Re: Intent of Attack
I'm not a theologian or ethicist, but if I'm not mistaken, in the theological study of the ethics of sin, intent is what makes a potentially sinful act a sin, regardless of the outcome (i.e., whether the prospective sinner succeeds in completing the potentially sinful act).
I'm also not a lawyer, but I think US criminal law states that one must have motivation, opportunity and intent to commit a crime. Otherwise, they may have a civil liability, but not a criminal one.
Sunny's example sounds like it falls into the civil, vice criminal category, and therefore did not constitute an attack, but a mistake rife with potential civil liabilities.
In the original thread, since the two principals involved agree that offense was neither intended nor taken, it sounds as though there is no cause for either a criminal or civil action.
In politics, as in all forms of human relations, it's an attack if you can successfully convince others that it was one. God knows I hate to admit it, but perception, unfortunately, too often IS the only reality that matters while we're alive.
I've always operated under the principle that it's an attack ONLY if they meant it to be one. Everything else is either negligence, miscommunication or an unavoidable accident.
So, as the physicists (of which I'm also not one) would say, choose your frame of reference and apply the rules therein. As they told us at tactics school, your mileage will most certainly vary.