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Old 06-23-2004, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Terrorists - Not so Evil?

I realize that is is likely going to be a controversial thread, but I would like to hear other peoples thoughts and opinions on this subject.

First of all, the Terrorists certainly are terrible, killing thousands of American civilians in the 9/11 attack, as well as other attacks throughout the world.

However, thinking about it, they could have done much, much more damage with any/all of their other attacks. Specifically with 9/11 - They attacked the World Trade centers at a time that there weren't nearly as many people there as there typically are during peak times of the day. The civilian loss of life was tragic, but certainly could have been much worse. Certainly, they could have crashed the planes into nuclear plants causing a catostrophic explosion/fallout, or a chemical plant, ect.

I understand the reason they attacked the WTC was because it is a symbol that represents America, but if they were simply trying to kill as many Americans as possible there are likely many targets that would have had a higher death toll.

Another situation that I would like to bring up are chemical plants. According to the U.S. EPA, 123 chemical facilities in the United States each threaten a million or more nearby residents. More than 700 plants could put at least 100,000 people at risk, and more than 3,000 facilities have at least 10,000 people nearby
(link) If a single terrorist were hell bent on causing the maximum loss of life possible, they could easily enter one of these facilities and set off a relatively small explosive device, (potentially even just shooting a tank with a high powered hunting rifle) and cause a terrible chain of events that could affect million(s) of people.

The security at these plants is a joke - 60 minutes walked into one with a camera crew through one of the dozens of unlocked gates and walked around for near 15 minutes before deciding to leave. They weren't stopped until they had left the property. If an entire camera crew, reporter, and correspondant can go that long undetected, I would imagine that one stealthy terrorist would have plenty of time to do whatever it is he needs to do.
Link to CBS Story


I guess the point I am trying to make is this: Although the terrorists are obviously evil, vile people - they seem to still have some regard to civilian life.

I'll leave you with this quote -

"in California, the chemicals at one site have the potential to kill, injure or displace more than eight million people."
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Evil? It still depends on what you mean of course, since everyone defines evil differently

i don't call them necessarily evil - more like misguided killers who have plotted to make a statement through the deaths of others

Though I think they wouldn't have cared how many people died in the WTC, I do think that one should examine as to how many do get killed versus how many is plotted

Because, we simply don't see mass killings daily of Americans and car bombings and bus bombings and what not (thankfully)

And honestly, how do you make a statement (goal of the terrorists) if all of your opponents are dead? You have to leave some alive to get the point across

its too bad its such a waste of human life - they're passionate people enough to sacrifice their own life, though its to the wrong wrong wrong cause

If only more people in this world have the passionate to do good with that same level of passion
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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In order to have a clear idea of who the enemy is one has to have a clear idea of who the enemy isn't. If one does not know who the enemy is at this point, I think it becomes more clear every day. Perhaps soon most people posting here will have a clearer idea of who the enemy is. Perhaps not.
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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if you aim at a building that can hold 20,000 people and you "only" get a few thousand, is that humanity or incompetence?

We're lucky that the terrorists are so fucking bad at what they do, because if they were good at it, we'd be SCREWED.
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by shakran
if you aim at a building that can hold 20,000 people and you "only" get a few thousand, is that humanity or incompetence?

We're lucky that the terrorists are so fucking bad at what they do, because if they were good at it, we'd be SCREWED.
Ah, that's my point though. Judging by the fact that they haven't done anything simply to maximize the loss of life, I don't believe that they are "just bad at it" - I think that they are more concerned with other things than just killing the most Americans possible.
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmm, the terrorist battlecry "Death to America!" comes to mind...
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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the category terrorist is a problem--it entails a view that refuses to think about possible motives, that actions could be understood as political--regardless of how appalling one might find them--once you remove the possibility that these are political acts, then it becomes easy to fill in the blanks with terms like evil.

there are good books out there on this term, its uses, its functions.

it would be better to think about what kind of conditions exist for people that would drive them to such nihilist acts as 911 and work to eliminate those conditions. but that requires differentiated thinking and analysis and does not permit of the good guys/white hats vs bad guys/black hats idiocy of bushworld. people who commit these actions are not merely driven into fits of intense snippiness because they are jealous of american consumer goods.

and these folk do not have a monopoly on screwing up. i would not take any solace in ineptness. but i would expect that until the americans can start thinking and acting in a different way about the world they are such a big part of creating, such actions will always be possible.
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Old 06-23-2004, 03:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Although the terrorists are obviously evil, vile people - they seem to still have some regard to civilian life.
I disagree 5000%. Have you been following current events lately? They have sufficiently proven to me that, first of all, they care nothing about themselves (see: Death Cult of suicide bombers), and therefore even less about Western 'infidel' civilians.

What these Middle-Age religious fanatics want is nothing less than the complete annhililation of non-Muslim Western government and civilization (as well as any Muslim government that have relations with the West) and everything it has achieved over the centuries.

I'm sure they are taking into consideration all the types of attacks you have mentioned above, and more, right this minute. God help the West the day these fanatics acquire a truly powerful weapon.
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Old 06-23-2004, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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very well said roachboy!
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Old 06-23-2004, 03:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Not so evil? Shakran got this right. They have ABSOLUTELY NO RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE.

They did not make a concious decision to attack the WTC towers during off-peak hours, if that was the case wouldnt they have done it at 2am when only janitors are there?

They didnt attack the USS Cole with only 50 lbs of explosives because they knew it wouldnt sink the ship, but only wanted to prove a point.

They only attacked the US Marine barraks with a truckload of bombs while the Marines were sleeping, they wanted to save the other half of the building.

Please, they A) have a problem getting enough supplies and getting those supplies to the target, and B) arent all that smart.

Lets face it, if you put down the hard numbers they lose about 1.5-2 people for every one killed, any semi-intelligent person can tell you thats no way to win a war (unless you're Russia). They dont go out of their way to save lives, if they did that they wouldnt attack civilian targets now would they? Giving them some sort of humanity greater than the average cerial killer is just retarded.
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Old 06-23-2004, 06:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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the category terrorist is a problem--it entails a view that refuses to think about possible motives, that actions could be understood as political--regardless of how appalling one might find them--once you remove the possibility that these are political acts, then it becomes easy to fill in the blanks with terms like evil.
That's ludicrous. How is the category 'Terrorist' hard to quantify?

If you help an old lady across the street, are you a terrorist? If you step on an ant are you a terrorist? If you smoke pot are you a terrorist? If you fart in church are you a terrorist? If you shoplift are you a terrorist? If you become a doctor and devote yourself to healing people, are you a terrorist? If you kill a dog are you a terrorist? If you chop someone's dome off on video for political gain are you a terrorist? If you strap plastic explosives on your body and detonate it in on a crowded bus are you a terrorist? If you fly 2 jumbo jets into skyscrapers and kill 3,000 people are you a terrorist?

In the history of humanity, there has been established decent, civil, moral, legal, intelligent, CONSTRUCTIVE ways to voice your discontent without resorting to mindless violence. These modern-day fanatics just don't have the intelligence to solve their problems peacefully, or the balls to stand face to face with real fighting men.

Please tell me more about how terrorists are just poor, misunderstood victims with no other recourse.
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Question: If terrorists really wanted to exact as many deaths as possible and to create panic in our streets, they could simply take tanker trucks and dump boricv acid or another poison in pretty much every river and lake in the US. There are lots of places that are basically overgrown fields near the Ohio, Mississippi and other rivers, as well as the Great Lakes. Dump a tanker of poison into Lake Erie half of Ohio would be in trouble (as it supplies a lot of our streams and aquafers which in turn cities use for water). Also in doing this it would take awhile to get caught, find a deserted road that leads to the bank or shore and dump away.

Another way would be to start putting anthrax or some other skin absorbant powder that causes eventual illness and death. A couple hundred $20 bills saturated and passed out at truck stops and malls and you'd have a lot of deaths.

I'm sure terrorists have thought about this (I mean if I can think of sick shit like this anyone can, especially those whose lives are dedicated to sick shit) but not having done it shows me, they kill for show and a purpose and are not into "death tolls" but the statement the act makes.

They are not poor misunderstood victims without recourse, nor are they killing just to kill though. I think we need to work on the Middle East and find out why they truly do what they do (it's not the Koran or any religious thing or ALL muslims would be doing this not just a very small but extreme minority).

Once we understand who the enemies truly are and the reason for what they do, only then will we have the true defense in fighting them, for example: we find out how they truly recruit and use resources that take away the "rewards" they see in joining. No war or sanctions against a country is going to stop them. If anything, yes we may destroy anti-friendly governments but we alienate the ones who were innocent and scare other countries peoples into taking arms.
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Old 06-23-2004, 08:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by powerclown
That's ludicrous. How is the category 'Terrorist' hard to quantify?

If you help an old lady across the street, are you a terrorist? If you step on an ant are you a terrorist? If you smoke pot are you a terrorist? If you fart in church are you a terrorist? If you shoplift are you a terrorist? If you become a doctor and devote yourself to healing people, are you a terrorist? If you kill a dog are you a terrorist? If you chop someone's dome off on video for political gain are you a terrorist? If you strap plastic explosives on your body and detonate it in on a crowded bus are you a terrorist? If you fly 2 jumbo jets into skyscrapers and kill 3,000 people are you a terrorist?

In the history of humanity, there has been established decent, civil, moral, legal, intelligent, CONSTRUCTIVE ways to voice your discontent without resorting to mindless violence. These modern-day fanatics just don't have the intelligence to solve their problems peacefully, or the balls to stand face to face with real fighting men.

Please tell me more about how terrorists are just poor, misunderstood victims with no other recourse.
As much as I'd like to believe that myself, I find that to be a pretty ridiculous thing to say.

What he is saying is that the way you define terrorist isn't simple black and white - and I agree, you can't say a person is "evil or good" without realizing that is your view, not necessarily everyone's.

Aside from that though, saying they don't have balls to fight like men? Yeah, I'd really like to stand out there in front of the #1 military in teh world and get my ass shot off. If i want to inflict damage, I'd find the best way to do it be it car bombs or suicide bombs. I hate to say it, but it takes balls to kill one's own self for my beliefs.

Beheading someone is cowardly though I'll defenitely agree. But suicide bombing? If only people had enough passion as they do for constructive reasons and for the good of humans. But alas, their passion is in the wrong area.

And I'd say they're pretty intelligent - heck, most of the terrorists of 9/11 were of the upper class elite from say Saudi Arabia.

Their means may not be "smart" to make a good response, but to say they didn't plan something that was surreal and almost something out of sci-fi - that'd be an understatement. What they did was a brilliant move no one would have expected. Problem is, they fucked with the wrong country.
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Old 06-23-2004, 09:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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What he is saying is that the way you define terrorist isn't simple black and white
I understand what he's saying and I think terrorism IS black and white.
OK, lets take the Liberal Left's scenario and say that this is all about oil, that we invaded to get ahold of their oil reserves. I have no problem with that. All Hussein did with it was buy weapons and build palaces for himself while his people suffered in abject poverty and his country's infrastructure was neglected and in ruin. In the meantime, the rest of the civlized world need what god so problematically placed underneath this group of medieval, backward, tyrannically governed, intellectuallly stunted and ridiculously unorganized human beings. (The Middle East)
Quote:
But suicide bombing? If only people had enough passion as they do for constructive reasons and for the good of humans. But alas, their passion is in the wrong area.
Yes, alas it is. And I hope they regret what they did when they don't get their damn 72 virgins in Paradise, and their families run out of the martyr-money given them by the cowards who wouldn't do it themselves. And where are all the middle-eastern afterlife-channellers chanelling all the angry and resentful 'martyrs' who were duped into blowing themselves to bits for nothing??
Quote:
And I'd say they're pretty intelligent - heck, most of the terrorists of 9/11 were of the upper class elite from say Saudi Arabia.
Since when does being from the 'upper-class elite' from anywhere in the world inherently bestow one with intelligence? Ted Bundy was a mass-murderer, and his family was rich. The Menendez Brothers chopped their billionaire dad to pieces with an axe. Adolph Hitler was an upper-class elite. Don't get me started with the Kennedys.
Quote:
What they (the 9/11 terrorists) did was a brilliant move no one would have expected.
By the way, the fact of the matter was that it was well-known in the intelligence community that terrorists wanted to apprehend an airplane to use as a guided missile. What wasn't known was the time and place.

Last edited by hrdwareguy; 06-24-2004 at 05:04 AM..
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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pan6467, it's not that freaking simple.

Look, you said dump anthrax into a resivoir. Guess what, almost all that water isnt drank, it goes into fields, onto lawns, and down your toilet. 20 grams of anthrax were in those letters sent out, and guess what, (dont have specific figures) but almost everyone lived with no ill effects. Do you have any concept on how much would be required on the estimate that 1/10th of the water actually enters our system before it becomes neutralized by nature? Those envelopes were hermetically sealed with wax on the outside, you're talking about a natural resivoir with lots of neutralizing plants and bacteria.

Now for your example of borax... again wont make a dent. Even if it did it's REALLY easy to dump a couple tons of limestone to neutralize it.

Quote:
Aside from that though, saying they don't have balls to fight like men? Yeah, I'd really like to stand out there in front of the #1 military in teh world and get my ass shot off. If i want to inflict damage, I'd find the best way to do it be it car bombs or suicide bombs. I hate to say it, but it takes balls to kill one's own self for my beliefs.
Ok, so if you hated all cops but couldnt muster the balls to go out and shoot one... you'd kill dozens of innocents you find instead? Please dont make excuses for these cowards, it doesnt take bravery to go out on a suicide run, it takes desperation and another coward to convince you that what you're doing is right.

Quote:
What they did was a brilliant move no one would have expected.
I give more credit to those who blew up the USS Cole than these cowards. At least they went after a target that could defend itself. This was more like walking up and punching a pregnant lady who was carrying in groceries.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Agreed Seaver, I was just stating there are ways to truly kill thousands upon thousands. I'm just not devious to come up with something that big, like I said tho, terrorists make it their life to spread fear and I'm sure they have had ideas. Point is noone's done it yet.

I truly don't think their motive as yet is to kill many but to create enough problems that it affects our economy and spreads fear throughout.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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People assume that the goal of 9/11 was to kill as many people as possible. That may have been part of the goal, but the main goal probably was exposure. What better way to show that you're the coolest uber-terrorist than destroying THE symbol of American corporate power in THE city everyone knows. Oh, and to be even more Uber, you destroy the military command centre and the political leadership too (or at least attempt to do that).

You seem to say that terrorist have regard for humanity *because* they choose not to kill as many as possible. I'd say that's just wishful thinking. While killing people may not be their main goal, the fact that they have no problem with killing people at all makes them inhuman and evil. It's not like they'd be less evil if they kill "only" 3,000 people instead of 10,000. Using that logic, Saddam wouldn't have been evil, because there were still Iraqis left alive; the same goes for Hitler - there were Jews left alive, there were still Russians left, etc.

That they didn't kill 10,000 people in those attacks is just pure luck/incompetence. You see, they didn't have the luxury of picking an exact time to crash. They had hijacked those planes at a certain pre-arranged time, then had to fly to New York, and then they had to try to fly these planes into two large buildings. Assuming that they can then choose the right moment to kill as many people as possible is just silly. They had enough trouble getting near the right buildings themselves, and every moment that they waited, their plans could have been ruined by anrgy passengers or angry fighter pilots...

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Old 06-23-2004, 11:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Dragonlich
People assume that the goal of 9/11 was to kill as many people as possible. That may have been part of the goal, but the main goal probably was exposure. What better way to show that you're the coolest uber-terrorist than destroying THE symbol of American corporate power in THE city everyone knows. Oh, and to be even more Uber, you destroy the military command centre and the political leadership too (or at least attempt to do that).

You seem to say that terrorist have regard for humanity *because* they choose not to kill as many as possible. I'd say that's just wishful thinking. While killing people may not be their main goal, the fact that they have no problem with killing people at all makes them inhuman and evil. It's not like they'd be less evil if they kill "only" 3,000 people instead of 10,000. Using that logic, Saddam wouldn't have been evil, because there were still Iraqis left alive; the same goes for Hitler - there were Jews left alive, there were still Russians left, etc.
I honestly think they don't care whether people were in those towers or not because you're right, it was meant as a symbol to get exposure.

Quote:
Originally posted by powerclown
OK, lets take the Liberal Left's scenario and say that this is all about oil, that we invaded to get ahold of their oil reserves. I have no problem with that. All Hussein did with it was buy weapons and build palaces for himself while his people suffered in abject poverty and his country's infrastructure was neglected and in ruin. In the meantime, the rest of the civlized world need what god so problematically placed underneath this group of medieval, backward, tyrannically governed, intellectuallly stunted and ridiculously unorganized human beings. (The Middle East)
I hope you don't mean this or you mean a certain specific group of terrorists because I'd be pretty damn offended to be called a backward and intellectually stuned human being.

No, I wouldn't be offended - i'd be fucking pissed off and say back at ya for saying that. (And indeed, in that way, things would apply too)

It doesn't help your argument to label people.

And I don't put things in good or evil view nor do i quanitfy things as good or evil either (as Dragonlich pointed out with kiling 3000 vs. 10,000).

Why? Because unless you're a psycho out to kill people for fun and pleasure, you probably have a reason be it symbolic or not.

If your reason is wrong or right, I can say from my own view. But it doesn't make a person evil or good. I don't paint people that way. I only agree or disagree. Because in the end of all things, it doesn't tell you if you are right. It only tells you who is left and is remaining.

And yes it is largely a part of my own nature growing up. I don't like to blame things on being good or bad or whatever. I like to find things practical and the reasons behind them (Well i guess being an engineer is a big factor). So that would be a big reason why.
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Old 06-24-2004, 12:35 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I want to post something, but it's late, I'm tired, and I can't believe I'm reading this tripe. Zeld, I think you have a real bad case of detachment going on here. Maybe it would appear evil to you if you were there when the towers came down, or saw people leaping to certain death with your own damn eyes, or if someone you loved was killed that day. Obviously, that isn't the case. You want to know what evil is? Evil is something that, being a human concept, disrupts the lives of other humans that didn't deserve it. Ok, that's enough ranting for now, you seriously make my head hurt with that nonsense you wrote. You aren't a fucking robot man, don't try thinking like one, please.
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Old 06-24-2004, 03:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I wish I could say I'm amazed by the ridiculous justifications for terrorism that I read here but I'm not. Yeah it's the conditions they grew up in that drove them to it. Yeah they're really not so bad if only we would try to understand them. They really aren't trying to kill lots of people they're actually doing it as humanely as possible.

I suggest those with these beliefs go start an outreach center in Baghdad or Kabul I'm sure you'll be welcomed with open arms right up to the point where you're beheaded.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:04 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm not going to get into the 9/11 thing cos i still remember seeing pictures on TV and it's still fucking shocking to think back to.

i expect some terrorist are evil, and some are simply deluded or brainwashed. that's usually how things are.

would anyone like to comment on the IRA, who are more in the "freedom fighter" area than Al Qaeda - however, they are (were) still terrorists. I can understand that they might want the British army out of Ireland, but I can't understand them killing non-combatants. So I can understand motive but not the means used. Terrorism is about the means to the end, not the end in itself.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:30 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Terrorism is about the means to the end, not the end in itself.
Actually I would think the opposite. It's about the end being justified by any and all means.

I am in full agreement that the IRA were/are terrorists and that targeting civilians is unacceptable and if you need to classify it, evil certainly fits the bill.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:35 AM   #23 (permalink)
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This is a hard topic to add to but here is one ingredient...
Time and time again people speak with such conviction about the Terrorist attack but ask yourselves...are you sure about and comfortable with your undertsanding of who these terrorists really are? How many people read about war and the prompts which caused these wars? Most have never been comprehensively explained and the ones which were started over incidents were never explained with proof and verifications of the perps in these incidents. This war now is no different because there is no clear enemy but there are CLEARLY people getting RICH. These people are the enemies of humanity...the INT'L BANKERS who orchestrate these wars. The RICH who take advantage of lemmings (that is the populations of the world) and their beliefs they are so hell bent on dying for.

I Challenge you people to wake up, shed your beliefs and analyze the world today for yourself because we are truly headed for despair if you allow your beliefs to be controlled by the RICH with this MOB MENTALITY the common people today exhibit.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:42 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I think targeting civilians is best described as ruthless. It can be an effective method to weaken an enemy's spirits, but we have decided it's beyond the pale to actually attack civies directly. Killing them accidentally is a shame, but we'll do it with a shrug that says "Can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs." This doesn't in any way justify terrorism. But all wars are crimes.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:51 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Bookman
I Challenge you people to wake up, shed your beliefs and analyze the world today for yourself because we are truly headed for despair if you allow your beliefs to be controlled by the RICH with this MOB MENTALITY the common people today exhibit.
More justification trying to equate the evil businessmen with terrorists. Making money on the manufacture of weapons and supplies for war is not the same as purposely murdering innocent civilians.
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Old 06-24-2004, 05:03 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Actually I would think the opposite. It's about the end being justified by any and all means.

I think we're agreeing on that point - the end may be acceptable, but the means are unacceptable - yes? I'm glad you think that about the IRA too, because now I don't have to disagree with you

Quote:
Originally posted by Bookman
...are you sure about and comfortable with your understanding of who these terrorists really are?
well no, I'm not sure anyone has a really good idea of what's going on... I certainly don't claim to. We know it's widespread (Saudi, Afghanistan, Pakistan) it's linked with a peverted form of Islam (because Islam forbids murder, if taught correctly), it's anti-western and specifially anti-American (America supporting Israel no matter what they do doesn't really help here) and some of the terrorists seemed to be perfectly normal people before they got indoctrinated. That's pretty much all I'm sure of.

selling guns and bombs isn't as bad as murdering innocent civilians, however it's not as good as helping old ladies across the road
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Old 06-24-2004, 05:11 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I think we're agreeing on that point - the end may be acceptable, but the means are unacceptable - yes? I'm glad you think that about the IRA too, because now I don't have to disagree with you
I think we're probably in agreement but it's a tad confusing. To the terrorists the end justifies the means and to the non terrorists there is no justification for terrorist means. Does that equate to what you're saying? If so, we are absolutely in agreement.
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Old 06-24-2004, 05:23 AM   #28 (permalink)
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yep we agree

going back to what Kadath said, I'm not sure that targetting civvies is a good method. Examples, allied bombing of Germany in WWII, V1 and V2 attacks on London, 9/11. Most of these did not have significant weakening effects, I would argue. Especially. 9/11 which had totally the opposite effect.
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Old 06-24-2004, 05:59 AM   #29 (permalink)
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One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Don't forget that there are two sides to every coin, and on the other side of this coin is a group of people who believe that what Al-Qaeda is doing is right and justified.

Terrorism doesn't have a universally accepted definition. One that I typically enjoy using is the act of an independent group (not a nation) causing fear through violence. The Klu Klux Klan would be considered a terrorist group by my example. When a state gets involved then it's no longer terrorism: it's war.

Do I believe terrorists are evil? No, they're human beings just like you and me. Putting things into a moral perspective makes it hard to make rational judgements, and limits your thinking. Do we need to seek out and kill terrorists? Of course, but not because some might think they're evil. We need to eliminate this threat because they're acting against us; had they attacked another nation the US would not be nearly as involved.
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Old 06-24-2004, 07:30 AM   #30 (permalink)
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As an American, thinking back to 9/11, I can say without a doubt that terrorists are evil. On a less emotional, less patriotic level, I understand that they are freedom fighters, likely even heros to many. I also understand that U.S. Propaganda has skewed my view quite a bit regarding these terrorists. I doubt I will never actually know what they are fighting for, nor what can be done (as opposed to war) to come to some type of treaty or understanding.

I am not, in any way, trying to make the fact that they murdered 3000+ Americans any less tragic. Nor do I sympathize with the terrorists. I am simply under the impression, in direct contrast to American Mass Media, that the terrorists aren't killing as many American Citizens as they possibly can, they do so for a purpose, and potentially even try to minimize the loss of life - compared to what they could have been doing.

For those of you that said that it would be difficult to kill Americans on a large scale, I'll again refer to the chemical plants.
Taken from one of the links above -
"The accident in Bhopal in 1984 killed 3,800 people - more than those who died at the World Trade Center. Another 200,000 people suffered debilitating injuries, many permanent, when a cloud of methyl isocyanate was released from a Union Carbide pesticide plant."

For those that stated that the terrorists are incompetant, I think you are making one of the biggest mistakes you can in war - Underestimating the enemy. So far, the terrorists have exhibited nothing but ruthless cunning, attacking in unexpected, off the wall manner. The beheadings are horrible, but they certainly are making an impact with the people of world, specifically the countries that the victim hails from.

Also, although suicide bombings have been done before, I believe that this is the first time that they have been used in such a large scale. (with the exception of WWII) I don't believe that killing myself for my beliefs is cowardice, as previously mentioned, it is a courageous act that shows how strongly these people believe in.... whatever they believe in. IMHO, it is the equivalent of a soldier dying for his country - but the terrorists don't have a country.
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Old 06-24-2004, 07:50 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by NoSoup
"The accident in Bhopal in 1984 killed 3,800 people - more than those who died at the World Trade Center. Another 200,000 people suffered debilitating injuries, many permanent, when a cloud of methyl isocyanate was released from a Union Carbide pesticide plant."
they wouldn't tolerate the poor safety systems OR the proximity to that many people in America, I hope.

I buy the freedom fighter/terrorist point in most cases, though it is difficult to swallow in this particular case. I suppose the Palestinians in Israel are one of the things they could be "freedom fighting" for ...
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:01 AM   #32 (permalink)
 
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thinking over my first cigarette of the day.....delayed is partially right---there is no obvious definition of terrorism: it floats around, its use is a matter of convenience for the state.
once the label is applied, there are effects: --that there can be no political dimension to an action, for example--this in turn has effects--the idiotic notion that 911 was only about killing as many people as possible when it is obvious---obvious--that the targets were symbolic--the trade centre of american economic hegemony; the pentagon as american military hegemony---the field in pa, well....----the discourse of terrorism in bushworld has been very much about trying to erase any symbolic dimension to the actions in order to make it all the easier to slide straight into the world-as-western-film mode that it has exploited without hesitation since. much of the reaction to this thread that is hostile to questions about the notion of terrorism seem to me to bump into the limits of the discourse of bushworld and turn in the small circles that it makes available for thinking.

1. pursuing the element raised above about civlian targets: if you have a problem with civilian casualties, then why has the doctrine of total war been ok for states in this century? why would you not imagine that "terrorism" is the same doctrine turned back on itself?
in a war, for the americans, why is it even imaginable to refer to civilian casualities as "collateral damage", to talk them away? beccause "we didnt mean to kill civilians"? but the doctrine of total war erases the distinction combatant/civilian, and shifts the goal of war to a "breaking of the will"....

what is the difference between civilian targets and collateral damage? a legal declaration by a state? which means what? seriously....you would argue maybe that the ability to declare war is an extension of the states monopoly on legitimate violence...but that position presupposes that the state is necessarily seen as legitimate itself? which relies on consent, yes? and what of groups that do not consent? same doctrine---coming out of clausewitz--is being applied by different entities--one is terror, one is war--huh?

2. i find it fascinating that the right cannot deal with the idea that people who find themselves without legal recourse, in materially degrading situations, might construct for themselves a radical **political** opposition to the existing order and would choose to act outside the limits of that order.
maybe it follows from the inability of the right to imagine that there are systematic problems with the economic system they for which they unthinkingly cheerlead--for the americans, things appear easy because some of the worst consequences of that order have been shipped far away, and so it is easier to pretend that all is well in general. [[this is not to speak of the consequences of american foreign policy as a separate entity over the past 60 years]]

or maybe it follows from the right's own view of the state, which is about reducing its purview, andm thereby about reducing the possibilities of mediation in conflict situations by law as medium for negociation rather than as simple instrument of repression. this view presupposes a wholesale misunderstanding of the role of the state in navigating structural conflicts generated by capitalism over the past 150 years. the rights own view of the state will increase the likelihood of more such actions because it rests on an reduction of the possibility for dissident groups to act upon the state--it reduces the ability of the state to maintain its legitimacy by integrating elements of conflict into the status quo--and thereby increases the likelihood of conflict....add to this the paranoid suspicion of international law, and you have a poilitics that generates the conditions of radical opposition and works to shut down the ability of the dominant order to react, and then responds to this by trying to frame any such dissent as "terrorism"--it is incoherent, it is dangerous, it is self-defeating.

the right's view of the situation simply echoes the problems with the notion of terrorism--they hide from thinking about the system they work in by shifting to the language of will, or morality, and try to pretend that the conditions that create the possibility of radical political opposition can be dismissed by sneering reference to "poor victims"--which simply shows that they will not engage in thinking seriously.
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:11 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by apeman
they wouldn't tolerate the poor safety systems OR the proximity to that many people in America, I hope.
Quoting myself from my original post -

Quote:
According to the U.S. EPA, 123 chemical facilities in the United States each threaten a million or more nearby residents. More than 700 plants could put at least 100,000 people at risk, and more than 3,000 facilities have at least 10,000 people nearby
Also, in the first post there is a link to a 60 minutes story that show how accessible these plants are - 5 people walked around a chemical plant after walking in through a wide open gate and only got stopped after leaving the property. Another quote from the CBS story

Quote:
"I found almost non-existent security in a lot of places,” says Prine, ...“I walked right up to the tanks. There was one plant in Chicago, I simply sat on top of the tank and waved ‘Hello, I'm on your tank.’"
Sabatoge, it seems, would be incredibly easy to accomplish with security systems like these in place...
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:35 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by roachboy

the right's view of the situation simply echoes the problems with the notion of terrorism--they hide from thinking about the system they work in by shifting to the language of will, or morality, and try to pretend that the conditions that create the possibility of radical political opposition can be dismissed by sneering reference to "poor victims"--which simply shows that they will not engage in thinking seriously.
I think this was a great conclusion!
Bravo
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Old 06-24-2004, 09:06 AM   #35 (permalink)
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I think DelayedReaction summed it up for me better than I probably could

And whocarz:

It might be detachment but thats how it is. I don't label people on one side or another. Much like I don't label a person of another belief suddenly an enemy or a "non-person" compared to my side.

It just doesn't work that way and I think each situation has to be taken one at a time. Its too easy to generalize and paint the brush on every group of people.

Terrorism is such a broad term as are terrorists. To many the KKK could be lumped right up there with the Radical Islamist terrorists. Others define it strictly as the ones flying the planes.
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Old 06-24-2004, 09:17 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Time to chime in.

I believe that above all, what Al Qaeda wants is for any and all vestiges of the western world to be removed from the Arab world. They feel that their political leaders are too corrupt and too misguided to make any demands in this manner, and so are attempting their own sort of revolution. I think that all acts of terrorism are their means of trying to scare us away. They hate the Christians and the hate the Jews, and a perfect world for them is a pure Arab nation with zero outside influence.

So no, killing Americans is not their sole goal. But it's a means towards an end. Targeting our commerce, military and civilians is their way of getting us out of their lives. With no political leverage to achieve these goals, they have to be devious.

Don't take my views as any sort of sympathy for terrorists. I just don't think people here understand the goal.
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Old 06-24-2004, 09:32 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Derwood
Don't take my views as any sort of sympathy for terrorists. I just don't think people here understand the goal.
I think most people here fully understand the goal. The goal is to create terror among the populace in order to exert political pressure which they otherwise do not have. The greater the terror the greater the pressure. Terror is not generated by destroying symbols it's generated by destroying people. How much terror was generated when the WTC was attacked the first time when only one person died? How much was created on 9/11? More innocent death and destruction equals more terror.

Anyone who even remotely believes the terrorists would prefer fewer rather than greater numbers of deaths has no concept of the real world.
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Old 06-24-2004, 09:54 AM   #38 (permalink)
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"...has no concept of the real world."

That's the problem - bigtime.
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Old 06-24-2004, 09:58 AM   #39 (permalink)
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The US should declare these escapades as the means to our ends, maintaininig the American way of life instead of leading people to believe that we are under attack.
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Old 06-24-2004, 10:50 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by onetime2
Anyone who even remotely believes the terrorists would prefer fewer rather than greater numbers of deaths has no concept of the real world.
I take issue not with your opinion but your arrogant stance. To think you know the mind of a terrorist is hubris of the worst stripe. Then again, perhaps I am wrong, and you have extensive experience with and study of terrorists?
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