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John Cuthber

terminology of terror

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There is a degree of truth in that pronoucement. I have always felt, myself, that even the word 'War' is misleading. You do not go to war against assorted small groups who hide from you.

 

It is much more like a police action against organised crime (the Mafia) or against assorted criminal gangs. I do not see any difference, frankly.

 

The use of the term 'War' was part of the justification for Bush junior attacking Iraq - an action that is totally unjustifiable if the correct terminology is used.

 

Not sure what term to use to replace 'terror'. Criminal violence, perhaps?

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I've always hated the phrase. It serves to keep the enemy vague, the war indefinite and the people at home fearful. What a carefully spun phrase and a coup for businesses who serve the industry!

 

And I've always said fighting unconventional terrorists with conventional means is like a Warner Bros cartoon where the country bumpkin tries to rid his house of flies with a shotgun. Other than diplomacy and economic coersion with the nations who give terrorists a home I don't have a substitute.

 

Actually I do, but it involves giving me the US defense budget for 6 months. I will spend it on ninjas (we'll see who's terrified now). I get to pocket what I don't spend. ;)

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The best method of attacking Al Qaeda and its allies is by subterfuge. Introduce field agents to infiltrate their organisations, and feed back information.

 

Once the relevent authorities have the right information, they can attack the criminals using small surgical strikes to achieve the maximum results.

 

Having said that, I believe it is happening anyway. I suspect that Al Qaeda by now contains agents from the US, Britain, Mossad, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc. Perhaps, eventually, Al Qaeda will consist of nothing else.

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I've always hated the phrase. It serves to keep the enemy vague, the war indefinite and the people at home fearful. What a carefully spun phrase and a coup for businesses who serve the industry!

 

And I've always said fighting unconventional terrorists with conventional means is like a Warner Bros cartoon where the country bumpkin tries to rid his house of flies with a shotgun. Other than diplomacy and economic coersion with the nations who give terrorists a home I don't have a substitute.

 

Actually I do, but it involves giving me the US defense budget for 6 months. I will spend it on ninjas (we'll see who's terrified now). I get to pocket what I don't spend. ;)

 

How would you label this struggle if not a war on terror?

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How would you label this struggle if not a war on terror?

 

Terror extermination? Everything we call a war, other than actual wars, never goes away.

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How would you label this struggle if not a war on terror?
Cowardly Violent Extremism Playing Into the Hands of Business?

 

Spending Billions on Worldwide Aggression For Less Than 10,000 Fanatics?

 

Opposing Religious Zealotry By Blowing Up Mosques?

 

Fighting Fire With Gasoline?

 

Diplomacy Makes Us Look Weak?

 

Reciprocity on Steroids?

 

Gimme Allah the Oil?

 

This is the problem with labels. Short ones makes great sound bytes that bypasses reason and good judgment and strike at emotions. Labels long enough to actually describe the problem with an eye towards rational thinking tend to bore people so fewer people read them. So if you're selling the public on a costly war with an objective made impossible by the methodology involved, you bypass good judgment and go for short and emotional.

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Spending Billions on Worldwide Aggression For Less Than 10,000 Fanatics?

 

That's my favorite...

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How would you label it?

 

It is an international police action against some particularly nasty and violent criminals.

 

One of the problems with treating it like a war is that wars tend to escalate. As in, World Trade Centre to Afghanistan, to Pakistan, to Iraq ....

 

How is it that a person who makes it to the White House has to be such a destructive idiot?

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How is it that a person who makes it to the White House has to be such a destructive idiot?

 

Well if that's not oversimplifying things...

 

What about the fact that countries harbor these criminals? What's your terrific idea to deal with that? Since Bush is such an idiot, you must have a smart alternative plan yourself right?

 

I'm on board with not calling it a war. But Afghanistan was justified. War or not, nations that produce and harbor these criminals should be held accountable - which includes military force. Otherwise, they can attack us with essential immunity as long as their group stays protected by a nation state that won't cooperate with the countries they're attacking.

 

Think about it. That's the best of both worlds for these countries. They have an army that is attacking the enemy, that they are not responsible for. They get the benefit of this army, without the liability that goes with it.

 

You support that? Got any ideas on that one? Sanctions cause mass death to innocent civilians (more than war), so that's not a better option than war.

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The best method of attacking Al Qaeda and its allies is by subterfuge. Introduce field agents to infiltrate their organisations, and feed back information.

 

Once the relevent authorities have the right information, they can attack the criminals using small surgical strikes to achieve the maximum results.

 

Having said that, I believe it is happening anyway. I suspect that Al Qaeda by now contains agents from the US, Britain, Mossad, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc. Perhaps, eventually, Al Qaeda will consist of nothing else.

Sure, but they can still be sucessful often enough. And that's the point, just like smuggling drugs, you don't need to be successful all the time, law enforcement is basically a cost of doing business. Law enforcement will only mean the drug trade or terror attacks acts at some reduced rate.This is the reason that we have a war on drugs, and terror, because law enforcement is seen as a failed policy by some.

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I sense a thread split coming up... ;)

 

Skye mentioned the "War on Drugs". This is another vague and indefinite "war" with an undefined timeline that uses conventional means against an unconventional enemy. It too has been largely unsuccessful. What's next, the War on Morality? The War on Independent Thinking? The War on Peace?

 

Are the majority so easily manipulated that as soon as the "war" label is added to something we stop questioning it and let the "experts" step in? Spin and the art of the sound byte have become a science unto themselves with advanced media shrinking the planet. How carefully prepared do you want your truth?

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Terror extermination? Everything we call a war, other than actual wars, never goes away.

 

 

Actually, I don't think our "terror extermination" efforts are going to go away either.

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Cowardly Violent Extremism Playing Into the Hands of Business?

 

Spending Billions on Worldwide Aggression For Less Than 10,000 Fanatics?

 

Opposing Religious Zealotry By Blowing Up Mosques?

 

Fighting Fire With Gasoline?

 

Diplomacy Makes Us Look Weak?

 

Reciprocity on Steroids?

 

Gimme Allah the Oil?

 

Let me rephrase: Assuming you believe there is actually a threat in play against the US in the world today and that a meaningful diplomatic and, at times, military, effort must be mustered against that threat, what would you call that effort?

 

This is the problem with labels. Short ones makes great sound bytes that bypasses reason and good judgment and strike at emotions. Labels long enough to actually describe the problem with an eye towards rational thinking tend to bore people so fewer people read them. So if you're selling the public on a costly war with an objective made impossible by the methodology involved, you bypass good judgment and go for short and emotional.

 

If you don't call it anything, you can also pretend that no problem exists.

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How would you label it?

 

Me?

 

I'm not sure. How about the campaign against islamic fascists (but not all of Islam, only the fascist elements)? That will get the liberals on my side since they have an emotional aversion to fascism.

 

It is an international police action against some particularly nasty and violent criminals.

 

Umm... no it's not.

 

It's not just international. Each nation has the right to protect itself although cooperation is also key.

 

It's not just by police. It uses spooks and the military.

 

It's not just one action. It's an ongoing campaign.

 

They are not just criminals. They are varied but there are commonalities in their ideology and they consider you to be their enemy.

 

One of the problems with treating it like a war is that wars tend to escalate. As in, World Trade Centre to Afghanistan, to Pakistan, to Iraq ....

 

You would not have taken out the Taliban in Afghanistan? Iraq is debatable but Afghanistan?

 

How would you have brought the "nasty" criminals in Afghanistan to justice?

 

How is it that a person who makes it to the White House has to be such a destructive idiot?

 

I know. They should have elected me. :rolleyes:

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Let me rephrase: Assuming you believe there is actually a threat in play against the US in the world today and that a meaningful diplomatic and, at times, military, effort must be mustered against that threat, what would you call that effort?
I will label the current effort "misguided". It is causing the enemy to grow faster than we can deal with them. Terrorism is a very real threat but by labeling our actions as a war against it we are merely guaranteeing that the enemy will always be able to find plenty of zealots ready to die for the cause.

 

Economics and diplomacy wielded against countries housing terrorists are methods I would label as "effective" and "proven" when it comes to diffusing unconventional situations. "Non-invasion" is tough to get riled up enough to commit suicide for.

If you don't call it anything, you can also pretend that no problem exists.
Thanks for the strawman, but as I mentioned I prefer my truth less packaged. I didn't think this was implying I wanted to pretend it didn't exist.

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Economics and diplomacy wielded against countries housing terrorists are methods I would label as "effective" and "proven" when it comes to diffusing unconventional situations. "Non-invasion" is tough to get riled up enough to commit suicide for.

 

And yet they did get riled up enough to commit suicide on 9/11 despite no invasion. They've been attacking for 3 decades. They've never had a problem recruiting.

 

I agree in that you don't want to help recruitment in that regard, but your points seem to imply that without our invasions that recruitment would be nil. If it was nil...we wouldn't be talking about this right now. 9/11 and 3 previous decades of terror attacks on the US wouldn't have happened in the first place. They don't need our actions to produce propaganda material - they do just find without any truth at all.

 

Also, why do you think that increases in terrorism and recruitment means you shouldn't fight back? No one has replied to this point yet. The logic "we're creating more terrorism" seems obviously tied to fighting back in the first damn place. Are we not supposed to lift a finger? And, how do you fight back without creating more terrorism?

 

And what's the point of the statement anyway? That we shouldn't fight back at all? Just take the terror attacks and suck it up? Sorry, I'm not that pacifist. Anything you do will result in a more ferocious campaign by Islamofacist murder cowards. That doesn't mean your actions are wrong. That just means the bully got pissed when we started thumping him back.

 

Oh, and have you done any reading on sanctions and the kind of misery you spread with that supposed "diplomatic" effort? Only the civilians suffer, not the regime. With physical war, some civilians suffer and all of the regime.

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Also, why do you think that increases in terrorism and recruitment means you shouldn't fight back?
I don't want this thread to stray too far away from where the OP obviously wanted it but I will address this point in terms of terminology. Fighting back with conventional means is terrorism's objective. Therefore labeling it "The War on Terror" is playing into their hands. Plain and simple. It's a trap laid for us that we're forcing our soldiers to step into with big military-issue combat boots.

 

I didn't say we shouldn't fight back. I said we need to use unconventional means and stop throwing billions away for what amounts to a handful of zealots. Remember my ninjas (I'll give up pocketing the difference in what I spend vs the US defense budget if it makes you feel more comfortable)? I'd simply prefer it if we stopped using failed methods and start fighting smarter, in ways that don't fan the flames.

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I don't want this thread to stray too far away from where the OP obviously wanted it but I will address this point in terms of terminology. Fighting back with conventional means is terrorism's objective. Therefore labeling it "The War on Terror" is playing into their hands. Plain and simple. It's a trap laid for us that we're forcing our soldiers to step into with big military-issue combat boots.

 

I didn't say we shouldn't fight back. I said we need to use unconventional means and stop throwing billions away for what amounts to a handful of zealots. Remember my ninjas (I'll give up pocketing the difference in what I spend vs the US defense budget if it makes you feel more comfortable)? I'd simply prefer it if we stopped using failed methods and start fighting smarter, in ways that don't fan the flames.

 

I couldn't agree more actually. With all of the repetitious "we're creating more terrorists" it just seems like everyone is dilluting themselves with CNN sound bytes that aren't very thoughtful. I'm totally all about the ninja's though. They're always a good investment.

 

But I don't think you can do anything without fanning the flames. Although, I'm sure we could turn down the velocity...

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Islamic movements, extremist or not, is not a new operation. the theology or ideology has a very long history, basically not to pretty. since others including the Christan's, Catholics and even the Jewish have histories not all that pleasant, i might suggest the Islamic basic concepts are the last hold outs to a unified world. this meaning all the peoples have indisputable right to worship or not worship, entities of their own.

 

the billions spent, i assume means Iraq or Afghanistan, are attempts to give the people of a nation the rights i suggest. if these 50 million people can achieve any form of governing which can allow free choice, especially for their woman, the right to choose leaders, or practice any chosen religion, then the billions will have been well spent.

 

the US, is no less diversified than any country, the last i heard 200 plus major religious groups and people from every known country on the planet. under an established process any person, can be born in any spot on earth and achieve most any goal imaginable. many have...

 

fanning the flames, is an interest concept. the very few recruits seem to be poor, not well educated and come from places where waring is the only know activity. anti- almost anything types are in every neighborhood, in every country and easily converted to any form of anarchy. yet with all the potential, the human bombers seem to be down to kids and woman, even to the point of being the bomb. remember under Islamic law, females hold no rights, this includes an order, the last submissive component.

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I will label the current effort "misguided".

 

You are studiously refusing to apply a label which could be accepted as neutral or objective while at the same time carping about the use of the phrase "war on terror." It's easy to throw stones but not so easy to provide an alternative.

 

A leader in times of conflict has to call the conflict something. I agree that war on terror is not accurate but at least it communicates GWB's perception of the event. To ask the administration to call their own efforts, "misguided" is to avoid answering the question.

 

 

It is causing the enemy to grow faster than we can deal with them. Terrorism is a very real threat but by labeling our actions as a war against it we are merely guaranteeing that the enemy will always be able to find plenty of zealots ready to die for the cause.

 

I understand that is your opinion. The elected president disagrees with this notion and you can't expect him to label his efforts based on a world view with which he disagrees.

 

Economics and diplomacy wielded against countries housing terrorists are methods I would label as "effective" and "proven" when it comes to diffusing unconventional situations. "Non-invasion" is tough to get riled up enough to commit suicide for.

 

You would think so, wouldn't you? It's too bad that reality does not comform with this common sense view of the world as it should be.

Thanks for the strawman, but as I mentioned I prefer my truth less packaged. I didn't think this was implying I wanted to pretend it didn't exist.

 

Yet you are packaging the "truth" in the most slanted terms.

 

Doing nothing is the practical result of refusing to label a problem. Maybe we have never fought a "war on poverty" or a "war on terror" but you have to have some kind of tag line to reference the effort.

 

Out of curiosity, do you disagree with GWB's invasion of Afghanistan?

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You are studiously refusing to apply a label which could be accepted as neutral or objective while at the same time carping about the use of the phrase "war on terror." It's easy to throw stones but not so easy to provide an alternative.
Probably because easy labels are rarely neutral or objective. But I'll apply the best I can: Overwhelming Some Terrorists With Underwhelming Results. Oh, snap!

 

A leader in times of conflict has to call the conflict something. I agree that war on terror is not accurate but at least it communicates GWB's perception of the event. To ask the administration to call their own efforts, "misguided" is to avoid answering the question.
Ah, backpedaling to "conflict" instead of "war"? Good packaging.

 

Sorry, I never got the sense you were asking me to offer up a label the White House could willingly switch to. How about, "Just Deserts For Al-Qaeda"? Misspelling and double entendre intended.

Yet you are packaging the "truth" in the most slanted terms.
I have that luxury as an individual and not a superpower.
Doing nothing is the practical result of refusing to label a problem. Maybe we have never fought a "war on poverty" or a "war on terror" but you have to have some kind of tag line to reference the effort.
We have the capacity to recognize this tag line as the advertising it is. Most of the country is simply caught up with the sound byte and doesn't think about questioning whether the methods employed by this administration are simply sound.
Out of curiosity, do you disagree with GWB's invasion of Afghanistan?
Bin Laden was there, we needed to strike and strike HARD when we knew conventional warfare had a chance. We did not need to hand over his capture to Afghani warlords so they could "lose" him and waste our conventional efforts, imo.

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We have the capacity to recognize this tag line as the advertising it is. Most of the country is simply caught up with the sound byte and doesn't think about questioning whether the methods employed by this administration are simply sound.

 

That doesn't sound very intellectually honest. I get the whole "tag line" sound byte thing, but that's the case with any label on an issue as divisive as this. You're still refusing to admit that we need a word to describe the effort - no matter how worthless you think the effort has been exercised at this point.

 

So, what word, or word combination will still be effective for using as a reference to this conflict/war/issue/whatever and not "empower" terrorist recruitment efforts?

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Does anyone have any thoughts about this anouncement?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6558569.stm

 

Well, what is terrorism exactly in regards to specific people or places and why? I mean after 9/11 America or Americans were in a state of shock as a result of trauma, which of course would easily lead to anything being possibly terrorist via fear. Its not that such a feeling is wrong in my opinion, but to combat such has never really had any objective roots to it.

 

The only place or people on earth currently that the U.S can claim is terrorist, in direct consequence to the health of the nation is AQ and the Taliban. The U.S really does not have this when it comes to Iraq, sure such has come about from occupation, but the forces the U.S combats in Iraq happen to be amorphous in all reality. IS Iraq really acceptable in relation to the "war on terror", my opinion from the start was no, it was not, and still is.

 

Personally, the concept is vague, abstract, and mostly derives itself from the same. I fear terrorists, I fear terrorism, but to simply say terrorism is whatever hardly suites me in regards to agreeing with armed conflict. I can say the terrorists are doing x so we should be doing y because of z, but its all rather shallow and packaged in wording basically suited for such. The problem is again who are the terrorists, and why, which feeds into the y on our part, which is proportional to z really. I think Iraq is a perfect example of where the WOT went wrong, and how the vague and abstract terminology along with the fear 9-11 planted in the public was able to sell the need for that war. In all reality, going from just terrorism alone, Iran had more going for it to be invaded by the U.S for reasons of combating terrorism then Iraq ever had. Not to mention simply now that the entire middle east is in a grand state of turmoil over the whole issue, and what can we do about it? Not a whole lot because we are tied up in Iraq, combating what? That’s right, terrorists and wmds that were going to blow up America if we did not act. It basically equates into the war on terrorism being anything really, as long as you word it right.

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ParanoiA said :

 

Also, why do you think that increases in terrorism and recruitment means you shouldn't fight back? No one has replied to this point yet.

 

My earlier comments about subterfuge, infiltration by agents, and surgical strikes I think covered this point.

 

General rule : War is stupid!

 

There are only four ways of winning a war.

 

1. The protagonists are supported by the defending nation. The invasion of France in WWII by the allies is an example. They were welcomed with open arms, and supported by the French people.

 

2. The defenders are utterly tiny compared to the protagonists. The invasion of Granada by the US fits this description.

 

3. The war is going to be long, and utterly destructive to all parties involved. WWII is an example, and so, possibly, is Iraq. These wars can be won with sufficient sacrifice and expense, both money and human lives, but most of the time are not worth it. WWII cost 50 million human lives. The Iraq war, so far, according to the Lancet, has cost 650,000 human lives.

 

4. If the war is one of punishment, not occupation. The first Gulf War, waged by Bush senior, is an example. No attempt is made to hold territory, but the 'enemy' is made to regret doing whatever it was that began hostilities.

 

Neither the war is Afghanistan or Iraq is won. Both are still under way, with the defenders using guerilla tactics. Neither can be won without an enormous effort, enormous sacrifice, massive loss of life, and enormous financial expense.

 

If Bush junior had a smidgen of sense, he would have launched wars of punishment, or no wars at all. Instead, he has been the instigator of events that carry an unbelievably high human cost. War was not needed. The subterfuge tactic would have done just as much damage to Al Qaeda without the cost.

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