[FoRK] Ugh. "Don't Feed The Terrorists!"
jbone at place.org
jbone at place.org
Mon Mar 15 06:45:52 PST 2004
On Mar 15, 2004, at 8:25 AM, Owen Byrne wrote:
> Actually it is my personal theory that the only way you stop
> terrorists is to give them a seat at the table. Worked in Quebec,
> worked in Ireland. Terrorists have wonderful pure principles (Ireland
> for the Irish! Vive Le Quebec Libre!) and the best way to demolish
> them is to involve them in the political process. Its not so easy
> to be pure ideologically when you have constituents and their opinions
> to deal with.
Better to give them a seat at the table directly than to let their
asymmetric force-projection experiments bear fruit indirectly, agreed.
Particularly in the case when it's unlikely that you can surgically
remove them entirely, or when their removal will simply breed more
terrorists in an endless vicious cycle. Mainstream 'em and solve the
Problem is, it's rather more difficult to do in the Middle East than
elsewhere. In both Ireland and Canada the terrorists, despite having a
disjoint set of goals and desires, are still embedded in a rather
monocultural local framework. The situation in the Middle East is so
completely fucked that it's not clear how this would work. The
attempts to give various groups a seat in the past (e.g. PLO) helped
for a while but eventually degenerated to worse than they were
> Not to mention that getting bogged down in Iraq has probably defanged
> the greatest terrorist of them all.
One minor quibble with this: I have a problem with the rampant,
jingoist misapplication of the term terrorist on every side of this
issue. It dilutes a word that, in today's world, we really *need* to
have maintain its consensus definition.
By definition, terrorists aren't states. Terrorists are weak non-state
groups that seek to accomplish change (disproportionate to their actual
ability to project force) through the surgical application of horrific
violence against civilian targets. This is the problem I have with
using the term in connection to Iraq / SH, and it's also a problem
here. Both the US and Iraq don't fit the definition because, indeed,
the US and Iraq are both states.
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