The Chattanooga killings aren't terrorism, they're a rational act of war

The typical noncombatant target is an innocent civilian. That’s what makes Sept. 11 and the ISIS hostage beheadings clear acts of terrorism. By this standard, Chattanooga wasn’t terrorism, because the victims weren’t civilians. All four were Marines. Three had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Are trainers and recruiters noncombatants? If so, we’re killing noncombatants every week. According to the Pentagon’s latest published data, our coalition in Syria and Iraq has struck more than 2,000 enemy “buildings” and nearly 500 “staging areas.” A “staging area” can be almost anything—according to the U.S. military glossary, it’s “a general locality established for the concentration of troop units.” Scan the Pentagon’s daily reports on the campaign, and you’ll see accounts of strikes against “barracks,” “compounds,” “structures,” “manufacturing workshops,” and “logistics hubs.” If you’re an ISIS foot soldier, it hardly matters where you are or what you’re doing. You’re a target…

Training facilities aren’t just fair game. They’re prized targets. President Obama has repeatedly bragged about hitting them. In February, White House spokesman Josh Earnest proudly informed reporters that coalition airstrikes had “succeeded in taking out at least 20 training camps.” Two weeks ago, Obama indicated that the tally had increased: “We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps.”