As we learned a few weeks ago, if you label your enemies as total monsters you get to justify any actions to defeat them.
No label is more monstrous in modern military parlance than "terrorist". Label someone a terrorist and you can justify all sorts of horrific behavior. They're the baddies. He have to stop them.
Of course, sometimes when we label someone a terrorist we don't get it right. Oops.
Sometimes these things happen out of malice. Sometimes they can be adequately explained by incompetence. Sometimes, something else.
In The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975) married directing team Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta explore the intersection of all three, as well as the intersection of government and media fear machines, as the titular Katharina Blum finds herself with that most terrible label after a one night stand, in the process being tried in the press not only for terrorism, but also for being a woman.
It should be required viewing.
It's this week's Lost in Criterion.