Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Real Terrorists

I watched the TV show Criminal Minds last night in which they showed a guy who boarded a public bus in Seattle, Washington, with two pipe bombs attached to the inside of an umbrella he carried. He was dressed in a business suit. He sat down in the center of the bus, placed the umbrella under his seat and got off at the next stop. As he walked away, he detonated the bombs.

The odd thing was he didn't kill very many people, maybe 20 or so, but he scared a lot. Then a thought occurred to me.

We here in the United States keep being told that we need a big, bad Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe from terrorist attacks. We need wiretapping, and suspension of habeus corpus. That we need to suspend civil liberties so we can be secure and safe. That we need to close borders (accept the one with Canada) because these terrible dangerous terrorists are getting into our country and planning, planning big, horrendous attacks that will kill us all.

Here is the truth: the terrorists perpetrated ONE great big LUCKY attack on us on September 11, 2001. And there's been nothing since!

If terrorists were planning attacks to scare us or kill us, all they would have to do is blow up a bus or two a couple of times a week in a few different cities across the country and we would be out of our minds with fright. So why don't they do it? They've done it in Israel. They did it once in Madrid, Spain, where they blew up trains. But they haven't done it here.

Who is it then that's frightening us? Who makes us think that when a steam pipe blows up in a New York City street that al-Qaeda has come to town?

Yup, it's Bush and Company. Remember when Michael Chertoff said he had a "gut feeling" that a terrorist attack was iminent? Bush and his buddies have jumped on an idea, a concept and run with it. We the government can do anything (make legislation, change laws, ignore the rule of law) in the name of fighting terrorism at home and abroad.

And no one can deny that. The Democrats can't deny it, college professors, journalists can't deny it. When I publish this post everyone will tell me "You're nuts." Bush has got us by the proverbial "short hairs" and you know why? Because all he has to say is "What if it happens again?" and we all shrivel into shaking, sweating little babies.

I don't know Ladies and Gentlemen, but Slate Magazine might have an answer. It has a good article called "Scare Them Back." It quotes Bush in a totally outlandish statement:
"And there's some good people in our country who believe we should cut and run. They're not bad people when they say that, they're decent people. I just happen to believe they're wrong." They're not bad sniveling cowards, I just happen to believe they're wrong sniveling cowards. The president went on to suggest that a show of weakness in Iraq will lead to more deaths in the United States. "If we leave before the mission is complete, if we withdraw, the enemy will follow us home."

The message is clear: Vote for Democrats and more Americans will die. For the president and Republicans to pretend this isn't their political message is silly. And in the end it's counterproductive, because it imperils their reputation as the party that assesses threats clearly and speaks about them plainly.

The question the Democrats should be asking is whether Bush's policies are inspiring the people who want to kill us. Since Republicans argue that if you elect Democrats, more Americans will die, it's logical for Democrats to ask whether continuing the current policies will cause more American deaths.
And that might just be the way to get terrorists to listen.

theteach :)


Anonymous said...

The Fear Factor
by Ron Paul

While fear itself is not always the product of irrationality, once experienced it tends to lead away from reason, especially if the experience is extreme in duration or intensity. When people are fearful they tend to be willing to irrationally surrender their rights.

Thus, fear is a threat to rational liberty. The psychology of fear is an essential component of those who would have us believe we must increasingly rely on the elite who manage the apparatus of the central government.

The statement “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is clear, people seek out safety and security when they are in a state of fear, and it is the result of this psychological state that often leads to the surrender of liberty.

As Washington moves towards it summer legislative recess, indications of fear are apparent. Things seem similar to the days before the war in Iraq. Prior to the beginning of the war, several government officials began using phrases like “we don’t want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” and they spoke of drone airplanes being sent to our country to do us great harm.

It is hard to overstate the damage this approach does psychologically, especially to younger people. Of course, we now know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, let alone any capacity to put them to successful use.

To calm fears, Americans accepted the patriot act and the doctrine of pre-emptive war. We tolerated new laws that allow the government to snoop on us, listen to our phone calls, track our financial dealings, make us strip down at airports and even limited the rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury. Like some dysfunctional episode of the twilight zone, we allowed the summit of our imagination to be linked up with the pit of our fears.

Paranoia can be treated, but the loss of liberty resulting from the social psychology to which we continue to subject ourselves is not easily reversed. People who would have previously battled against encroachments on civil liberties now explain the “necessity” of those “temporary security measures” Franklin is said to have railed against.

Anonymous said...

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

Bertrand Russell

Anne said...

Here's a largely ignored point of view: the "terrorist's."
Sure there are crazies and political and religious extremists in every group, but mostly, I suspect Middle-Eastern bombers are doing the same thing Americans would do if we were invaded by another country. It's a sign of desperation to blow one's self up or risk doing so. That's all I gotta say.

Anonymous said...

The question to ask is "Are you better off today than you were 7 years ago? Is the country better off than it was 7 years ago?"

jurassicpork said...

This is a well-written article that perfectly balances facts with the requisite outrage.

One of the reasons, as I'd stated in a recent post of my own, is why should al Qaida waste manpower, resurces and money to terrorize us when they have the GOP to do that work for them?

the teach said...

Thanks so much Jurassic for your complementary words. Maybe reading your blog has helped me write and express myself better.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Well, first off, I want to thank you for the invitation.

I found your words most interesting, and it causes me to remember a past conversation some friends of mine and I had awhile ago on this very matter.

The general thought is that there this whole "War on Terrorism" is a battle that should NOT be fought by the military in forign countries. In fact, that is going in the exact opposite direction. (I will explain why in bit). It needs to be taken care of at the local level with the police and general citizenry.

The reason why I say this is pretty logical.

The entire concept and idea of Terrorisim is for a faction to encourage, force or otherwise coerce the government of their nation to submit to their whims using violence. Instead of going to the polls or making concerete arguments about what needs to be changed and why...they blow up buildings and take people hostage.

Going into the back yards of these people (regardless of nation) only causes them to put further attention on us. They strike at us because they do not like how we do business...and therefore they want to change that. And they go about doing this in the way that they know how (blowing people up). A military or otherwise oppressive presence in their country only gives them MORE reason to hate us and want to strike back.

Now, what should the government do about this sort of thing? Well...not send our troops to paces liket hat would be a start. but right now the damage is done... So what instead? Educate the people. Make them aware of what to look out for, and how to avoid being a target for terrorist attack. Make them aware that this stuff DOES happen.

How do we stop it though? You really can't. What you CAN do is make things more difficult for them to make their plans and carry them out. This is done by having an active and present police force and neighborhood watch. Most acts of terrorisim are less of acts of war and more like civil disturbances.

This is not to say that the Federal Govenment should stay out of this. By all means, they should be involved...but a lot of the solutions that they have implemented are not the answer...or maybe they are an answer, just implemented wrong.

the teach said...

The first thing anonymous is "no we're not better off, we are worse off." Also thank you for Ron Paul's manifesto -- He says it exactly right. And the Bush government counts on our irrationality and fear. And of course Bertrand Russell says almost the same thing.

Anne, I really understand where you're coming from. We (in the West) have created the "terrorists." They hate us and by this time can't be reasoned with. But what can we do now?

And Anime, I do think you're right to suggest educating the people but not with the kind of scare tactics our government uses. Maybe the Israelis can teach us a thing or two.

But remember my point: the terrorists ARE NOT doing to us what they do to Israel and Europe (Britain). They aren't blowing up our busses and trains wily-nily. Why? Because they are planning another BIG attack? I don't think so. I think the government is telling us this.

AnimeFreak40K said...

You want my opinion on why terrorists are not hitting us as hard or in the same manner that they target Britain (or any place in Europe) and/or Israel?

Israel has, debatably one of the best Armies in the world in the way of training, discipline and general soldiering (the US just has better gear). Their Air Force is the best in the world. Period. Underhanded, terrorist strikes are the only way that Israel can be hurt. The last time anybody attempted open combat against Israel they got destroyed in 6 days...and that was a combined effort between some of the most powerful nations in the Middle East at the time. Yeah...don't screw with Israel.

The problem with Britain, is that I honestly do not think their internal security (Police, etc.) are as good as ours is...hence they are able to get away with it.

I imagine that there are hundreds of plans and schemes that are foiled every day by our Police, Investigators, etc. on a daily basis all over the country. People are stopped at the border and checked, there are people paying atteniton and all that stuff. I do not think that any really BIG plots are going to happen unless A: they are so very subtle and long-distance that they are not easily picked up on. B: Someone is asleep at the wheel. C: It is allowed to happen.

Thanks to 9-11, it is not likely anybody is going to be asleep at the wheel any time soon. Despite the inconveniances of all of the check-points, etc. And the fact that it IS possible to sneak stuff past them it should be noted that they cath more than gets through...and the fact that there ARE security check-points will deter all but the most determined of attackers.

So yeah, they are hitting us like they are Britain or other countries not because they do not want is because they simply can't. Not with the effeciency or success rate that they get in Europe. That...and I really don't think they want to piss us off again. Not yet. Because I garuntee that if something on the scale of 9-11 happens or the intense series of attacks like Britain has, we will start carpet-bombing countries. The kid gloves will come off completely.

And by the way, we CAN do it. We have the firepower and manpower to turn Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, You-Pick-A-Stan (or whatever country over there you want) into a frikkin' parking lot with conventional weapons. Iraq is still Iraq because we let it be. Same thing with Afghanistan. If we get hit again like we did with 9-11, I predict WWIII or, if not WWIII...then enough ordinance being tossed around thas has not been seen since WWII. And those terrorist cells know it. They see the line with us, and I think they are affraid to cross it.

Shifting gears now to policy:

While I DO agree that there should be some level of fear that the government instills in the population at large (as it serves to keep people on their toes and help them remain flexible and prepared), as of right now they are doing it wrong. They are stepping over the line and using it for a political agenda, which is just wrong.

And what is even WORSE about that fact, is that the powers that be will allow a large plot to go through quietly and when it goes off they will be able to point fingers and say "HAH, that happened because you let THEM in office. That would have NEVER happened if we were in control!". And guess what? guys like BushCo will be right back in power as if they never left because the public will gobble that up like a kid in a candy store.

To me, those types of tatics are wrong...but that is what will happen. Mark my words. And I do not say this off-handedly either. This is from observation of similar-minded folks in similar positions throughout histroy.

the teach said...

Anime, you've gotten my point exactly. Yes it doesn't happen here because of our law enforcement and FBI and that's good. And we all hope nobody is asleep at the wheel anymore. It doesn't happen here because we're too far away to make it easy.
You say: "I do not think that any really BIG plots are going to happen unless A: they are so very subtle and long-distance that they are not easily picked up on. B: Someone is asleep at the wheel. C: It is allowed to happen."

It's ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? Man, you say this the day after I see "The Bourne Ultimatum" where the government ALLOWED plenty of stuff to happen, god.

Your parking lot scenario has been talked to me by my brother, husband and my nephew...and you know what? I believe the US could make a parking lot out of the Middle East if it wanted to, BUT WE CAN"T DO THAT. You know that...we can't do such things and still consider ourselves human beings.

Comedy + said...

I appreciate your invitation, but I just don't do politics well. I stay current with what is going on around the world, but I just don't like talking politics. I going back to my comedy site now. :)

AnimeFreak40K said...

"It's ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? Man, you say this the day after I see "The Bourne Ultimatum" where the government ALLOWED plenty of stuff to happen, god."

Ok, that amuses me simply by the timing of the suggestion itself. I honestly feel that the Government has done such things in the past, is not afraid to do them now and will do it in the future to fulfill a particular agenda.

For example: It is my personal belief that the US government KNEW the attack on Pearl Harbor was going to happen. We intercepted their transmissions well in advance, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they had already cracked the Japanese Codes a long time ago.

My reasons, aside from that evidence is that I find the following a little too dubious:

- The government wanted to get into WWII for various reasons (getting us out of the Depression was one of them)...but the people wanted to stay out of the war. Period.

- The 'Dreadnought' Race that started towards the end of WWI was showing its true colors: build REALLY big, tough, expensive battleships (the bigger the better), but NEVER use them (because if it is damaged or sunk, it would look SO terrible on the captain and the nation that they would be a navle laughing stock). Aircraft carriers were showing themselves to be more viable than a battleship.

- The locations and positioning of all those ships in Pearl Harbor is a little TOO conveniant if you ask me. That setup is jsut BEGGING to get attacked. Hard.

- Back to the issue of Aircraft Carriers vs. Battleships. Take note of what ships were present at Pearl Harbor, and what ones weren't. The US Navy had only 4 Aircraft carriers in its fleet at that time...and I find it oddly suspicious that all 4, with their escorts, would be out on maneuvers at the exact same time.

Given that, if Pearl Harbor was not an example of something that was allowed to happen, then it is a great example of someone being asleep at the wheel or just a very unfortunate set of coiencidences.

...Yeah, I don't buy that either...

Y"our parking lot scenario has been talked to me by my brother, husband and my nephew...and you know what? I believe the US could make a parking lot out of the Middle East if it wanted to, BUT WE CAN"T DO THAT. You know that...we can't do such things and still consider ourselves human beings."

Well, actually...we can. And we HAVE done similar acts in the past *cough* Hiroshima *cough* Nagasaki *cough*. Why did we drop the bomb then? Several reasons...but one of them was to end the long, costly and bloody conventional war against Japan.

There are lots of reasons why we won't do that though. Not unless provoked again. The primary one, is that although we were able to bully the UN into letting us do whatever we wanted, turning Iraq into a parking lot would not fly. Period.

However, if there is another attack anywhere near (God help them if it exceeds) the scale of 9-11, then I imagine that the country responsible would be wiped off the map. Even if to do nothing but serve as an example of 'We TOLD You! Don't F*** With US!'.

Even if sucn an act happened, the Parking Lot response would not be the first course of action...but I have a strong feeling that it would be on the table fairly early on with many people arguing in favor of it.

the teach said...

Comedy, you could have done something funny about the real terrorists, no? We would have appreciated it...

the teach said...

Anime, So we have a double standard and the government spends a hell of a lot of time covering up from the people the stupid and terrible things it does because, on the whole, "democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried." -- Churchill.

And yeah there's been Hiroshima and Nagasaki when our consciousnesses hadn't been raised (back in the 40s) but can you imagine what would happen in this country today if we blew up the Middle East?

And you're forgetting that there are millions of innocent people in the Middle East, in Iraq, but we're willing to blow them up? Anne's comment on this post. I know we never thought of innocent people in Japan in WWII but we can't forget about innocent people "collateral damage" today.

Given, though,what the US response was when 9/11 happened I can't disagree that we (government, politicians, the people) would be talking "parking lot" pretty quickly. god save us all.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Double-Standard? Not necessarily. Some of it is politically motevated, part of it is thinking down the road a ways (and shfting public opinion a certain way) while some of it is simply playing hardball ('We will do whatever it takes to win/succeed as a nation. No matter what').

This is neither a good or a bad thing (in my opinion), it is just a matter of how it is used. For example, if we were able to properly defend/be prepared against Pearl Harbor, the US would not have likely ended up entering WWII as early as we did. Most of Europe (to include Britain) would have fallen to Hitler (as the Allied forces were getting kicked all over the place before the US joined in the European theatre and D-Day). The recession/Depression would have lasted longer and someone else would have developed the Nuclear Bomb (most likely Hitler).

Though it was a terrible and dirty trick, in the long run it paied off for the better. I say this because it would have taken nothing less than an attack to get the American People behind the US jumping into WWII.

As horrible as the deaths that the Japanese suffered in those two bombings, they were (unfortunatly), considered collateral damage and casualties of war. People die in war...civillian and soldier alike. Did we have to hit those two cities like we did? No. But if we didn't the war would have dragged on for a lot longer and it is likely the death-toll would have been a LOT higher on both sides.

As far as targeting the Middle East and the potential body-count of civillians goes, well...there is absolutly no easy way to put this. So I will try to be as logical and analytical as possile.

The issues with the civillian population in the Middle East are very...difficult for Westerners to wrap their heads around.

You are talking about a group of people who are guided by Religion. Money and Patriotisim mean nothing. Their family and their Religion is everything. A man would gladly blow himself up if that meant his family would be protected and/or taken care of. They would follow their religious leaders into the gates of hell and back...any manner and method of logic be dammed.

Are the civillians over there innocent? Yes and no. You see, you have people who in one breath say "We really hate what these Terrorists and Insurgents are doing and we would wish that they would stop" and in the EXACT same breath absolutly REFUSE to provide enforcement officials (local or otherwise) information to do just that. There is also the matter that the very nature of an insurgency is that there is no active military/government force. Yeah, they may call themselves 'such-and-such army', but that is just a name. By all definition, they are civillians.

When fighting an enemy as insurgents, terrorists, etc. you walk a very thin line indeed. Becasue on one hand you are fighting against someone who who wishes to sow death, fear and destruction...but they are not soldiers. When they are killed, they will be tallied as 'Innocent Civillians' by everyone concerned.

How do you deal with that? How do you fight an enemy when faced with a 'Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't' situation?

The only reason why an event like 9-11 happening agin would get the 'turn the country into a parking lot' some serious talk from all angles is simply because we have tried doing things the 'hard, difficult, bloody but right way' and that did not work. So the alternitive is to utterly destroy them (the fast, devastating, effective but evil way). In doing this, we would have eliminated the threat without a shadow of a doubt...and those we did not get (or different factions) would be unwilling to make similar attempts, or they would suffer the same fate.

I do not advocate using such excessive force mind you. I do not want it or encoruage it. However, one can only fight with both hands tied behind one's back for so long. A person can only 'turn the other cheek' so many times and they can accept doing things the hard, though ultimatly right, way without success before something gives and more drastic measures are taken.

I do not like or necessarily agree with the idea...but I can't fault anyone for putting it on the table and genuinely wishing to enact it.

the teach said...

I cannot but agree with your WWII scenario. We HAD to come into the was to help Britain and save Europe and the Jews from a crazy, sick dictator. Did it take a sneak attack on PH to get people in to US to be behind the war. Probably yes. I do believe that.
However I say this in hindsight... Read Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" to get an on-the-scene argument against isolationism vs. getting into the war. Would I have argued for isolationism or going to war? Here I am arguing in 2007 against going to war... but I believe in the 1940s I would know what was going on in Europe and in Germany vis-a-vis the Jews and want us to help. Again of course I would be on the RIGHT side in hindsight.

The people in the Middle East, in Iraq, are POOR. Money does means everything. They turn to Religion the way peasants and serfs in the Middle Ages turned to the Church which promised Life Everlasting (maybe not 40 virgins)if you were good and stuck it out and did right by your neighbor, etc. That's the problem in the Middle East. The people are dirt poor (See my post one ICE in Iraq) and when life sucks here on earth religion gives one hope and the suckier life is the harder one fights for the truth of the religion. All this and a deep deep hatred of the West that is RICH and has everything.

Oh Anime, we are both well-meaning, sympathetic individuals looking at this and trying real hard to find an acceptable solution. But maybe it isn't ours to solve (although we went in there and exacerbated the situation) The government of Iraq, the insurgents MUST come to some working agreement. I hope they can do that with us out of there. I say I hope because in truth I just want our soldiers out of there.

Then our problem will only be the religious fundamentalists under the name of al Qaeda. And if we're out of the Middle East and al Qaeda is very lucky and attacks us again, where will we bomb into a parking lot? Does al Qaeda have a country?
No. That's why it IS very difficult to fight terrorists.

Maybe we train our own group of "terrorists" to fight the terrorists...oh I don't know I'm getting crazy now.

jm4847 said...

September 11 really changed everything. And if people are trully so affraid that are willing to give up their civil rights and freedom, then the terrorist got what they wanted.
As to why there hasn't been another attack, they've talked about how they frustrated a few, but nothing as big as the towers.

the teach said...

And so jm4847, why don't the terrorists attack us in small and fearful ways?

AnimeFreak40K said...

WWII was a vastly different situation than the conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is simply no comparison. I only brought it up to show how the government is willing to allow terrible things to happen to further their ends - either for good or for ill.

It is funny that you mention that Middle Easterners are poor. This is only a half-truth. Back before teh Iraq-Iran War (when we supported Saddam), Iraq was among the richest countries in the Middle East. Their military was the best and the strongest, and their people had a standard of living that far exceeded anybody elce in the region. They were the cultural center of the area. Saudie Arabia is one of the richest nations in the world. Period. The problem is that all of that wealth is possessed by only a very VERY few individuals while everyone else lives in squalor.

The main problem that those people have is that they are still stuck in the mindset of the middle-ages. Culturally they have not evolved beyond 1200 AD. Yes, they have modern conveniences and technology...but none of it they have developed or produced themselves. Their religion still controls the government or, in fact, IS the government(As opposed to the West, where that stopped happening long ago).

Your second-to-last paragraph is the crux of the problems facing most nations (not just the US). How do you fight groups like Al Qaeda? They do not have a country, no flag, no land or government. They are a criminal organization. You cannot fight them on the conventional battlefield...and yet we are attempting to just that. We are still learning how to properly deal with them, as this is an entirely new concept.

This also brings us to a situation similar to where we are now: One way to stop organizations like that is to take down the governments and individuals that sponsor them. Without funding or support, the orgamizations shrivel and die. The problem is finding getting to those supporters.

AnimeFreak40K said...

"And so jm4847, why don't the terrorists attack us in small and fearful ways?"

If he doesn't reply, here is my 2 cents:

Trying to nickle-and dime us to death won't work fast enough. The United States is to large of a country and we Americans tend to be fairly adaptable. They will find and exploit a vulnerability at one location and it will be a success, but they will never be able to do it again.

Also, our law-enforcement, investagation and intelligence gathering is top-notch (despite what the news would have you believe). More plots are foiled in their early planning stages than we will EVER know about...that said, they can't get enough plans made and acted upon before they are dealt with.

Americans, by default, are very patriotic to their home country...even if they are first-generation immigrants. They are also generally law-abiding citizens. Finding and recruiting people within our borders is difficult...getting them to actually break the law and kill people is even harder.

Next, small attacks would not be effective. Yeah, you will irritate some people...but you really won't get anybody's attention. The United States is just TOO big (as in population and size) and TOO busy to care.

In addition, it is a matter of attitude. For example: IF you some how manage to blow up a subway, the general populace scared for a little while, but that fear will quickly change to anger. And history has shown that angry Americans tend to bring far more trouble than it is worth. Want some proof? In WWII, the Japanese gave us a bloody nose by sneak-attacking Pearl Harbor. Our reply? We ground Japan's Navy into powder and dropped a pair of nukes on them...THEN we turned around and kicked Germany's teeth in...and they had NOTHING to do with Pearl Harbor! Recently, the Al Quada attacked the WTC buildings. Our reply? Invade, conquer and begin the restructuring of two different countries.

The purpose of terrorisim, jm4847, is to use fear, discord, chaos and destruction to force teh government to change. The idea is that if they cause trouble...the people will demand that the government give in to the whims of these individuals. In all simplicity, it is classic school-yard bullying. And Americans, despite all of our faults and problems, do NOT give in to bullies.

And not offense to any European readers, but Europe has shown more of a tendancy to give in to such behavior...prefering to go the route of appeasement.

Oh...and MaryT, please forgive me if I seem to be spamming your Blog (or at least this subject). This is the sort of stuff I really enjoy talking about and discussing. This is a most interesting thread, and I enjoy your opinions and the opinions of your commenters.

the teach said...

Anime, you say: "The problem is that all of that wealth is possessed by only a very VERY few individuals while everyone else lives in squalor." That's what I meant when I said the Middle East is poor.

And you say: "One way to stop organizations like that (al-Qaeda)is to take down the governments and individuals that sponsor them. Without funding or support, the orgamizations shrivel and die. The problem is finding getting to those supporters."

Do you have to "take down" governments and individuals that support terrorist orgs or can you enter into negotiations (like England and Jerry Adams and Sinn Fein have.See below) We don't negotiate with Saudi Arabia because...we want the oil. We WON'T negotiate with Iran because they have nuclear weapons. We'd rather fight, take them down and have the oil and reign supreme over the Middle East than use diplomacy.

"The definitive end of The Troubles and thus of the Peace Process came in 2007. Following the St Andrews Agreement of October 2006, and March 2007 elections, the DUP and Sinn Fein formed a government in May 2007. In July 2007, the British Army formally ended Operation Banner, their mission in Northern Ireland which began 38 years earlier, in 1969. -- Wikipedia)

Who'da thunk it the IRA divested of all it's weapons and pledged to peace?

Can't that happen between us (the US, the West) and the Middle East? Or is it just pie in the sky?

And Anime, if you are tired of this conversation which I have enjoyed immensely (and I rarely have with family and friends around me) I won't mind your quitting. I know where to find you (at TownCalled Dobson) and I know there will be other conversations. :)

the teach said...

Anime, this is my reply to your comment putting your two cents in:

You say: "Trying to nickle-and dime us to death won't work fast enough." This is probably true enough. We are a very big country.

You say: "Also, our law-enforcement, investagation and intelligence gathering is top-notch" I absolutely agree. I think we have to some give credit to our law enforcement agencies for the fact that another big one hasn't happened here. (I still believe it would be easy for the terrorists to make pipe bombs and put them on busses in cities across the country and scare the bejeezuz out of us.)

You say: "Finding and recruiting people within our borders is difficult...getting them to actually break the law and kill people is even harder." WABC News in NYC just said that local cells of terrorists not al-Qaeda have been identified all over NYC and the country. Home-grown terrorists!

Anime, I really believe small attacks over time would really get citizens scared stiff!

Appeasement? or Diplomacy? See my remarks about peace in Northern Ireland in previous post.

You are the most interesting and intelligent commenter, Anime. Never thought you were spamming my blog.

As I said in my last post I'm sure there's a lot more discussion to come.

I hope jm4847 comes back and reads your post.

AnimeFreak40K said...

My primary concern is that some folks may not appreciate some upstart pot-stirring loudmouth stomping all over their blog. Even though I was invited, I do not want to wear out my welcome. I have been replying a lot...I just want to make sure I am not nearing or approaching any boundries or anything. Darmy that courtesy!! XD

The thing with the IRA an dpeace was acheived through diplomatic relations. But you see, this was done between the governing bodies and the IRA itself. A fairly simple magger logistically if you realy think about it.

The problem with diplomatic relations in the Middle East are far more complex. You can negotiate with the government of You-Pick-A-Stan...this may or may not make any measure of progress. But just because the government agrees to certain activities does not mean that the people, corporations and organizations that exist within that country will do so. Heck, you could get the local government to agree and everything is nice and smooth on the surface, but behind closed doors and out of the public eye they are going about business as usual. Saudie Arabia is a fine example of this actually. On a government level, they are our best friends...but their people hate us with a passion and act accordingly.

Why is this allowed to happen? Well, part of it is the Middle Eastern mind. Regardless of their luxeries, money and social status, the Middle East is still stuck in a very midieval time, at least mentally. Also, the mentality is a matter of loyalty. Those in the Middle East do not have loyalties to 'King and Country' like we Westerners do. The vast majority of the people couldn't care less really. Their loyalties lie with their tribe/family and their religion. Everything else is secondary or inconsequential.

Consider this hypothetical example: The United States manages to sit down and talk with Syria. Our governments make a lot of headway and political tensions become nonexistant. But there is one group of people who they start causing problems with the US. The US calls Syria on this, and through further negotiations, the Syrian government agrees. They do their homework and find that this organization is acting as they see fit based on Islamic Law (one of which states that those who are not Muslim will either convert or die by the way). They are acting within legal boundries of their religion and the Government does not want to mess wtih that, or face serious reprecussions.

So, what can be done? Well, the Syrian government can crack down on this group - but doing so, they risk pissing off any other religious sects, individuals and organizations or even other countries. They can simply stop supporting this group - absolutly worthless if the group has its own sponsors. They can ignore the situation - but risk the anger of the United States.

The fact of the matter is, that this small, example religious group is untouchable by the government. They don't care about what the government says or does (they may even view them as the enemy as well). Other groups and outside governments ma not condone what this group is doing...but because it is outside of their country and/or within Islamic Law, it is accepted.

So to answer your questions: Yes, you need to take down those governments and individuals. You can attempt to negotiate peace, but doing so is not a simple matter in the least. The deal with the NRA was able to happen because that was just one faction. Just because we are able to sit down and negotiate with Osama Bin-Laden (for example) and are able to reach an micable agreement does not mean that every single cell of Al-Qada will follow suit. We would have to negotiate with each and every single cell all over the world. Not impossible...but to be perfectly honest, although distasteful, wiping them all out would be easier (which would be a feat inof itself!) Also consider that not all factions, organizations, etc. would be even willing to talk. Some are very much of the mindset of 'Victory or Death'. Their is no compromising with them. None. They will see their views realized or die in the process.

That said, I think we can get SOME groups to stop attacking or causing problems. But for the most part, negotiations are all but impossible.

Shifting gears to your second post now (I would like to try and get it all to one reply ^_^):

Here is the problem with folks trying to do the whole pipe-bomb attack bit: Locations where that stuff would have any effect would be in major cities. Most folks would attribute that to gang-related activity before Terrorists...and if the Terrorists claim that they did the attack, you will get more pissed off people than scared ones. I have been around the country...and although the citizens would, indeed be scared, they would encourage and demand Martial Law before giving in. That is the American mentality. Americans generally do NOT get scared, they fight back. Any organization that started destroying our infastructre would succeed in scaring people away from those facilities, but the reply would be to ultimatly clean house.

I agree that there are, indeed all sorts of home-grown terrorists running around the US wanting to cause problems. However they cannot receive anywhere near the support necessary to become more than a minor problem. Nobody with money or power in the country will help them, external help is long or hard in comming. They could band together to create a problem...but they would not be too much worse than your garden-variety 'Bloods' and 'Cryps' style gangs. If they did, they would bring the NSA, FBI, CIA and possibly military forces down on them like the fist of an agry god. And they know it.

I do appreciate your kind words, and I would like to continue this conversation. This is most interesting and I like the exchange of ideas.

I am actually half expecting someone else to throw their 2 cents at me as well. I could use the money.

the teach said...

Anime, this morning on NPR, Brian Lehrer had a program on home-grown terrorists. The NYPD has released a report called "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat." It's about domestic terrorism and how we can recognize it. Here's a quote: "the Islamic communities in the city have been permeated by radical Islamist elements, extremists." And another: "The Internet is where jihadists can go to train as terrorists."

I posted about this to this blog:

I know this changes the point of our discussion a little but do you mind? I'd like to get your take on the report and the claim by certain groups that the report promotes profiling.

And can we continue our discussion at the post address I mentioned above? It's entitled "Will NYPD terrorism report lead to profiling?"

Also here's something else I learned today: Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies)[1] is an adage that Mike Godwin formulated in 1990. The law states:[2]

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Like that?

the teach said...