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Is the al Qaida Networlk doomed to failure?


charles brough
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The "Arab Spring" indicates that Muslims are seeking democracy, according to an editorial this month in the Wall Street Journal. The claim is also made that our wealth of intelligence and the drone attacks all insure that the militant's dream of destroying the West is doomed to fail.

 

But is that really what the "Arab Spring" is doing---or is it that Islam has been overthrowing secular regimes and replacing them with regimes that are either corrupt, weak or both? Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Egypt were all secular. The Islamic, non secular regimes in the Near East are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, and what we have waged war against for ten years in Afghanistan (with questionable results). We've spent over a trillion dollars on our wars with Islam, and we could easily end up with another one with Iran. Perhaps the al Qaida network expects us to spend ourselves to ruin. . . .

 

Brough

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The War on Terror would have been a lot more effective if we hadn't mentioned it to the opposition. They should have been made to create their own recruitment drives instead of having us conduct them on their behalf. A botched job and them some!

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I would say "no" to both questions in the title. "Doomed to failure" is a foregone conclusion and I can't agree with that. And I don't think the War on Terror is winnable the way we're prosecuting it. Our overall strategy seems to create MORE terrorists rather than fewer.

 

The War on Terror would have been a lot more effective if we hadn't mentioned it to the opposition. They should have been made to create their own recruitment drives instead of having us conduct them on their behalf. A botched job and them some!

Effectiveness is subjective. The War on Terror has been the most economically effective war to date for arms dealers.

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I would say "no" to both questions in the title. "Doomed to failure" is a foregone conclusion and I can't agree with that. And I don't think the War on Terror is winnable the way we're prosecuting it. Our overall strategy seems to create MORE terrorists rather than fewer.

is subjective. The War on Terror has been the most economically effective war to date for arms dealers.

Yes, "doomed to fail" is a prediction based upon how one interprets past and present events and not foregone.

A likey goal of the Muslim Sunni militancy (al Qaeda) is the decline and fall of our civilization. That could happen . . .

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Yes, "doomed to fail" is a prediction based upon how one interprets past and present events and not foregone.

A likey goal of the Muslim Sunni militancy (al Qaeda) is the decline and fall of our civilization. That could happen . . .

In which case it wouldn't be "doomed to failure".

 

The other objection I have is that you've given us a False Dilemma. It's entirely possible that al Qaeda's goals will not be realized, and neither will we win the War on Terror. In fact, it's my fear that the War on Terror has been designed to be an ongoing source of economic and political opportunity, much as the unwinnable War on Drugs.

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The "Arab Spring" indicates that Muslims are seeking democracy, according to an editorial this month in the Wall Street Journal. The claim is also made that our wealth of intelligence and the drone attacks all insure that the militant's dream of destroying the West is doomed to fail.

 

But is that really what the "Arab Spring" is doing---or is it that Islam has been overthrowing secular regimes and replacing them with regimes that are either corrupt, weak or both? Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Egypt were all secular. The Islamic, non secular regimes in the Near East are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, and what we have waged war against for ten years in Afghanistan (with questionable results). We've spent over a trillion dollars on our wars with Islam, and we could easily end up with another one with Iran. Perhaps the al Qaida network expects us to spend ourselves to ruin. . . .

 

Brough

I do not understand your post.

 

Regarding Iran

Iran is a democracy... in the 1st part of your post, you seem to claim that a democracy is like some ultimate goal, and a solution. Yet, in the second part, you suggest the US might start fighting against an existing democracy (Iran). And Iran seems to be a functioning democracy too: For example, Ahmadinejad (that guy who wants to destroy Israel) lost the last elections. Certainly, it's not a perfect democracy. In the background, their religious leader pulls the strings, and there is a limited choice. But then again, the USA is no perfect democracy either: third party candidates do not stand a chance, and there is always the same limited choice too. So, Iran is already a democracy. What more do you want?

 

And as far as I know, there is no proven link between Iran's government and Al Qaida. Certainly, Iran might see Al Qaida as a possible ally (the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend). But I guess they wouldn't call them terrorists, just like the Taliban guys were called Mujahideen in Rambo III. In those days, the "terrorists" were fighting the Soviets, so they were called "freedom fighters". They were the same people you are fighting now in Afghanistan (only one generation later). But once again, I haven't seen any convincing proof that Iran is related to Al Qaida at all.

 

On a sidenote, I don't think Ahmadinejad is more fundamentalist than Santorum. The one wants to destroy Israel, the other wants to destroy Iran. Both are fundamentalist religious people. You Americans might want to clean up your own fundamentalist backyard first before starting another war overseas. Sorry if that's flaming... I tried to keep it as objective as possible. It might come as a shock to see a US presidential candidate compared to what some Americans might consider their #1 enemy.

 

Regarding terrorism in general

Your thread title suggests you were fighting Al Qaida, but instead, the US has been fighting the Taliban and the Iraqi regular army first. Both were not Al Qaida. Only later in the wars you encountered some terrorism, but that was only after the local governments were removed by the US. In fact, in two wars that cost the lives of possibly over a million people, you have only imprisoned a couple hundred real terrorists in Guantanamo.

 

In fact, I have always wondered if Al Qaida really exists in the way that it has been described in some media. I mean, how can a bunch of guys with AK47s in a mountainous region of Afghanistan keep contact with another group in Yemen? They cannot coordinate anything between the different terrorist cells worldwide, and so far we have not seen a single coordinated attack. There is no Big Boss, like in James Bond movies. Bin Laden was living in a ordinary house. There was no secret lair. There were no advanced communication devices. At best, there was just the ordinary phone and internet network, both of which are monitored by the USA/NATO. And that was the King of Terrorists. I think that the threat of terror has been (deliberately) overestimated and exaggerated to be able to wage some wars.

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Regarding Iran PART I

Iran is a democracy... in the 1st part of your post, you seem to claim that a democracy is like some ultimate goal, and a solution. Yet, in the second part, you suggest the US might start fighting against an existing democracy (Iran). And Iran seems to be a functioning democracy too: For example, Ahmadinejad (that guy who wants to destroy Israel) lost the last elections. Certainly, it's not a perfect democracy. In the background, their religious leader pulls the strings, and there is a limited choice. But then again, the USA is no perfect democracy either: third party candidates do not stand a chance, and there is always the same limited choice too. So, Iran is already a democracy. What more do you want?

 

And as far as I know, there is no proven link between Iran's government and Al Qaida. Certainly, Iran might see Al Qaida as a possible ally (the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend). But I guess they wouldn't call them terrorists, just like the Taliban guys were called Mujahideen in Rambo III. In those days, the "terrorists" were fighting the Soviets, so they were called "freedom fighters". They were the same people you are fighting now in Afghanistan (only one generation later). But once again, I haven't seen any convincing proof that Iran is related to Al Qaida at all.

 

On a sidenote, I don't think Ahmadinejad is more fundamentalist than Santorum. The one wants to destroy Israel, the other wants to destroy Iran. Both are fundamentalist religious people. You Americans might want to clean up your own fundamentalist backyard first before starting another war overseas. Sorry if that's flaming... I tried to keep it as objective as possible. It might come as a shock to see a US presidential candidate compared to what some Americans might consider their #1 enemy.

I agree with what you say about Sentorum---also that Iran is not a terrorist state (its Shiite, not Sunni). Moreover, Ahmadinejad never said they would destroy Israel. That was only a brutal translation of the intent to enforce "the right of return" which would enable the millions of Palestinian refugess from Israel to return and thus out vote the Judaic "theocracy" and install a "democracy."

 

I've given up trying to define "democracy" other than being the most glorified ideal of our secular ideological system. Myself, I would define the Iranian political system as a theocratic republic. What we have is a Constitutional-Congressional system.

 

What seems hard to get across is that "democracy," "equality," "humanism," "tolerance" etc. are ideals (doctrines). They comprise a secular ideology which provides the framework within which we think. It is natural to resist such a realization because all believers of ideological systems are determined to see theirs as "the Truth."

 

However, if we don't begin to escape from that ideological confinement, we can never really understand what is going on in the world and what danger faces our whole civilization. (This is a subject I like and have written three books on it . . .)

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What seems hard to get across is that "democracy," "equality," "humanism," "tolerance" etc. are ideals (doctrines). They comprise a secular ideology which provides the framework within which we think. It is natural to resist such a realization because all believers of ideological systems are determined to see theirs as "the Truth."

 

However, if we don't begin to escape from that ideological confinement, we can never really understand what is going on in the world and what danger faces our whole civilization. (This is a subject I like and have written three books on it . . .)

Exactly.

Your opening post kinda suggested you were stuck in such a "ideological confinement", and that you regarded your truth as the only truth (even though you referred to the Wall Street Journal as your source, indicating it was not your own opinion). I see I was mistaken in my interpretation of your opening post.

 

The bit I quoted from you also explains why I think we cannot answer the question you asked in the opening post. Without a clear doctrine, without a reference point of who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys, we cannot even define who are the terrorists. I would be surprised if someone at the CIA would have a list of Al Qaida suspects. They may have a couple hundred... but nowhere near enough to validate the scale of operations of the last decade. Why is that? Because there is no global Al Qaida network. Al Qaida operates in the poorest countries on this planet. They lack all necessary resources to have any cooperation outside even their own region.

 

So, will Al Qaida fail? I cannot answer that, because there never was such a thing.

[edit: added a few more sentences]

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I would be surprised if someone at the CIA would have a list of Al Qaida suspects. They may have a couple hundred... but nowhere near enough to validate the scale of operations of the last decade. Why is that? Because there is no global Al Qaida network. Al Qaida operates in the poorest countries on this planet. They lack all necessary resources to have any cooperation outside even their own region.

 

So, will Al Qaida fail? I cannot answer that, because there never was such a thing.

[edit: added a few more sentences]

Why go so far as that? There certainly exist groups of dedicated Muslims willing to die to kill Westerners, and all the groups feel a common bond of admiration for the al Qaida success in 9/11. I propose that the reason we both do, anyway, minimize it is that we both recognize that the effect it has is ius is all out of proportion to its ability to harm us.

 

In other words, it has succeeded in instilling in the West and expecially the Us a sense of terror, of great fear. What are the chance of any of us being killed by another attack after 9/11? Nil, of course. Had we been calm, then ended the immense coverage of the whole thing, gone on to other things and shown ourselves to be fearless and not alarmed by them, we would have saved ourselves trillions of dollars of our national wealth. But we had no confidence in our government to handle it. We filled up with fear and demanded a response that showed how powerful we thought we were. And that fear remains and erodes our already weakening society. Our system is too weak for us to feel brave. We think our home or where we work might be destroyed next and our lives ended. In the end, it is really possible that this flimsy little Muslim suicide bomb terrorist network could actually be the catalist that would finally bring down our whole civilization. (I discuss all this, also, in my webpage . . . )

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I'm not so sure that terrorists are as effective in fighting the West as we fear or they claim. On an equal basis an al Qaida fighter is no better than a Western fighter but technology tips the scales very far in the favor of the West. All these terrorist organizations really do in strike fear into the hearts of civilians but if they do enough damage they would face the real wrath of western nations and Shock and Awe was only a tiny fraction of what the West is capable of. I think they are doomed to always being a tiny fraction of the worlds problems but they do create a lot of noise and the squeaky wheel gets the grease or possibly the unchained wrath of the west... Here is a rather inflammatory, but accurate, video from thunderfoot that describes the inequity between the West and terrorists...

 

 

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Exactly. Your opening post kinda suggested you were stuck in such a "ideological confinement", and that you regarded your truth as the only truth (even though you referred to the Wall Street Journal as your source, indicating it was not your own opinion). I see I was mistaken in my interpretation of your opening post. The bit I quoted from you also explains why I think we cannot answer the question you asked in the opening post. Without a clear doctrine, without a reference point of who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys, we cannot even define who are the terrorists

You raise a good point. But if we see the "good guy" only as our friend and the "bad guy" as our opponent, it can hardly be science. This being a science forum, I felt free to try presenting a more objective picture of the world---not just the usual subjective one framed by our secular beliefs, the one in which we are necessarily the "good guys."

 

If we do believe that science is for the whole world, not just for the West, social theory needs to be objective---even if unpopulr with us. I think that the deteriorating world conditions are cause for enough concern to justify searching now for a realistic explanation of what is going on.

 

I'm not so sure that terrorists are as effective in fighting the West as we fear or they claim. On an equal basis an al Qaida fighter is no better than a Western fighter but technology tips the scales very far in the favor of the West. All these terrorist organizations really do in strike fear into the hearts of civilians but if they do enough damage they would face the real wrath of western nations and Shock and Awe was only a tiny fraction of what the West is capable of. I think they are doomed to always being a tiny fraction of the worlds problems but they do create a lot of noise and the squeaky wheel gets the grease or possibly the unchained wrath of the west... Here is a rather inflammatory, but accurate, video from thunderfoot that describes the inequity between the West and terrorists... http://www.youtube.c...h?v=hGrvjKXi5RE

You really don't need youtube to prove that. Who in his right mind thinks they have even 1/50th of our military power? But what everyone overlooks is that that is not the way now to judge who is the victor. The way I see it, they are winning because their puny little efforts have struck such fear, even terror, in our whole civilization that it is the major media focus and the overwhelming reason why we are spending trillions of dollars of our declining wealth in our effort to contain them. It is slowly destroying us from within.
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You really don't need youtube to prove that. Who in his right mind thinks they have even 1/50th of our military power? But what everyone overlooks is that that is not the way now to judge who is the victor. The way I see it, they are winning because their puny little efforts have struck such fear, even terror, in our whole civilization that it is the major media focus and the overwhelming reason why we are spending trillions of dollars of our declining wealth in our effort to contain them. It is slowly destroying us from within.

Isn't it bizarre the way most attribute winning the Cold War to forcing the old USSR to overspend resources keeping up with the West, yet we don't see anything wrong in spending trillions to outwit small cells of uncoordinated zealots with homemade bombs, videotape technology and fractured leadership?

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Isn't it bizarre the way most attribute winning the Cold War to forcing the old USSR to overspend resources keeping up with the West, yet we don't see anything wrong in spending trillions to outwit small cells of uncoordinated zealots with homemade bombs, videotape technology and fractured leadership?

There are lots of people who think it's crazy. But unfortunately, there are lots who think it makes sense too.

 

We've moved our public opinion towards thinking that each and every death must be prevented at all costs. It's the idea of "safety first" gone over the top. In addition, the actual threat of terror has been greatly exaggerated. If the price of a human life is overestimated, and the chance of something going wrong is overestimated, then in a risk analysis, the current course of action makes sense.

 

Also, it's obviously a brilliant lobbying that weapons manufacturers are able to sell airplanes that cost a billion each... or that they've convinced so many governments that they need a jet fighter that can take off and land vertically.

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There are lots of people who think it's crazy. But unfortunately, there are lots who think it makes sense too.

 

We've moved our public opinion towards thinking that each and every death must be prevented at all costs. It's the idea of "safety first" gone over the top. In addition, the actual threat of terror has been greatly exaggerated. If the price of a human life is overestimated, and the chance of something going wrong is overestimated, then in a risk analysis, the current course of action makes sense.

 

Also, it's obviously a brilliant lobbying that weapons manufacturers are able to sell airplanes that cost a billion each... or that they've convinced so many governments that they need a jet fighter that can take off and land vertically.

We think we're immune to spin and marketing efforts to get us to make rash purchases and irrational decisions, but this should point up how we can be played on even such a huge level. All it takes is tying a few emotional hooks together and it's a recipe for economic and political opportunity on a worldwide scale. Start with injustice, sprinkle liberally with fear and despair, carefully mix in some strong vengeance, garnish with patriotism and you suddenly make the unpalatable look very tasty indeed.

 

And for some utterly weird reason, even when it comes out that we made a mistake, that we were gullible, taken in by con men and lied to, we line up for the next heaping helping of bullshit, ready and willing to listen to more spin, more lies from the same guys in the same suits with a different color tie. We know how to stop it, deep down inside, but we're not willing to believe it's gotten THAT bad.

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You really don't need youtube to prove that. Who in his right mind thinks they have even 1/50th of our military power? But what everyone overlooks is that that is not the way now to judge who is the victor. The way I see it, they are winning because their puny little efforts have struck such fear, even terror, in our whole civilization that it is the major media focus and the overwhelming reason why we are spending trillions of dollars of our declining wealth in our effort to contain them. It is slowly destroying us from within.

I don't see the fear and terror you talk about. Not in individuals I know, not in the media, and not in the politicians.

 

It may have been true closer to 9/11 but not now. I believe one of the reasons people are not irrationally fearful is due to the successes of the war on terror. No one is blowing up their underware or the Brooklyn Bridge, so people feel safer.

 

It may have been more cost effective to offer each terrorist $1 million to go away, and I agree that their biggest success so far has been to get us to waste resources.

 

But I just don't see the fear.

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I don't see the fear and terror you talk about. Not in individuals I know, not in the media, and not in the politicians.

 

It may have been true closer to 9/11 but not now. I believe one of the reasons people are not irrationally fearful is due to the successes of the war on terror. No one is blowing up their underware or the Brooklyn Bridge, so people feel safer.

 

It may have been more cost effective to offer each terrorist $1 million to go away, and I agree that their biggest success so far has been to get us to waste resources.

 

But I just don't see the fear.

Other than fear, why would Americans forfeit so many civil liberties for so long?

 

We still have the PATRIOT Act, US citizens can be killed by presidential order, we have the TSA groping people in airports, "due process" no longer means "legal process" if the person it applies to is scary enough, we have indefinite detainment, we have gitmo, waterboarding, warrantless wiretaps....

 

As bad as the money problem is - the shift socially since the Clinton era remains painful every single day. I don't know about anyone else, but as much as I appreciate the gains we've made, the sheer change in mood adds a rather stark contrast between what I see day to day, and what I remember.

 

There is next to no faith in the three branches of government anymore, in the people we elect, in the economy or our global position in the future. If you can't see the fear, it's because it's too deeply buried under exhaustion and resignation.

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Other than fear, why would Americans forfeit so many civil liberties for so long?

 

We still have the PATRIOT Act, US citizens can be killed by presidential order, we have the TSA groping people in airports, "due process" no longer means "legal process" if the person it applies to is scary enough, we have indefinite detainment, we have gitmo, waterboarding, warrantless wiretaps....

 

As bad as the money problem is - the shift socially since the Clinton era remains painful every single day. I don't know about anyone else, but as much as I appreciate the gains we've made, the sheer change in mood adds a rather stark contrast between what I see day to day, and what I remember.

 

There is next to no faith in the three branches of government anymore, in the people we elect, in the economy or our global position in the future. If you can't see the fear, it's because it's too deeply buried under exhaustion and resignation.

Are you afraid? Any of your friends afraid to fly because they think the plane may be blown out of the sky? Are people talking about it at work or school everyday? Do you avoid crowded areas like malls or ball parks?

 

I don't know where you live but I cannot name one single person I know who is afraid of a terrorist attack. I don't know what media you follow, but I find no media obsession with terrorists.

 

I think the reason Americans allow their civil liberties to be eroded is because they felt it was the right thing to do at the time, and because the pain of reduced civil liberties is very low. Again, I don't know anyone who even knows anyone who has been killed by presidential order, detained indefinitely at Gitmo, or been waterboarded. Shoot, I don't even know anyone who has been groped by TSA.

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In which case it wouldn't be "doomed to failure".

 

The other objection I have is that you've given us a False Dilemma. It's entirely possible that al Qaeda's goals will not be realized, and neither will we win the War on Terror. In fact, it's my fear that the War on Terror has been designed to be an ongoing source of economic and political opportunity, much as the unwinnable War on Drugs.

I agree with the point you are making. It's also disheartening that the USA has been turned into the world's policeman, via its War on Terror and also the War on Drugs. While the resources of the USA are being eaten up by these activites (successful or not) other countries (like China) will devote more of their own resources to the areas of technological and scientific innovation.

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Are you afraid? Any of your friends afraid to fly because they think the plane may be blown out of the sky? Are people talking about it at work or school everyday? Do you avoid crowded areas like malls or ball parks?

 

I don't know where you live but I cannot name one single person I know who is afraid of a terrorist attack. I don't know what media you follow, but I find no media obsession with terrorists.

People are afraid to fly - they are afraid of tiny bottle of liquid they might miss that could cause them a huge delay or the pair of rogue clippers that could get them chastised by the TSA. No one I know thinks terrorists are scary, just the people "protecting" us from them.

 

I think the reason Americans allow their civil liberties to be eroded is because they felt it was the right thing to do at the time, and because the pain of reduced civil liberties is very low. Again, I don't know anyone who even knows anyone who has been killed by presidential order, detained indefinitely at Gitmo, or been waterboarded. Shoot, I don't even know anyone who has been groped by TSA.

I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree about the civil liberties issue then, I've never felt that knowing someone personally was a prerequisite for being concerned with their civil rights. We march John Wayne Gacy and Charles Manson through the legal system without giving into the fears that civilized law may be too soft for such monsters, I think we can address due process for enemy combatants sometime before the end of hostilities in the War on Terror.

 

Unless that's too scary, of course.

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People are afraid to fly - they are afraid of tiny bottle of liquid they might miss that could cause them a huge delay or the pair of rogue clippers that could get them chastised by the TSA. No one I know thinks terrorists are scary, just the people "protecting" us from them.

 

I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree about the civil liberties issue then, I've never felt that knowing someone personally was a prerequisite for being concerned with their civil rights. We march John Wayne Gacy and Charles Manson through the legal system without giving into the fears that civilized law may be too soft for such monsters, I think we can address due process for enemy combatants sometime before the end of hostilities in the War on Terror. Unless that's too scary, of course.

Yes the public is afraid, but ZAPATOS is correct in that we don't feel it. It is not the same as we would feel when opening a gate that says "Beware of Dog." It is more like the "fear of being sued" if you don't get liability insurance. The fear the people in the West, and especially the US, feel is measured in how far we have to go to feel safe. Yes, we do not fear flying, but we sure would if all our airports security system was dropped by a long labor strike. That is why we are justified in calling what the US public feels as "fear."

 

But why do we go to extreme and self-destruction measures to protect ourselves? There is more than fear involved. The fear is just one expression of the immense stress being felt by the public. This growing stress-burden is the hidden cause of the breakdown of health and, hence, the immense cost of medical care in the US. It also explains why people become addicted to anything that lets them escape from it for a while---such as narcotics, gambling, pornography, individuals collecting "stuff" until they have no room to walk around in their own house. It has a lot to do with amount of crime and the size of our prison population, and why far more of our veterans kill themselves than are killed by the enemy.

 

Why all the stress? It would take a book to really explain that---which is what I've tried to do in my webpage. . .

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People are afraid to fly - they are afraid of tiny bottle of liquid they might miss that could cause them a huge delay or the pair of rogue clippers that could get them chastised by the TSA. No one I know thinks terrorists are scary, just the people "protecting" us from them.

Then we agree. There is no great fear of terrorism. There is an immense difference between the fear that some fanatic will detonate a bomb in the plane you are on, and the fear that some plump, middle class American, will give you a dirty look and confiscate your $1.99 pair of nail clippers.

 

I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree about the civil liberties issue then, I've never felt that knowing someone personally was a prerequisite for being concerned with their civil rights. We march John Wayne Gacy and Charles Manson through the legal system without giving into the fears that civilized law may be too soft for such monsters, I think we can address due process for enemy combatants sometime before the end of hostilities in the War on Terror.

 

Unless that's too scary, of course.

Hmm. I wasn't aware that we were even discussing being concerned with our civil liberties, much less that I said I wasn't concerned about them.

 

And now you are suggesting it might be too scary to address due process for enemy combatants. I'm wondering if you are simply projecting your fear of terrorism onto the American public.

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I would say that the fear being felt isn't overt, and that's why it's so insidious. It's the kind of fear that stops you from speaking out against injustice or oppression. The kind of fear that keeps you from rocking the boat. The kind of fear that makes you despair of things getting better, so you settle for a meager status quo.

 

And make no mistake, all it would take to bring it all back into focus is another attack. The knee-jerk reaction to an explosion on Main Street would probably be intense. Fifteen years ago the majority assumption would most likely have been "gas leak", but now it would most likely be "bomb". When explosions do happen these days, authorities are quick to report they've ruled out a purposeful attack, and that's usually the first question the reporters ask, and the first question we all want answered. That's fear, imo.

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I would say that the fear being felt isn't overt, and that's why it's so insidious. It's the kind of fear that stops you from speaking out against injustice or oppression. The kind of fear that keeps you from rocking the boat. The kind of fear that makes you despair of things getting better, so you settle for a meager status quo.

I guess I have the same question for you as I had for padren. Are you afraid to speak out against injustice or opression? Are you afraid of rocking the boat? Do you know anyone who is afraid to do these things due to terrorism?

 

I can understand how the fear might be expected, but I don't see it anywhere. It is talked about as if it is real, but I guess I'd like to see some support that it is actually out there.

 

And make no mistake, all it would take to bring it all back into focus is another attack. The knee-jerk reaction to an explosion on Main Street would probably be intense. Fifteen years ago the majority assumption would most likely have been "gas leak", but now it would most likely be "bomb". When explosions do happen these days, authorities are quick to report they've ruled out a purposeful attack, and that's usually the first question the reporters ask, and the first question we all want answered. That's fear, imo.

I agree that another attack would bring it quickly back. In my first post on this subject I said that one of the reasons people weren't afraid was because of the successes of the war on terror. Terrorists would love nothing more than to drop planes from the sky but they've been unable to follow up on the success of 9/11.

 

While what you describe may reasonably be called fear, it is a far cry from how it was described in the beginning of this conversation, how terrorists have "...struck such fear, even terror, in our whole civilization...".

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I guess I have the same question for you as I had for padren. Are you afraid to speak out against injustice or opression? Are you afraid of rocking the boat? Do you know anyone who is afraid to do these things due to terrorism?

I wouldn't dream of thinking myself to be representative of the vast majority in this regard. I do know some people who aren't as active in advocacy as I am, but they may always have been this way. I myself am only more active as I see the country becoming more and more entrenched in seeking a diminishing status quo as things get worse.

 

I can understand how the fear might be expected, but I don't see it anywhere. It is talked about as if it is real, but I guess I'd like to see some support that it is actually out there.

The funny thing about fear is how those who feel it most deny it most. It seems to be a hard-wired reaction, especially in males, to puff out their chests and gesture broadly around them, demanding to know where there is anything to fear.

 

One of the real and observable aspects of this fear is our two-party voting system. We know rationally that two parties can't possibly adequately represent all the viewpoints in America, yet we routinely use it just to make sure "the other guy" doesn't get elected. And this relates directly to terrorism since none of the candidates is offering up a proposal to stop wasting so many resources on an untenable, non-sustainable, heavily lopsided "War on Terror". If the American public doesn't fear terrorists, why can't they see the ridiculousness of spending so much to save so few from such a tiny comparative threat?

 

 

I agree that another attack would bring it quickly back. In my first post on this subject I said that one of the reasons people weren't afraid was because of the successes of the war on terror. Terrorists would love nothing more than to drop planes from the sky but they've been unable to follow up on the success of 9/11.

In the 50s, many people felt safe from the Soviet nuclear threat only after building backyard underground bomb shelters. Are you telling me that feeling of safety, bought with an inordinately excessive amount of resources, wasn't born out of fear? Don't you see the parallels to the vastly inflated resources we're allowing to be spent now to keep us safe from a much lesser threat?

 

While what you describe may reasonably be called fear, it is a far cry from how it was described in the beginning of this conversation, how terrorists have "...struck such fear, even terror, in our whole civilization...".

Terror makes people behave in disproportionately irrational ways. They will allow just about anything to make it go away. Considering what we currently allow, even require, from our leaders, can you really say ours is a rational response?

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I guess I have the same question for you as I had for padren. Are you afraid to speak out against injustice or opression? Are you afraid of rocking the boat? Do you know anyone who is afraid to do these things due to terrorism?

 

I can understand how the fear might be expected, but I don't see it anywhere. It is talked about as if it is real, but I guess I'd like to see some support that it is actually out there.

I can honestly say that I have known people who stopped their strong political activism due to the the threat of extra-legal sanctions by terrorist organisations. I have spent extended period living, and know many people from Belfast - Northern Ireland - and the constant menace of punishment/attack/murder by the paramilitary wings of the extreme political parties was a constant barrier to more liberal/non-militaristic members taking the lead. Quite often this fear was generated by the extremists "on the same side" as the liberal.

 

I agree that another attack would bring it quickly back. In my first post on this subject I said that one of the reasons people weren't afraid was because of the successes of the war on terror. Terrorists would love nothing more than to drop planes from the sky but they've been unable to follow up on the success of 9/11.

 

While what you describe may reasonably be called fear, it is a far cry from how it was described in the beginning of this conversation, how terrorists have "...struck such fear, even terror, in our whole civilization...".

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