A Set of Debatable Assertions About Terrorism

(To those of you who opened the thread in order to reply: “Yes, those are indeed assertions” — th-ppppt! :stuck_out_tongue: )

A. The unfortunate response of the Free (or freer) World to any belligerence from countries, societies, or other organizations that rely on violent coercion is to become more like them.

B. It is a tactic better named than most folks realize: terrorism is not only about trying to instill terror in one’s enemies, it is also a set of behaviors that are of the sort that one engages in when one is terrified. In conjunction with A above, belligerent violence coercion is how one deals with other parties when one is scared of things and wants to control them. I hold that this is true of societies as well as individuals.

C. The United States of America is not a nation beset with terrorist attacks. The UK rather obviously is, as of a double-handful of hours ago. Israel is, in a more protracted ongoing sense than the US has ever known. The UK has historically been there as a consequence of the problems in Ireland. Ireland itself, likewise has been there. Palestine, not officially a country at the moment, is and has been there. The UK may or may not continue to fall into that category. Their current situation is due, apparently, to Al Qaeda, the org responsible for the hole in the ground where once stood the World Trade Center towers in NY, USA, giving them two really significant terrorism spectacles in just under 4 years’ time. Folks in Israel and Palestine might conceivably consider this to be a state of peace and calm to which they aspire, especially if they could spread their 2 terrorist attacks per every 4 years between two countries instead of having to host them both. Should the US, and should the UK, go into Serious Control Mode and dispense with unfettered unmonitored freedoms of whatever on the part of folks (citizens or otherwise) who exist within their borders? I’m inclined to say “no”, in general. You can’t watch everything and prevent anything without becoming a prison, at which point perhaps the risk of being blown up by terrorists is not necessarily worse.

D. Al Qaeda harbors a shithead mentality with no redeeming political social or religious characteristics worth saluting or acknowledging, but the supporters thereof have some legitimate gripes. And probably those legitimate gripes had a hell of a lot to do with fertilizing the ground in which Al Qaeda came into being. There’s something I’ve never fully understood…I keep thinking I’m missing an important detail somewhere, because I find it hard to believe our leaders, over the course of many administrations and many political parties in power in more than one so-called western modern democratic nation, could be the ones missing the obvious: why the fuck isn’t the CIA and the UK equiv (M-something-or other? Sorry, not up on my spy stuff) actively organizing democratic parliamentary or US-style movements, and supporting their success, in every despotic coercive violence-prone country, instead of doing the prop-up-a-dictator bullshit that they do? The loss of economic harvests due to making nice-nice with tinhat dictators in order to exploit resources would pretty obviously be offset by the significant reduction in dictators-gone-amok and/'or new coervice regimes arising out of revolt against “our” dictators, especially once you throw terrorism into the mix as a consideration. Were all our leaders and planners totally out to lunch and missed the lessons of the Marshall Plan?

E. The United States of America should have formally apologized for falsifying attach information to trump up charges against Spain for purposes of stripping Spain of territories we wanted. The US should have apologized for installing the Shah of Iran, and for doing what we did in Chile (Allende/Pinochet), and for refusing to acknowledge the vote in Vietnam. Or, for those of you who are inclined to disagree with one or more of these: the US should apologize for those times and places where we coercively interfered with processes in other countries for strategic advantage, whatever those times and places might be. I do not say we need to apologize for having more of a penchant for stepping in where our immediate interests lie, be those interests petroleum or transport-line control or whatever, than we do for stepping in in parts of the world where only idealistic ideological concerns would motivate us. But our self-interest cannot legitimately permit us to install dictators or interfere in decently democratic processes, at least not unless we can show that our interference was actively in support of more decision-making authority falling into the hands of the average person in the country we interfere with. The US should do these things because the US has made a big deal about itself as morally righteous about political freedom, which is, I think, an admirable thing to aspire to and claim, but with the claim comes the responsibility for living up to it. If the UK and Germany and Russia and the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal and China and Japan and so forth wish to similarly claim a love for political freedom and democracy, a lot more apologies are in order, even if we set an ideological cutoff point of the beginning of the 19th Century. At any rate, the ideology has to become reality: terrorism will abound and thrive to whatever extent we continue to manipulate the local political fortunes we want our economic or strategic hands in, and in a sense — sorry, but it’s true — this is a really good thing. Al Qaeda may be a morally dissatisfying avenging angel, horrid as it and its goals are, but there’s a sense in which, nevertheless, its victims crapped in the soil it arose from and thereby fertilized it all too well.

That depends on whether you view all violence as being equal. Neither American nor UK troops are blowing themselves up in buses full of civilians–nor would expect that to ever occur.

It is currently well named. How well so it might have been in regards to Ireland depends on how many non-military targets were (purposely) hit. I don’t know.
I would disagree that the Al Qaeda members are attacking out of fear though. Certainly they are using terrorist tactics as it would be suicide to try and fight the US army in a straight fight. But outside of that, I would personally have to say that this is much more an issue of machismo.

Agreed. Of course, we are also much less tolerant to it as well.

In their own mind, certainly. Whether one should accept hatred based on racial or religous differences as a “legitimate gripe” is debateable.

Countries that have never had a benevolent government tend to have their democracies cease being democracies within a matter of hours. I suspect that they’ve just determined that it is better to help less-evil guy stay in while all alternatives in the country are still more-evil.

I personally think that in GW Bush’s mind, Hussein was predetermined as being linked to 9/11, and all evidence that he looked at was reinterpretted by his brain into making that assumption correct.
However, the other several million people who let him get away with it probably were interested in both of those outcomes–strategic positioning within the area and improving the lot of the people there.

I agree that we shouldn’t interfere to go after resources or solely strategic positioning.
But manipulating foreign events so that they become less bloody, I can live with. That may cause 1000 American or European civilians to die by terrorism, but that is better than genocide within the country itself. Of course, that is assuming that our fiddlings are able to prevent mass blood-shed rather than causing it.
However, I had believed (and speaking with a highly racist Taxi driver from Iraq or Iran) the big issue wasn’t our fiddling about propping up despots–but the creation of Isreal as a Jewish nation after WWII?

Like the US is the only country to do such things w/o apologizing, to one degree or another I would wag that all countries has also done this, well maybe not including Seaworld (or whatever that AA platformcountry is called), then again there was the time the Seaworld was taken by force and retaken by the ‘prince’ and the occupying force were held prisoners and were threatened with execution, which could be taken as coercive force.

If anything the US is just more effective then other countries, which is nothing to apoligize for, but perhaps we would consider it if most other countries also apologized for their use of coercive force.


I said otherwise?


Is that because of some innate “moral superiority” or restraint on their part, or just because they have the technological/military advantage and don’t need to resort to such tactics? I’m pretty sure the number of civilians killed by Western “smart bombs” is far greater than the number of civilians killed by suicide bombers, for instance.


But in general, the two big laws in warfare are:*

  1. Non-combatants should not be attacked (though it is assumed they will be damaged peripherally)
  2. No assassinating the general on the other side.

So as long as you aren’t violating either of those, you are still fighting an honorable battle by traditional standards.

Again, this is entirely subjective.
Which side is actually the more morally just is, of course, all in the eyes of the beholder. Personally, I would be voting on Antarctica for actually clean.

  • In my understanding

Honestly, it seems more that our culture doesn’t value dying for a cause to the same degree other cultures do. We sure seem willing to kill for a cause, though.

That’s an impression. I wonder if there is any validity. Does Islam have any specific proscription of suicide? No, I should rephrase. I’m fairly certain that suicide is proscribed, but is it shocking and taboo or simply against the rules?

Were these laws written by generals, by any chance? :slight_smile:

But, really it’s not feasible to target the big guys. If you want to take over the kingdom of the US, assassinating GW Bush and then assassinating Cheney, then #3 then #4–well it’s going to take you a long time to take over the country. And in the meantime, the US will have responded by assassinating you, and your #2, #3, and #4 in return.
Note that this is why feud’s have historically been so violent–the two families just keep picking off each other one at a time without actually planning through for a “decisive battle”–and so the feud just keeps on going as they keep making the other side more and more angry.