So, are the latest nutjobs, the Hutaree, terrorists or just militias? From a political sciency perspective, the answer depends on what they were planning to do: to kill cops just to kill cops? Or to kill cops to terrorize others? The former would mean they are insurgents trying to win a rebellion. Good luck with that. If the latter, then they are terrorists.
Of course, this is a bit of semantics, because a conspiracy to commit violent acts should be stopped by the government in either case. That is the job of government--to quell rebellions. And it is the job of insurgents to risk quelling. So, they can get upset as much as they want, but if you pick up arms as part of a plan to engage in violence against the state, then you cannot be surprised or offended that the state objects. A holy war is not a holy war if only one side shows up. Or why would spend so much time playing war games in the countryside? Not because you have a gun fetish or anything.
Of course, the semantics are important as the right wing does not want their extremist brothers and sisters called terrorists. And they do not want to be seen as responsible for inspiring terrorism. Pal-ing around with terrorists is a Palin accusation, not a Palin activity. Of course, asserting that we need to take back the country from a bunch of socialists would seem to be providing ideological cover for insurgents (terrorists or otherwise).
Perhaps I should not be scornful of these folks, as others of similar convictions have done significant damage. Not just Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols but the various white supremacist groups that have engaged in murder, bank robberies, kidnapping, etc. The FBI has done a pretty good job of breaking these gangs up, or at least re-locating them to prisons. It does seem to be the case that the economic trauma combined with the hysteria among certain groups about democrats/liberals/minorities taking power and the demagoguery of the Glenn Becks means we are in for more violence. One thing should be noted--this was not Waco. The Feds were able to subdue these folks despite their "preparation."
Another thing--they were stopped while conspiring to act. Some are saying they were just talking. But if they had managed to kill a cop or two, then the critics of the current administration would certainly be blaming the government for not doing enough.