24 August, 2006

Bruce talks sense

It's always nice to hear from a security professional who cares about security more than he cares about getting on CNN. Bruce Schneier is such a person. His new column at Wired News is worth a read.
The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics.

The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want....

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.
I've been saying for years, the best response to terrorists is to treat them as particularly meddlesome criminals, not as threats to the basic essence of society. That gives them too much credit and our society too little. The only reason bin Laden and friends were able to destroy much of American democracy is because of their allies in high places.


they're bulies , and should be treated accordingly

Posted by hibiscus

Well said! 

Posted by Anshul

Well, what's funnier is how we start classifying other "petty criminals" (i.e. anti-globalization protesters, ACLU members) or "meddlesome criminals" (high school kids shouting adolescent angst threats) as terrorists to throw the book at them. It's almost as though the T word has replaced the "Commie Pinko" labels of yore. It's so retro.  

Posted by judevac

it's worse that the commie pinko thing. my sense of the phrase "they want to destroy america" is that the pre-9/11 meaning was more metaphorical, the death of the free state, not the human population. now it's the outright accusation of mass murder conspiracy. maybe it's just because there was an actual, successful "homeland" attack for emphasis but i don't think so. i think it's combined foreign affairs and anti-abortion language, through the religious conflict link. 

Posted by hibiscus

it's an absurdly easy thing to do to connect al-qaeda with fetal rights and the rapture and rap it all up in "liberals = death." so easy that it was like the flick of a switch to move arab terrorists from communist pawns to demonic spawn. the red cowards didn't disband with the end of the revolution was the hand of satan behind it all!  

Posted by hibiscus

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