Ayers: It wasn't terrorism, it was more like "extreme vandalism"

Not the first time he’s tried to finesse the concept, although it may be the first time he’s done it in the pages of a paper whose own reporting contradicts him. Terrorists, it seems, kill people indiscriminately whereas the Weathermen never tried to kill anyone. Except cops. And soldiers.

Which, in fairness, is very discriminating indeed.

In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village. The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices — the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious — as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.

The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.

Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war. So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends…

I have regrets, of course — including mistakes of excess and failures of imagination, posturing and posing, inflated and heated rhetoric, blind sectarianism and a lot else. No one can reach my age with their eyes even partly open and not have hundreds of regrets. The responsibility for the risks we posed to others in some of our most extreme actions in those underground years never leaves my thoughts for long.

Question via Jules Crittenden: Why’d the NYT accept this piece when they know he’s lying? They were the ones who reported on 9/11 that he wished he’d set more bombs; they were the ones who reminded us a month before the election that the Weathermen did indeed have a body count. In fact, they were the ones who told us 30 years ago that the Underground had ties to Cuban officials, which would go a long way towards establishing those “political ends” to which Ayers refers. In case they weren’t already abundantly established.

Read the whole thing, though. My favorite part’s at the end, where he hints that bomb-setting radicals are really just another interest group to be listened to in the interest of diversity. Exit question: Do grandiose fantasies involving extermination camps qualify as “extreme vandalism” or is that more like “super extreme vandalism”?