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John Cuthber

terminology of terror

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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.

 

Your post does not answer my question. Subterfuge and surgical strikes will also inflame the enemy and cause massive recruitment efforts. Terrorism will increase as you succeed. Eventually, you will deal force onto them, and when you do, it will piss them off and help recruitment efforts.

 

Now, the recruitment rate will pale in comparison to the "war". I don't deny that, and I also don't have an issue with your plan. Sounds good to me. Better than the mess we have now.

 

But, that still doesn't stop the increase in recruitment. Again...why do you think that increases in terrorism and recruitment means you shouldn't fight back?

 

If you're going to use the argument of terrorism growth when fighting back, then anything less than surrender will not work. That's the point I'm trying to make. Quit using that as a logical argument against the war, because it's still a logical argument against any plan that involves fighting back.

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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.
Intellectually dishonest?! You're asking me to revise a campaign, albeit in hindsight, that effectively, more accurately and neutrally describes our current efforts to defeat terrorism. My whole point is that Al Qaeda should never have been given the honor of being someone the US would go to "war" with. Sanctions against countries that gave them aid, rewards for those who helped, and a quiet team of ninjas to go into Afghanistan and bring back the head of bin Laden. No press releases, no religious references, and no snappy sales job. There, we're richer by 3000 soldiers (oh, and some money).
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?
Aaah, I get it (I'm splitting myself between work and play here so it took me a while). There is no word that will do what you're asking. That would be closing the barn door after the terrorist has already blown it up. In fact, it seems to me as if the whole operation was verbally and tactically crafted to empower terrorist recruitment efforts from day one. It's hard to believe our best minds couldn't take religious fanaticism into account. It was foolish to change Operation Infinite Reach into Operation Infinite Justice while trying to reach your target in a Muslim territory. It was foolish to then turn our sights on one of the few mid-East nations that didn't harbor terrorists and make it a Mecca for insurgency (sorry)

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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!

 

:rolleyes: There you go again....

 

Ah, backpedaling to "conflict" instead of "war"? Good packaging.

 

No, I've consistently said the label "war" is problematic. Conflict, campaign, whatever, I'm open to all ideas. The label of this thread is terminology of terror and the OP started out with a criticism of the current terminology. I agree with that criticism IF, and only IF, a real alternative could be crafted.

 

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.

I have that luxury as an individual and not a superpower.

 

If you are going to pose serious criticism of a superpower, you need to think as a superpower.

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You're asking me to revise a campaign, albeit in hindsight, that effectively, more accurately and neutrally describes our current efforts to defeat terrorism.[/b'] My whole point is that Al Qaeda should never have been given the honor of being someone the US would go to "war" with. Sanctions against countries that gave them aid, rewards for those who helped, and a quiet team of ninjas to go into Afghanistan and bring back the head of bin Laden. No press releases, no religious references, and no snappy sales job. There, we're richer by 3000 soldiers (oh, and some money).

 

No, I'm not. I want you to come up with a term that can be used to reference our struggle with terrorism for use in conversation. This is a logistical requirement for humans to socialize efficiently. What should that term be, sensitive to the issue of terrorist "empowerment" with vocabulary?

 

Aaah, I get it (I'm splitting myself between work and play here so it took me a while). There is no word that will do what you're asking. That would be closing the barn door after the terrorist has already blown it up.

 

Nah, there's no reason not to change it now. In fact, we'll probably end up with a democrat this election so it would make sense and perhaps aid the ninja operation if they think we're changing our whole approach.

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I've had an epiphany. The key is not to give terrorists anything that they can use for recruitment. Very few deaths are actually caused by terrorism compared to auto accidents and we are over reacting to their rearrangement of our largest city's sky line and attempt to take out the capital.

 

The problem is the suspense of all of this. Waiting for the next shoe to kick us in the backside is the real cause of our paranoia which in turn is the real root of all evil in the world. So why don't we simply punish ourselves for the terrorists? If we can make our country pathetic enough, maybe they'll shift to other targets. Self-flagellation is the only answer.

 

I also think that we should suppress our economic development so we don't provoke any terrorists through envy, although I wonder if globalization won't accomplish this for us in short order. If that doesn't work, we can elect more democrats to public office.

 

We could send them Britney Spears (if she dares grow her hair back) and a bunch of rappers every year so they can take symbolic action against our debased culture. What else? Israel, of course, has to go and perhaps we make the President make a journey to each year to various tyrants where he will pucker up and make nice as he should.

 

Strawman you say? Reductio ad absurdum, I reply.

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Paranoia said :

 

But, that still doesn't stop the increase in recruitment. Again...why do you think that increases in terrorism and recruitment means you shouldn't fight back?

 

Its how you fight back that counts. Going to war is almost always a mistake. Certainly, if you attack a hostile and appreciable sized nation, even if significantly less powerful than you are, with the intention of occupation, the results are going to be disastrous.

 

The United States has entered into a number of wars since WWII. Some against small nations. Three have 'succeeded' (Granada, Panama, and the 1st Gulf War, which was not a war of occupation). A whole bunch of others were disasters. Bay of Pigs. North Korea (in theory, the US is still at war). Vietnam (in which over 50,000 US soldiers died and over 2 million vietnamese). Somalia. And now Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

The smart move is to avoid war at all costs, falling back on military action only as an absolute last resort. There are always alternatives.

 

I have suggested one plan. Also, I was interested to note in the latest New Scientist, an article on group psychology, in which they said that one experiment showed that revealing video scenes of American families at family activities, and by telling them that public opinion in Iran was against aggressive action, was enough to drastically change, for the better, their views on terrorist actions against Americans.

 

Haezed said :

 

Very few deaths are actually caused by terrorism compared to auto accidents and we are over reacting to their rearrangement of our largest city's sky line and attempt to take out the capital.

 

This may sound callous, but the above statement is absolutely correct. Terrorism is NOT a major problem. It ranks in importance with the problem of the Mafia. It is less important than car accidents, gang murders, wife beatings, rapes, muggings, etc etc. It is absolutely NOT worth the lives of thousands of soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

 

There is no way we can perform a miracle, and suddenly stop Al Qaeda recruitment. But there are a number of ways we can counter it using more subtle tactics.

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This may sound callous, but the above statement is absolutely correct. Terrorism is NOT a major problem. It ranks in importance with the problem of the Mafia. It is less important than car accidents, gang murders, wife beatings, rapes, muggings, etc etc. It is absolutely NOT worth the lives of thousands of soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

 

Actually, that's not true. Terrorism has the potential to take thousands and thousands of lives in mere moments, depending on the attack. 9/11 proved that point. The potential is there for total destruction. The nation states that support terror are also dangerously close to nuclear status. You really believe in the next 50 years they won't achieve it? Do you believe they won't try to use a nuclear weapon in the next 50 years? Rapes and muggings pale in comparison to that dynamic...

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The smart move is to avoid war at all costs, falling back on military action only as an absolute last resort. There are always alternatives.

 

I agree. I keep saying that. My question is on the logic that increases in terrorism is indicative of a bad plan or is a reason not to fight back. It's not. That's my only point.

 

That point matters because you and many others keep using that logic to point out the problems with the administration's approach so far. But that logic doesn't work, because ANY plan that involves fighting back is going to increase terrorism and recruitment.

 

I agree with your ideas and alternatives. But if you're just going to point at increases in terrorism as your supporting argument, then you're leaving out a ton of dynamics that are actually at the heart of the problem. Your own plan is going to increase terrorism too. So to use that logic is silly.

 

In other words, GWB's plan sucks because of X, Y and Z - not because "terrorism has increased". That's thoughtless and inaccurate. Does that make sense?

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Haezed, be careful saying things like "Very few deaths are actually caused by terrorism compared to auto accidents and we are over reacting to their rearrangement of our largest city's sky line and attempt to take out the capital." you might get accused of pacifism. Of course, you might have been joking.

There's a lot to be said for taking an argument to its logical conclusion.

If on the other hand you take it to an ilogical conclusion that's another matter. You are, practically speaking, setting up a strawman.

Can you not see the difference between total capitulation and seeing that the other guy might have a point?

 

Paranoia

It's true to say that just because there has been a rise in terrorism since Mr Bush introduced these tactics does not mean that those tactics are responsible; after all there has been an increase in terrorism since my neighbour's cat died in 2001, that doesn't mean his death is the cause.

However if the policies are the sort that, if they were applied to you and your "group", they would lead you to consider attacking those responsible, you have to consider that there might be a causal relation. If there is such a relation then changing those policies would be a good idea.

 

That doesn't preclude the value of saying, for example, "GWB's policies suck because they kill lots of people."

 

Also, the death toll form the Hiroshima bomb is estimated as about 192000

(http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0014151.html)

The number of rapes in the US is of the order of half that every year.

(http://www.nytimes.com/specials/women/warchive/970203_1408.html)

Over the course of the next 50 years a bomb would kill something like 25 times fewer people than will be rape victims.

I don't think 25 times more victims is going to pale anytime soon. Then you can add the muggings, murders, vehicle accidents....

Of course, defending the fissile material that you need to make a bomb with might be a cheaper option.

 

Incidentally, this idea

"But that logic doesn't work, because ANY plan that involves fighting back is going to increase terrorism and recruitment." is interesting.

When they first started dropping bombs on Afghanistan, it struck me that it would have been cheaper and more effective to drop food. This would have been fighting back against the warlords because it would have undermined their power. I don't think it would have upset the locals or helped recruit any more terroists.

As I see it, any plan that involves recruiting more terrorists is not a way to fight back against terrorism.

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As I see it, any plan that involves recruiting more terrorists is not a way to fight back against terrorism.

 

Dropping food is a great way to combat terrorism. This way, the places they used to be won't be in danger while they're on their way to snatch up the food drops. Rewarding terrorist activities is the best way not to recruit?

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It's true to say that just because there has been a rise in terrorism since Mr Bush introduced these tactics does not mean that those tactics are responsible; after all there has been an increase in terrorism since my neighbour's cat died in 2001, that doesn't mean his death is the cause.

 

Ok, I'm going to try this for the 4th time. If you two still don't get it, then I'm giving up.

 

Your first sentence may be true, but is NOT what I said. Please read carefully. Do not add or subtract to it.

 

BECAUSE THERE IS A RISE IN TERRORISM DOES NOT MEAN YOUR TACTICS ARE WRONG. That fact alone, is not a logical conclusion of incorrect tactics.

 

That's it. No more. No less. If you're going to use that logic to conclude GWB's plan sucks, then ANY plan that involves fighting back in ANY way, sucks.

 

When you fight back, terrorism will increase. No matter how you fight back, this will happen.

 

Now...the RATE of this increase in terrorism is certainly a logical point. If one plan creates a lower RATE than another, then that's something to look at and consider.

 

But to include "terrorism has increased" in your list of reasons why GWB's plan sucks, to me, is shortsighted and thoughtless. When you fight back - even with SkepticLance's superior plan - terrorism will increase. You know this. So, why keep using that flawed logic to point out GWB's failures?

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Over the course of the next 50 years a bomb would kill something like 25 times fewer people than will be rape victims.

 

Now this is great. Mind telling us how you foresee the future? How did you manage to find out what's going to happen the next 50 years? You know, you should be rich by now with that kind of prophecy - a nice edge for the stock market.

 

One nuclear bomb could kill more people than have died in the US in the last 50 years.

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I predict the sun will rise tomorow because it always has in the past.

 

If you feel hungry will you go and get something to eat? Surely that's absurd because it relies on the prediction of the future; the prediction being that eating will stop you being hungry; and you cannot predict the future.

 

Do you really think that the figures for rape will change much? Is it absurd to predict that human nature, warts and all, will basicly remain the same?

 

Here's a stock market tip based on the same principle. Share values will generally go up over the long term. Feel free to try to sell it on to any stockbrokers you meet.

 

Perhaps you didn't notice the bit where I sugested that we might be able to prevent the bombing even though that would falsify my predictions.

 

 

I will try to make the bit about poor tactics clearer.

If your tactic is one that would piss you off if you were in the place of the neutral (or at least not actively hostile) neighbours of your enemy and would convert you to active hostility and if the actual enemy are few and far between and the neighbours are common; then it's a dumb tactic.

 

For example the UK government , faced with IRA terrorism tried a policy called internment. Basicly they locked up known IRA sympathisers and activists. OK Hindsight is 20 20 vision but how big a shock is it that, when they locked up 1 man, the IRA was more easily able to recruit his brothers, father, neighbours and so on. They dropped that tactic.

 

It is, as has been pointed out, very hard to spot terrorists so it's very hard to target them accurately. This, in turn means that a lot of innocents, bystanders and neighbours will also be affected by any action you take against terrorists unless you are extremely careful. The Abu Ghraib incidents will not have seemed like extreme care to the locals. Nor will Gitmo. They will have looked exactly like theactions of "evil Americans" they had heard about from the likes of OBL. OK, Gitmo may have removed a few terroists from "active service"; how many more has it produced? I guess it's impossible to know directly. But if the incidence of terrorism has risen it's not unreasonable to say that there are more terrorists. If there are more of them it's reasonable to ask why. If the reason for that might well be the current policy then you have to ask if there's a better one.

 

"Dropping food is a great way to combat terrorism. This way, the places they used to be won't be in danger while they're on their way to snatch up the food drops. Rewarding terrorist activities is the best way not to recruit?"

 

Doh!

Drop lots of food; enough that there's no reason to compete for it. That way you reward those people who are not terrorists and, since they are the majority, that's not a bad thing.

Seriously, imagine you are OBL or someone of his nature. If the Americans are dropping food from the sky how are you going to recruit people to "fight the evil Americans"?

Do you not think that most people would say "Well, sure I could do that and probably die , or I could not bother..."?

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ParanoiA said :

 

Do you believe they won't try to use a nuclear weapon in the next 50 years

 

Anything is possible. That possibility does not change the essential situation. That is, the correct action is not war. The biggest mistake Bush junior made was the Iraq war. It may be that my plan would also increase recruitment into Al Qaeda, but we know for sure that the attack on Iraq increased recruitment to an absolutely enormous degree. Once, Iraq had very little Al Qaeda presence. Today it is a hotbed of recruitment.

 

Someone suggested, a bit tongue in cheek, that we drop food. Actually, there is a germ of a good idea there. I have always believed that winning hearts and minds is far better than dropping bombs. When a poor nation is possibly hostile, we are far better providing aid than fighting them. If the locals view of Americans and the west in general is formed by the sight of American doctors and nurses healing the sick, and American teachers educating the young, then the hostility evaporates. When it is an occupying force of soldiers, then the hostility grows, and grows rapidly.

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Of course, you might have been joking.

 

"Sarcasm is just another free service I offer." (From a T-Shirt given to me by my wife)

 

There's a lot to be said for taking an argument to its logical conclusion.

If on the other hand you take it to an ilogical conclusion that's another matter.

 

Yes, that is the issue.

 

Can you not see the difference between total capitulation and seeing that the other guy might have a point?

 

Total capitulation would be the dissolution of the US government and the institution of Islamic law. I simply said we should debase ourselves until we are so pathetic that no one can envy us. You are going to let ego get in the way of survival?

 

I'm testing the logic of a position that that assumes terrorism would not threaten to rearrange US skylines without provocation and that terrorists do not back down, ever, from a show of long term firm resolve like it took from the US in the cold war.

 

If that is the case, what can be done? Let's pucker up and make nice. Otherwise we are going to lose a city.

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Haezed said :

 

Very few deaths are actually caused by terrorism compared to auto accidents and we are over reacting to their rearrangement of our largest city's sky line and attempt to take out the capital.

 

This may sound callous, but the above statement is absolutely correct.

 

Wow, I guess I didn't present such a straw man after all.

 

Terrorism is NOT a major problem.

 

What you are ignoring is the increasing capabilities of terrorism, particularly if GWB had allowed it to fester behind a nation state.

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I predict the sun will rise tomorow because it always has in the past.

 

If you feel hungry will you go and get something to eat? Surely that's absurd because it relies on the prediction of the future; the prediction being that eating will stop you being hungry; and you cannot predict the future.

 

Do you really think that the figures for rape will change much? Is it absurd to predict that human nature' date=' warts and all, will basicly remain the same?

 

Here's a stock market tip based on the same principle. Share values will generally go up over the long term. Feel free to try to sell it on to any stockbrokers you meet.[/quote']

 

No, no. I'm talking about the "bomb" you're prophetizing.

 

Over the course of the next 50 years a bomb [/b']would kill something like 25 times fewer people than will be rape victims.

 

So can you tell us any more about this single bomb you're predicting? One nuclear bomb could pale any of those statistics. You're refusing to accept a more than plausible scenario. The dynamics of terrorism are not to be under estimated. They made an example of us already, in that regard.

 

If your tactic is one that would piss you off if you were in the place of the neutral (or at least not actively hostile) neighbours of your enemy and would convert you to active hostility and if the actual enemy are few and far between and the neighbours are common; then it's a dumb tactic.

 

Ah..now you're adding qualifiers and narrowing down the statement. That was precisely my point. Glad you got it.

 

And I agree. I'm disappointed in our approach so far. Iraq is a bitter pill. OBL is free as a bird and I'm not sure we're even trying to find him all that intensely. I like the analogy about the redneck killing flies with a shotgun. That really sums it up nice to me.

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I can't really tell people about the bomb because it's your prediction, not mine.

You wrote "You really believe in the next 50 years they won't achieve it? Do you believe they won't try to use a nuclear weapon in the next 50 years? Rapes and muggings pale in comparison to that dynamic..." and, in doing so you introduced this single bomb. Why acuse me of inventing it?

 

My only prediction was to guess that it would be about as bad as one of the bombs that has been used. I guess that you are now predicting lots of atom bombs; that would make a difference, but it's moving the goalposts a bit. It's also perfectly possible that a single bomb could kill 25 times more people than died at Hiroshima; it might also kill fewer.

If it's ridiculous of me to try to predict the future then it's clearly just as bad when you do it and predict that for some reason the death toll will be a lot bigger than it was last time.

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A dirty bomb could be a reality any day now with Iran processing. Let's not forget the economic impact of 9/11. In addition to the 3K dead and billions in lost assets, the country shut down for days. Civil aviation was brought to a complete stands still for three days and related industries such as rental cars, travel agencies, all suffered hugely.

 

Then there is the resulting loss of liberty. We are simply not going to stand for another 9/11 or a dirty bomb that requires us to vacate NYC. Life as we know it would change forever and you cannot accurately compare the consequences to normal crime to which our society has already adjusted. Adjusting to a series of 9/11s was never and will never be an option.

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Haezed

 

No-one is suggesting that 9/11 should have been left with no punitive action. However, there are many forms of response, and going to war is ALWAYS a mistake.

 

Osama and his allies need to be stopped, or at least slowed down drastically. So lets use proper action targetted to them, and not attack whole nations.

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That "whole nations" bit at the end ruins your message, IMO, SkepticLance. If a political group rises to unilaterally control a nation that is not peacefully compatible with its neighbors, then that changes the equation. Germany under the Nazis and Afghanistan under the Taliban come to mind, as well as Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Those invasions were justified, and that justification was supported by international consensus.

 

In the case of Iraq in 2003, however, the justification was poorly reasoned, the information was flawed, and the action was improper.

 

On the whole, I'll settle for that record, so long as we attempt to do better in the future, and, as you say, stop invading nations inappropriately.

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Well stopping drugs production in Afghanistan was bound to get the Taliban bombed. The drug Mafia is so powerful. I think they really didnt realize what would happen if the forced people to stop heroine production

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I must have missed something;

"Germany under the Nazis and Afghanistan under the Taliban come to mind, as well as Iraq's invasion of Kuwait."

OK, Germany invaded Poland etc., Iraq invaded Kuwait. The international community responded to both those acts.

Remind me; who did Afghanistan invade?

I realise they are a thoroughly unpleasant lot but that's a slightly different kettle of fish from invading another country.

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Well stopping drugs production in Afghanistan was bound to get the Taliban bombed. The drug Mafia is so powerful. I think they really didnt realize what would happen if the forced people to stop heroine production
Are you talking about the money the US gave Afghanistan in May of 2001 to help curb heroin production or are you implying that the US Mafia had something to do with bombing the Taliban?

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the Taliban, or ruling force in Afghanistan in 2001, were protecting as well as encouraging OBL and his cohort's. the country itself was under the extreme versions of Islamic Law and theological control. prior to efforts to topple this solid dictatorial rule, the Bush administration offered an out, simply telling the leaders to turn over OBL and his immediate advisor's. this offer was ignored, with the usual verbiage to talk, the last days before emanate actions.

 

like it or not, the US has a set policy in that negotiation with terrorist is not a viable solution. this policy is set in the history of what has happened with such efforts to appease an advisory. as with No. Korea, Japan and even the USSR, the problems will continue or acts that create the problems are maintained during such talks.

 

i don't think the US, is in line for a dirty bomb or any major event in the near future, however this is because of current policy. what i think the government fears as i do, is the use of WMD, against Israel or even a people with in the Islamic community. this will lead to many treaty obligations, which WILL be enforced by any US government.

 

terror as programed by the OBL types is directed at the economy. even they realize their limitations to effect any particular security, or if you prefer take over another viable nation. there efforts in Iraq, are directed at this policy of the US and to undermine the will of peoples, in the world. the US, with its single major problem of political power, is giving a false image, by a relatively small portion of the total.

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