Terrorist Risks by City, According to Actual Data

I don't know enough about the methodology to judge it, but it's interesting:

In total, 64 cities are categorised as 'extreme risk' in Verisk Maplecroft's new Global Alerts Dashboard (GAD), an online mapping and data portal that logs and analyses every reported terrorism incident down to levels of 100m² worldwide. Based on the intensity and frequency of attacks in the 12 months following February 2014, combined with the number and severity of incidents in the previous five years, six cities in Iraq top the ranking. Over this period, the country's capital, Baghdad, suffered 380 terrorist attacks resulting in 1141 deaths and 3654 wounded, making it the world's highest risk urban centre, followed by Mosul, Al Ramadi, Ba'qubah, Kirkuk and Al Hillah.

Outside of Iraq, other capital cities rated 'extreme risk' include Kabul, Afghanistan (13th most at risk), Mogadishu, Somalia (14th), Sana'a, Yemen (19th) and Tripoli, Libya (48th). However, with investment limited in conflict and post-conflict locations, it is the risk posed by terrorism in the primary cities of strategic economies, such as Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan that has the potential to threaten business and supply chain continuity.

A news article:

According to the index, which ranks world cities by the likelihood of a terror attack based on historic trends, 64 cities around the world are at "extreme risk" of a terror attack.

Of these, the majority are in the Middle East (27) or Asia (19).
Some 14 are in Africa, where the rise of Boko Haram and al-Shabaab as well as political instability have increased risk.

Three are in Europe -- Luhansk (46) and Donetsk (56) in Ukraine, and Grozy (54) in Russia -- while Colombia's Cali (59) is the only South American city on the list.

No US city makes the list.

Posted on May 27, 2015 at 7:50 AM • 38 Comments

Comments

AnuraMay 27, 2015 7:59 AM

Does this mean that US school districts do not need tanks and grenade launchers?

Bob S.May 27, 2015 8:15 AM

On the other hand, commentators are urging a massive redeployment of troops to Iraq/Syria/etc. to "stop them there, so they can't get here".

A high political official here recently said "IF" ISIS had NUKES they would USE THEM. But, of course they don't.

Which leads me to think about half of the urging for war is directly or indirectly sponsored government propaganda.

Fact: The chance of death or injury by a foreign terrorist is less than getting hit by lightning. Yes, that is a fact. We should respond to the risk accordingly.

hermanMay 27, 2015 8:15 AM

Well, obviously, it is only thanks to the pervasive NSA and GCHQ snooping that there are no terr problems in the USA and Britain. If Iraq and Afghanistan would deploy countrywide cellphone systems and allow the NSA and GCHQ to snoop there too, then terrorism will immediately stop.

PetrovMay 27, 2015 10:14 AM

Unfortunately, the sort of terrorism problems they fear are the singular exceptions to the traffic patterns like 911. And their continued screwing around in these regions increases that very likelihood for that to happen. Which is good for their business.

Right now ISIS is stating they are beginning a front against Saudi Arabia. So wonder if that will rise.

However, with investment limited in conflict and post-conflict locations, it is the risk posed by terrorism in the primary cities of strategic economies, such as Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan that has the potential to threaten business and supply chain continuity.

Political power point attacks, Iraq is not so much. Israel attacks might gain them political favor points with more Sunnis. And confuse the morale of Shia. Their Saudi focus so far has been against Shia in Saudi, which is probably way easier then attacks in Iran and helps rally the Sunnis for them and possibly against the no fan of Isis Saudi administration who has a tenuous hold on the domestic Sunni population. This also sends a 'we cleanse the Sunni holy land' message to Sunnis globally.

Interesting to see no nation state backing that could provide them with really bad possibilities. No Sunni administration would support them, but ultra Islamist elements of Saudi Pakistan and maybe some others potentially could under the covers. Hope those nations agencies access to any manner of wmd is strictly watched and controlled.

Would not be out of line for strict attacks against minority Shia in these regions could even be supported by such internal government elements against higher government interests. Ala slow burn coup.


theodoreMay 27, 2015 10:42 AM

If they expanded their results with cities based on death by weapon, would LA, Chicago, and Baltimore rank in the top 50?

M WelinderMay 27, 2015 10:43 AM

Who gets to define what is terrorism?

Take Donesk and pick your side. If you have decided that the other side
are terrorists then Donesk sure looks like a place with a lot of terrorist
attacks. Otherwise it looks like war, civil or cross-border depending on
your glasses.

SJMay 27, 2015 11:16 AM

@theodore,

Internationally, I kind of suspect Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro would make the list before LA/Baltimore/Chicago, or even Detroit/Flint.

WinterMay 27, 2015 12:03 PM

@SJ
"Internationally, I kind of suspect Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro would make the list before LA/Baltimore/Chicago, or even Detroit/Flint."

Indeed, here are some data:

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/nov/30/new-york-crime-free-day-deadliest-cities-worldwide#data

http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/latin-america-dominates-list-of-worlds-most-violent-cities

http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-most-violent-cities-in-the-world-2014-11?op=1?r=US

Then there is Wikipedia: List of cities by murder rate

Clive RobinsonMay 27, 2015 12:23 PM

A thought occures,

Does the "terrorist attack" have to be real, have people killed or hurt, do physical damage or even cyber damage to get into the counting?

That is if an official says "terrorist incident" in the reporting does it actually get independently verified as such...

If not then it might be a route as a "fund raiser".

If people remember back certain places in the US went overboard on responses to the likes of student artwork etc, and initially the responses got treated as --potential-- terrorist attacks and were reported in that vein.

albertMay 27, 2015 1:17 PM

@M Welinder,

"...Who gets to define what is terrorism?..." Try: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States
.
"Terrorism' is whatever the gov't says it is. It's one of those very flexible terms. Propagandists like them because they can be bent to fit their narrative. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism (wiki did a decent job on this one)
.
When you're dead, you're dead. Does it really matter how you die? It does if your death was preventable. Using the first link, 'all-inclusive' appears to be the criterion. Even so, not much over 3000 deaths in 15 years. Using very conservative figures, we lost 24,000 * 15, or 360,000 traffic deaths. Deaths from cancer, heart disease, tobacco, alcohol, illegal (and much more prevalent) legal drug abuse...we're talking millions of people here. There is not a person in the US who is not affected in some way by these sorts of deaths.
.
We spend trillions on military/spy systems, and not a cent goes to reduce the vast numbers of _totally preventable_ deaths.
.
There's something else going on here, and it's not about preventing 'terrorism'.
.
...

winterMay 27, 2015 3:02 PM

@albert
"There's something else going on here, and it's not about preventing 'terrorism'."

Which one does not belong in this list:
Terrorist
Pedophile
Drug travicker
Communist
Witch
Heretic
Christian

(* hint, which label was never used to "persecute")

MarkHMay 27, 2015 4:38 PM

@Bruce:

The Russian city is spelled "Grozny"
________________________

My personal definition of "terrorism":

Terrorism is intentional violent action, meeting all of these criteria:

• it is likely to injure or kill non-combatant persons*

• its character gives reasonable cause to believe that the harm to such persons is intended

• it is of an indiscriminate nature, such that even if it is directed against a known person or group of persons, other persons not individually targeted are likely to be harmed

• it lacks justification by either recognized judicial processes (for example, execution of a sentence against a criminal convict), or widely accepted laws of war (for example, an attack against a legitimate military target in which the combination of paramount military necessity and limitations of military capability do now allow the likely exclusion of civilian casualties)

* For the purposes of this definition, a non-combatant person is any person who both (a) gives no evidence of carrying out or threatening violence against others at the time of the violent action, and (b) is not a soldier (military or paramilitary) or other uniformed military member in a zone either of war, or of occupation maintained by on-going military force.

Hop SingMay 27, 2015 7:31 PM

Handy definition from MarkH, clear-cut and easy to apply, for example to:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/25/the-bombing-of-the-chinese-embassy-in-belgrade-in-1999-reconsidered/

• injure or kill non-combatants: CHECK

• harm to such persons is intended: CHECK

• indiscriminate: CHECK

• lacks justification: CHECK

But in this case the attack is terrorism in EU law but a crime of terror under international humanitarian law. We shall see how China chooses to assign state responsibility for restitution and satisfaction when the state sponsor's diplomatic isolation is more complete. Desiderata are below.

https://www.law.upenn.edu/ institutes/ cerl/ conferences/ targetedkilling/ papers/ Cassese.docx

tyrMay 27, 2015 9:23 PM


I prefer Chomsky's take on terrorism as acts designed to
terrorize others.

That way all of these violence advocates get tarred with
the same brush with no place to hide.

Remember the I was only following orders defense has been
negated as meaningless.

BuckMay 27, 2015 11:03 PM

@tyr

Remember the I was only following orders defense has been negated as meaningless.
A ridiculous notion that only serves to scapegoat the few held hostage to their situations. It induces a great fear for the consequences of repentance and shields the rest of us from our own responsibility in ever allowing those scenarios to exist in the first place...

thevoidMay 27, 2015 11:45 PM

@tyr, @Buck

@tyr
Remember the I was only following orders defense has been negated as meaningless.

A ridiculous notion that only serves to scapegoat the few held hostage to their situations. It induces a great fear for the consequences of repentance and shields the rest of us from our own responsibility in ever allowing those scenarios to exist in the first place...

indeed. i was just read something along those lines the other day. when the choice is to commit an act, or possibly face summary execution (we are talking war and possibly mutiny here), what choice is there for most?

truly, we can honor those who may choose 'death before dishonor', but can we really blame grunts who essentially have no choice?

yes, 'hostage' is the right word.

WinterMay 28, 2015 2:07 AM

"indeed. i was just read something along those lines the other day. when the choice is to commit an act, or possibly face summary execution (we are talking war and possibly mutiny here), what choice is there for most?"

There is a world between following orders and obeying under threat of life. The original pledge of "following orders" was from people who had volunteering the job.

For instance, an executioner in the USA is always doing the job out of free will. So he cannot claim "I just followed orders". Neither could volunteers in the SS (who could almost always asked to be transferred).

DannyMay 28, 2015 5:53 AM

Quote: "No US city makes the list."
@Bruce - You made CIA / NSA / etc happy with that line. They gonna quote you and add that is because of their current global bulk surveillance policy that was possible.

Andreas the krautMay 28, 2015 6:00 AM

US terrorism doesn't show up because it has an innate periodicity: FBI pays or coerces mobs of provocateurs provoking each other into a mad-bomber frenzy, each poor sap thinking he's an undercover hero fighting bad guys for the feds. Elohim City was probably the most extravagant spy-versus-spy honey trap.

http://whowhatwhy.org/2015/04/23/exclusive-oklahoma-city-bombing-breakthrough-part-2-of-2/

Then CIA picks one of the poor chumps and frames him for a Gladio bombing. FBI covers it all up while CIA writes 800 new laws criminalizing everything you could do because Never Again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

http://whowhatwhy.org/2015/05/26/boston-bombing-core-mystery-why-are-feds-not-interested-in-this-man/

Jordan May 28, 2015 8:44 AM

Great post some really interesting data, I feel more inforamtion would be needed to class a Terrorist risk as low or high, I have shared this page with all my team back at the office.

Former analystMay 28, 2015 9:13 AM

"According to actual data," Ha! I worked as an analyst at this firm and I love seeing stuff like this in the press. We used to compile these headline-grabbing reports to grab media attention (we had a great PR dept) but there is no actual 'data' behind it or methodology.

albertMay 28, 2015 10:55 AM

Interesting discussion on 'terrorism'.
.
To ask what 'terrorism' is to ask what 'happiness' is.
.
The 'answer'* is not a definition, but a more like a commentary on the value of labels. The civil laws of the US are so complicated because solid definitions are needed to withstand the scrutiny of a court of law. Law Enforcement likes broad definitions for terms like 'terrorism' and 'espionage'. 'Conspiracy' has a specific legal definition. Penalties for conspiracy convictions are often as harsh as those for the act folks are conspiring to commit. LE also wants draconian punishments for 'terrorists', 'spies', 'whistleblowers', and 'leakers'. Whether this is for retribution, deterrence, domination, or some combination of them, I don't know. Maybe it's simply sheer hatred for the criminals, or their race, class, religion, politics, or ethnic group.
.
Talk about 'terrorism' and most folks think of 911. A great loss of life and many injuries (including those that may cause serious health issues years from now). What about other forms of 'terrorism' that cannot cause death, dismemberment, or disease? Are these simply violations of civil law, or do they need to be prosecuted under harsher anti-'terrorism' laws? Are more draconian laws the answer, or are they more window dressing for Americas Anti-'Terrorism' Crusade? (AATC)**
.
...
* It's "different things to different people"; there's a song about it.
** AATC is a positive feedback system, like a fast breeder reactor. Positive feedback systems never end well.

parrotMay 28, 2015 10:56 AM

@Former analyst

Can you elaborate?

If there's no methodology, how does such a list come to be? Just putting names on a list that the firm expects people to expect? Or is there some pseudo-science that the analysts have bought into? Or is it more nefarious?

What's the motivation for the click-bait headlines for a firm like this? Where does their money come from that ties it to yellow journalism?

KhavrenMay 28, 2015 2:12 PM

Based on an analysis of social and traditional media, terrorism is "[bad] people doing [bad] things" Please insert your own values for [bad]. Note that if you insist that it's actually freedom fighting and "[good] people doing [dangerous] things to [bad] people" you are wrong, and probably a neo-nazi.

thevoidMay 28, 2015 2:24 PM

terrorist is just the new word for 'rebel', which throughout most of history had all the same connotations as 'terrorist' does now. one who disrupts the 'order' of society, that is, threatens the status quo.

especially in america, the meaning of 'rebel' has gained positive connotations, not so for most of history...

gordoMay 28, 2015 3:57 PM

RE: Defining terrorism

The excerpt below, written pre-9/11 [1998], crystallizes many of the points and counterpoints involved in trying to define the word. I think the attempted definition, by itself, holds up well, even post-9/11, and (along with the rest of the chapter [an interesting history]) provides some good cues that get past "knowing it when I see it" kinds of definitions.

We may therefore now attempt to define terrorism as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change. All terrorist acts involve violence or the threat of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim(s) or object of the terrorist attack. It is meant to instil fear within, and thereby intimidate, a wider `target audience' that might include a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country, a national government or political party, or public opinion in general. Terrorism is designed to create power where there is none or to consolidate power where there is very little. Through the publicity generated by their violence, terrorists seek to obtain the leverage, influence and power they otherwise lack to effect political change on either a local or an international scale. (This is the chapter's last paragraph)

CHAPTER ONE
Inside Terrorism
By BRUCE HOFFMAN
Columbia University Press

[chapter sections:]
- Defining Terrorism
- The Changing Meaning of Terrorism
- Why is Terrorism so Difficult to Define?
- Distinctions as a Path to Definition

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/h/hoffman-terrorism.html

As this definition is encyclopedic, I suppose a challenge would be to bring in an equally useful dictionary definition coming in at, say, 140 characters or less.

Marcos El MaloMay 28, 2015 5:25 PM

@gordo

My one quibble with that definition would be the "political change" requirement, because terror has been used to maintain the status quo and/or return to "the way things were". I am thinking of the campaign of terror waged in the U.S. South after Reconstruction up to the Civil Rights Movement, where terror was one tool used to maintain White Supremacy and keep a part of the population living in fear.

gordoMay 28, 2015 8:44 PM

@ Marcos El Malo,

RE: The political change requirement

Good point.

Were the White Supremacists feeling oppressed as they carried out their oppression? Yes. Everything changed? Yes. Nothing changed? Yes.

Per your example, the tension in the political change requirement is that written laws changed, but by way of terrorism, the facts on the ground did not.

I think that these kinds of edge cases are always present in continuums, e.g., friction, resistance, acquiescence, conformity, change, etc. I think that in many issues there are these grey areas where it's hard to tell where one somthing ends and the other something begins. The public/private distinction has these kinds of overlaps. Or maybe better, it's like asking if the world is analog or digital. Is it "either/or", "both/and" or "neither/nor"? Yes.

BuckMay 28, 2015 8:44 PM

@Winter

indeed. i was just read something along those lines the other day. when the choice is to commit an act, or possibly face summary execution (we are talking war and possibly mutiny here), what choice is there for most?
There is a world between following orders and obeying under threat of life. The original pledge of "following orders" was from people who had volunteering the job.
Yes, but what ideas could ever lead up to that volunteering being a decent pledge to make? If we start from the beginning -- perhaps that initial decision to enlist could be attributed to familial pressure, the glorification of past heros, a need to put food on the table, retribution against enemies, or any combination of these and other factors... By the time we reach the greatly immoral act, it's easy to see this as a result of a vast number of relatively benign life choices.

"This is not what I signed up for..."
*Boom*
The dissenter is summarily executed or otherwise has their entire life destroyed.

Not wanting to suffer the same immediate fate, the next down in the chain of command acquiesces and agrees to commit said unspeakable act. From that point forth, there is no stopping this downward spiral... To ever stop would mean losing and then being held personally responsible for their own actions alone. :-\

AlexMay 28, 2015 11:20 PM

But but but...the man on TV and the US government keep telling me evildoers are a major and constant threat to the USA! I even get bombarded with announcements of such on the subway & at airports.


Speaking of preventable deaths, DOCTORS are responsible for killing 100,000-300,000 US citizens every year...but I don't see DHS/TSA rushing in to help create the illusion of protecting us from them.

rgaffMay 28, 2015 11:55 PM

Indeed hospitals are dangerous places! You're far far more likely to die from one of them than any terrorism... I mean, you go in for one thing, catch an unrelated infection and boom, you're gone.... (and don't tell me this doesn't happen, I had relatives... they're gone)

WaelMay 28, 2015 11:55 PM

@Alex,

But but but...the man on TV and the US government keep telling me evildoers are a major and constant threat to the USA!

Don't believe a word of it! The man on TV is lying. Bush "himself" declared that's no longer the case, proof is at 2:30 - 2:45

Nick PMay 29, 2015 12:09 AM

@ Alex

I used to brink up statistics like that. However, there really is a difference between the risks we voluntarily participate in and the scary risks others impose on us out of nowhere. A difference in most people's minds mostly but there's some objective difference there. Most people going to doctors' offices know they might make a bad decision and think the risk of not going is worse. Most people bombed by terrorists neither saw it coming nor wanted it.

So, there's that factor.

WinterMay 29, 2015 4:26 AM

@Buck
"Yes, but what ideas could ever lead up to that volunteering being a decent pledge to make?"

You are making excuses. If you ever stand in front of a judge/jury, do not try to be this clever. Listen to your lawyer.

An international court of law investigating war crimes can very well make a judgment on the level of coercion and danger an accused war criminal was subjected to.

What the courts are unanimous about is that claiming "don't blame me, I only followed commands" is not a valid defense.

PetrovMay 29, 2015 1:30 PM

@Definition of terrorism, @Albert


I think it is very well understood that the word 'terrorism' is highly subjective and used very often in an extremely dishonest and deeply hypocritical manner.

Both groups on each side of the 'terrorist' battles are going to be terrorist, almost but obviously not invariably. And this is often well understood by anyone not extremely biased for one side or the other.

So, for instance, this can be 'mind blowing' especially in situations where the other side includes nations that consider themselves 'civilized' and may themselves have within their nations many liberties and rights.

A good 'for example' is contrasting the forces of 'the West' against modern 'Islamist' terrorism. These forces use fear to sell the need for war extensively, and they back that up with threats and actions that are designed to be fear inducing. Not the least is the vast 'war machines', and the actual actions in battle, such as indiscriminate killing, torture, focus on war, focus on violence.

Violence is their mantle, their pride. Such activity here even includes the actions like mass domestic surveillance, violating en masse fundamentals of their own liberties and human rights (which most definitely have a strong fear element to the message especially considering the history of tyranny), and so on.

Contrasting, ISIS, for example, against these these 'Western Forces':

ISIS is very upfront about their actual actions of violence, whereas the West largely prefers to be either implying or distant. So, for instance, when the infamous "helicopter video" or the torture evidence got out, that was something the West really wanted to hide. Stories and depictions of the violence on the ground was generally not well publicized. In some cases, some extreme examples, soldiers were even prosecuted and jailed for excessive violence.

Almost ironically, scenes of mass devastation, however, from further way were not so well shied away from, and the term 'shock & awe' was actually glorified in, along with depictions of that shock and awe.

This sort of mass messaging of the violence was more sophisticated in many ways, then the often vaunted sophisticated methods of propaganda of ISIS. It was 'from a distance', and tried not to include the misery, corpses, and 'up close' killings of anyone involved. Yet, the messaging, ultimately, is similar.

To some degree, this is also the way much of the violence was handled. Whereas ISIS members intentionally have sought out and killed people simply on the basis of religion, reportedly engaged in door to door rape and sex slavery including that of little girls and little boys, and relished in slow deaths... with Western forces, while there was much reported bad attitudes and systematic willingness to kill, there was an attempt to distance themselves from those exact rites.

Contrast again with major anti-terrorist 'ally' Saudi Arabia, and you get back down to the dirt (and see, again, how Western groups distance themselves from a lot of the 'up close' dirty work, but are all very willing to get into bed with another nation that decidedly does not.)

I think a lot of this gets into the illusion of the 'western soldier'. The reality is there is very much a culture of violence there, but it is prettied up. There is a mythology of nobility attached. There can be noble western soldiers (like eastern), but this is the exception, not the rule. For most it is about the gun, the weapons, the explosions, the violence. It is about the murdering and displays of aggressive domination. It is about power.

None of this means that 'ISIS' and 'Western soldiers and war machines' are exactly the same and guilty of all the exact same wrongs. I think it is a hard case to say ISIS is not invariably worse, and if they had access to the same level of weaponry, surveillance systems, national controls their systems would be far worse. But there is a lot of equations there that do lift up the Westerners due to the hypocrisy of their actions and words, and the deception of their true states.

PetrovMay 29, 2015 1:45 PM

@Religious Hate

A lot of time religious hate comes dressed as mere criticism. This is especially true, I find, with Westerners. I think it is a good sign of both their history and their education, as well as to their pretensions to being 'good', in general.

So, for instance, the atrocities of the Nazis or Soviets were disguised as being good, though some saw through them. The Soviets, of course, were more accomplished at this, as the Nazis did not do much to disguise their religious hatred of innocent minorities even if they sort of successfully disguised their ultimate plans and enacting of some of those plans.

(The Nazi disguise was also very poor as they were simply not as intelligent on morality, and their social belief system came from militarized bigots, as opposed to from the cauldron of often well intentioned social change in the 19th century.)


So, for example, some would say, in a very indirect and so deceitful manner, "The problem is Muslims" while pointing towards ISIS. But stating this in an indirect way which is difficult to replicate. This ignores the fact that ISIS is actually killing, torturing, raping Muslims, and it implies if not directly states that ISIS is the very definition of "Muslim", which ISIS themselves say is the case and is the very motive and authority of their very actions. This then validates ISIS while conversely invalidating all the innocent Muslims who are victims of them, and all of the Muslims through the world who are nothing like them. Which is the very extreme majority.

Often this is relatively simple, and may happen like this: 'ISIS is killing, murdering, torturing, and raping", someone says. And someone else replies, "That is Muslims for you". Or, "What do you expect from Arabs". Or, "There is the religious for you". And so on.

At heart, it is basic racism, "One did this so all like them are like this", but at heart, is also the strawman argument: 'look at this one really bad example that is proof right there that this is how they all are'.

The two, then, are allies at heart, one goes out and does the bad thing, the other while ostensibly a critic of them yet oddly validates them and is partners in agreeing with them that they are the true best example of their entire class, religious or political system, race.

PetrovMay 29, 2015 2:26 PM

@Buck

Yes, but what ideas could ever lead up to that volunteering being a decent pledge to make? If we start from the beginning -- perhaps that initial decision to enlist could be attributed to familial pressure, the glorification of past heros, a need to put food on the table, retribution against enemies, or any combination of these and other factors... By the time we reach the greatly immoral act, it's easy to see this as a result of a vast number of relatively benign life choices.

Very insightful post.

In these sorts of situations, there is often a sort of hidden problem to begin with, I would add. For instance, with the Nazis, they were sold on their ideology. So, you saw a lot of early German critics among the Nazis. Some were within the system and opposed it from within. They actually did a lot of damage. (Most of those sorts were life long military, and always saw through and hated Hitler. Canaris is a major one who comes to mind.)

With Nazis and other perverted ideologies, then, the problem is not so difficult to detect right off. What do you think you are signing up for? While for those who are subjective in their society and have never been exposed to contradictory opinions will be largely oblivious to the deception... well, I think that is where the main problem is. They have no frame of reference, and that is all they know.

With the "West" and Democratic states, it is actually very much the same thing, though the espoused beliefs widely stated are not just the such that 'mean well or appear to mean well but in practice does not work', but do have strong tendencies to work. However, in battle and in practical application during wartimes these ideologies become simply excuses and ways of distancing the person. And here you start to see a lot of the same principles used: they are not killing a person for no reason but personal pleasure, they are eliminating enemies of justice and liberty for the betterment of their society.

One is not becoming much worse a person, and hardened, but they are having their personal strength tested. Or their bravery.

Of course, very often the actual vehicle for destruction is very young and has very poor schooling which did not expose them to many contradictory arguments so as to consider matters from many angles. They tend to have very little education on the crimes of tyranny, for reasons like, 'it is offensive' or 'controversial'.

But, at the core, there are deeper problems: what do you have when you have someone that is idealizing the lifestyle of weapons and destruction? Who vaunts and idealizes such authority figures? They might learn phrases like 'a soldier is the one who does hate war the most', but surely do not believe it. That is their dream lifestyle and what they love.

It is actually usually far more clean and more honest with gangsters. They are often much more upfront about their liking of violence and how, for them, it is the very basis of their identity.

Further, it is true, everyone deals with adversity and adversaries, and they like to win. How far is it from that from getting addicted to the power that winning by violence gives, or the inherent possibility found in that lifestyle with its' attendant rights to violence and weapons and training?


I find it a bit odd, people are often "for" one side or the other in many of these wars or points of aggression. There very often is not a 'third way', where both parties are thoroughly condemned. I think this also blinds people to the bigger picture of what is going on and so the track to the future.

This gets near comical in blindness in the past fifteen some odd years.

That sort of 'morality' is not so often easily captured in modern story, but I think something like 'Unforgiven', or 'Inglorious Basterds' might get very close.

What is lacking in that picture? Violence is a necessity, it is at a near hunger like level from pure emotion of hatred of bad things. There is no pretentious trappings, no vast deceptions, no glorious conceit built up around them. It is simple, raw righteous rage.

It is honest.

And it is intrinsically not selfish.

MarkHMay 31, 2015 12:10 PM

I just read an interesting article about the Sierra Club, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization in the USA.

By its contribution to the closing of coal-fired electric generation plants, the Sierra Club has likely prevented on the order 10,000 premature deaths of US citizens during the past decade. The total of lives saved will rapidly increase in the coming years.

I am aware of no evidence that the NSA's unconstitutional surveillance has saved even one life.

In contrast, the completely lawful activity of the Sierra Club has saved more Americans than the prevention of three coordinated attacks with 9/11-scale casualties.

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