A few years back, 2006, when the sons of Iraq were coming into prominence, and being utilized by coalition forces in the various Iraqi awakenings, there were several comparisons of that group with Revolutionary America's Sons of Liberty. There are interesting parallels.
But, predictably, the comparisons began getting rather sloppy, and Michael Moore, among others, began arguing that the Sons of Liberty are indeed more similar than dissimilar to the insurgents in Iraq, or indeed Al Qaeda, than they are to the Sons of Iraq.
How apt is the comparison? Consulting my always reliable wiki-sources I find that, yes indeed the Sons of Liberty did destroy property (tea, ships, houses and contents of said houses), did incite mob action, did scare the bejeebers out of loyalists by acts which included tar-and-feathering, and ransacking of homes of folks involved in collection of the various onerous taxes that had the colonists in uproar. They hung such folks..in effigy.. often in front of their houses. They were a secret organizations, considered vigilante not only by loyalists and the British, but by a fair number of the more 'respectable' revolutionaries. Their existence was also exploited by more straightforward criminals, thugs and gangs, used as cover for violence, theft or destruction. So, it was often hard to tell which acts were those of the SOL and which were not.
But, they did not do anything equivalent to systematic planting of roadside bombs, killing of British soldiers, nor did they murder or behead captured British, loyalists or sympathizers. Nor did they use women, children or the mentally retarded as weapons delivery devices.
...and Purpleslog ("Where Awesomeness and Modesty Meets Sexy"), in an article dated 3 April 2006:
How could a sort of British Pro-Consul defuse the situation (which is being politically led by Sam Adams and John Hancock)? Here are some of my ideas...
- Roll back some of the repressive acts that have the colonist agitating
- Minimal Parliamentary participation for each colony ("No Taxation without repre…oh…right then…never mind")
- Utilize a strong Crown appointed Governor and a weak (but non-token state legislatures
- Create a North American High Court of Appeals to handle judicial appeals (with judges from both Britain and the Colonies)
- Create a King's Commission for Grievances and Petition for North America (have both Colonist and Britons serving on it…co-opt Sam Adams time on this)
- Remove one Regiment Garrisoned in Boston to outside of Boston. Reposition the other regiments to a coastal fortress. Create a joint colonial/British constabulary to provide policing functions.