whether or not terrorist acts

Many writers believe that the targeting of “innocents” is a key component of terrorism. Douglas Lackey writes, “…the common soldier is not a terrorist, because the majority of his victims are soldiers, and a minority of his victims are civilians.” All bombs kill things in their target radius regardless of military status; they are indiscriminate by nature. Lackey goes on to argue that what makes a bombing campaign constitute indiscriminate killing is the targeting of an area with a high ratio of non-military units to military units.

A second controversy is that of circumstance; that is, [color=red]whether or not terrorist acts must be performed in times of peace, or if [color=blue]they can include acts perpetrated during war.

Could someone please explain the bold part?

Is it only classed as a terrorist act if it happens in peace time or is it also classed as a terrorist act if it happens during war.

What does “[color=red]whether or not” signal?

Whether - these acts are only valid to be classified as terrorist in peace time - or - at other times (not just in peacetime)

Complex construction!

What does “[color=blue]they” refer to? Does it refer to “terrorist acts”?

I’ve already answered that: