Update 11/9/2006: There used to be some other writeups in this node.

You could describe the French Resistance as terrorists, you could describe them as freedom fighters, or you could describe them as guerrillas. These terms are more or less synonymous, only separated by a value judgment.

In the 1920s, the original IRA (see my writeup for historical background) fought a guerrilla war against the British, and won independence for Ireland. Its leader Michael Collins has since been termed the inventor of modern terrorism. Most Irish people would look on Collins as a hero while abhorring the IRA's current incarnation.

What distinguishes the current incarnations of the IRA from the French Resistance and the "Old IRA" are the following:

I wouldn't, like Thomas Miconi, make a distinction purely on the basis of tactics. The Provisional IRA's actions are certainly a lot more abhorrent than those of the French Resistance, for example, but they are not unique to terrorist organisations.