Discard terror

I really liked Ze Frank's comments in his show on Thursday. Here's some good clear thinking:

[T]he Brits caught some douchebags who were going to blow up some planes.

Now, the way I see it, you can't have terrorism without terror.
The strategy of terrorism is to use isolated acts of violence to
instill fear and confusion into the population at large. A small number
of people can incapacitate a society by leveraging our inability to
understand risk.

Airline industry stocks plummetted today, while the industry
braced for a rash of cancellations. This, despite the fact that even
with the risk of airplane bombings it's still more dangerous to drive
your car. Or smoke cigarettes.

As long as a small group of people can inflict mass panic
across a large population, the tactic itself will remain viable. One
way to deal a blow to the effectiveness of terrorism is to deal with
the terror itself.

London's police deputy commissioner Paul Stevenson said that
the plot was "intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale." No,
it is imaginable: between three and ten flights out of thousands would
have resulted in the terrible loss of human life.

Bush today said this country is safer today than it was prior
to 9/11. Personally, I don't think he knows. Whether we like it or not,
terrorist attacks on Americans are now part of the global reality. They
will continue to happen. Many places around the globe have had to deal
with a similar reality for years. India, Ireland, England, Spain,
Russia, to name a few. In many cases, these societies have pulled
together and not allowed isolated acts of violence to tear at their
fiber. Like disease and the forces of nature, it's a risk that we have
to rationally come to terms with. The government's responsibility is to
make sure that fear and terror are not disproportionate to the reality
of the situation.

Today the President said, "This nation is at war with Islamic
fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom
to hurt our nation." Generalized statements like this which instill
nebulous fear without specific information are exactly in line with the
goals of terrorism.

Damn straight. Unreasoned panic is unproductive, but worse, it's exactly the intent of terrorism.

Yes, absolutely we need to do the actions which are actually effective to protect people (e.g. the solid investigation and signal interception techniques in Britain and Pakistan that prevented disaster this past week), but throwing away our rationality and the basic precepts of freedom (e.g. intolerance of the use of torture) is not necessary.

Keep a cool head.

[Thanks to the fabulosos who maintain the transcripts in the The Show wiki!]

Author: dinahsanders

Author. Discardian. Defender of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. she/her

2 thoughts on “Discard terror”

  1. “This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom to hurt our nation.”
    This is not a generalized statement…it is a fact.
    That sentence does not instill fear in me…it gives me resolve. Americans need to know what they are up against so they can make informed decisions.
    Christi

    Like

  2. Let’s unpack that statement.
    We can say that the dominant ideology of the United States and certain Islamo-fascist groups who practice terrorist techniques have positioned themselves in opposition to one another and will use their usual characteristic methods to inflict damage upon one another.
    For the U.S. this will involve things like heavy military bombing and imprisionment of suspects fitting a particular profile with the omission of compliance with traditional rights if deemed necessary.
    For these particular terrorists it will mean the recruiting of young men who can be convinced to go on suicide missions to set off explosive devices in public places, in particular leveraging the explosive power of transport such as planes. The intention being to cause loss of life of a random group of people which will include many U.S. citizens and to create a disproportionate amount of fear due to the largely random nature of the attacks.
    The very specific profile of their potential recruits and of the style of their attacks makes it very clear that these are not some sort of supernatural beings that could strike anyone dead anywhere at any time.
    They attack planes, folks. They attack major public spaces where the mass numbers of people moving through them allow them to pass unnoticed.
    And they only are able to do this because they can be successful recruiting young men to commit suicide. Why is that? How could the U.S. help reduce that capability? Is, for example, indiscriminate bombing which kills civilians a contributory factor in creating fantatical enemies? Should we as citizens stand by and let ineffective or counter-effective military techniques continue to be used? You’d think we learned something over the second half of the 20th century, but it now appears that we’re managing to convert a westernized middle eastern country into a hotbed of U.S. opposition prime for terrorist recruitment.
    Affecting the attitude “I could be destroyed at any moment” seems counter-productive to clear thinking that could actually change our current situation.

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