Another Kevin September 12, 2006 6:54 PM

I did.

Both essays are as pertinent today as they were then.

I still fear that the fall of the Twin Towers will be our counterpart to the Reichstag fire.

jsaltz September 12, 2006 7:32 PM

Yep. Nothing ever changes. To me it’s just those damn moors taking over once again, like they did a thousand years ago. Thankfully the spanish teached them a lesson. This is an abomination that has to be stopped.

C Gomez September 12, 2006 7:38 PM

While I completely agree with the second essay that the attack changed our very conception of what terrorists would want from an attack… I find that any terrorists still left in this world are utter failures.

Sure, the conception that a terrorist has demands, can be negotiated with, and can stand down from the situation went away forever. But in its place, we have a solid recognized moral boundary that terrorism is evil and against humanity. No matter your cause or belief, deciding that your best course of action is to commit genocide against innocent civilians invalidates your place at the negotiating table, and really… in the human race.

It doesn’t matter your color, religion, or background. Terrorism is irrespective of these things. Al-Qaeda is not the end-all of terrorism. Some terrorists are government leaders who promised money to families of immoral suicide bombers. Some are rich businessmen who are too coward to commit an act themselves, but would rather prey on the downtrodden oppressed who live in dictatorships without common rights.

The greatest failure however, has been no constant upkeep of terror since the attacks. Even a domestic pair of terrorists, the “D.C. snipers” did more to terrorize the country than “Al-Qaeda” could. People altered their plans and stayed home because the acts of the snipers seemed random and pointless. If Al-Qaeda hasn’t been largely marginalized, then they are just plain stupid. They don’t commit random small acts of terror in this country at regular intervals to press fear.

Instead, they either sit dormant, on some ridiculous notion of “Al-Qaeda time”, or are dismantled, captured, or dead.

Sure, as long as our society and similar societies around the world continue to prosper, there will be those jealous few who decide they have the right to kill innocents, so we must always be wary.

Still, I live in a country that operates pretty much the same as it did before 9/11. I work and do as I please, go where I wish freely, and think and write what I believe.

Wish that could be said for most of humanity on this planet.

Reality Check September 12, 2006 7:58 PM

Some terrorists are government leaders who promised money to families of immoral suicide bombers. Some are rich businessmen who are too coward to commit an act themselves, but would rather prey on the downtrodden oppressed who live in dictatorships without common rights.

And some are ‘world powers’ who pump vast quantities of military and money into maintaining regimes that they see as being correct.

44,000 dead civilians in Iraq but that’s ok as ‘we are fighting terrorism’. Or more realistically, it’s ok, they’re not christians………..

Israel is in breach of UN resolutions going back 30 years, and has developed nuclear weapons……… yet Iran and other countries are chastened for such things. Again, it’s ok, as long as those ‘damn fundamentalist extremists’ don’t get hold of them.

Great Britain lived through 30 years of ACTUAL terrorist bombings, which were mainly paid for by Irish Americans. Go figure.

Grumpy Physicist September 12, 2006 8:47 PM

Great essays, Bruce, and just as relevant today as when they were written.

While there are many elements necessary for “good security”, I’d say that

Step 1: don’t put a moron in charge.

If you fail at Step 1, the remaining steps are probably irrelevant.

nzruss September 12, 2006 8:58 PM

” Another Kevin” mentioned the Reichstag fire, I had not heard of it so looked on Wikipedia.

Hitler’s aim was to abolish democracy in a more or less legal fashion by activating the “Enabling Act”. The Enabling Act was a special power allowed by the Weimar Constitution to give the Chancellor the power to pass laws by decree, without the involvement of the Reichstag. Under the existing Weimar constitution, under Article 48, the President could rule by decree in times of emergency. The unprecedented element of the Enabling Act was that the government itself possessed these powers.”

This all sounds a little too familiar…

BTW, Jsaltz is still on about everything being an abomination…. we get it already…(if you dont, click my name below.. )

Ralph September 12, 2006 9:36 PM


Some days I wonder how you sustain yourself; whilst the fear is the driving motivator, indifference and hate prevail, widows and orphans pay the price and wisdom cries out – starving in the street.

I hope you are a stubborn sort!

Not-Invented-Here September 12, 2006 9:50 PM

I just watched Loose Change 2nd Edition.
It seemed quite compelling, at the very least there’s lots of unanswered questions.
Any chance of your take on it, Bruce?

swiss connection September 13, 2006 12:48 AM

@nz russ @another kevin re Reichtags fire:

Also worth mentioning, and this is well documented, it was Hitler’s Men, not their illusionary “enemies”, that secretly ordered the fires be lit.

stikk September 13, 2006 5:33 AM

There are no inocent (ingenuous?) people (m.b children under 10 are)

every action has a cause, how evil the action was.

jsaltz September 13, 2006 7:31 AM

Well lad, you can blame me for my choice of words, but you will concur with me that 9/11 and the string of events taking place after it are an abomination in their own right. Plus, I like frikin’ pork and I want to eat it, and I don’t want to bow down like a f*g five times a day to say a bunch of things nobody even knows what they mean. In fact, the Qur’an is a bit like Web 2.0: “nobody even knows what it means” (Tim-Berners Lee). They are both abominations.

Anonymous September 13, 2006 8:29 AM

@Reality Check(ed at the door)

All terrorists should be targeted, and that includes the IRA and the sect of Chechnyans who turned to terrorism. And ANYONE else who decides the way to accomplish things is to kill civilians. This includes people like Timothy McVeigh, an American, who attacked on American soil.

Bruce often says there is no racial, national, or religious profile to terrorists. That is absolutely correct. However, it also does not mean we turn a blind eye to those who are. It simply doesn’t matter what background they are.

That was nice of you to twist the other poster’s words into a straw man. But you seem like the typical jerk who just wants to hear himself shout.

Name Witheld September 13, 2006 9:21 AM

@Reality Check needs a fact check

Israel is ignoring a couple of non-binding General Assembly resolutions.

The role of non-binding resolutions in the UN charter (or any other constitution) is to express disapproval, but still allow parties to ignore them if they wish.

Israel is not in breach of it’s obligations as a member of the UN by virtue of ignoring these resolutions.

Since Israel is not a member of the NPT (neither was India, or, IIRC Pakistan) those countries are not in breach of the NPT either. Iran is, so is North Korea.

There are legally binding resolutions too, such as those requiring countries to recognise Israel, and requiring Hezbollah to disarm, and other parties are in breach of those.

aad September 13, 2006 5:52 PM

@jsaltz “…damn moors…Thankfully the spanish teached [sic] them a lesson.”

You’re applauding the Spanish Inquisition!?!! Why do you hate Jews and others?

@Name Witheld (truth withheld) Why did you forget to mention the Security Council Resolutions and the TONS of additional resolutions there would be if they weren’t constantly being vetoed by the U.S.?

Bruce and others know that the insider thread is often-times the greatest. Threat assessments need to be based on reality. Iraq’s WMDs & “mushroom-cloud smoking-gun” were bogus, and the Iranian “threat” is equally bogus. Don’t be so blinded by fill-in-the-blank you overlook the insider threat:

oneyoudontknow September 14, 2006 11:06 AM

Security is a nice thing as long as you know what you do. Most people, especially are not willing (?) to accept that the solution to the problem is a complecated one. Here in Germany the goverment is getting nuts! They want to send helicopters flying around for surveillance of the railway tracks. Most People do not understand system theorie at all. From their point of view 1+1 = 2.
So this means by adding an additional security or terrist countermeasure the system gets more secure. But is not that easy. You have to look at how the components of the systems do interact and how they behave in reality.
1+1 = 1
You still have one system that you have to work with, but the way the entities of the system are intertwined is critical. System can get brittle like Bruce has witten it or they get trapped like Holling wrote it.
The identity of the system should get into the focus in order to maintain the way it works.
As long as we are working around the problem and have an apotheosis regarding technology the optimum solution lies far away. Money and energy is wasted for nothing… well… but this is how it goes in modern times.

someone May 21, 2007 1:08 PM

I would honestly have to agree with “oneyoudontknow”

1+1 doesnt equal 2 when it comes to security

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