Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

How would we stop...

I've noticed something. Most of us think reactively. For example, we think, "Computer hardware just sucks." Then an Apple comes along, does the obvious step of thinking for itself, and are hailed as geniuses. Most of us, myself included, only think in the box.

What changes do you think would be effective in stopping terrorism? Not 100%, but effectively, and within our serious ability?

(And even if you're a rightwinger who feels attacked on this forum, please feel free to respond. Idiots like me argue too much.)
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
April 21st, 2005
"What changes do you think would be effective in stopping terrorism?"

Education.

The more educated a people are, the better the society.
Permalink Actively Disengaged 
April 21st, 2005
Terrorism is warfare for the poor. It's the most effective way they have access to in lives/dollar to attack things they hate.

I agree that education is a big part of it - people tend to fear what they don't understand, and attack what they fear. They also fear change.

Tradition is very highly valued by many cultures, and they fear loss of their way of life. They perceive encroachment of Western values to be a threat to their way of doing things.

I think that if you remind some of these people that historically learning was once very highly valued by their cultures, that at one time they had the height of civilization, they may once again value it. As they build learning back into their societies, they may realize that they can maintain an independent way of life while being educated. This might help remove their fear.

Also, a more educated society will be a wealthier one as a whole. People in poverty don't have the energy to see past their hunger, and hate what they think is the cause of it. A people that has food and leisure time will be less likely to risk it.

Teach them, encourage them to maintain their beliefs and return to peace, and trade with them to enhance their economies.

Then if they persist in attacking us despite being educated, fat, and happy...nuke 'em.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
April 21st, 2005
According to Gore Vidal, terrorists are people who have something to say that have been pushed to the margins. Probably the best way to deal with them would be to have trained negotiators talk to them.

The question is not dissimilar from "How do you prevent a flame war" because it's the dyanmic between two parties that allows it to escalate to the point of violence. Studying the interpersonal dynamic and learning to diffuse it before it results in "terror" seems like the obvious way to go.
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
Give the terrorists nukes.

Now THAT'S thinking outside of the box!
Permalink ,..., 
April 21st, 2005
> Terrorism is warfare for the poor.

Bin Ladin is poor? My knee-jerk reaction says that the difference between War & Terrorism is only who sanctioned the action.

Anyway... knee jerk reactions never solved anything so I'll quit while I'm behind.
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
War is a military conflict between sovereign nations.

Bin Laden as an individual is not poor. If that was the entire wealth of a nation, it would be a poor one indeed.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
April 21st, 2005
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4464293.stm

Countries free from terrorism...
Permalink Actively Disengaged 
April 21st, 2005
I was sort of joking about Bin Ladin. Though I do believe the CIA definition of terror looked basically like their definition of war, with just the word "illegal" thrown in.

If Bin Ladin had $100 billion to spend each year on aggression, at what point does terrorism cease being terrorism and start being war? And if it did become war, would it buy him soveriegnty?

I've read several of Bin Ladin's interviews (they're linked to from my site), and I have to say, he sounds reasonable and intelligent. At least as much, if not more, than Bush at any rate.

I quickly scanned Gore Vidal's book "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace" in the bookstore. He talks about McVeigh and Bin Ladin and how, perhaps, they were provoked into doing what they did. Worth a scan no matter which side of the fence you fall on.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/156025405X/
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
Negotiating with suicide bombers isn't feasible, some acts of terrorism, such as hijacking were all about negotiation to get their cause media attention but that was in the happy days before Black September.

The most direct way would involve removing whatever it was that was pushing them into acts of desperation. That doesn't mean bin Laden and al Zakawi, they have entirely different, political motives that can't be assuaged or pacified. But the mass populations that support them tacitly and actively can have their issues addressed but only if the West is going to go to bat for them with the Israeli government.

But then you're into the chicken and egg of how do you convince Israel that they'll be safe in order for them to enable the Palestinians to create a nation for themselves. My own answer to that is somewhat out of the box, there will never be a two state solution that is successful, there can only ever be a single nation of Israel-Palestine. To that end I would encourage the formation of a Union of The Middle East with initial members, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

For that to happen you need the current generation of Israeli leaders to fall away, Israel needs a new Herzog.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
April 21st, 2005
> Terrorism is warfare for the poor.

I thought so at one time as well but it turns out not to be true. Basically any of would become terrorists if we or our family was hurt badly enough.

I would play the long game like we did with russia. In the mean time stop being dependent on oil then we won't give a crap what they do.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 21st, 2005
People chose violence, like terrorism when they don't feel they can make a difference in the world. When their voice vanishes in the wind. Whether it is folks like Eric Rudolph, Tim McVeigh, AlQeda or Earth First, they can't make a change in the world except by killing folks.

Globalization will only make terrorism worse. Larger and larger corporations that walk all over people will stir up resentment, hate and distrust. Unless you want to acknowledge that terrorism is part and parcel of "the invisible hand of the marketplace."

The 911 hijackers were all well educated. Other terrorists have also been found to be quite well educated. So the concept that education will stop terrorism is rather false, and has lead to the wingnut campaign claiming that all the 911jackers came from leftie universities. 15 of the 19 came from Saudi Arabia, so we invaded Iraq instead: by fooling the public into thinking Sadam had something to do with 911 (I suppose his brown skin was enough for most).

Education helps see what is wrong with the world. Idealism helps you want to fix it. When you're locked out of the power system to fix it, terrorism and revolution is the final answer. Such as when one party controls all 3 branches of goverment, and members of that party also control the media too.
Permalink  
April 21st, 2005
I wonder how England could've prevented the (American) Revolutionary War...
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
> I wonder how England could've prevented the
> (American) Revolutionary War...

Take the complaints of the citizen seriously and not be involved elsewhere. Much like the french revolution.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 21st, 2005
Great answer AD.

I'll throw a sort of monkey wrench into it though. The American school system operates as somewhat of a propaganda machine... we teach people what we want them to think.

See: Scopes monkey trial, recent creationist textbook hoopla, the focus and lack of focus of junior/high school history books, 1940's A-bomb drop and cover films, that horror flick (Blood on the highway??)passed off as a driver's ed movie, the largely distorted misinformation about certain drugs and their negative effects, sex education, etc... for more details.

That in mind, I think we should run some serious T1 backbones through there. Make Iraq the freakin' Virginia of the middle east. We need to increase the free flow of access to information and instill in them a desire for knowledge.
Permalink I am Jack's power play 
April 21st, 2005
Was the Revolutionary War an act of terror? What about the Boston Tea Party? This nation was founded by terrorists, who continued their acts of terror for over a century while manifesting their destiny (what a pretty piece of propoganda that was). So it's not surprising we induce others to commit acts of terror against us.
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
"Basically any of would become terrorists if we or our family was hurt badly enough."

That's still individuals doing it, and individuals are poor relative to nations. Nations have vast wealth that no individual can ever have access to. Regardless of how rich a person is, if that person wages war on a nation, that person is poor compared to that nation, and that person is not truly waging war, that person is engaging in terrorism. A nation can draw on the wealth of all of the people that make it up.

I stand by my words. Terrorism is warfare for the poor.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
April 21st, 2005
I think many Iraqis are highly educated already.
Permalink Rick Tsang 
April 21st, 2005
Education is more than just attending school.

It relies for growth on a society where all topics can be openly discussed and the opinions of others are respected.
Permalink Actively Disengaged 
April 21st, 2005
> Terrorism is warfare for the poor.

Ok, so then we just need to stop war. Sounds easy enough.

Next problem.
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
Stop the US from terrorizing other countries. That might help.
Permalink Broccolli 
April 21st, 2005
Of course, I believe economic imperialism is a form of terrorism, so take me for what I'm worth.
Permalink Broccolli 
April 21st, 2005
Aside from the massive acts of terror being commited by the U.S. in Iraq right now, what does the average Iraqi citizen have to do with terrorism?
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 21st, 2005
But how can I respect, say,

People pro abortion?
Corrupted Bush administration regarding Iraq contracts?

When people feel there is injustice, I don't think we could deter terrorists effectively.
Permalink Rick Tsang 
April 21st, 2005
"Of course, I believe economic imperialism is a form of terrorism, so take me for what I'm worth."

You mean exploiting the poor and powerless, right? It's stupid and short-sighted for the US to do that. It pisses off the exploited, and pushes them towards terrorism, and we could profit far more by helping the poor nations develop and then trading with them.

Outsourcing is stupid, long term, by the way, because eventually those nations will develop, and then the jobs will come back because it'll be cheaper to do it locally.

Short term it probably builds some infrastructure in a developing nation that wasn't there before. Too bad those jobs are so manual labor intensive - that's what highly automated factories are supposed to be for.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
April 21st, 2005
It's getting off topic.

How is outsourcing a problem? China and Hong Kong have been providing cheap labour for decades, and it does not seem it stops us from growing.

The best people go abroad for education. Patriotism urges many of those go back to their own countries.

The best strategy is to build democracy with due diligence.

Hey, giving countries nuke is another way!

Perhaps USA, China, Russia, Britain and France should give up their veto power.

Perhaps WTO, IMF and WB should be reformed to reflect the interests of developing rather than the developed nations.
Permalink Rick Tsang 
April 21st, 2005
> Was the Revolutionary War an act of terror?

From the perspective of the british it was, of course.

> That's still individuals doing it, and individuals are
> poor relative to nations.

Not in the newly evolved fourth generation warfare. Nation states are actually less flexible and less able than smaller groups of dedicated people. Global Guerillas is a good blog on the subject http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/.

> I stand by my words.

Good, keep them company.

> The American school system operates as somewhat
> of a propaganda machine...

Its purpose was to create servile workers for the industrial revolution. Teaching thinking was never in the game plan.

> How is outsourcing a problem?

At a certain point it becomes a problem because there is nolonger a middle class.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 21st, 2005
Aaron was saying outsourcing is a problem for developing country, not the developed country doing the outsourcing.
Permalink Rick Tsang 
April 21st, 2005
I'm afraid it's a bit more involved than "warfare for the poor". Perhaps the key idea is "propaganda of the deed" as it was termed in the 19th Century - violence as PR.

Most terrorist attacks only manage to kill a few people. Even 911 - which held the entire world's attention for weeks and ended with the invasion of 2 countries - killed roughly the same number as died in a French heatwave 2 years later.

It would seem to me that to restrict terrorism you need a combination of things - you need to restrict the opportunity for attack (so Crazy Asian Ladies return to find their bags subject to controlled explosion), you need to do the really boring polce work, you need to offer the chance that some of the supporters goals may be met if there's peace and not if there isn't (so as to minimise the propoganda value of attacks)...and finally you need to accept that some of the bastards will carry on doing it - because their conceptual world is self-contained. Omagh springs to mind.

But you know it's funny - I've been within earshot of 2 big explosions and I've seen the results of more - but despite all the warnings, since the "War on Terror" has begun - nothing.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
April 21st, 2005
If terrorism is warfare for the poor, we should kill off all the poor people. Maybe feed them to the irish.
Permalink Art 
April 22nd, 2005
For sake of clarity: terrorism in its modern colloquial form is not "warfare for the poor". (It costs quite a bit to secretly prepare a terror attack, by the way, even if not as much as preparing a full-scale war...)

Terror as military tactic is covert attacks on targets behind the opponent's front line. Special infiltration teams typically perform that, and rules of war apply, including state of war, uniforms, and, not incidentally, choice of targets. It is about hurting the enemy's deep *military* infrastructure by pinpoint unexpected attack.

Terrorism in its modern sense is not performed by military personnel, and targets primarily civilian targets and innocent bystanders. (Even in Israel, where - technically - there are valid military targets enough, by now the terrorists prefer to blow up cafes, dancing and buses, instead of assaulting military bases.) Pure, senseless carnage based on general demonization of everyone in the opponent country, to make them acceptable targets. Certainly, the "targets" are usually unaware of their new status assigned to them by the madmen, but that surely does not stop the madmen. Modern terrorism is also not something out of warfare book; it is out of the media campaigning book. It's a way for radical organization to advertise their agenda; the "Palestinean" terrorist groups use it to compete for internal control of the Palestinean Autonomy, for example; for most of them it is by now not a way to hurt Israel, but to score on competing terrorist groups in a kind of "who hates the Jews more" political contest.

To stop terrorism, therefore, two things would be needed, which I don't see possibly done under current circumstances. One, eradication of the actual terrorists must be done quietly, using covert ops tactics and intelligence, not warfare. (An army cannot hunt 10 people in a whole country, it's not an army's function. All it can do is aggravate everyone else into thinking that the terrorists had a point - which, not incidentally, is another goal of certain terror groups like Al Qaeda.) Unfortunately, covert ops, being covert, yield no political credit - so the administrations prefer loud (if inefficient) warfare. Two, the details on terror attacks must not be reported - even the attacks themselves should not. When the terrorists get no free publicity (like now, when every media outlet trumpets their achievements and names the proud "authors"), the tactic will stop being politically effective and will dwindle.

P.S. By the way, the Palestinean Arabs do have a state of their own. It is much bigger than Israel, even taken together with the Autonomy, and populated by the exact same ethnicity as the Israeli Arabs - it's now called Jordania. A good number of the same Arabs are citizens of Israel, and Syria as well, where they keep their ethnicity. The reasons why a part of the Palestinean Arabs is being kept artificially shut out of the Jordanian and Syrian society in "refugee camps" has nothing to deal with their ethnicity. (Hullo! "refugees" still 50 years after they fled? two generations of refugeess? Think of it: why the hell didn't they blend in the society of the same culture and language?) It is purely political - marginalizing a part of the people into being a useful tool against the hated Israel for continuation of a constant "cold war".
Permalink ping? 
April 22nd, 2005
How do you define terrorism?

The Intelligence Community is guided by the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d):

—The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

—The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving the territory or the citizens of more than one country.

—The term “terrorist group” means any group that practices, or has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.

http://www.cia.gov/terrorism/faqs.html
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/22/2656f.html

I believe this is fairly new, and replaces the other definition I'd mentioned previously.

Notice that the word "Terrorism" has nothing to do with *who* perpetrates the act, simply the act itself and the inteded effect. Nations can do it, individuals can do it, groups can do it. Terrorism is defined by the event, and not the wealth of the perpetrator.
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 22nd, 2005
Anyway, I stick to my original assertation. Terrorism is a means to an end, that end usually being getting a message heard. If we simply listened to people more, and stopped marginalizing people, people wouldn't need to go to such extreme lengths to be heard.
Permalink MarkTAW 
April 22nd, 2005
Actually its the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, not Jordania which sounds like a Princess Diaries kind of place. The Palestinian Arabs don't make up the majority of the population of Arabs in Jordan, they are fellahin (farmers), the Arabs in power in Jordan, not just the Royal Family, are bedouin. The fellahin are looked down upon by the bedouin much as the Marsh Arabs in Southern Iraq are despised by urban populations. It's just another mistake we make in lumping all Arabs together as if they were a single ethnic group.

The reason for them still wanting right of return is that their lands were sold out from under them (often by absentee landlords and those that weren't sold moved because of the eastward pressure by Israeli settlers, though not for the most part by the original division of land agreed to by King Abdullah.

They have no lands of their own in Jordan.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
April 22nd, 2005
the palestinians represent rather an indictment on the world really, to a large extend they have no land of their own to speak of, having been dispossessed by more powerful groups, and with 10s of thousands now living in 'temporary' camps.

Their anger at this tends to be kept inflamed by the other arabs around them who use them as a rallying call.

Maybe we should start the process of eliminating terrorism by finding homes for those in the camps.
Permalink FullNameRequired 
April 22nd, 2005
This seems relevant:

http://www.piratesandemperors.com
Permalink . 
April 23rd, 2005
> This seems relevant: http://www.piratesandemperors.com

Aka "Regime change begins at home".

> What changes do you think would be effective in stopping terrorism? Not 100%, but effectively, and within our serious ability?

How about 'decentralization of power'? I'm hypothesising that without a central power there would be nothing and no-one in particular that's worth trying to terrorize: if the 'soviets' had no army in Chechnya, for example, then perhaps Chechens would have no reason to be terrorists.

Fewer miltary and more police.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
April 23rd, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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