Saturday, August 26, 2006

Why The Terrorists Are Winning

N.B. More on The World of Words soon.

As exposure to any form of media these days makes abundantly clear, we are currently engaged in a 'war on terror'. This particular terror is of course terrorists. However, despite all the 'stay the course' bluster, it seems pretty clear to me that the terrorists are winning.

The definition of terrorism is apparently controversial. In such cases, the OED is at least a reasonably reputable and academic source. According to the OED, terrorism is,

"...a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorising or condition of being terrorised."

It seems to me that in the US and certain parts of Europe, we are at least acting in a 'terrorised' manner. Air travel has always been a pain, due to the security. It has now gone insane. We cannot even carry toothpaste on a plane. When you have to ban toothpaste, I would say that this is a pretty good sign that, as a society, we are shit-scared. This is not the worst of it though.

In the last couple of days, there has been a number of accounts in the news of planes getting diverted, due to 'security concerns'. In Ireland, it took a single phone call. In another case, a plane diverted because someone had nail polish! To me this is beginning to sound like societal paranoia.

The Brits are especially puzzling. They went through the Blitz, by putting on a brave face and just carrying on. They survived the IRA bombing campaigns in the 70s and 80s and refused to change their ways, or their plans, just avoiding dangerous areas and proceeding about their business. I recently heard the tale of a man in his 70s who, after the bombings last year, went to an event in London he would not normally have done under the circumstances (he was moving house and his wife was ill), just to show that the terrorists had not won. Things seems to have changed now though.

This change I do not get. Where has the bloody minded refusal to show fear gone to? What suddenly happened? Is it the 'special relationship' with the US, or the closer ties to Europe that has brought about this change? Let us hope that this change is only temporary!

The problem is, by letting ourselves be terrorised, or at least, letting our political leaders force us to act as if we are, we are handing a victory to the terrorists. We do not have to just be tough and macho. We can still be cautious and sensible. However, it seems to me that, at least at the moment, we have gone too far into a paranoid world view. I for one refuse to be scared by terrorists. Now, that hurricane about to steam into the Gulf of Mexico, that is something to be scared of.

The CP


Blogger Maxjulian said...

Could it not be that the terror that we in the West are being subjected to is intentional and designed to produce certain affects in us? People seem to have easily given up certain civil liberties and are being asked to give up more. Are we not the biggest terrors (the US) on the planet? We're experts at terrror. Who benefits from the terror that Americans have been struck by?

2:04 PM  
Blogger ToastedSuzy said...

Because I tend to take a sort of anthropological, big picture view of things (selfishly--it allows me to feel powerless, rather than apathetic) the only distinction I can see between a terrorist act and an act of war is the scale--with the largest amount of damage being an act of war.

I hate it. I hate the word, terrorism because it seems that the people who are called "terrorists," as opposed to "liberators" or "peace keepers" or "bringers of democracy" are people who have no real power to win but are nevertheless determined to fight, for their lives, for their rights, for what they believe in.

I hate it that many people who might read that statement will believe that I am "pro-terrorism," or "anti-american." That I hate freedom and don't "support our troops."

And most of those people, if asked, could not articulate just what the hell they mean when they say "American," because they do not know what they mean. They do not know what they mean when they say "terrorism" or "patriotism" or "liberty," "democracy."

Americans aren't struck with terror, I don't think. I don't think we ever were. I don't think we've ever been afraid. I mean, shit, how fucking shocked was everyone after 9-11. "Oh my God, these people hate us!? WTF?"

And then we went out and bought a bunch of CRAP to make us feel better.

We're not scared. We are too oblivious to be scared. We are too fat and stupid. We may have had some vague awareness that we had enemies, but we weren't scared because what the hell could they do? To US? Blow up a building?

"We Will Never Forget!" say the bumper stickers. "God Bless the U.S.A." they say. "Go Cowboys!" "Go Yankees!" "I Heart my SUV"

And when our patriotic fervor started wearing off, the men (money) in power threw the queers to the lions, and goddamn if that didn't win an election. "I don't know much about Iraqis or Allah or Taepodong whoozits, but I know what marriage is, by gawd all mighty!"

Immigrants were next. Then what?

I'm trying to lose hope. Hope is a bitch, especially when it is so perfectly clear that things are going to get worse and worse and worse before they get -- ugh, I can't even bring myself to say better-- before they stop getting worse?

But I have hope, damn it. My son gives me hope. And my students. When I think of who America is, I think of them--I think of what it can be.

Anyway, I'm sorry. I should probably bitch about this shit on my own blog.

Sorry I said shit.


9:12 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

Max and Toasty,
Thanks for the comments. In many ways you agree. In many ways, you say opposite things.

I consider the Marines terrorists too. What gets me though is how we are all supposed to just let this shit happen (see it is ok, I say it too). They bug our phones. They x-ray our shoes. This is stupid.

After I put up this post, I read a story on Slashdot about some poor kid who dropped his iPod into the john on the plane. Even though he admitted to the crew that it was him, it was too late. The paranoia went into hyperdrive. The plane diverted. That was in Canada, for Christ's sake!

This sucks.

The CP

9:49 PM  
Blogger Clampett said...

A persons' outrage at the terrorism waged by US is related to their trust in the system, no?

I'm a bit cynical there,and It looks like wae all are, YOu me, max, toasted suzy, we are all saying in different ways that we feel 'had' by this situation, no?

My great grandfather raided Sandino's camp by Air and was good friends with Samoza That alone makes me off that bat cynical to the slogans of American 'democracy'.

I see what happened with the Creel comission (CPI) during WWI, how anybody who didn't want to send Americans to die for the triple entante were labeled 'isolationists' with the scientific precision learned from freud's psychoanalysis.

It's the same deal with the word 'terrorist'; it's a slander aimed at those people who have the nerve to stand up to American actions with a military response.

I wasn't too suprised with the false flag 9-11 (in my conspiritorial opinion)or The USA patriot act...look at the language there.

It's not named the STASI tyranny act for a reason.(good point on designed to produce certain affects in us, Max)Good point on I hate the word, terrorism because it seems that the people who are called "terrorists," as opposed to "liberators" or "peace keepers" or "bringers of democracy" are people who have no real power to win but are nevertheless determined to fight, for their lives, for their rights, for what they believe in, toasted Suzy)

I don't consider Marines to be Terrorists for have a code of conduct and they are usually good people who are being misled by propaganda.

The Terrorists are the people who know better, the people who send them to die while they sit in their crawford texas chill-pad.

but still, I consider Blackwater and DYNCorp opreatives to be terrorists for they know what they are doing.

CP, this does suck..Survaliance cameras on school buses, photo enforced red lights, Policemen with AR-15's in the trunk, etc,etc. Let's castrate the people with what was learned in depth and social psychology, etc etc.

Sometimes it looks like the third world is just around the corner.
The only Hope I have is in My rifle and in the grit/defiance of the American people.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Clampett said...

oh, please forgive my horrible writing/inability to spell.

my sentiments are expressed here by someone who is not sick with the disease of hasty and misexpressed words:

11:08 AM  

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