What the Terrorists Want




 
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What the Terrorists Want
 
September 16th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: What the Terrorists Want


What the Terrorists Want
On August 16, two men were escorted off a plane headed for Manchester,
England, because some passengers thought they looked either Asian or
Middle Eastern, might have been talking Arabic, wore leather jackets,
and looked at their watches -- and the passengers refused to fly with
them on board. The men were questioned for several hours and then
released.
On August 15, an entire airport terminal was evacuated because someone's cosmetics triggered a false positive for explosives. The same day, a Muslim man was removed from an airplane in Denver for reciting prayers. The Transportation Security Administration decided that the flight crew overreacted, but he still had to spend the night in Denver before flying home the next day. The next day, a Port of Seattle terminal was evacuated because a couple of dogs gave a false alarm for explosives.
On August 19, a plane made an emergency landing in Tampa, Florida, after
the crew became suspicious because two of the lavatory doors were
locked. The plane was searched, but nothing was found. Meanwhile, a man who tampered with a bathroom smoke detector on a flight to San Antonio was cleared of terrorism, but only after having his house searched.
On August 16, a woman suffered a panic attack and became violent on a
flight from London to Washington, so the plane was escorted to the
Boston airport by fighter jets. "The woman was carrying hand cream and
matches but was not a terrorist threat," said the TSA spokesman after
the incident.
And on August 18, a plane flying from London to Egypt made an emergency landing in Italy when someone found a bomb threat scrawled on an air sickness bag. Nothing was found on the plane, and no one knows how long the note was on board. I'd like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute. The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets, or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions
of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The
real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the
act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want.

We're all a little jumpy after the recent arrest of 23 terror suspects
in Great Britain. The men were reportedly plotting a liquid-explosive
attack on airplanes, and both the press and politicians have been
trumpeting the story ever since.
In truth, it's doubtful that their plan would have succeeded; chemists
have been debunking the idea since it became public. Certainly the
suspects were a long way off from trying: None had bought airline
tickets, and some didn't even have passports.
Regardless of the threat, from the would-be bombers' perspective, the
explosives and planes were merely tactics. Their goal was to cause
terror, and in that they've succeeded.
Imagine for a moment what would have happened if they had blown up ten planes. There would be canceled flights, chaos at airports, bans on
carry-on luggage, world leaders talking tough new security measures,
political posturing and all sorts of false alarms as jittery people
panicked. To a lesser degree, that's basically what's happening right
now. Our politicians help the terrorists every time they use fear as a
campaign tactic. The press helps every time it writes scare stories
about the plot and the threat. And if we're terrified, and we share that
fear, we help. All of these actions intensify and repeat the terrorists'
actions, and increase the effects of their terror.
(I am not saying that the politicians and press are terrorists, or that
they share any of the blame for terrorist attacks. I'm not that stupid.
But the subject of terrorism is more complex than it appears, and
understanding its various causes and effects are vital for understanding
how to best deal with it.)
The implausible plots and false alarms actually hurt us in two ways. Not
only do they increase the level of fear, but they also waste time and
resources that could be better spent fighting the real threats and
increasing actual security. I'll bet the terrorists are laughing at us.
Another thought experiment: Imagine for a moment that the British
government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the
TSA and its European counterparts didn't engage in pointless airline
security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press
didn't write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn't use the
event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we'd reacted that
way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.
It's time we calm down and fight terror with anti-terror. This does not
mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our
government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving
intelligence and investigation -- and not focusing on specific plots.
But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to
be terrorized. Our job is to not panic every time two Muslims stand
together checking their watches. There are approximately 1 billion
Muslims in the world, a large percentage of them not Arab, and about 320
million Arabs in the Middle East, the overwhelming majority of them not
terrorists. Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore
the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance
political careers or increase a television show's viewership.
The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our
job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and
not a particularly common one at that. And our job is to fight those
politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and
promote security theater that wastes money and doesn't make us any
safer.

Incidents:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/5267884.stm
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/17/national/main1906433.shtml
http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/08/18/doctor-winnipeg.html
http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/06/08/16/100wir_port1.cfm

http://tinyurl.com/s5oxe
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-08-20-fbi-passenger_x.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-6024132,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5283476.stm

There have been many more incidents since I wrote this -- all false
alarms. I've stopped keeping a list.
The chemical unreality of the plot:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/17/flying_toilet_terror_labs/print.
html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2306994,00.html
http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/10/us.security/index.html
September 16th, 2006  
bulldogg
 
 
That's a fair analysis I think bruv. The media and the adminstration have a hand in this reaction as well, constantly fanning the flames of fear.
 


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