I also think this is an interesting remark by TheRubric in the comments section following the article that gets to the heart of why this discussion of the term is important:
For me, your distinction between intentional fearmongering and unintentional fearmongering as a denotation of terrorism is a baseless one. However, even accepting your position, that the intent is a solid differentiator between say a suicide attack and an aerial bombardment, I would argue that engendering fear in the ranks of the opposition is always an overt aim of political violence regardless of scale and the relative formality of combattants.
The following quote from Voltaire is, IMO, pertinent.
“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
By dominating the rules of the game the Western powers can delegitimise opposition to their formalised military apparatuses. A key part of maintaining legitimacy and domination is the sociopolitical construction of the terrorist.
Update (April 22, 2013): Army removes bible references from scope.
“It blows my mind,” the solider said. “It doesn’t help the Army do its mission to take off a biblical reference.”
The soldier, who is a Christian, said he had to comply so “someone doesn’t get offended.”
“We have classes on equal opportunity – things that are clearly irrelevant to our mission – which is to kill the enemy.”