Schneier on Security
A blog covering security and security technology.
« Friday Squid Blogging: 1965 Squid from the MIT Archives |
| Cocktail Condoms »
June 23, 2007
The Onion on Terrorist Cell Apathy
"We remain wholly committed to the destruction of America, the Great Satan," al-Sharif said. "But now is not a good time for us. The season finale of Lost was such a cliff- hanger that we have to at least catch the first episode of the new season. After that, though, death to the infidels."
"Probably," added al-Sharif, who noted that his nearly $6,000 in credit-card debt from recent purchases of a 52-inch HDTV and a backyard gas grill prevents him from buying needed materials for the attack.
Though the members of the cell said that they "live only to spill the blood of crusaders who oppress Muslims," they cited additional reasons for the delay, including an unexpired free Netflix trial and nagging lower-back pain.
"I think I'm entitled to a little time to fully enjoy the in-dash MP3 adapter and heads-up display that Allah, in His infinite wisdom, has seen fit to provide me with," munitions expert Mohammed Akram said of the 2006 Mercury Mariner that is intended to be used as a car bomb during the attack. "Also, I have nine months left on the lease. But after that, I am more than willing to load it with explosives and go to my glory in its all-leather interior and heated seats."
Posted on June 23, 2007 at 11:57 AM
• 27 Comments
To receive these entries once a month by e-mail, sign up for the Crypto-Gram Newsletter.
And there is the answer. We send grills, HDTVs and 2007 Mercury Mariners to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the middle east. Cost us less than the war, fewer Americans would be killed and the capitalist American pigs would make more money. After they are indoctrinated, we could threaten them with the loss of satellite TV if they don' t cooperate.
Seriously- I think this is an indication that the threat of terrorism is becoming the cry wolf. My fear is that once this power (fear mongering) dissipates, what will the government do to re-establish its control? We may get a hint next week.
Imagine if we were spending the trillions that we're investing in bombs and warfare in order to build roads, wells, and hospitals throughout the Mideast. To say nothing of engaging in diplomacy rather than bellicose bluster. We could BUY the hearts and minds of the world for the money that we're wasting to bomb innocents.
But of course, this would not make Dick Cheney or his Halliburton cronies any richer. And it might involve more sophisticated solutions to world problems, solutions that wouldn't fit neatly into song parodies like "Bomb Iran" sung to the tune of the beach boy's "Barbara Ann."
This is actually something brought up by the British journalist and TV presenter, Jeremy Clarkson (google him with the words TopGear, SundayTimes, and TheSun). He proposed in a newspaper column a few years back, that the best thing America could do to placate Afghanistan, Iraq and put off aggression in Iran - would be to drop a few hundred thousand fully loaded and charged iPods in these countries. Make sure they contain lots of good bits of western society (and some bad bits - which they may find funny), and loads of music, and let the "common man" see what he's missing. They're cheaper than a dozen "smart weapons", and you never know - the aggressive influences in these countries may well be overrun with a new emergent market of us "consumers"! :)
"And there is the answer. We send grills, HDTVs and 2007 Mercury Mariners to . . ."
I agree with Bill P. - It sure worked in Canada ;-|.
Seriously, why not ship (instead of placing an embargo) subsidized consumer goods to, say, Iran, whose youth are already rebellious & leaning-anywhere-but-towards-the-government.
That's well done, brave satire. Since they've crossed the Rubicon, I'd like to see what they can do with the promise of virgins as afterlife rewards to martyrs.
The problem with rewarding terrorist attacks with grants is of course that it creates the wrong incentives, and removes the fear of retribution.
Why not start at home? armed robbery gets you 3-6 years in, costing 60k each. why not just give each person convicted on armed robbery $360,000?
..the answer, in case you did not deduce it due to severe mental deficiency or excessive liberalism, is that such a policy would get every American (and many immigrants) to rob the closest 7-11. Likewise, if the consequences of supporting/staging an attack on the US is an improvement in your people's lot... you figure it out.
yes, so you have to do these charity things first, before the terrorism. Because once that happens, there's no easy way out. But, you know, that'd be acting like we claim, rather different to how we have acted to now. Or we could learn from history, I suppose, but we all seem determined not to do that. In politics or in security
"Give me a child less than the age of 8 and we'll have the man for life"
The Jesuits had the right idea all along. You can't do much with the already brainwashed, but if you spend a lot of money ensuring that every child in Iraq and Afghanistan has a good general education, in ten years time those countries may just survive.
We ARE doing those things. The MSM doesn't cover it because building a water system or sewage treatment plant isn't as exciting to them as another couple of soldiers getting their limbs blown off.
It is said that in humor is truth. There is probably more truth to that satire than we know.
"And the Russian leadership realized to their horror, that they could never again send their soldiers to liberate a country more wealthy than their own," defector 'Viktor Suvorov' in "The Liberators" about the invasion of Czechoslovakia
While meant as a parody, the article really touches on something. From day 1 of this mess, I've often felt the only way out was to draw the extremists into a capitalistic lifestyle.
For a person with little more to live for than the hope of earning an E-ticket into Paradise, martyrdom makes sense.
"The MSM doesn't cover it because building a water system or sewage treatment plant isn't as exciting to them as another couple of soldiers getting their limbs blown off."
You might want to re-evaluate your position.
If we're doing so much for their countries, why are they still attacking us?
It doesn't matter if we build a school if we then kill a few kids in an attack.
We are in the occupation phase of the "war" but we're still acting as if we're in the invasion phase.
Not to mention that most of the projects that we've funded over there have been looted or just abandoned.
Dumbed down Am consumers vs what?
Whom is the joke really on?
You'll want to think about the answer.
We've exported our balls (testicles)?
Or we've traded our balls for crap we don't really need?
ha ha ha..........?
Well, it's witty. It demonstrates a truth about those who lead whatever al-Qaeda is, those who program the youth of some Middle East countries to hate Western nations, and those who make up religious interpretations that advocate killing of civilians.
They merely want to be rich, powerful, and rulers of kingdoms of poor and oppressed. They will enjoy their riches, they will enjoy a modern Western lifestyle, but they will proclaim its immorality at the same time.
No shock really. They are hypocrites who choose civilian targets. It's against the rules of war and they are not entitled to the rights that human beings enjoy.
@Brandioch Conner: "If we're doing so much for their countries, why are they still attacking us?"
There's more than one "they" there. AIUI most of the bloodshed in Iraq is due to various pre-existing factions fighting for control over the country. The Americans are a temporary outside influence, not central to the fight.
@Reasonable: "The problem with rewarding terrorist attacks with grants is of course that it creates the wrong incentives, and removes the fear of retribution."
A lot of people, after 9/11, had the idea of removing the threat by paving Afghanistan with Walmarts and McDonalds, directly attacking the culture, not the physical infrastructure.
I don't think it would create an incentive at all. If the response to a terrorist attack from your countrymen is to have your children taken from you, your values systematically destroyed and your children turned into people you despise ... that sounds like a deterrent, not an incentive.
Most people I know thought the idea was a bit unethical though, comparing it to things like the Australian treatment of aboriginal children in the early/mid 1900s.
> those who program the youth of some Middle East countries
> to hate Western nations,
You don't need anyone to brainwash the youth of ME nations, the actions of the so-called democratic and civilized Western nations speak for themselves and are all that is needed to piss people off.
It's worrying. I predict a wave of suicide attacks in early August, after the terrorists have had time to read the final Harry Potter book.
@WL, @Grahame - that's the problem, there's more than one "they", not a cohesive unified opponent, there's a bunch of loose affliations amongst the disaffected and disenfranchised. Until our attacks give them a unifying focus.
This is asymmetric warfare in the extreme.
A handful of fanatics armed with box cutters took out two skyscrapers and killed thousands.
Our response leveraged their attack into killing tens of thousands and perpetuating decades of warfare.
And it aint over yet, we've created many more fanatics than there were when we started.
Can anyone say "breeder reactor"?
@Reasonable, it doesn't have to be a direct reward system. Attacking crime by ameliorating the social injustices that breed it has proven effective without rewarding individual criminals.
@WL, systematically destroying cultural values needs to target those inimical to our culture. We've managed to destroy those who would have been friends as effectively, maybe moreso, than we've destroyed our enemies.
lol :) too funny. didn't they find evidence that some of the 911 hijackers had actually gone against their beliefs and visited strip clubs?
Of course, one of the reasons that "they" want to kill "us" is that we are dropping millions of ipods all over their countries. Imagine for a moment thinking of yourself as the poor-but-honest country folks when the rich city slickers come to town, buy up the best houses, fence off the old swimming hole and insist that the local movie palace show incomprehensible art films.
Is there any topic that won't result in someone trashing America, calling American's "pigs" and whatever other dribble comes from their weak little minds? Geesh.
Say what you will about America, and as any nation it has its faults, but it has also enabled more diverse and widespread groups of people escape poverty and oppression and live freer happier lives. It has also sacrificed greatly for the freedom and well-being of others--joining the fight against Nazi germany comes to mind, thankfully for the germans and everyone else.
I'm grateful we are free to say what we want here, even those who exercise this freedom by contradicting themselves in saying they don't have it.
It's crazy to read two things from the same person--down with America, let's help the terrorists. Brilliant.
I'm fairly certain the amount of cash we have sent to the middle east every year for oil and "aid" over the previous decades isn't insignificant. The problem is that the ruling elites only build themselves bigger and better palaces with the money.
You are correct. Plus, palaces aren't the only thing they finance, and the other things aren't always good for us.
The original article is pretty funny. But some of the comments are hilarious. Sure, all you need to do to placate anti-American extremists in our countries is provide more of the bounty of capitalism, right?
You fucking morons. The number one thing they hate about you is your materialism, which they see as a poison corrupting the culture and will of our societies. They think they are saving us from ipod culture. Giving away ipods full of american music is the ideal way to enrage them even further. They would probably just make ipod bombs to teach the faithless a bad lesson.
We don't need your grills. We already have our own type of barbecue, which is older than yours, tastes better and is better for your health than fatty american food.
We don't need your Mercury Mariners. We make autos here already although they are mainly sturdy rather than stylish and intended for use in the country. For stylish sedans to use in the city we but Japanese and European autos which are more elegant and much more reliable than yours (and also cost less to operate.)
We don't need ipods to learn about conditions in america; we already get plenty of american television. Educated people regard it as utter rubbish fit only for the simple people. Even so, it doesn't put you in flattering light. There is probably nothing in the world that shows you so badly as the "Jerry Springer Show" which makes all americans look stupid, greedy, immoral, cruel, uneducated ...
If you want to placate them, give up the ipods and go to church more. They would rather you go to a mosque, but they at least have some respect for church goers. (Provide you don't support sodomites and outspoken women.) Bit of a rock and hard place, right?
Schneier.com is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of BT.