It's funny how your entire purpose on this forum has shifted from posting Daily Show videos to postin Cracked articles. Next month you're going to discover that Conan exists and start linking to him twice a day.
The War on Terror. First of all, that's a bullshit concept. You don't launch a war on ambiguous nouns. There is no War on Drugs. No War on Poverty. And no War on Terror. Wars are fought against defined enemies with defined goals. Hell, we don't even have an agreed upon definition of terrorism, so how can we launch a war against it?
We have to start by really looking at what terrorism is. It's not simply disliking the United States. It isn't simply fighting the United States. While we may have been in war with Iraq's Republican Guard, they weren't terrorists. They were defending their nation. We don't even really refer to insurgents as terrorists. They're combatants in a war and they're fighting the United States. The Nazis weren't terrorists. The Soviets weren't terrorists. The Confederates weren't terrorists. For similar reasons, we don't label it terrorism simply because violent acts are committed by Muslims. So we really have to get an idea of what terrorism is. Individual instances of violence can always be argued, but a loose definition off which I will base my argument is any act of violence committed against an institution with intent to cause chaos and instability. I think that's pretty basic and vague enough for everyone to agree with. For the purpose of this discussion, the institution in question will be the United States and other Western countries.
So how do we fight this? Terrorism and terrorists aren't a defined enemy. Sure we can look at instances of individuals intending to do harm to us, but the major issues arise when individuals collaborate to form organizations such as Al Qaeda. If we consider these terrorist organizations like we would corporations, then we can get a better understanding of how they function and how to limit their impact. The good/service that this terrorist corporation provides is an idea. The idea that action must be taken to better the lives of those being serviced by the organization.
Each of these organizations is set up much like a regular business would operate. At the top you have the leadership, the CEOs. This is the Osama Bin Lade/Khalid Sheikh Mohammed kind of person. These people are responsible for it all. They oversee what is going on. They lay down the plans for how things are going to work. They take a broad view on management. Lower down, they have people who specialize in areas. That specialty can be widespread recruiting, like we see with Anwar Al-Alwaki or technical knowledge which helps when planning attacks. Then there are the ground level employees. In the corporate world, they'd be number crunchers and pizza delivery boys. These are the countless Mohammads and Abdullahs who train terrorists and individual recruiters. They're peons who don't really matter. We kill them and the mid level managers find another individual to fill the entry level person to fill the void.
But corporations don't run on on their management and their low level employees. They run on consumers. There are two types of consumers in the world of corporate terrorism. The first type is the group we normally think of when we ponder terrorism. This is the hardcore consumer. The people who eat McDonald's three times a day or buy drink after drink in the same bar every night. These are the people who completely buy into the idea that Al Qaeda is selling them. The completely believe that the United States and the West is our to conquer the world and the only way to protect themselves is to topple the imperialist giants. These are the Mohammad Attas and Major General Hasans who actually carry out the attacks. They believe they are doing right. They look at the world around them and they listen to the Billy Mays-like pitch being aimed at them by Al Qaeda's advertisement team. To them, it's like a 3 am infomercial for the NuWave oven. They're already on the phone purchasing as much as possible.
However, there is a much more dangerous consumer. These are the masses of the Middle East. While they may never strap a bomb to their chest or fly a plane into a building, they still hear what is being said by Al Qaeda. They look around and see the same things that the hardcore consumers are seeing, but they don't buy as hard into the concept. They have the fiscal restraint to not order six snuggies simple because they got a bulk order when they used their credit card. That doesn't mean they're not interested in the product. It is this passive support that allows terrorism to flourish. It is these people who are comparable to the consumers who stop in now and again to pick up the product, but there are enough of them to keep the corporations big and powerful. These minor consumers keep the corporations in business. After the major consumers are done, they've maxed out their credit card, died of liver failure, or flown their last plane into a building, they're of no use to the corporation. The life long minor consumers keep the groups functioning.
So if we look at terrorism as a corporation, we must to see how corporations collapse to really understand how to topple terrorist corporations like Al Qaeda. Obviously, corporations cease to exist when they are no longer profitable. When they lose their consumer base because there is no longer any demand for their good/service. We have to make this idea that Al Qaeda is selling to their consumers invalid by replacing it with something new which is more desirable.
Right now, instead of eliminating the demand for the product Al Qaeda is offering, we're supporting it. Al Qaeda's advertisements portray the US and other western countries as imperialist, Muslim hating foes, hell bent on controlling the world and eradicating Islam and it's followers. So how do we respond to this accusation? We invade sovereign nations and kill innocent Muslims. We are increasing demand for their product rather than decreasing. No wonder terrorist attacks have skyrocketed since we instituted a strong presence in the Middle East.
We should be taking steps to dispel the myths off which Al Qaeda's sales pitch is based. We should be working with Muslims to better their countries and workin
working against unfriendly leaders behind the curtains. We should work with the leaders to increase investment in infrastructure and private enterprise, while leading covert crusades against autocratic rulers who threaten to unravel our progress. Lessons can be taken from the Cold War. Propaganda blitzes such as the ones in Guatemala during PBSUCCESS encourage individuals to rise up through grass roots movements. Funding private projects and building up a capitalist base encourages Middle East prosperity to be directly tied to the global supply chain. There is a reason why we have not been attacked by Indian Muslims, despite the country having the second largest Muslim population. We are too closely tied to their well being. They do not benefit from harming us.
We are conducting this War on Terror by targeting the CEOs and board members. Those people can always be replaced. What really kills corporations is removing the demand from their product. What killed Polaroid was not the loss of a CEO, but the introduction and wide consumption of digital cameras. We need to introduce the sociopoltical ideology equivalent of the digital camera to the Middle East. We need to cut off demand by supplanting it with something that benefits us, rather than continuing on our current path of making Al Qaeda's product seem more attractive. We need to stop focusing on cutting the head off the snake because we will never get rid of people who want to do us harm. We need to focus on cutting the legs off the millipede so that head and body has no way of advancing.
In reply to SgtMag1, #63: In reply to SgtMag1, #64:
Been working on that a long time, have you?
The problem is that terrorist groups aren't corporations. They don't need the passive support of the masses to exist, they just need people who agree that (in the anti-America case) Capitalism is bad. As long as they have that, and charismatic leaders to convince them that violent action is the way to go, terrorism will continue to exist. You see, it's not enough to head a terrorist organization, you need to be able to convince people to carry out violence in its name. Not just anyone can convince people to kill their fellow man. In that way, it really is important to cut the proverbial head off, because if you take away the leaders, it takes a much longer time to replace them than if you start defying the stereotype they're attacking you over; they'll just pick a new stereotype.
The other thing to keep in mind is that 9/11 didn't happen because Al Qaeda believed the US was anti-Muslim; that didn't come until after 9/11. 9/11 happened because America is the cradle of Capitalism, and Capitalism is what they wanted to attack. Anti-Muslim as a motive only arose when America invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, because Muslims always side against the invader, and America stayed in Iraq for 10 years. Attacking America has always been about attacking Capitalism; religion only came into it recently.
Something like the Cold War, that one wasn't won by military tactics, Communism (well, Soviet Communism) fell in large part due to blue jeans and rock 'n roll. The fall of the Soviet Union was an internal event brought about by Russians who thought there was a better way of living out there, not because we bombed them into submission and killed enough of their sons and daughters to break their will to fight. Of course, locking them into an arms race and collapsing their economy helped a lot with that, but the places we're fighting in right now already have Soviet-level poverty, that groundwork is already done.
The current western leadership needs to learn this lesson, that it works on people with different religions and skin colors, not just political ideologies.
Ideological wars aren't won by killing enough of the other side's people (I mean, unless you're willing to go full genocide, but I'm hoping that isn't the actual strategy), they're won by convincing a critical mass of the people on the other side that your ideology is somehow superior or more desirable to the one your opposing leadership is putting forward. In the case of the Arab Spring, Facebook certainly was a part of the overall attraction that Western-style democracy held to the protesters. Of course there were other, more important things on democracy's side to recommend it to people, but it would be very odd indeed to think Facebook and the internet in general didn't play some part in the uprising at all.
No, it's actually a copy-paste of what a friend and I wrote a while ago on another site, about the same issue.
I understand terrorist organisations aren't technically corporations. However I disagree about cutting the head off, sure the death of OBL was a huge hit on AQ but look at them now. They have a new leader, still going about on their day-to-day basis and so on. al-Qaeda functions off of the people who believe everything they say about the West. What better way to get average people to stop listening to what they say than a propaganda warfare of our own? That's pretty much what my long ass post meant. You use unconventional warfare(i.e Special Forces) to do exactly what they're trained to do. Teach locals how to do the fighting, have propaganda courtesy of the Psy Ops, and generally working with the people to oust AQ. It won't be a short process, no, in fact it will probably take years. This is just my idea on the War on Terror, ought to be used as something to think about with the war.
By the way, I'm a strong believer in unconventional warfare so this is where my idea came from.
Just read up on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and see that they have won in ways they never could have imagined. You can now be locked up, forever, for the accusation of ties to terrorist organizations in violation of your 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendment rights.
We spend trillions on these wars against a noun and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that "the biggest threat to our national security is our national debt."
Our military has assassinated US citizens for our protection. (while i have no hard feelings for this particular target the fact the action was never seriously challenged sets a legal precedence that the President can order the killing of anyone in the world including a US citizen accused of "terror.")
The men that run our government "of the people" have used our fear from 9/11 and our general ignorance of politics to write and now begin to pass a series of laws that while in themselves doesn't create a police state they do how ever make it, legal(?) on the books for any president to declare his political opponents terrorists and hold behind bars forever anyone who opposes them.
Of course being slate, the article is blatantly political. It bylines "orturing Bin Laden Al-Qaida documents show Obama was right about targeting Islam, and Gingrich and Santorum were wrong."
The essence of the article is this.
Bush's administration had a policy of consistently describing Al Queda as Al-Queda or simply "terror" or "terrorists." He rarely, if ever, referred tot hem as muslims or even radical islamists.
Obama continued this policy and made it even more narrow. The US government would not describe Al-Queda as either "radical islam," and would specifically assert that their problem is with the tactics and the group, not with Islam.
The United States is waging a global campaign against al-Qa’ida and its terrorist affiliates. To disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, we are pursuing a strategy that … denies al-Qa’ida safe haven, and builds positive partnerships with Muslim communities around the world. … We will always seek to delegitimize the use of terrorism and to isolate those who carry it out. Yet this is not a global war against a tactic—terrorism—or a religion—Islam. We are at war with a specific network, al-Qa’ida, and its terrorist affiliates who support efforts to attack the United States, our allies, and partners.
Since 2010 or so conservatives have consistently attacked thsi approach, categorizing the enemy as "radical islam" or in some cases all muslims. Peter King said
Even though we have been at war against radical Islamic jihadists since they killed almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11, the Obama Administration fails to even mention such terms. … John Brennan and others in the Obama Administration … have used this critically important National Security Strategy as another opportunity to satisfy the politically correct left wing …
Santorum and Gingrich have followed this line, attack, Romney has generally not.
Now, documents captured on the Bin Laden raid reveal some interesting details.
in Laden’s biggest concern was al-Qaeda’s media image among Muslims. He worried that it was so tarnished that, in a draft letter … he argued that the organization should find a new name. The al-Qaeda brand had become a problem, bin Laden explained, because Obama administration officials “have largely stopped using the phrase ‘the war on terror’ in the context of not wanting to provoke Muslims,” and instead promoted a war against al-Qaeda. The organization’s full name was “Qaeda al-Jihad,” bin Laden noted, but in its shorthand version, “this name reduces the feeling of Muslims that we belong to them.” … Bin Laden ruminated about “mistakes” and “miscalculations” by affiliates in Iraq and elsewhere that had killed Muslims, even in mosques. He told Atiyah to warn every emir, or regional leader, to avoid these “unnecessary civilian casualties,” which were hurting the organization. “Making these mistakes is a great issue,” he stressed, arguing that spilling “Muslim blood” had resulted in “the alienation of most of the nation [of Islam] from the [Mujaheddin].”
"There's a difference between having someone say they don't believe what you said versus ... calling us, collectively, liars," Gen. Dempsey told reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft after a four day visit to Latin America. "My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget."
Ryan's an idiot. They may not be perfect, but I trust our military leaders' judgements in this situation a whole lot more than his. He's just making claims without any experience or proof to back it up because it falls in with his agenda, not because it's really what's best for our country. That he's the right-wing poster boy is even more disturbing.
The focus on terrorism in our society actually proves how effective terrorists have been. The number of deaths due to terrorists is so low, but it garners so much more attention and more government funding. Essentially, terrorists have already filled their purpose because we're so scared of our shadows these days.
Which is why our overblown responses and people going on about how "they're trying to KILL you!" just encourages terrorists to continue with what they're doing. We have given them a lot more power int he past ten years than we should have thanks to our country's paranoia about terrorist attacks.
Edit: Just like to note that I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything to try and protect against terrorist attacks. But the constant fear-mongering is actually working against us.