h1

Some Thoughts On Dealing With The Terrorist Threat

August 1, 2007

The bulk of this post was actually taken from a comment I left on The Sophist’s entry “The Post 9/11 World” (which, incidentally, was a response to my post on that subject).  My comment was relatively long, so I figured I might as well reprint it here.  Besides, I’m not sure if I’ve posted any ideas on how to fight terrorism on my blog in the past (although plenty of times on other blogs).  Anyway, it was mainly addressing this portion the The Sophist’s post:

With terror networks, this equation doesn’t work. The only possible response is one of the following three:

  1. hunt down and kill those who would attack us, before they could launch an attack;
  2. create a more tempting target for them elsewhere; and
  3. surrender.

There is no other alternative.

Re: Preemption

To me, that’s always been the scary area. I mean, in the general sense, how can you justify killing people for something they might do? Can you do it in a way that doesn’t make the overall problem worse?

And the notion of a more “tempting” target. I’ve seen posts on milblogs from troops that refer to this idea as the “live bait” or “flypaper” theory. It’s possible effectiveness aside, I wonder how history will judge us on this. After all, we’ve essentially invaded another country under the guise of disarming Saddam and are now an occupying force with the unintended benefit of attracting al Qaeda. Do the Iraqis appreciate us using their country as a “kill zone” in order to keep us safe at home? Never mind the fact that it is incredibly expensive, and it’s very hard to know if we’re creating more terrorists than we’re killing. It just doesn’t seem like a solution that we can sustain over the long term. Plus, there still isn’t much to stop them from hitting us here at home now. They’re not moths, after all.

Re: Surrender

I’ve always wondered what that meant exactly. If it means giving in to terrorist demands, I suppose that would mean abandoning our influence in the Middle East. We’d probably have no problem just throwing our hands in the air and declaring “These people are f*cking nuts!” and leaving if we didn’t have critical interests in the region. If it means abandoning America to Sharia, well, I think most Americans would agree that it would be a fight to the death before that was allowed to happen. It’s not as if Osama has an army of jihadis poised to march into downtown LA and start forced conversions to Islam or anything. Maybe not “surrendering” simply means being smarter about how we approach this whole thing.

My solution has always been centered around treating it more as a criminal act than as a war. Preemption should be used in moderation. Everything we do should be kept low profile and below the average American’s radar. Secure the borders, and take reasonable precautions to “terror-proof” our country (airports, ports, nuclear facilities, power grids, water supply, etc.). Do NOT treat it as an “epic struggle”, or at least do not try to create that impression publicly.

By calling it a “war” or a “clash of civilizations” you are inherently legitimizing the jihad these extremists are trying to wage. It serves as inspiration for them. Taken far enough, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, ie we really do have a “clash of civilizations” because we’ve managed to inspire the entire Muslim world to fight against us.

By treating it as a crime or a simply despicable acts of barbarism, you serve to alienate and marginalize the ideology. You’re essentially saying “This isn’t your great war, you guys are f*cking thugs”. They want a holy war. Don’t give them the satisfaction. They’re murderous bastards. Period.

If there is such a thing as “winning” a war on terrorism, it would be creating a world where there aren’t people who want to kill us at all. I just don’t see how bombing more people in the Middle East is going to accomplish that over the long term. Instead, if you can alienate the ideology and stop the spread of it with alliances, intelligence and responsible foreign policy you might get to the point where the threat is negligible (you’ll never completely eliminate it).

Advertisements

14 comments

  1. CZ –

    I’m enjoying the dialogue, and will post a response post as well. I did respond to your comments, and I think given the length of these, we might be better off just replying to each other via posts. 🙂

    -TS


  2. Yea sorry. Like I said, I guess I just wanted to have those thoughts for the blog.


  3. You’ve made some very good points there.

    “Do the Iraqis appreciate us using their country as a “kill zone” in order to keep us safe at home? Never mind the fact that it is incredibly expensive, and it’s very hard to know if we’re creating more terrorists than we’re killing.”

    A brilliant (and highly disturbing) article I found answers that question: (link)

    One point about this war on terror I’d like to add: In the whole euphoria of this Goddamn war, an entire religion was alienated and put into a completely wrong light, and its 1.5 billion adherents have indirectly been declared guilty until proven innocent.
    You might not believe this, but one can very easily disprove that Islam is a terrorist religion. With some research here and there you can debunk every single lie that has been said about Islam so far. I should know, because I’m a Muslim. If you want, I can gladly provide you with some information to prove it.


  4. Hi Sphinx- I’m actually familiar with you and your site because your nic comes up every so often on LGF (usually by Killgore). Speaking of LGF, if there is one viewpoint I bring to that site it is the idea that the ‘war’ is not and should not be directed at Islam itself. Even if I hated your religion I would consider such a position tactically foolish. Since I’m vastly outnumbered over there, however, I’ve reached the point where I’ve given up trying to debate the subject (for the most part). It’s too bad, because I think our nation really needs to be open and honest about this.

    I’ll say that I consider myself as a secular or a deist. I have a problem with organized religion in general, so I suppose Islam wouldn’t be much different. I have never had a problem with a Muslim in my personal life. I will state, however, that the ideas of marytrdom along with this insane notion of 70 virgins in heaven for it is what bothers people the most. Also, images of signs that read “Islam will dominate” and the like aren’t winning any friends either. Those instances may be an extreme minority, but they continue to be displayed and propagandized.

    That said, I have no doubt that you can provide proof to back up your position. I’ve stated a few times that if Islam was really the problem, we’d have suicide bombings on a weekly basis here in America. So, I agree with what you’re saying here, in that there is an alienation at work here and I don’t like where it’s going.

    I suppose all I can ask of you and your fellow Muslims is to continue to condemn that acts of barbarism as often and as vocally as you can when you see it done in the name of your religion. We should all alienate the act and the twisted perversion that leads to it and maybe we’ll move in a positive direction on this.

    -thanks for stopping by.


  5. “I will state, however, that the ideas of marytrdom along with this insane notion of 70 virgins in heaven for it is what bothers people the most. Also, images of signs that read “Islam will dominate” and the like aren’t winning any friends either. Those instances may be an extreme minority, but they continue to be displayed and propagandized.”

    And this is a significant part of the problem: You will find acts of idiocy in every country and every religous group that exists, in more or less similar ratios. It’s human nature.

    However, the propaganda is directed in a way that it’s mostly Muslim idiots that are being shown, rarely somebody else. And even more scare is positive stuff coming from Muslims. This has deceived many people into thinking that the vast majority of us are mindless barbarians. There was even a comment on LGF some time back saying: “Whom to believe, whom to believe……the news or what comes out of the mouths of Muslim apologists….”

    You’ve mentioned the martyrdom and the infamous 72 virgins. Interestingly enough, the true Muslim understanding of Martyrdom is entirely different from blowing yourself up. A martyr is by definition somebody who dies on God’s path. Examples for this are somebody who dies while on their way to commiting good, defending their home from an outside attack, visiting the ill, seeking knowledge, prayer, pilgrimage, or anything of the sort. A true martyr is promised a very high position in heaven amongst various blessings, which include (but are not limited to) 72 of “Al Hoor al ‘ein”, which I can’t translate correctly, but can surely say that it does NOT mean virgins.

    This would be completely new information to somebody who’s used to hearing the myth of sex-depraved men blowing themselves up to have sex with 72 virgins. (Just a reminder: Suicide is a grave sin in Islam)
    My point being that out of fragments of quasi-knowledge, you can create an image that’s far from the truth.

    At some point I realized that the repeating of misinformation has gone so far that some people will even refuse to consider that anything good can come from Muslims. Ever. Either that, or they consider the righteous to be not true Muslims.
    I have seen examples of this at LGF and Jihadwatch on several occasions. Not exactly the best basis for conversation.

    I’ve also been in many debates with people where I’ve tried to show that Islam is NOT a terrorist religion, that real Muslims wouldn’t engage in violence, that terrorism is not in our name, and yet everything has fallen on deaf ears.
    One time I wrote a long comment stating all this, and yet one comment later, this one guy (who judging by his attitude was a very sick and twisted individual) called me “a true supporter of terrorism and Islamofascism”.

    In the end it’s very frustrating to be sitting where you are, minding your own business, and then having a flood of bogus accusations coming at you from all directions, because some people are too blind to see beyond their own prejudice.
    And whatever you do, whatever you say, you’re going to be simply wrong. I then just say to myself: “I don’t need to appease these clowns. Let them wallow in their own ignorance.”

    So I think it’s necessary for the “other side” to have a more open mind and be more willing to listen in order to break all existing misunderstandings and stereotypes, and at the same time I fully agree with you that Muslims should represent themselves well, especially in societies where they are the minority.

    Thanks very much for listening =) And sorry if my comments are too long.


  6. Don’t worry about long comments. I welcome open and honest debate on my site, and usually that means expressing your opinion in more than one or two sentences. 🙂

    You’ve mentioned the martyrdom and the infamous 72 virgins. Interestingly enough, the true Muslim understanding of Martyrdom is entirely different from blowing yourself up. A martyr is by definition somebody who dies on God’s path. Examples for this are somebody who dies while on their way to commiting good, defending their home from an outside attack, visiting the ill, seeking knowledge, prayer, pilgrimage, or anything of the sort. A true martyr is promised a very high position in heaven amongst various blessings, which include (but are not limited to) 72 of “Al Hoor al ‘ein”, which I can’t translate correctly, but can surely say that it does NOT mean virgins.

    You say this and state that suicide is a grave sin in Islam, yet it seems that not a day goes by in Iraq without a suicide bomb. For the longest time I thought that the war would be over as soon as the number of people willing to do this was depleted. Yet it appears to be endless. What do these people tell themselves before they commit such an act? This is something that I consider to be outside by comprehension (being the Godless cynic that I am), but I really want to get an understanding about this or at least discover where the disconnect is here.


  7. I’m afraid this war won’t be over just as soon the bombing stops. It’s necessary to look shortly at the history of Iraq and what led to this complete mess.

    Sadly enough Iraq was a miscreation of Imperialism throughout the last century. The country in its current form is completely artificial, a construction made by British and French colonialists, who practically drew the borders with a pencil and ruler (Look at a world map and notice that many borders in the Middle East are remarkably straight).
    They didn’t put into account that inside that newly drawn border, there are groups of people who don’t necessarily get along very well with each other (Sunnis, Shi’ites, Kurds, etc). And it was most probably ignorance or lack of understanding of the region that led to that mistake.
    It could’ve been much better if the country was divided up into different regions, and then each to his own.

    That first mistake has everything to do with the situation now:
    Saddam, as corrupt as he was, was capable of maintaining a somewhat reasonable stability in Iraq, despite the growing dissent in the country, and despite all the hostilities between the different sections of the country. As soon as Bush decided that he didn’t like Saddam, then toppled him and his Government, this was the golden opportunity for the different factions to grab hold of the free slot of power. And the American politicians, with their complete ignorance of the status of the country, utterly failed to foresee this and decided to go with lies and misinformation instead.

    And now the situation can’t be worse: You have a kind of civil war going on in the country, foreign troops that shouldn’t have been there in the first place and who are mentally tormented by the violence and bloodshed they witness there (as described in the article I gave you earlier), and no prospect of improvement. Bush’s dream of a democratic and free Iraq is nowhere close to being accomplished, and the ones who are constantly suffering the most are the Iraqi people who would wish nothing more than lead reasonably decent lives in peace.

    And after this long digression, this is where we get to the question about why there are so many suicide bombings in Iraq. Now I’m not sure what exactly drives someone into doing such an act, however there are a couple of things that can come to mind:
    In the ongoing strife, there will be enough people who will have nothing else in mind than to fight to the death. And maybe it’s common belief among suicide bombers that they’re achieving martyrdom, even though I’ve still to find the connection between the Islamic definition of martyrdom, and suicide along with destruction of property and killing civilians.
    Another thing that can be considered is that many people in Iraq have lost all hope that things can get any better. Can’t blame them really, for all the crap they’ve had to endure all these years. Perhaps that one of the motives?

    Sorry if I’m only speculating here, I’ve never known anybody who’d blow themselves up. All I know is that one can’t talk in terms of black and white about this whole situation.


  8. Fair enough.

    BTW- I mentioned what you said about the 72 “Al Hoor al ‘ein” on LGF, and Charles responded:

    ‘The Sphinx’ by the way, was almost certainly the person who posted a large number of filthy comments that all had to be deleted, in the middle of the night, and tried to register 4 or 5 usernames for later use, with proxy IPs.


  9. Funny thing really, I don’t remember ever being a member of LGF, or even thinking of registering there, even though I caught an open registration period once. The only incident where I used a proxy IP was when he banned my IP from even accessing the site just because I showed what kind of hate is prevalent at that place on an earlier blogpost of mine (One of the reasons why Killgore can’t stand me 🙂 )

    Charles has either mistaken me for another person, or he’s lying. Feel free to tell him that I said that.

    No matter what they tell you on LGF, you’re a good guy Chen. We may not agree on everything, but I’m glad we can talk about such stuff. I guess we can learn a lot from each other.

    Regards =)


  10. Sphinx-

    I saw this on what appears to be a jihadi blog:

    Now let’s discuss where we differ from the West. For Islam, it has three concepts of death which have specific implications: (1) Al-Intihaar (Suicide), (2) Ash-Shahaadah (Martyrdom), and (3) a normal death. When we say “specific implications,” we are saying that each of these 3 classifications of death have a meaning beyond its surface unlike the West. For the one who commits suicide, he gets Hellfire. The one who dies as a Martyr, goes to Paradise. And the one who doesn’t die in any of these two states is a question mark because we don’t know what his end will be. That’s why we, as Muslims, must ask Allah to make our end Shahaadah since there is no other way to die more nobly; and there is no other death which can guarantee us Paradise except Shahaadah.

    There’s more at the link.


  11. When I read the passage you quoted I didn’t find anything that struck me as odd, but then I read the whole blog post and realized the disturbing nature of that post.

    The interesting part is: If we completely take the words “Jihad” and “martyrdom” as empty terms without thinking at all about the context, I’d say this fellow and I pretty much agree on everything. BUT as soon as we look at his definitions and my definitions of those terms, it’s like we’re separated by an abyss.

    Think of it as similar to the fundamental difference between the “Fight for civil rights” as approached by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Same term, completely different in nature.

    I could go into more details, but right now it’s 3 AM here and I can barely see straight. Later I can elaborate if you want, and give a deeper analysis of the differences.

    See you around =)


  12. You are mistaken. I suggest it to discuss. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.

    P.S. Please review our stock icons site and windows13icons there.


  13. Not in it business.

    P.S. Please review our icon album site.


  14. It — is healthy!

    By the way, what do you think about this icons site?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: