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#25841 - 11/16/06 12:41 PM A critique of the so-called war on terrorism
oenophore Offline
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Louise Richardson is a Harvard professor who has been teaching about terrorism for a decade, and who had always thought it wise for academics to stay out of politics. But the boneheadedness of the Bush regime, which has ignored decades of accumulated wisdom on her subject, prompted her to write a belated primer.

The result is, according to Max Rodenbeck’s review in the current issue of the New York Review of Books, “a book that reads like an all-encompassing crash course in terrorism: its history, what motivates it, and the most effective ways of treating it.”

Rodenbeck offers a summary of a dozen of her basic points.

1. Terrorism is anything but new. Violence by nonstate actors against civilians to achieve political aims has been going on for a long, long time.

2. Terrorism is obviously a threat, and the deliberate killing of innocent civilians an outrage, but it is not a very big threat. Six times more Americans are killed every year by drunk drivers than died in the World Trade Center. (And more Americans have now died in Iraq and Afghanistan.) Excepting a few particularly bad years, the annual number of deaths from terrorism worldwide since the late 1960s, when the State Department started record-keeping, is only about the same as the number of Americans who drown every year in bathtubs.

3. The danger from terrorist use of so-called weapons of mass destruction is not as large as scaremongers profess.

4. Many terrorists are not madmen. The choice to use terror can be quite rational and calculated.

5. Groups that commit terrorism, in many cases, believe they are acting defensively, using the most effective means at their disposal. Their justifications can be self-serving and morally repugnant, but are often carefully elaborated. It is, Richardson emphasizes, important to distinguish these differing approaches, since they suggest different remedies.

6. Suicide attacks can also represent a rational policy choice. They are cheap. They can be a means of access to difficult targets. They are effective in frightening people, and in advertising the seriousness and devotion of those who undertake them.

7. There is no special link between Islam and terrorism. Most major religions have produced some form of terrorism, and many terrorist groups have professed atheism.

8. Electoral democracy does not prevent terrorism, which has flourished in many democracies, typically being used by groups representing minorities who believe the logic of majority rule excludes them. The Basque separatist group ETA and Greece’s November 17th urban guerrillas started under dictatorships, but continued their attacks following transitions to democracy in both countries.

9. Democratic principles are no impediment to prosecuting terrorists. On the contrary they are, Richardson asserts, “among the strongest weapons in our arsenal.”

10. Military action is sometimes necessary to combat terrorism, but it is often not the best way to do so.

11. Armies, in fact, often create more problems than they solve. When Britain sent its army into Northern Ireland in 1969 in response to the Troubles, it took just two years for the majority of Catholics, who were at first relieved by their presence, to turn against them. The turnaround for the US in Iraq was far shorter.

12. To address the issues terrorists say they are fighting for cannot automatically be dismissed as appeasement.

Rodenbeck goes on:

Because terrorists tend to be aspirational rather than practical, their practices typically amount to what Ms. Richardson calls a search for the three R’s of terrorism: revenge, renown, and reaction. As she puts it, “the point of terrorism is not to defeat the enemy but to send a message.” This simple insight is important, because it suggests ways of dealing with terrorism: you must blunt the impulse for revenge, try to limit the terrorists’ renown, and refrain from reacting in ways that either broaden the terrorists’ appeal or encourage further terrorism by showing how effective their tactics are.

Richardson’s three R’s go a long way toward explaining why American policy has become so disastrously askew. As she notes, an act such as September 11 itself achieves the first of her three R’s, revenge. So spectacularly destructive an attack also gains much of the second objective, renown. But the Bush administration’s massive and misdirected overreaction has handed al-Qaeda a far greater reward than it ever dreamed of winning.

“The declaration of a global war on terrorism,” says Richardson bluntly, “has been a terrible mistake and is doomed to failure.” In declaring such a war, she says, the Bush administration chose to mirror its adversary:

Americans opted to accept al-Qaeda’s language of cosmic warfare at face value and respond accordingly, rather than respond to al-Qaeda based on an objective assessment of its resources and capabilities.

In essence, America’s actions radically upgraded Osama bin Laden’s organization from a ragtag network of plotters to a great enemy worthy of a superpower’s undivided attention. Even as it successfully shattered the group’s core through the invasion of Afghanistan, America empowered al-Qaeda politically by its loud triumphalism, whose very excess encouraged others to try the same terror tactics.
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#25842 - 11/20/06 08:32 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: oenophore]
empicard Offline
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Easily one of the stupidest things i've read recently:

Quote:


7. There is no special link between Islam and terrorism. Most major religions have produced some form of terrorism, and many terrorist groups have professed atheism.





i dont give a flying rats ass who has historically commited terrorist acts. the enemy NOW is islamic fundamentalists, and the islamic moderates who DO NOTHING to control their psychos.

my other problem is this PC bullshit.
i am completely sick of that prevents us from nuking several countries out of existence.
this is a very simple game. KILL THE ENEMY BEFORE THEY KILL YOU.

to quote pete townsend once again, "FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM TO HELL DEATH AND BACK AGAIN."
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#25843 - 11/20/06 08:34 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
empicard Offline
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oh, and i think lynne stewart should be shot in the face for high treason.
there i said it.
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tOOthless

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#25844 - 11/21/06 05:25 AM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
intrepid02 Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 1421
Loc: Boulder
Have Islamic fundamentalists really done more damage to this country than Christian fundamentalists? Personally, I lose more more sleep over the latter than the former.

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#25845 - 11/21/06 02:47 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
chazman Offline
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Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
Quote:

Easily one of the stupidest things i've read recently:

Quote:


7. There is no special link between Islam and terrorism. Most major religions have produced some form of terrorism, and many terrorist groups have professed atheism.





i dont give a flying rats ass who has historically commited terrorist acts. the enemy NOW is islamic fundamentalists, and the islamic moderates who DO NOTHING to control their psychos.

my other problem is this PC bullshit.
i am completely sick of that prevents us from nuking several countries out of existence.
this is a very simple game. KILL THE ENEMY BEFORE THEY KILL YOU.

to quote pete townsend once again, "FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM FUCK 'EM TO HELL DEATH AND BACK AGAIN."




Easily one of the stupidest things i've read recently.

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#25846 - 11/21/06 05:09 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: chazman]
oenophore Offline
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Can recent fatherhood be deemed temporary insanity?
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#25847 - 11/21/06 05:16 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: oenophore]
chazman Offline
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Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
Quote:

Can recent fatherhood be deemed temporary insanity?



Shit... they just had a baby? Nevermind...

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#25848 - 11/21/06 07:36 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: chazman]
empicard Offline
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Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
go screw yourself.
im always crazy.
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tOOthless

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#25849 - 11/21/06 08:33 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
empicard Offline
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Registered: 08/29/01
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Loc: LI, NY
you see any patterns developing here?
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm
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tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#25850 - 11/21/06 08:47 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
chazman Offline
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Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
Quote:

you see any patterns developing here?
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm



No... but back to this
Quote:

my other problem is this PC bullshit.
i am completely sick of that prevents us from nuking several countries out of existence.
this is a very simple game. KILL THE ENEMY BEFORE THEY KILL YOU.



Who is the ememy and what exctly do we nuke? Their club house? Or the entire country they reside in along with the majority of the people also residing there who are living a peaceful existance? The US attacked a country under false assumptions and has caused many deaths... doesn't someone have the right to nuke us? We are something of a terrorist threat to the Islamic world.

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#25851 - 11/21/06 08:48 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
oenophore Offline
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Quote:

you see any patterns developing here?
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm


Is anything in the original post contradicted in that webpage?
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#25852 - 11/21/06 09:01 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: oenophore]
empicard Offline
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Registered: 08/29/01
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yes, that there is no special link between islam and terrorism.

proud state sponsors of terrorism should be as one jackass stated "wiped off the map."
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#25853 - 11/21/06 09:19 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
i am completely sick of that prevents us from nuking several countries out of existence.
this is a very simple game. KILL THE ENEMY BEFORE THEY KILL YOU.


That sounds to me like saying that since blacks disproportionately commit murders in the US, we should kill (or at least imprison) all blacks. Nevermind the fact that most blacks lead perfecly legal lives and were not, are not, and will not be murderers.

I think the idea that we're justified in punishing tons of innocent people to get at the few guilty ones is not only severely unjust but counterproductive. To the extent it focuses on a particular group, it leads to increased polarization and the alienation of the very people who might be most useful in finding the ones truly responsible. Yes, by all means go after the ones bent on destruction and immune to reason. But punishing a group for the actions of a few ferments extremism and hatred that increases the number of people who are truly dangerous to us and so makes us less safe, not more.

It's not PC bullshit; it's looking at the practical consequences of our actions. And the practical consequences of group punishment are not good, no matter how angry we may feel about individual perpetrators.

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#25854 - 11/21/06 09:28 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
proud state sponsors of terrorism should be as one jackass stated "wiped off the map."


It's not that simple. First, no one is wiping anyone "off the map." For instance, extremists on both the Israeli and Palestinian side think their only option is to destroy the other. That's fantasyland. It's not going to happen. And as long as they think it's a possibility, they'll continue to kill each other.

Some countries tolerate extremists in their midst because opposing them would lead to a revolt would put the extremists in power. Want to guess why we're not pushing hard for democracy in Saudi Arabia?

And if we really did go after states that provided resources, and wiped them off the map, what would the reaction be in the rest of the Muslim world? If we nuked Iraq, would that solve our terrorism problems, or would it provide the biggest recruiting tool in history for an entire new generation of extremists?

The biggest problem isn't countries; it's non-state actors. And if we don't come up with better strategies than nuking entire countries, I think the problem will only get worse.

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#25855 - 11/22/06 03:32 AM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: Daniel]
empicard Offline
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good law abiding blacks do not keep quiet and allow their friends to fund ghetto trouble causing blacks to sneak into malls and churches and blow innocent people up.
nonstate actors? how do you call syria blatantly funding hamas nonstate?



Edited by empicard (11/22/06 03:33 AM)
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#25856 - 11/22/06 05:08 AM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
how do you call syria blatantly funding hamas nonstate?

First, I think they're more Hezbollah funders, less soHamas funders.

Second, wouldn't blowing up Syria would be the best recruitment for Hezbollah anyone could dream up?

Third, Hezbollah started up as a response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in the '80s. It existed before Syria saw it could be used to advance Syria's interests, and I doubt it would go away if Syria didn't exist.

good law abiding blacks do not keep quiet and allow their friends to fund ghetto trouble causing blacks to sneak into malls and churches and blow innocent people up.

So what's your plan? Arrest all of them? Anyone who doesn't take action gets put in jail? On what grounds? (Failure to disclose a criminal activity that one is not involved in is, to the best of my knowledge, not a crime.) And how can anyone prove he/she didn't know? The inability to prove a negative is what got us into Iraq--and we can see how much safer that's made us.

If you can describe how blowing up countries would make us safer, I'd be glad to read about it. But the practical consequences to me makes it sound like a strategy that is more likely to leave us worse off than one that would solve any real problems, for the reasons I've stated previously. I understand the anger, but I don't think it's helpful in any practical sense.

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#25857 - 11/22/06 04:54 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: Daniel]
empicard Offline
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Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
hizbollah hamas closeefuckinnough.

the wife just yelled at me to get back to the kid.
im out.
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tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#25858 - 11/22/06 06:11 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
From today’s Morning Edition (NPR)
This was almost as good as Oenophores link / text.

Description:
Quote:

novelist Robert Harris speaks with Steve Inskeep about how the history of Rome is reflected in our modern-day world. Harris sees parallels between the time of Rome's transition from republican to imperial rule and the challenges the U.S. faces now.




http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6523758

Wish they had provided text too, but I don't see it.


Edited by mworking (11/22/06 06:16 PM)

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#25859 - 11/22/06 06:39 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: mworking]
strat Offline
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Registered: 04/30/01
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Novelist.

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#25860 - 11/22/06 06:55 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: strat]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Antagonistic lines deleted.

I would have written an intelligent person who has read up on both recent history and their subject matter, and can compare them.



Edited by mworking (11/22/06 07:26 PM)

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#25861 - 11/22/06 07:03 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: mworking]
strat Offline
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Photographer?

What's that supposed to mean?

And, I know a very intelligent biologist who studies the silk made by spiders. He is very well read on polymers and polymer processing, but, I don't go to him for advice about polymer design. I go to him to learn about how the spider does it, but, not polymer design.

I guess I'm guilty of reading into your post. I read that you are posting this because you think that because the novelist says something means it must be so. I could be completely wrong. You might just be posting it because you find it interesting to hear a novelist's perspectives on things.

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#25862 - 11/22/06 08:04 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: strat]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
When a novelist tells me water is wet I agree with him. I don't doubt that that water is wet because he is a novelist. I get the idea you are commenting on something you haven't listened too.

PS: My first response/line was deleted long before your reply showed up here. Actually it should have only been up for a minute or two, but I noted that it was there in case someone did see it.

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#25863 - 11/22/06 08:08 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: mworking]
strat Offline
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Whatever dude (or dudette whatever you are).

You still didn't answer what the word "Photographer" was supposed to mean in the response that you deleted.

And, there you go jumping to conclusions again- I did hear the NPR piece today. And I thought it was the drivel that you would expect from someone who writes fiction for a living commenting on the state of the planet.

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#25864 - 11/22/06 08:12 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: strat]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Ok then? I disagree, though I suppose I might feel, the way you do if I did disagree. On the other hand I don't see how the parallels he draws are not relevant. and I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that some modern speech writer actually did use words that were originally Roman.


Edited by mworking (11/22/06 08:17 PM)

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#25865 - 11/23/06 12:57 AM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: mworking]
strat Offline
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Posts: 4242
You STILL have not addressed my direct question as to what you meant when you said "Photographer" in your now edited post.

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#25866 - 11/25/06 03:48 AM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: strat]
mworking Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
It was stupid comment that at the time, to me, seemed similar to the one I was addressing. But, I very quickly decided that I did not really want to be antagonistic, and deleted it hoping no one had even seen it. Obviously you did.

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#27981 - 03/30/07 08:33 PM Re: A critique of the so-called war on terrorism [Re: empicard]
oenophore Offline
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Registered: 09/24/01
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