Refuse to Be Terrorized

Paul Krugman has written a really good update of my 2006 essay.

Krugman:

So what can we say about how to respond to terrorism? Before the atrocities in Paris, the West's general response involved a mix of policing, precaution, and military action. All involved difficult tradeoffs: surveillance versus privacy, protection versus freedom of movement, denying terrorists safe havens versus the costs and dangers of waging war abroad. And it was always obvious that sometimes a terrorist attack would slip through.

Paris may have changed that calculus a bit, especially when it comes to Europe's handling of refugees, an agonizing issue that has now gotten even more fraught. And there will have to be a post-mortem on why such an elaborate plot wasn't spotted. But do you remember all the pronouncements that 9/11 would change everything? Well, it didn't -- and neither will this atrocity.

Again, the goal of terrorists is to inspire terror, because that's all they're capable of. And the most important thing our societies can do in response is to refuse to give in to fear.

Me:

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.

This crass and irreverent essay was written after January's Paris terrorist attack, but is very relevant right now.

Posted on November 17, 2015 at 6:36 AM • 79 Comments

Comments

keinerNovember 17, 2015 6:54 AM

Wow, a computer nerd and someone understanding nearly nothing when it comes to economy (choose yourself), both from the US, tell me how to live my life in Europe.

Nearly as big a nonsense as this Trump telling that with weapons all over the street everybody is safe. Stick to your profession (and country), guys. Seriously.

mooNovember 17, 2015 7:15 AM

@kleiner: If you are reading this blog, then you should be aware that he's also an expert on the general issues of security and trust, so he *is* sticking to his profession. And seeing as terrorism is an international concern, I don't see how sticking to his country would make sense.

foosionNovember 17, 2015 7:16 AM

tell me how to live my life in Europe

Well, if you disagree with the advice not to be terrorized, I'd recommend hiding under your bed cowering with fear.

LukasNovember 17, 2015 7:21 AM

I'm from Europe, and I applaud this blog post. This is exactly the kid of rational thinking about security that we need.

Almost every discussion about this attack completely lacks any kind of threat assessment, and simply assumes that terrorism is a huge threat. It's not. Every Euro spent trying to protect us from terrorism would do a million times more good, and save a million times more lives, if it was invested in researching cancer treatments instead.

And that's probably underestimating the actual numbers.

robNovember 17, 2015 7:27 AM

I'm also European and applaud both this post and that of Paul Krugman. Both speak the kind of sense that is very much needed.

@keiner: contempt for Krugman's knowledge of economics pretty well labels you and your political position. It does you no favours. By all means engage in rational discourse and argue against a point of view but just sitting on the sidelines throwing toys out of the pram doesn't help anybody.

WmNovember 17, 2015 7:34 AM

"Refuse to Be Terrorized"

Get a concealed handgun license as I have, carry a gun with you everywhere you legally can, be psychologically ready to shoot to kill anyone who threatens you.

Of course, this is not the Boston/New England way, however, it is the Texas and Southern way.

JohnNovember 17, 2015 7:45 AM

What would really undermine ISIL would be to have big shows of solidarity between Muslims and non-Muslims. There should be a group of prominent imams at the France-England game tonight, and every opportunity should be taken to demonstrate that ISIL can't poison the relationship between mainstream Islam and the rest of the world.

bobNovember 17, 2015 7:51 AM

@Wm

That is being terrorised, you idiot.

You carry a weapon that is statistically far more likely to kill someone inappropriately than it is to protect you to combat a threat that is less threatening than drunk driving your 4x4.

The terrorists are laughing at you. And they laugh even louder when your child dies playing with it; or you shoot an innocent in a self-righteous panic; or you kill yourself in some stupid accident.

SmirkNovember 17, 2015 7:55 AM

I am more concerned and upset then everybody else about this and i changed all my social media pictures to the eiffel tower peace sign after 15 minutes of the attacks hitting the news. Also the terrorists are known to be using crypto apps like tor, whatsapp and the playstation network so i suggest that in order to not be terrorized we must ban all encryption and mandatory computer check ups to see if nobody tamperd with someones government approved TempleOS configuration.

Also Mr. Schneier and the people commenting on this blog have blood on their hands because the information and comments on this site has aided terrorists in their crypto quest.

Je ne suis pas stupide!

ianfNovember 17, 2015 8:12 AM


@ Wm, why only a measly concealed handgun, thus fairly small calibre, when you easily could carry a lock-and-loaded AK47 out in the open, or heavier ordnance to defend yourself against e.g. invasive cultural practices of the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys? Oh, wait…

NYerNovember 17, 2015 8:14 AM

"establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty"

Terrorism is NOT everywhere, it's possible but improbable... however the individual threats are potentially huge carrying enormous downside risk in this day and age.

Providing for the "common defense" necessarily involves both risk mitigation and deterrence. The former involves reasonable and legal preventive measures, and the latter requires our sovereign bodies to "take steps".

In the U.S. the 2nd Amendment's recognition of our right to bear arms provides for both preventive measures and in theory the capability for real 1st responders (i.e., potentially any of us) to "take steps". It's also now very clearly the case that regardless of where we live, Flight 93's passengers provided the behavioral model, not the exception. Not everybody believes as I do that "it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees," but most everybody can agree that it's better to die on your feet than die on your knees.

Let's not stick our heads in the sand... unfortunately, there will be times when bigger steps will need to be taken... whether this is such a time is really up to France to decide for herself. Likewise, let's not kid ourselves that these improbable but possible vile acts will neither go away on their own nor never morph into far larger and more widespread movements.

talentedautistNovember 17, 2015 9:03 AM

I agree. We should refuse to be terrified. I'm not terrified. But I am one person out of 500 million in Europe. How many people are like me, I don't know. Not many percent. Obviously not enough to win elections. And I guess that is the same for most of us rationally thinking tech guys.

At least we nerds/geeks got the technical know how to defend against the political consequences. And some of us are cynical enough to see these events as a chance to capitalize on the fear of others. There is little gain in fighting back. Instead just accept that most likely political means to "increase security" will happen and then adapt your behavior to maximize your own profit on it. For instance steer into security & forensics consulting.

AlainCo (@alain_co)November 17, 2015 9:14 AM

This event is more a symptom of something from the West (Thanks to Iraq invasion, Saudi money), but also something very French : the fact that part of the population is out of the system without any hope to get back in.

I put that on what pushed the Arab Spring according to Hernando De Soto
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-capitalist-cure-for-terrorism-1412973796
who observed that the crisis was because of abuse against poor-people informal capitalism by the crony governments

In france it is more our social system which is advantageous for the older, inactive, economic rent owner, and globally for the insiders, against the outsiders, the risk taker, the young and the active.


What is clear from the recent numerous attack is that they benefited from a network of "supporters", and I blame the insider/outsider problem of France.
This fires spread on the dry wood of economic despair by French native in "outside of the system" zone.

I advise people to read that paper which link Percolation theory with terrorism (and many illegal activities).
http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0404265

It is not the purpose of this blog to talk of politics, nor economics, but it is clear that Percolation theory have an impact on security.

As Galam explains the probability to spread terror across a society, depend on two parameters :
- the individual probability to surrender to passive support of violence
- and even more about the number of various "good reason" you can propose to your social neighbours to justify your plan.

The more there is various reason to hate, the more easy it is to cross the society with all you need to commit evil acts.

I am shocked but in france there is a minority of stupid kids, symptom of more intelligent adults, who clearly show their joy about those mass crimes.

Houellebecq about his book "Soumission" say we live in a state of "anomie", lack of shared values.

A key problem in security is passive complicity by the social network...

This may be the subject of a more general article, far from terrorism.

JRENovember 17, 2015 9:14 AM

@Smirk:
I was reading a newspaper earlier, where they mention messages being passed between terrorists by playing video games.
One of the methods for passing a message was to use an in game weapon to shoot holes in a wall to draw letters and spell words.
Those "drawings" disappear as soon as the game ends, and aren't stored in any way - they can never be captured and deciphered later.
Do you now propose to ban all online games to prevent the terrorists from passing messages?

BrianRNovember 17, 2015 9:23 AM

Hmmm, I assumed Smirk was being ironic. Perhaps he's working for the UK government who would dearly love to use the Paris attack to institute even more draconian laws.

PO'dNovember 17, 2015 9:31 AM

Terrorism purpose is to mash your fear button, priming you to be susceptible to falling for politicians telling you, "I can protect you! If you only but give up a little freedom!"

Please do continue to pander to them, give up all your freedoms. Until the day when you wake up to find out your government has created a society that essentially lives under Sharia Law albeit under a different name, of Security State.

Terrorism is the greatest Hack on Liberty ever.

keinerNovember 17, 2015 10:01 AM

Oh, maybe I could give you the advice to look a little bit deeper, who started the Syria mess and supported those radicals, starting with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Mind your own business in the US, e.g. how about a little international tribunal on GW Bush as a war criminal, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Might help to have a look at the root of the problem.

My advice: Keep you warriors at home, this time.

SilentBobNovember 17, 2015 10:11 AM

Look, this is how its going to go down. At some point in the future there is going to be a terrorist nuclear attack on a major western city. And the next day the number of Muslims living in the world will drop 90%. The last 10% will be hunted down and exterminated. The only reason this hasn't happened yet is because the damage terrorist attacks have caused has been relatively minor. When the SHTF, the gloves will come off and the fight will be over very quickly. If anybody knows a way to stop this from happening and bring about peace on earth and good will to all men.. please tell the world now.

ianfNovember 17, 2015 10:11 AM


What would really undermine ISIL would be to have big shows of solidarity between Muslims and non-Muslims

@ John, forget the Muslim angle. The Western commentariat has latched onto this simplistic idea, revenge for something the French had done to Da'esh, for want of a better explanation. But when one looks at the Paris attacks with a detached eye[=a metaphor!], what, apart from ethnic background of the attackers, is it that says "Muslims' revenge" about it?

NOTHING—and let's not dwell on some webpage claiming the credit for that… I could whip up 10 such pages in my sleep, and claiming credit after the fact is a cheap point. But when you analyze the structure of Friday attacks, only one thing stands out: utter NIHILISM. Of/ by yobs getting nowhere, because in their 27 years of life in the cushy West they've learned that they can just basically float by and do nothing… except that after a while even that gets tedious. This is when they hit upon doing something terminal about it with a bang. To avenge the slights that prevented them from getting anywhere in life. Were this a religiously-motivated act of asymmetrical war, it would have been directed at some more appropriate, if more heavily guarded, places. But this is Paris we're talking about, a town with thousands of venues where the same number of attackers could inflict similar or greater number of "more suitable for religious revenge" casualties than on Friday. Still will be able to, because, thankfully, the Parisians won't abandon their way of life because of some fucking assholes. So let us quit this trying to find a deeper, more profound, meaning for something that basically had just one purpose, nihilistic terror for terror's sake. (The attackers knew what they were up to, that's why they didn't even try to dress it up in any sidetracking Islamic verbiage).

(Apart from everything else, associating that with Muslims or Islam as such, is kind of disrespectful to both.)


@ bob setting @Wm straight “That is being terrorised, you idiot. You [promote carrying] a weapon that is statistically far more likely to kill someone inappropriately than it is to protect you to combat a threat that is less threatening than drunk driving your 4x4. The terrorists are laughing at you. And they laugh even louder when your child dies playing with it; or you shoot an innocent in a self-righteous panic; or you kill yourself in some stupid accident.

Quite. Albeit for reasons not entirely clear to me, we have here other idiot proponents for the same gun-insanity in the USA (as a deterrent to terror acts—ha!), who have won the ear (the eye) of people like Wael or Clive R. on other subjects, and who then engage them in parlezvous without a proper prior look-back.


@ [November 17, 2015 7:52 AM] @ bob thinks @keiner is referring to the Cracked article, not Bruce's.

If @keiner did, WTF doesn't s/he make sure the meaning was UNAMBIGUOUS?
We're not here to read its mind. Nous ne sommes pas ici pour lire son esprit - that was in French.


@ NYer, […] “In the U.S. the 2nd Amendment's recognition of our right to bear arms provides for both preventive measures and in theory the capability for real 1st responders (i.e., potentially any of us) to "take steps".

You forgot to add the necessary modifier, the LARGELY ILLUSORY (an adverb + an adjective) RIGHT TO FIRE BACK, which is as it should be, curtailed, or else the US gun deathrate would be a multiple of what it is today. Your constitutional right to parade with arms is not an automatic license to use them at random. Hence, when armed response might have made some difference WHEN SOMETHING LIFE-THREATHENING HAPPENS, it is never there, but nearly always a post-factum show of stupid macho force. Perhaps residents in the USA should be required by law to walk around armed at all times to "ensure maximum mutual theatre of public safety."


[…] “Flight 93's passengers provided the behavioral model, not the exception.

The didn't need any guns for that, they acted anyway. It's an irony of Fate by capital F, that the first victim of 2001/9/11 attacks was someone who—armed or unarmed—had the capacity, and the close-combat training, to disrupt, if not stop, the hijack in progress: Daniel Lewin, a former IDF Sayeret Matkal commando. Only his attention probably was on his laptop, rather than on assessing the "threat envelope" around the 9B (aisle) business class seat of his: quiet Middle Easterners in front and behind him, who then began the AA11 hijack by (most probably) stabbing Daniel in the throat with a box cutter. And no gun would have saved him there either.

Jarrod FratesNovember 17, 2015 10:14 AM

@keiner: The Taliban weren't started by the West. You're confusing them with the mujahideen that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, *some* of whom were supported by the West via arms and money sent via Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The Taliban didn't start up until around 1990, and didn't become a military force until a couple of years later. They succeeded largely because they took away much of the chaos and lawlessness created by the civil war that unfolded after the Soviets left. After nearly 20 years of war, people will often do anything to live in predictability.

Dirk PraetNovember 17, 2015 10:34 AM

... and there will have to be a post-mortem on why such an elaborate plot wasn't spotted.

That's already starting to become quite clear, as I explained in one of my previous posts here. The most likely cause at this time is a cascade failure of Belgian federal intelligence services, Brussels police forces and Molenbeek local authorities NOT following up or taking preventive action against KNOWN radicalised and dangerous elements on their territory.

No Snooper's Charter, other surveillance legislation or encryption backdoors can compensate for human and political failure to act on known problems with known groups and individuals. Which both France and Belgium finally seem to be waking up to now.

Today, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs has suggested to make electronic bracelets mandatory for all known returning Syria fighters, which Belgium has the highest pro capita number in Europe of. In his speech yesterday, French president Hollande has proposed new legislation allowing to revoke the nationality of, expulse from or refuse re-entry in France of individuals linked to or convicted of terrorism, and a draconian surveillance regime on any Syria/Iraq returnee. In addition, hundreds of search warrants have been executed during the last days, and during which dozens of people have either been rounded up or confined to their residence.

However little such measures may do about the underlying causes, I believe they make sense. Our society not only has the right, it has the obligation to protect itself from such groups and individuals, a targeted approach of which will only strengthen the resolve of the population at large to refuse itself to be terrorized.

What doesn't make sense, however, is the appaling FUD, hysteria and even downright lies (like the PS4 story) coming in recent days from especially US/UK politicians, pundits and mainstream media. Noboy seems to be interested in what really happened and all they seem to be doing is spread even more fear to further their own agendas. As in the Daily Telegraph calling for immediate adoption of the Snooper's Charter or Donald Trump calling for the right to bear arms in France.

The most sickening, absolute low, as could almost be expected, probably comes from the governors of 25 US states who now totally oppose on "security grounds" the coming to America of only a few thousands of Syrian refugees. If it weren't for the dramatic situation in their home countries the US is the prime architect of, they probably would never have fled their country in the first place. It's disgusting.

jordanNovember 17, 2015 10:35 AM

In the "War On Terror" - if such a thing is to be admitted - the side fighting against "Terror" isn't "Being Terrorized". The opponents of "Terror" would be Tolerance, Mindfulness, Charity, Humanity, all those kinds of things.

Responding to "Terror" with fear is the terrorists plan, so let's not do that.

@Jarrod

It still sounds like a dropped ball from the West. We care enough to help try to keep the Soviets out but are apathetic about the resulting power vacuum? I'm not saying coaching a country out of a civil war would be easy, but we (the West) do like to talk about how we bring the freedom.

@JRE

Pretty sure Smirk was being ironic, for example they suggested "TempleOS" for the government mandated computer system.

rgaffNovember 17, 2015 10:46 AM

How about "refuse to be terrorized by our own government leaders, trying to promote fear for a power grab"? Anyone?

SmirkNovember 17, 2015 10:51 AM

@JRE yes ofcourse we should ban them, next we should ban public beaches as people and ofcourse terrorist have been know to write messages in the sand.

keinerNovember 17, 2015 11:06 AM

Just to add:

Schools in Germany are holding a moment of silence these days for the Paris victims.

Some kids ask: Why do we do that only for Europeans? Not for the hundred people killed in Turkey recent? Or for the Russian victims of the airplane blast? Or for the people dying from ISIS in Syria? Or for the hundreds of thousands (!) civilians killed by US-troops in Iraq, building the ISIS of today?

Why?

Children are much more aware of your double standards than you might think, ladies and gentlemen.

Mind the next generation...

GarethNovember 17, 2015 11:34 AM

David Wong (6 Ways to Keep Terrorists From Ruining the World):

"ultimately I think there are the only two sides:

A. Those who think their tribe has to dominate Earth;
B. Those who think tribes can coexist."

But what I want to know is, can the people who think that tribes can coexist, coexist with the people who think their tribe has to dominate Earth?

Marshall November 17, 2015 11:39 AM

The terrorists are not personally going to cause the End of Civilization, but the war of all against all they are part of might, if we liet it. I've just been reading Norbert Elias on centripital and centrifugal forces in the formation of civilization as we know it: it isn't a ratchet.

Kyle WilsonNovember 17, 2015 11:59 AM

It seems to me that open carry areas (the second amendment argument) make it easier for bad guys with guns to move into position and carry out their plans. If anyone can walk the streets with an AR15 on their shoulder then there's no risk of discovery as your team of suicide attackers gets position for maximum damage. Seems like an obvious problem with the open carry argument...that and the fact that sane people are not walking around cities with an assault rifle on their shoulder and a batch of spare magazines in their web gear...

AlanSNovember 17, 2015 11:59 AM

I sense a collective memory loss this week. The French were thinking "critically and rationally" back in 2003 when they warned against feeding terrorism and they took a lot of abuse for it. Feeding terrorism is what we're good at doing. There is little indication we've learned much from recent mistakes.

Dominique de Villepin's French address on Iraq at the UN Security Council in 2003:

The option of war might seem a priori to be the swiftest. But let us not forget that having won the war, one has to build peace. Let us not delude ourselves; this will be long and difficult because it will be necessary to preserve Iraq's unity and restore stability in a lasting way in a country and region harshly affected by the intrusion of force....No one can assert today that the path of war will be shorter than that of the inspections. No one can claim either that it might lead to a safer, more just and more stable world. For war is always the sanction of failure. Would this be our sole recourse in the face of the many challenges at this time?....Such intervention could have incalculable consequences for the stability of this scarred and fragile region. It would compound the sense of injustice, increase tensions and risk paving the way to other conflicts....Ten days ago, the US Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, reported the alleged links between al-Qaeda and the regime in Baghdad. Given the present state of our research and intelligence, in liaison with our allies, nothing allows us to establish such links. On the other hand, we must assess the impact that disputed military action would have on this plan. Would not such intervention be liable to exacerbate the divisions between societies, cultures and peoples, divisions that nurture terrorism?....To what extent do the nature and extent of the threat justify the immediate recourse to force? How do we ensure that the considerable risks of such intervention can actually be kept under control?....Mr. President, to those who are wondering in anguish when and how we are going to cede to war, I would like to tell them that nothing, at any time, in this Security Council, will be done in haste, misunderstanding, suspicion or fear. In this temple of the United Nations, we are the guardians of an ideal, the guardians of a conscience. The onerous responsibility and immense honor we have must lead us to give priority to disarmament in peace. This message comes to you today from an old country, France, from an old continent like mine, Europe, that has known wars, occupation and barbarity. A country that does not forget and knows everything it owes to the freedom-fighters who came from America and elsewhere. And yet has never ceased to stand upright in the face of history and before mankind. Faithful to its values, it wishes resolutely to act with all the members of the international community. It believes in our ability to build together a better world.

For this approach the American media were already heaping abuse on the French: Wimps, weasels and monkeys - the US media view of 'perfidious France'. Now Brits are waiting for the Chilcot Report and a good portion of the population is hoping (wishfully) that Tony Blair is prosecuted for war crimes;  Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and much of America are in denial about their responsibility for "sowing the seeds of democracy" in the Middle East and are as clueless as ever; and Europe and the Middle East take the brunt of the consequences. 

Je suis faecesNovember 17, 2015 12:20 PM

Paul Craig Roberts, with his PhD in The Obvious,

http://www.globalresearch.ca/washington-refines-its-false-flag-operations/5489588

"For example, what did the directors of the CIA and French intelligence discuss at their meeting a few days prior to the Paris attacks. Why were fake passports used to identify attackers? Why did the attacks occur on the same day as a multi-site simulation of a terrorist attack involving first responders, police, emergency services and medical personnel?[Hint] Why has there been no media investigation of the report that French police were blinded by a sophisticated cyber attack on their mobile data tracking system? Does anyone really believe that ISIL has such capability?"

We were all over him like a cheap suit but he got away, darn it! And US lumpen for it every time.

ianfNovember 17, 2015 12:36 PM


@ JRE […] “messages being passed between terrorists by playing video games… One of the methods was to use an in game weapon to shoot holes in a wall to draw letters and spell words.

Are you for REAL? Go back to your console, shoot some messages a bullet-pixel in a 5x7 matrix/ character sequence at a time, measure how long it takes you (a shooter motivated enough to prove the viability of the "method" he espouses) to "bullet write" anything. Or maybe you were thinking of the Baudot (telex) code, only 5 bullets per character. You think any FPS gamer would have the attention span needed to spell out half a word either way?


@ keiner […] “how about a little international tribunal on GW Bush as a war criminal, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Alas, though by and large they are war mongers and profiteers, for reasons unfathomable to anyone outside America, they are fêted there as living specimen of Supermen. Only… the liberties that they were allowed to take are not USA's sole fault… the European economy is so hard tied to the domineering American one, that there no longer are any means to tell the Yanks we won't take it any 'mo. To have the Americans change their world-hegemon mentality, Europe needs to divest in the US, and build up a new economy that bypasses it. Beginning with a parallel/ not under US control/ Internet, and non-US hardware production capabilities. To begin with…


@ SilentBob's this is how its going to go down-wishful thinking A-bomb scenario.

    At some point in the future there is going to be a terrorist nuclear attack on a major western city. And the next day the number of Muslims living in the world will drop 90%. The last 10% will be hunted down and exterminated […] When the SHTF, the gloves will come off and the fight will be over very quickly.

Forget A-bombed Western city, the logistics for that would be harder by an order of magnitude than for the most complex terrorist attack to date, the 2001/9/11. If that happens, it will probably take shape of a Muslim-on-Hindu or vice/versa attack. Still threatening to blow up into a global war, but #fuggedaboutit exterminating Muslims as such.

BTW. SilentBob, didn't you have an appointment for a janitorial position at the White Castle this morning? Tell us how it went.


@ Dirk Praet […] “a cascade failure of Belgian federal intelligence services, Brussels police forces and Molenbeek local authorities NOT following up or taking preventive action against KNOWN radicalised and dangerous elements on their territory.

From some pol-sci/ ethics course I've read in a past life, I know there used to be times when elected officials assumed personal responsibility for failures in their departments/ equivalent, and resigned when something catastrophic happened. I've been racking my brain to remember any such instance IRL, and drawn blank. It seems that the police, and other executive branches of governments EVERYWHERE that I know of, have adopted a "we're doing the best we can" attitude, and that that "old-age" principle of the head resigning in self-admitted shame over the buck-stopped-here responsibility for his/her underlings' INACTION is a thing well in the past. In any event, just as the American TLAs absolved themselves of any sloth, interagency infighting and by-the-book-stupidity prior to 2001/9/11, it seems the same has became the norm in post-Madrid, post London 2005/7/7, and now post-Paris November 2015 mass-suicide-shooting (speaking of which, we need a concise label for that, as "Paris attack" is much too bland and not unambiguous a name).


The most sickening, absolute low, as could almost be expected, probably comes from the governors of 25 US states who now totally oppose on "security grounds" the coming to America of only a few thousands of Syrian refugees.

Oh, they just continue the long "unfriendly shores" infamous tradition of the 1938 voyage of S/S St. Louis, etc. On the other hand, I wouldn't like to be a Syrian refugee who's been "forced upon the pure American soil" by Commie Eyreoopeans. What's even more sickening to me is e.g. the designated Polish EU Migration commission candidate's (or something) Saturday statement that the Paris shootings now give the EU the ground to upend just-agreed upon very restrictive inter-EU resettlement policies. This from a representative of a nation that "exported" some 2M mainly economic migrants in the last 45 years, majority of them post Poland's 2004 accession to the EU.

Clive RobinsonNovember 17, 2015 12:41 PM

@ ianf,

Albeit for reasons not entirely clear to me, we have here other idiot proponents for the same gun-insanity in the USA (as a deterrent to terror acts—ha!), who have won the ear (the eye) of people like Wael or Clive R. on other subjects, and who then engage them in parlezvous without a proper prior look-back.

Taken as you have written, am I correct in thinking what you are saying is, that if you disagree with something somebody says you think other people should not communicate with them again irrespective of if they agree or disagree with what else they say?

Hmm "Do you practice what you preach?"...

I happen to disagree with some of the things you have said and agree with others, the fact you take a particular position on a particular subject does not cause me to cease communicating with you.

Ask @Nick P or @Wael or others here how many times we have had disagreements and talked our positions through to a clarified position. You will probably find on examining this site that they are to numerous to realisticaly count.

As you are fairly new here, I'm on record as disagreeing with the way guns are consumerised in the US and other places, as well as the lack of effective training and measures associated with their safe use. You will also find I am against Police Officers carrying guns as part of their standard equipment, and I'm certainly against "shoot to Kill" as has recently been brought up again. You will also find that I've mentioned I used to be in the armed forces, and on a shooting team, and have and occasionaly still do use various firearms for recreation activities, such as target shooting and hunting for the pot as well as for professional use for vermin and stock control of both the four legged and feathered variety (much of which also goes in the pot or freezer if it's a herbivore).

Does that make me gun pro or anti, I'd argue neither, I simply see them as quite powerfull tools that are agnostic to their use. But the brain behind the controling hand is important, and it is their motives and emotional state that is important.

One of the biggest problems with carrying a firearm is the consequences of the actions you take. Over atleast a life time the debate over culpability has gone on in the UK, service personnel get issued with "Rules of engagment" which are actually quite strict. The reason for this is to protect them after the event, whilst not significantly raising their risk in a confrontational situation. After the Paris incident for purely political point scoring the issue of a "Shoot to Kill" policy has been raised, with attendent histrionics from the usual suspects. Who appear to have forgoton the very messy outcomes not so long ago of a Brazilian electrician and more recently of a black youth in a taxi. What is actually required is no knee jerk reaction but cool calm reflection of what the legal position actually is and what the risks are to those involved. There are few laws that alow extrajudicial killing except in the case of direct self protection, one set is to do with genocide but the judicial bar has yet to be effectively case law set.

Thus for people to take a realistic position they have to be sufficiently aware of how borh national and international law views the actions of individuals pre, during and post the use of a firearm under all outcomes. Because as we are increasingly finding lawyers, juries and judges will in the calm light of day make judgments and these can have very significant and life changing results on the person using a firearm. And they do tend to consider what some call "warning shots" as grounds for provocation. It's not nice being second guessed by lawyers with an agenda and this is why in the UK we have rules of engagment, because it protects those who's unfortunate task it is to use firearms in a hostile and dangerous situation. However I can also see why people in emotional situations can take choices and make statements that on later cooler reflection they might wish had been different, it's not something I would wish to hold against them, because we can all be prone to rashness from time to time.

WaelNovember 17, 2015 1:22 PM

@Clive Robinson, @ianf, @Nick P,

I happen to disagree with some of the things you have said and agree with others

Likewise. It's not realistic to expect that we agree on everything. Disagreement on one subject wouldn't necessarily prevent me from discussing other subjects with whomever I disagreed with in previous discussions.

Ask @Nick P or @Wael or others here how many times we have had disagreements and talked our positions through to a clarified position. You will probably find on examining this site that they are to numerous to realisticaly count.

Too many to count. And these sort of "academic" disagreements have produced, in my view, some of the more interesting outcomes. The topic of C-v-P is a prime example of this. The other type of discussions where everyone agrees are pretty boring and tend to degenerate the thread discussion to a "survey"

Wake up and smell the security discussions, you are a "nose", after all! An obnoxious nose, that is ;) I do like your complex sense of humor, though.

Ummm, we're off topic too early in the thread... Stop terrorizing us. There! I tied it back to the subject proper of this thread :)

albertNovember 17, 2015 1:22 PM

This is an interesting conundrum.

One the one hand, ISIS (Daesh, or whatever) benefits hugely from the 'Paris Incident'. By ensuring draconian reactions in EU 'security theater, further marginalizations and distrust of EU Muslims, poisoning Muslims relationships with their adopted countries, this insures a steady supply of willing jihadists world-wide. France has an estimated 10 to 14% Muslim population, so it's ideal for this. (Imagine if the US had 10% Muslims; there'd be blood on the streets.)
.
'Western' countries are capitalizing on it as well. More draconian 'security' policies, more gov't meddling into citizens personal affairs, as if the Constitution isn't already soaked in Elite Piss already.
.
If the whole ME situation, including ISIS, is a vast conspiracy executed by Western countries as some believe, then it's obvious that one of the goals is NOT peace in the ME, but rather continuous war and it's succeeding brilliantly.

According the Gen. Wesley Clark, ALL of the Muslim ME countries are targets for regime change by the US (and their neutered lapdogs in the EU: you know who you are). There will continue to be a some hiccups, but eventually we'll get some acceptable (i.e., ready for economic colonization) leaders in each one.

Oh, and BTW, we'll take 85,000 refugees to show we're doing our part (even though the interment, uh, internment camps will cost more, we'll privatize 'em).

So, are the US/EU LE/IC as inept as they appear to be? Where's the line between real security and security theater? Are Muslim radicals immune to HUMINT? I haven't seen any Muslim 'anti-terrorism' demonstrations, or sympathy for victims on the MSM; why is that?r

. .. . .. _ _ _ ....


Techie GuyNovember 17, 2015 1:23 PM

There are 310 million guns in the US. There were 12,500 gun related deaths and 23,000 gun related injuries in 2014. So why all the uproar against guns when there is a shooting? BECAUSE there is a very high correlation between guns and violence. Likewise, there is a very high correlation between terrorism and Islam -- even if 99.999% of Muslims may be peaceful, just like 99.999% of all guns are not involved in a homicide or an injury.

FakeEmailAddressNovember 17, 2015 2:05 PM

Terror is a tactic, not a goal. The goal of terrorists is to affect policy changes. Lacking the political power to do that through legitimate channels, they try to intimidate people into doing what they want by sowing terror. The chance of complete success is low (though terror tactics do lead to limited victories from time to time), but the smarter terrorists try to rig the game so that they profit from heavy-handed backlashes as well.

Nick PNovember 17, 2015 2:43 PM

@ Clive, Wael

re tangent

You know who else wants to silence or destroy all opposing voices without reason? The friggin' terrorists, that's who!

@ All

Bruce and the others' advice is still good to this day. The disturbing thing to me as an American is how the media is playing it. The game is pretty visible once one has inside knowledge about a subject they're playing with. There's the reporting on what they communicated with that doesn't point out crooks mostly use public forums, wifi, and burner phones. There's the BS about how they didn't have enough information pushing for more surveillance. The media avoids questioning the implications for privacy and cost-benefit analysis of continual inability of surveillance states to connect dots. Facebook and media are filled with people with French flags posting about how people should do something with more bombs... as if blowing up innocent people to hit the guilty few doesn't create more terrorists.

It's all deeply disturbing. I counter a bit of it that comes my way. I wonder if the machine can be countered overall given people's reliance on it and repetition is almost reflexive at this point. Anyway, I posted a short rebuttal to the situation in a few places consistent with Bruce's thesis with the supplement that we need to stop inspiring terrorists with unnecessary interventions in the Middle East. And otherwise just keep on living.

All I can do...

SilentBobNovember 17, 2015 3:20 PM

@ianf

this is how its going to go down-wishful thinking A-bomb scenario.

No, increased cancer rates world wide due to fallout, and the death of billions of people is not wishful thinking. It's absolute desperation. Wishful thinking is believing that Muslims and non Muslims can get together at a table and discuss peacefully how we can eliminate as much of the pain and suffering in this world as possible. As it stands now, there is really no indication this will happen.. Ever. I hope I'm wrong, I really do.

LessThanObviousNovember 17, 2015 3:51 PM

One of the few ways we could reduce the effect of terror would be to simply not report on it. When we start a 24/7 media frenzy every time there is a shooting or a terrorist act, it only gives them exactly what they want.

Sancho_PNovember 17, 2015 5:54 PM


@Bruce

Don’t look the other direction, the point is not (to) “Be”:

* Refuse to Terrorize *

After years of terrorizing the ME we are shocked when they still fight back?

Seems we understand terrorism only when it happens on our own soil.
But understandably, it hearts more when CIA knowledge / training may be involved.

Thanks for pointing at Cracked / David Wong, good points!


Cui bono?
”Terror is a tactic, not a goal” ... +1
No logic could explain benefits from deadly terror for the IS.

Muslims do not necessarily support terrorism.
However, muslims do not support infidels murdering their brothers and sisters.
Regardless of Shia or Sunni: We are the infidels, not the other party.

Anon15November 17, 2015 6:18 PM

Neither article pays enough attention to the issue of immigration. If you want sharia law, you don't have to defeat a country militarily. You just have to immigrate in large numbers, have more children than the natives, and in a generation or two, you've got a Muslim majority.

Dirk PraetNovember 17, 2015 6:41 PM

@ Techie Guy

Likewise, there is a very high correlation between terrorism and Islam

Only when you narrow the definition of terrorism down to "acts of violence perpetrated by (so-called) Muslims". If you include all the carnage caused by white supremacists, biggots and other nutcases, you get entirely different statistics.

@ albert

So, are the US/EU LE/IC as inept as they appear to be?

Yes and no. As made clear again by the Paris bloodbaths, information is not the problem. It's the sharing and follow-up thereof that is. Which rings a couple of bells. Post 9/11, the military-industrial complex managed to sell a global surveillance dragnet as the miracle cure for terrorist attacks. Although SIGINT has its place, it is just not preventing them. And yet we see politicians and TLA's stay the course asking for ever more intrusive surveillance. It's madness, and it's not helping anyone. Except those who profit from it.

Are Muslim radicals immune to HUMINT?

But of course not. Most of them are just as bad at OPSEC as the average person is.

I haven't seen any Muslim 'anti-terrorism' demonstrations, or sympathy for victims on the MSM

Do look a bit closer. At every demonstration or public outpouring of support you see people of every race, colour and religion. Do you honestly believe that all Muslims wear djellaba's, burka's, hijabs and the like? Well they don't, at least not over here.

Or are you expecting demonstrations of support in the Middle East or other predominantly Muslim countries outside Europe? There you probably have a point, but I see few over here either when there's attacks in Turkey, Lebanon or where ever that's as far away from us as Paris is from them.

The one thing that's probably true is that many local muslim organisations or imams are apprehensive about making public statements condemning Da'esh and AQ. For which there is a simple reason: many are afraid of speaking out in fear of retaliation by a small minority of radicals.

In my own town, we used to have a native who converted to Islam and actively preached a peaceful form of Islam, calling for mutual understanding and reconciliation, lashing out in the harshest of terms against any form of violence. He eventually had to stop his work and close his school because of constant death threats to himself and his family. His name is Suleyman Van Ael, and he's a man I have nothing but respect for.

I really wish people would stop conflating Muslims with Islamists. It's a racist idea that's being put in our minds by hysterical politicians and bigotted mass media that are only making things worse for everyone.

@SilentBob

At some point in the future there is going to be a terrorist nuclear attack on a major western city. And the next day the number of Muslims living in the world will drop 90%.

Stop watching Fox News and "24". They poison the mind more than LSD does.

DanielNovember 17, 2015 7:03 PM

I dislike the entire "refuse to be terrorized" meme because it is psychologically unsound. It is the security equivalent of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No". It takes what is a complex problem and reduces it to a question of personal willpower or emotional control. People who are terrorized are somehow weak or lacking in character. That's nonsense.

I do think that people should not be terrorized but simply repeating the mantra over and over again is not helpful.

AlanSNovember 17, 2015 7:27 PM

@Dirk Praet, ianf

Wittes, whose "war-on-terror heart" I have little sympathy for, has a "meditation on the morality and strategic stupidity of the hostility many of our leading politicians are showing to ISIS's and Assad's victims": In Defense of Refugees.

American politicians seem to be still under the illusion (or happy to exploit the illusion, depending on how venal you think they are) that we are fighting an actual war that can be won. ISIS seem to better understand that it's a propaganda war to create fear, incite intolerance, and drive a wedge between the West and the refugees, and between the West and the values of the Enlightenment.


IonescuNovember 17, 2015 7:57 PM

Please do not compare yourself with Paul Krugman. He is an intellectual fraud with a gift for hindsight. Search for Neal Ferguson's articles on Krugman.

I understand it is nice for the ego to be quoted by a "nobel prize winner". But this man prophecies make him pretty much the Deepak Chopra of economy.

Dirk PraetNovember 17, 2015 8:08 PM

@ AlanS

American politicians seem to be still under the illusion that we are fighting an actual war that can be won.

The concept of a war on terrorism that can be won is and always has been a myth. The reality of today however is that Da'esh - contrary to AQ - controls vast regions in Syria, Iraq and Libya and has an actual army led by capable commanders and strategists. So yes, there is an actual war going on in the Middle East, even under the classic definition thereof.

The acts of terrorism we see in the West, Turkey and other places are part of the propaganda machine and will probably increase in numbers now that they are being dealt very inconvenient blows on the battle field both by Peshmerga ground forces and Western/Russian airstrikes. In light of the recently downed Russian airplane the investigation revealed to be the result of a bomb smuggled on board, Putin is now shifting away his strikes from the north of Syria to Da'esh strongholds, with the French totally happy with the support he has offered them as soon as their carrier Charles de Gaulle arrives.

The one thing Da'esh cannot afford is to be shown weak, which would drain the influx of fresh foreign fighters and lower morale among existing troops. So the timing of the Paris bloodbath does not really come as a surprise to me.

AnonNovember 17, 2015 8:29 PM

@Dirk

Only when you narrow the definition of terrorism down to "acts of violence perpetrated by (so-called) Muslims". If you include all the carnage caused by white supremacists, biggots and other nutcases, you get entirely different statistics.

That's not really true in the US. How about using the legal definition of terrorism in the US code: "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." Using that definition, I'm sure that Muslims killed more people on 9/11 than all the other acts of terrorism on the US homeland committed in the last 40 years by everyone else combined.

ianfNovember 17, 2015 8:50 PM


ADMINISTRIVIA @ Clive Robinson, FYI: Wael (but no need to respond to); others IGNORE

am I correct in thinking what you are saying is, that if you disagree with something somebody says you think other people should not communicate with them again irrespective of if they agree or disagree with what else they say?

Whatever gave you the idea… this is a laissez-faire medium, meaning anyone can write whatever they please, but then so can I, and shouldn't have to explain myself. Perhaps my mild remark didn't come across as intended (my bad), but then I'd rather spend my not unlimited time on discussing specific themes, cyber security implications, than on having to signal what shouldn't need to be pointed out in the first place.

    That said, observe the context of my, by you quoted, questioning an insane gun-deterrent theory, which you don't seem to have checked out. Because had you (and Wael, etc) read it, you'd probably think twice before engaging with said "theoretician" in other debates.


[…] “As you are fairly new here, I'm on record as disagreeing with the way guns are utilized in the US. […]”

You don't need to state the obvious, as I read you loud and clear since August, and we both know by now where and what we stand for… unlike the culprit who made his first appearance here on 14th Nov, and, then, when I dismissed his handguns-as-US-antiterror-panaceum solution, proceeded directly to diagnose me with having mental problems. His other specialty seems to be diarrhea of the mind, a.k.a. logorrhea, or flushing his stream-of-consciousness onto this forum. Typing-not-writing without a moment's afterthought, because his words are golden. We both know that monkeys can type, but has any ever produced anything of substance?

BTW. by the time you reacted to my comment, I had almost written a rebuttal to another poster about the same non-gent, which I hereby invite you to study in parallel. After that Everything Should Be Illuminated!

    [ 3k characters on gun usage/ abuse deleted, as that wasn't any point of contention between us & you knew it].
@ Wael SPECIAL: I couldn't find you a camel to enjoy, but maybe this donkey will do just as well?

tyrNovember 17, 2015 9:02 PM


To quote of of my movie favorites:
"Go hide in a hole if you wish, you won't live one instant
longer."

Da'esh is not the first loon band to use terror and they won't
be the last. As long as the asymetrical consequences of our
commercial behaviors and insular stupidity are the behavior
norms people will want to blow someone up to get even. It
didn't solve Irelands grievances and it won't cleanse the
infidel or stop Israel from exterminating a hated minority.

Nuclear weaponry is hard requires study and not all that
readily available to misguided children looking for an exit
to glorious fame.

Responsible firearms use can be gauged by the way target
shooters measure it, you have to shoot your own weight in
gunpowder or you're not doing it right. TV presents guns
as magic wands in fantasyland and that is not the way to
understand any technology that requires effort and training
to use responsibly. If you extract drugs and alcohol from
the statistics you'll find that very few people shoot either
themself or anyone else while not intoxicated.

As the states line up each one trying for a greater level of
cowardice than the last, we need to remove "the land of the
free and the home of the brave" from US hypocrisy. Cringe on
into the Orwellian future while turning away those who need
some help to rebuild their shattered lives. See if that fixes
the problem.

I appreciate the rational discourse here and have no illusions
about everyone agrees with everybody else, the disagreements
are about thoughts not emotional kneejerkings.

rNovember 17, 2015 11:12 PM

@All,
I can both simplify and expand upon this failed work of conceptual art.


We reserve the right to not be bullied.


This statement IS THE VERY subtext of EVERY declaration of independance and constitution ever written ANYWHERE and in all likelyhood will continue to be the root of our human struggle and a PROFOUND statement against all the injustice of man's own inhumanity to man for the remainder of eternity.

If I have offeneded or threatened you or your livelyhood you may in reality be in dire need to some major introspection and or psychological help before you can even begin to claim membership in a fair and just society.

You will not push me around, you will not intimidate me and you will not be respected for being oblivious to these facts.


This is MY declaration of independance.


t_[p_0]_t

WaelNovember 18, 2015 1:43 AM

@ianf,

I couldn't find you a camel to enjoy, but maybe this donkey will do just as well?

Donkeys, eh? This guy is no Michael Winslow but sure sounds like a donkey.

Donkeys are old news, get with the times, dude...

I won't post the camel video because he's bleeding from the neck.

Ferris JTRIG's Day OffNovember 18, 2015 3:20 AM

@Anon

Having a good JTRIG day today?

Re this self-serving US definition of terrorism (note the 'subnational' descriptor to excuse their own state terrorism):

"How about using the legal definition of terrorism in the US code: "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." Using that definition, I'm sure that Muslims killed more people on 9/11 than all the other acts of terrorism on the US homeland committed in the last 40 years by everyone else combined."

I've got a better idea. How about using the dictionary definition of terrorism that includes your bosses who should be being tried at the Hague right about now?:

"The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. 2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. 3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government."

Uh oh.

The USG is responsible for: decades of illegal (contrived) wars, support of guerrillas / paramilitaries / dictators (Egypt, Saudi Arabia & the gulf states amongst many), training of the mujahadeen who were the fore-runners to the Taliban, committing treason in assisting ISIS with cash and weapons indirectly, and utterly smashing Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan's tribal belt, Libya, Yemen and Syria in recent years.

That looks an awful lot like "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce".

Lets not forget that an estimated 1.3 - 2 MILLION CIVILIANS have been killed in the farcical war on terror and other actions over the last 20 years according to the 2015 PSR report.

So, you can add maybe 2 x million criminal counts for your bosses, alongside further charges for illegal assassinations, use of banned munitions (cluster bombs, white phosphorous etc), torture and rendition of innocents (often to death), concentration camps (Guantanamo) and a billion breaches of the US constitution - which I remind you they swear to protect.

How's that going? I understand the spooks also swear on the Constitution. Do they wipe their ass with it later?

Oh yeah, and before I forget - we can add genocidal actions like the UN sanctions (US-UK enforced) against Iraq which banned essentials for everyday life, leading to around 1.7 million deaths - half of which were children.

Why not also add the 3 million avoidable deaths (estimated) - including 900,000 children - since the US started jerking off in the poppy fields of Afghanistan (record crops by the way)?

I could go on and on and on (there are so many instances), but seriously, everyone needs to strip the mask of their US ally and understand that Freddie Krueger is underneath, and the bastard really does have razor claws, dripping with innocent blood.

Thus, in conclusion your statement, logic and conclusions are utterly retarded.

The only reason terrorism is rampant right now, is because your sociopathic paymasters are the greatest single factor due to destroying millions of innocent lives and have directly/indirectly trained, armed, and funded the supposed terrorist forces, who often years later turn against their master in classic BLOWBACK.

Makes the whole hysteria around 150 deaths in Paris look a little limp hey? Shiiiittttt... 150 innocents probably died from misplaced French bombs in Syria today for fucks sake.

WAKE UP. And get a hair cut and a real job.

hwkNovember 18, 2015 5:55 AM

I don't live in Paris and don't know how I would feel in a situation of a terrorist attack. But what Mr. Schneier writes is exactly what I feel. I saw the football match on Friday on television. I'm German, don't live in a big city. I don't know how big the risk is for me. But I refuse to be terrorised.
Nobody has to be ashamed to be frightened in certain situations. That's human. I would have been frightened if I had been in Paris last Friday.
But am I frightened all the time? Do I have the thought in the back of my head all the time? No. If I would, I should be constantly frightened about so many other things. But I am not.
When it comes to terrorism there is one more thing that prevents me from being constantly in angst. I know that the terrorists are wrong. They say they fight for a higher cause. But they are wrong. No matter what they or I believe. No one goes to 'heaven' for murder. They are just plain criminals. I know that, even if they would kill me, they don't win.
Many people may think we fight an impossible to win fight against terrorism. But I know the terrorists are the ones that can't win. They fight for a lie. Their ideology is wrong and a lie. And therefore they can't win.

hwkNovember 18, 2015 6:18 AM

In my personal view, the reaction of some people to wear weapons in normal life can't be a solution. The risk to accidentally shoot an innocent is much higher than to prevent any attack. More weapons can't be the answer. Even with training, weapons go into the hands of criminals or untrained people, children, etc. More weapons lead to more danger and we have to evaluate how our weapon industry can be adapted to prevent weapons get into areas of crisis and hands of criminal organizations.

GrauhutNovember 18, 2015 8:23 AM

@Bruce: "But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to not panic"

The problem with our unconscious is that you can not command it to stay calm. Impossible.

Our brain is a survival support system, if it puts us into panic mode it tries to save us. That's what evolution made out of former unconscious nervous systems.

If you want to reduce MSM induced PTSS switch off media channels. ;)

AlanSNovember 18, 2015 8:35 AM

@Dirk Praet

Agree. Winning the territorial war against Da'esh won't win the 'war on terrorism' and might exacerbate it. We declined to take the Villepin's advice in 2003 and here we are in a big hole and not much smarter than we were more than a decade ago. They exploit tensions to provoke us and we retaliate and they exploit our retaliation to further exacerbate the tensions and so on. Bruce's plea not to be terrorized is falling of deaf ears.  Where's the strategic thinking? There is none.

'Cheese-eating surrender monkey' asking smart questions at the UN in February 2003 in a futile effort to persuade those terrorized be terror to slow down and think:

Would not such intervention [invasion of Iraq] be liable to exacerbate the divisions between societies, cultures and peoples, divisions that nurture terrorism?....How do we ensure that the considerable risks of such intervention can actually be kept under control?

talentedautistNovember 18, 2015 11:14 AM

Grauhut:

If I perceive something as the shadow of a scary lion maybe the first few times I will think it is a scary lion and become afraid. But if I have learned that some people enjoy to scare other people with lions, then I will firsthand think "ah it's probably one of these fake-lions again".

Daniel:

I dislike it mostly because making people aware of it would undermine my own management style. ;)

Abdulazzi al-HiijjiiNovember 18, 2015 5:54 PM

@Anon 8:29 "Muslims killed more people on 9/11 than all the other acts of terrorism on the US homeland committed in the last 40 years by everyone else combined."

False. Cops kill 1 guy per shift with impunity. Do the math. Routine state terror in the USA dwarfs that half-assed stunt on 9/11.

John CampbellNovember 18, 2015 6:51 PM

The reactions we see in the media to the Paris incidents...

Why should we be particularly afraid? At their best no terrorist can effect enough of us to make an objective (rather than what we see, a subjective) difference.

Yeah, yeah, the news organizations-- in their efforts to increase profits-- are busy trying to multiply terrorist's efforts to terrorize those of us not directly (and, ignoring TV exposure, indirectly) impacted. CNN is trying to make it sound like 2/3rds of the population of Paris was exterminated.

Yeah, yeah, it's bad to be one of the people being killed as advertising, but, really, being a casualty of a terrorist's gun or bomb makes you no more, to them, than a billboard.

And now we find that the stories of ISIS/ISIL "sneaking" as part of the refugee flow is an attack on the refugees who had the temerity to flee death in their homeland... who will now be persecuted by everyone else. Our news organizations are being used as a 5th column, aren't they?

The best defense against ISIS/ISIL-- because the threat is memetic, not real-- is to use them as a joke. ISIS/ISIL, when they are on the wrong end of the basic assymmetry, are not worth taking seriously.

[HUMOR MODE="poor taste"]
Consider... I'm pretty sure ISIS/ISIL have ALREADY attempted the same kind of attacks in the USA, like in New York City and Washington, DC... and every member of their teams were mugged.
[/HUMOR]

Until the news agencies point out that, in terms of population, the deaths and injuries were "statistically insignificant"... and we can make jokes that ISIS/ISIL are under-achievers because terror is only terror when someone is making a profit on their grand-standing...

Terrorism does not work when everyone is aware of the odds.

And, really, when you come right down to it, that's the one thing specifically being missed by CNN (and others).

Finally, this isn't a war easily fought with guns or bombs, this is a memetic war. Laughter will neuter the spread without us having to live under martial law.

Dirk PraetNovember 18, 2015 7:45 PM

@ Anon

That's not really true in the US. How about using the legal definition of terrorism in the US code: "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."

It would seem that you are quoting Title 22, Chapter 38 USC. There are however plenty of additional definitions, even in US law. Just a few examples: 28 C.F.R. Section 0.85, US DoD Joint Pub 3-07.2, TRIA Section 102(1)(a), the PA 2001 definition, FEMA's and so on and so forth. Not all of these are as narrow as the one you quoted, so I actually stick to my original statement.

Do note that in international law there is still NO consensus about the definition of terrorism and that negociations about the UN's "Proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism" have been ongoing since 2000.

One last comment: although there are no formal statistics on the issue, it is estimated that, globally, somewhere between 90 and 95% of all terrorist casualties are Muslims, so strictly in terms of numbers the situation here in the West is hardly as bad as some would like us to believe.

WaelNovember 18, 2015 7:58 PM

@Anon,

I'm sure that Muslims killed more people on 9/11 than all the other acts of terrorism on the US homeland committed in the last 40 years by everyone else combined.

Didn't you know that we don't do body counts? -- General Tommy Franks

WaelNovember 18, 2015 8:18 PM

@albert,

This is no defense to the Paris attacks, but do take a look at the history. France occupied Algeria for 130+ years (Use google image search of "France occupation of Algeria" for some nice pictures), banned the use of the Arabic language, and the education system became "French". Algeria became a territory of France, and Algerians became second class citizen that were deprived of their identity. Whole generations of French-educated Algerians (close to a million) looked up to France and subsequently migrated there. Algeria became independent in 1962. Algeria is known as the country of the million martyrs (about the number of Algerians that was killed by the French)

I haven't seen any Muslim 'anti-terrorism' demonstrations, or sympathy for victims on the MSM; why is that?

Here is one (Skip to 1:16; the first 1:15 is in Arabic.) example of "many". Keep in mind that this "Khutba" or "Sermon" is delivered to a Muslim audience during the Friday prayers. You may hear things that you won't like, though.

AnonNovember 18, 2015 9:57 PM

@Dirk

While there may be no universal definition of terrorism, I still think under almost any reasonable standard, 9/11 killed more people than all other acts of terror on the US homeland in the past 50 years combined, so your statement is false.

RE, One last comment: although there are no formal statistics on the issue, it is estimated that, globally, somewhere between 90 and 95% of all terrorist casualties are Muslims, so strictly in terms of numbers the situation here in the West is hardly as bad as some would like us to believe.

Last year, about 80% of terrorism fatalities were in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, so it wouldn't surprise me if 90% of all terrorist causalities were Muslim. I would almost certainly bet the perpetrators in those countries were also Muslim, so that supports the idea that Muslims are responsible for most of the terrorist fatalities in the world.

WaelNovember 19, 2015 12:01 AM

@Anon,

Muslims are responsible for most of the terrorist fatalities in the world.

The body count game isn't a game you can win, trust me!

Dirk PraetNovember 19, 2015 9:06 AM

@ Anon

I still think under almost any reasonable standard, 9/11 killed more people than all other acts of terror on the US homeland in the past 50 years combined, so your statement is false.

The original statement I replied to was "that there is a very high correlation between terrorism and Islam". Whilst you may be right that in absolute numbers 9/11 caused the most casualties in the US, instances of domestic terrorism (e.g. church arsons, clinic bombings, attacks on government buildings) and mass shootings in which no Muslim attackers were involved far outnumber those that did. So may statement stands.

Now if we start counting all the civilian casualties resulting from the unjustified Iraq war and the "collateral dammage" from operations (air raids, drone strikes) in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and the like, then you will find the total body count of even 9/11 completely dwarfed into insignificance by the hundreds of thousands that have fallen there. It may not fit your definiton of terrorism, or that of the USG and its partners, but it is certainly the way it is seen in large parts of the Muslim world and a key element in understanding the rise of Da'esh and its appeal to so many.

AnonNovember 19, 2015 6:10 PM

@Dirk

The idea that civilian causalities of US air attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen led to the rise of ISIS/ISIL is an interesting theory, like creationism, but like creationism, there's very little evidence to support it. Salafism started when the US was still part of the British empire. Modern Salafist jihadism can be traced back to Sayyid Qutb, who died long before the Afghanistan or Iraq wars. The simplest explanation is that ISIS/ISIL type ideologies always appealed to certain segments of the population in the Middle East, but the fall of Saddam and the subsequent withdrawal of US troops, created a power vacuum that ISIS/ISIL could exploit.

WaelNovember 19, 2015 6:32 PM

@Anon, @Dirk Praet,

First, @ Anon: sorry for jumping in uninvited...

I have to correct somethings that maybe irrelevant. Sayyid Qutb Wasn't the founder of the salafiah movement. He was part of the early Muslim Brotherhood movement which has changed its direction to a political movement subsequently. I read almost all of his books (I don't necessarily agree with everything he says.) The founder of the MB movement is Hassan El Bana. Sayed Qutb was executed in Egypt by a presidential order of Gamal Abdel Nasser. His books, I believe, are still banned in Egypt until today. He does have an interesting story, though. But I don't think it fits to narrate it on this forum.

I'll tell you what creates the power vacuums: the execution of thinkers. Think like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Other "idiots", and I don't want to mention names are left to spout out their idiocy.

I can share a video later of one of Gamal Abdel Nasser and his interaction with the MB. I thought it was pretty funny. Unfortunately I'll have to translate it.

but like creationism, there's very little evidence to support it.

One is free to believe or disbelieve in creationism or Evolution. But I disagree to that statement. Also not a topic to be discussed here to a deeper extent.

Dirk PraetNovember 19, 2015 6:49 PM

@ Anon

The simplest explanation is that ISIS/ISIL type ideologies always appealed to certain segments of the population in the Middle East, but the fall of Saddam and the subsequent withdrawal of US troops, created a power vacuum that ISIS/ISIL could exploit.

With which you're actually saying that certain segments of the population in the Middle East are murdering sons of b*tches that need a gruesome dictator to contain them. Which the US and its minions then incidentally deposed, unleashing hell in the entire region. Well, there's one part of your theory I agree with. For the other one the expression "adding insult to injury" seems appropriate. I'm afraid we're done here.

dogfightwithdogmaNovember 24, 2015 7:26 AM

"...someone understanding nearly nothing when it comes to economy..."

Krugman is a nobel winning economist. I have no doubt he knows a great deal more about economics than do you.

WaelDecember 5, 2015 6:50 PM

I can share a video later of one of Gamal Abdel Nasser and his interaction with the MB. I thought it was pretty funny. Unfortunately I'll have to translate it.

Found it already subtitled...

[ianf special]

I just think it's humorous. I'm not giving any opinions about the man or his views.

ianfDecember 6, 2015 2:50 PM


@ Wael, the video of Gen. Nasser making fun of the Muslim Brotherhood's chaste demands was interesting, even though half the cultural references there were alien to me (and then I kept thinking, these women walking in public without scarfs are a threat to… what exactly, morals? a sense of decorum? the nth hadith "thou shall not be a streetwalker sans a hijab?").

This was such a problem of the 1953 Egypt, that the leader of a social-religious movement felt important to request from whoever he then was, the President? Nasser appeared quite the suave, secular fellow, which only makes his later theatrical belligerence of being the top dog in the region harder to understand.

BTW. I keep thinking of the “In Search of 'Oil and Sand'” full-length doc, which I liked a lot. I know of no other absolute ruler in modern times than King Farouk who chose to renounce his title, and go into [Monaco] exile rather than risk that Egypt would fall into a civil war over his crumbling monarchy (if that was the real reason). Quite a document that was.

http://variety.com/2012/film/reviews/in-search-of-oil-and-sand-1117948657/

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