorist'' promiscuously, and inaccurately, will only serve to 'œdilute the hard-won international consensus against such terrorist groups as al Qaida.'
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