Today my wife and I will go walk the Freedom Trail just as we planned. Maybe we won't get into some (or any) of the monuments, but we're doing it regardless. I mean, what else are we supposed to do, huddle in our hotel room until our flight tomorrow? The breakfast place a block south of the closed off crime scene is open, so we're off to go get some food now.
My head was screaming: "in Vietnam, Iraq or Afganistan there would be medals for that, this is all about spinning the news".
and more clearly:
It's now 20 years and several terrorist attacks and bomb-blasts have gone by. Mumbai still carries on, but there is no pride in doing that anymore. Everyone just wants it to stop. It's been easy for the government to quickly clean up and talk about how terrorism doesn't impact us. The Mumbai residents keep calm, but no one wants to move on like this.
The treatment though of these events is somewhat schizophrenic.
The local take has generally been one of gallows humor/pride(?). One of the most common questions people have is "is everyone I know safe" and "so is tomorrow a holiday or what?" (the answer is always no, it's not.)
Its when people look and compare what Bombay/Mumbai goes through regularly and when it gets kudos for being itself that people suppose they should feel pride, but I suspect this sensation isn't the natural self grown variety.
The best treatment of the phenomenon has been by the Taj staff. During an tour of the art in the hotel after it was re-opened, curious tourists asked about the attacks and where it happened, the guide spent just enough time to be polite and make it clear that such questions were not answered and moved on to discussing his work.
Honestly, what else are you going to do?
I suspect part of the state side reaction is likely media influenced or focus on those aspects. By the looks of it Boston is acting rationally to the issue and will likely carry on as well once there is an all clear.
Its funny what is being called "several attacks". For context this refers to the train bombings, which opened up railway bogies like sardine cans, the attacks of 26/11, the bombings in Jhaveri Bazaar, random riots.... the list goes on. And the city's response has generally been apathy. The attacks elicited anger at the Government and embarrassment.
But oddly, apathy is probably the best answer to terrorism. The point of terrorism is to make a political statement. If no one cares then while violent, the statement is essentially ignored.
Not just that.
But think of it this way, most people who are already having hand-to-mouth have no other option but to show up at their jobs next day.
It's just what you do.
I have no solution to that dilemma that won't put us as a society as low or lower than the terrorists we're fighting...
Got back and look at the UK in the 70's and 80's during the worst of the Northern Ireland troubles for an example.
There was a period of a couple of years where "suspect device" was a regular reason used for my train being late.
And last month as well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/20/al-qaida-iraq-an...
We're too young to remember a time when terrorist attacks and school shootings weren't regular occurrences. We carry on rationally because we've seen the stupid crap people do when carried away by their emotional reactions to terrorism. That doesn't mean we don't dearly wish it would stop.
But we don't need perfect safety to be proud. The most common statement going around my social networks is "Most of what you need to know about Bostonians is summed up in the fact that their blood banks were already full today". People lend each other their cell phones regularly. Those hospitals are always saving lives. These things are part of being decent human beings. Just because there are non-decent human beings out there can't diminish that.
We are cynical, because we have to be. But in cynicism we've found hope for ourselves, because we can be different.
It's pretty much the best option, under the circumstances.
I'm less confident in this country's political leadership.
We here tend to work more of a spirit of freak-outery and cynicism. And as much as it annoys me, I think its more a symptom of how relatively little most of us and our ancestors have had to worry about in the US as much of our history was as a mostly rural international backwater that quickly transitioned quickly to a world power with oceans and, almost always, peaceful neighbors on its borders.
Which is something to be thankful for, even if it has led to a fairly weak resolve.
But that is just me making up a hypothesis that fits the data in retrospect. Maybe something else is going on.
I don't remember much about NYCs reaction, as I was in school in Atlanta at the time. But my father worked on an air force base at the time and reactions there and around that town were anything but carrying on.
Large chunks of the London population would have also lived through the various IRA campaigns in the 70-90s.
One of the thing that seemed darkly humorous to me was that in the aftermath of the July bombings the tube/rail services rolled out the old warning messages used during the IRA campaigns which didn't really apply to suicide bombings (they were all aimed at suspect packages being left somewhere - rather than things being carried / suspect behaviour).
News media gives us a rather distorted image of how things stand. I remember when living in Beijing during the Kosovo bombing campaign in 1999. The Chinese naturally took great offence for deaths in their embassy.
CNN was day after day showing video of violent anti-US demonstrations outside US embassy in Beijing. Foreigners were warned of sticking their nose out. I took a walk in the Sanlitun embassy area. The closest thing to a riot I saw was an overweight woman walking her poodle. The demonstrations were well organised in front of the cameras, without causing disruption elsewhere. They were mostly over in a day; CNN just kept replaying the same footage for a week.
Chinese colleagues were clearly angry, but they also just carried on, as always.
1. A HUGE police presence, like nothing I've ever seen anywhere - that day it was the safest city in the world.
2. It was quiet, yes people were carrying on but it wasn't like the London you expect, people from outside the city were definitely steering clear.
One thing to remember is that London (and the UK) is "used" to terrorist attacks from years of the IRA. Back in those days it was a bit different as they generally gave a warning but still, I think over time it has built up a resilience.
"Bruce Schneier an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on general security topics, computer security and cryptography."
Update: I said "terrible book" but I'm going to start being more precise about this. It's not a terrible "book"; I enjoyed the hell out of it when I was a teenager. It's just misleading and dangerous.
The chance that a person will die from a bombing, or be shot, or their plane crash, or a hurricane kill them is so small that there is almost NO reason to be afraid of it. It is far more likely that a person will die of Heart disease or cancer than any of the above. What will almost certainly kill us, we accept. What is almost inconsequential to us, we abhor.
It's statistically unlikely that you'll be the victim of gang violence, but does that mean it's irrational prosecute and punish gang members? No, because the activity threatens social stability vastly out of proportion with the probability of any given person being victim to it. In general, we punish crimes not because it's likely that we'll be the victims of one, but because if we don't the problem might grow out of hand and undermine civil order.
Really now. I don't need to go much beyond the evening news to know that people spend a lot of time being afraid of things that aren't likely to happen. (What don't you know about your toothbrush that could kill you? Probably very little.)
Your model of humanity is one that's much more rational and thoughtful than what I've come to expect from my neighbors. Nobody is scared of a decline in social stability; they're scared of getting shot or robbed or blown up. Usually by people who look different than they do.
I don't think anyone is making the argument that there should be no justice. Prosecuting the criminals who commit murder for the purpose of terrorism is clearly a "no reasonable person could disagree" sort of a thing.
But the question remains, how is justice won? In theory we could impose martial law and suspend elections, or permanently shut all the roads and trains and prohibit gatherings of more than five people in the same place, or nuke the entire middle east. Perhaps doing those things could bring justice to more terrorists.
Well before we reach that point, we come to a line we should not cross. We come to a choice that will cost us more of our humanity than it gains us in justice. And whipping the public into a frenzy is how popular support for crossing the line we should not cross is manufactured.
That's why people care about "justice" for murderers even though more people are killed by auto accidents. Murder upsets the social order. A car accident doesn't.
Fear of setting a bad precedent which could lead to the undermining of civil order seems to be a more complex feeling than that of being the victim of an attack. It's been my experience that the most common fears of an individual are related to sudden/unexpected pain and/or death, not concern for the social good.
And if people are truly concerned over the long term social effects of a threat, why does this not also apply to large percentages of the population routinely dying of preventable causes? Surely this is just as relevant to the well-being of society.
heart disease: "But I eat healthily ... usually"
traffic accidents: "I'm a good driver! I won't get in an accident."
It's a combination of poor risk assessment and Dunning-Kruger mischaracterization's of one's skills. I'm sure there's more to it than that.
People are terrible at estimating risk.
Before I could turn up at the airport 10 minutes before my plane took off and go the the gate and check in.
After 9/11 I was in a queue for ages and had to arrive really early. So it was quicker to just drive.
 - http://reason.com/archives/2006/08/11/dont-be-terrorized
I would disagree. My experience is that people view dying in a terrorist act as an especially horrific way to die and hence especially scary. I have had this specific conversation with people where they say it would be much worse to die in a terrorist attack than to die in a car accident.
To me it doesn't make sense. They both kill you but a lot of people see it differently.
What precedent? Isn't the whole purpose of terrorism to provoke a response -- to force a change?
If you're the victim of a bombing, on the other hand, you probably won't have any warning or any time to do anything about it. By the time you figure out what's happened, you're already maimed/ dying/ dead, or one of your loved ones is, or whatever. Remote though the risk is, the randomness and immediacy of it are a lot scarier. I've been in close proximity to a car bomb; it's shocking because it's a lot bigger than you are, and whether you are a victim or not has absolutely nothing to do with your skills or reaction time, it's purely a matter of luck.
It's like getting killed by a falling tree or a sinkhole opening up under you or something. The risk of that actually happening is tiny, but what's scary is how helpless you would be if it did. Unlike car accidents or confrontations with wild animals or people, you probably won't get the opportunity to think/talk/fight your way out of danger in the former situation.If you think about movies, TV etc., people are always getting in jeopardy but worming their way out of it somehow or another. We find it much more shocking when we see someone get killed without having any time to react to the danger they're in.
Many many things could kill us suddenly and without warning (even heart failure!). We are disproportionately scared of some things (eg flight) because they "seem" scary, and are blasé to actually risky things because they seem familiar.
And excellent book on this is "Risk; the science andpolitics of fear" which uses case studies and real data to examine this phenomenon.
so to take the driving example, it's very possible that you could be hit without warning, but you can also conceive of many situations in which you do have some warning and can swerve to avoid danger or suchlike. People may even underestimate the risk by being overconfident in their ability to react, but the fact is that if you drive a lot then after a while you'll have experienced a variety of close calls or even been in some minor accidents, and you can weigh the risk of many different driving situations.
On the other hand, most people have no flying experience as pilots. So if you're a passenger in a plane and it becomes apparent that the plane is going to crash, there's nothing you can do about it. No matter how remote the risk of your plane crashing, if it does fall out of the sky then you are almost certainly fucked and there's nothing you can do to improve your chances. I know that if I fly somewhere the journey to and from the airport on the ground is statistically much more risky than the journey through the air, as I will be in much greater proximity to many other vehicles on the ground, my vehicle will have to go through numerous complex maneuvers and so on, and if freeway travel is involved an accident has a much higher likelihood of being fatal due to the speed involved.
But if I had to be in a crash, I'd far rather be it be in a car than a plane; I've been in/at the scene of car crashes before and they strike me as rather more survivable. So I'm not more scared of flying than driving, but I am more scared of a plane crash than a car crash.
Which highlights the point; it is fear that drives your viewpoint (that car accidents are preferable plane crashes) rather than statistics :)
EDIT: I don't have my copy of Risk to hand, but from memory the numbers work out something like.. probability of being in an air crash and it killing you is 1 in several million. Probability of being in a car crash and it killing you is 1 in several thousand (or ten thousands, can't remember). Either way - an order of magnitude more risky :)
Now, I'm very unlikely to be in a bombing attack, thank heavens. But I have been in one already, when a car bomb went off right outside my office just as I was getting ready to leave (I wasn't a target or anything, it was a car bomb parked outside a subway station in London that I happened to work next to). What happened was that there was a huge bang and I watched the windows swell inwards like they were covered in plastic sheeting instead of glass. Lucky for me, they didn't shatter, and lucky for everyone else it was late at night and there were no people on the street, so nobody died.
But at the time of the explosion, I was keenly aware that if the windows had burst inwards, the glass would have hit me faster than I could have ducked down behind a piece of furniture. It's this lack of opportunity to alter the outcome that bothers people; it's a situation they'd understandably rather not be confronted with at all. Helplessness is unpleasant because it negates your normal defense mechanisms.
For me personally, I completely agree when reading this article but I'm here, on the west coast, not feeling threatened directly and knowing my friends are now safe.
But what if you were passing the finish line as these devices exploded. You might well be the most rationale person in the world, you would not think about probabilities. What if you were there in the public, wondering why your life has been spared because you decided to stand further away from that point.
Look at it this way: the probability of me dying from heart disease is extremely low even though a lot of Americans have a high probability for that.
There are quite genuine concerns in AI that people have messed up uncertainty, probability and statistics.
So please stop the pop sci version of probability and statistics.
Carnap is probably spinning in his grave right now :)
Any good book on probability will show that there a half dozen ways to do probability from first principles and all of them are sort of equally valid but differ greatly.
I can already see the glee in intelligence / law enforcement agencys' eyes as they think how they can use this latest incident as reasoning for more over-arching powers.
For a long time Londoners had to put up with IRA bombs but "Kept calm and carried on" (to use the phrase). I hope the US can follow suit.
[EDIT] Changed "secret service" to "intelligence / law enforcement agencies" to avoid confusion.
I think this is my biggest concern.
Once in a while at the Back Bay subway/commuter rail/Amtrak station you will occasionally see Boston Police officers - sometimes accompanied by TSA agents - set up at the station, some of which are carrying submachine guns (MP5s). We're not talking one or two officers, but somewhere between half a dozen and a a dozen, several of which have the automatic weaponry at the ready.
On two occasions, I've asked one of the officers, "Hey, what's going on?". In one case it was simply a training exercise. In another, they were looking for a "person of interest".
In general, I don't want to be at a transit station trying to get home on the subway where there is a situation in which the officers feel the use of that kind of force is necessary, especially considering the fact that I can't recall a single situation in the time I've lived here where the use of submachine guns would've ever been justified.
drinking in the park (its illegal here) or speeding, Friends with the cop or she likes you? no problem. Cop doesn't like you? ticket or drunk tank or worse.
They are there for you, if your friends with them or they like you.
I really feel like a "keep calm carry on" ad campaign could do some good. Shift the mindset from 'ACKKK TERRORISTS!' to 'I can handle this'
He is very wrong. He is confusing foot soldiers with their leaders. Terrorist leaders are not dumb.
Yes, it's harder than we think but not for the reasons in the article. In Israel, there was a wave of bombings every few days. The bombers were not dumb. They were very successful and killed many people. I believe that it wasn't until the borders got sealed tight that the bombings subsided. That's why they had to resort to using Katyusha rockets but, believe me, if they could get in the country, they'd blow things up, no problem.
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan all have had regular waves of successful suicide bombings.
What keeps the US relatively free of terrorism is the massive ocean that's between the terrorists and their target. It makes an operation much harder to execute because it's more remote from their base of operations. What we've seen so far is the evolution of their attempts to bridge that gap. The author is confusing these early experiments with stupidity. The terrorists are smart and they learn from the failures of their experiments. Eventually, they'll get better at blowing things up from a distance. If we write them off as dumb, we're going to be in for a surprise when they perfect their methods.
Edit: Israel is tiny and could control its borders much easier than Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan and the US. We see that Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan are very vulnerable to terrorism because their borders are easy to penetrate. The US has the advantage of an ocean defending its borders. Eventually, they'll overcome that obstacle.
What keeps most countries relatively free from terrorism is that they aren't occupying other peoples land or bombing their women and children all the way to hell.
Ever wonder why extremists haven't bombed the Cook Islands or Peru?
Not really relevant to this discussion.
It's nice to be a country like the Cook Islands. You're surrounded by a vast ocean that makes it very difficult to attack. Your interests are also protected other, larger nations, so you don't have to do any "dirty work" to protect them.
You also don't have to spend tons of money on a military and can rely on treaties with other countries to provide your defense.
South Africa meets your definition of a targetable country. Why isn't it attacked by terrorists?
1) The US is a target.
2) The reason it's a target is not what I'm debating.
3) Terrorists are not having trouble attacking the US because they are dumb, as the author stated.
4) Terrorists are experimenting with different ways to attack the US and are evolving.
5) The author of the article is mistaking these experiments with stupidity.
6) The ocean is an obstacle that won't protect the US forever.
There's been no claim of responsibility, and it seems like these were not suicide bombings. These are interesting data points.
Your point is also a good example of how terrorists aren't dumb. One of the major things we remember about Oklahoma City was how devastating it was.
It is hard to find willing terrorists normally, it becomes easier if you provide your enemies with daily motivation and determination. As others have mentioned, and excluding home grown lunacy, it is easy to avoid terrorism, just don't occupy other countries, oppress their peoples and kill their children.
Deciding to die for a cause does not make you stupid. The 9/11 attackers were intelligent enough to pilot a commercial aircraft. There are also many patriots who love their country and have been willing to die for it. WW II Japanese fighter pilots are a classic example. I wouldn't call those guys low quality.
The Japanese example is a, ahem, yellow herring, that was during wartime when both sides had formally declared war. Wartime patriotism (and of course the necessity to obey military orders) makes smart people obliged to do stupid things, they'd have been shot if they refused, in fact that is a thoroughly poor counter-example.
Regarding the Japanese: I understand that it was a volunteer force. Where was the threat of being shot?
From wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze#Recruitment
It was claimed by the Japanese forces at the time that there were many volunteers for the suicidal forces. Captain Motoharu Okamura commented that "there were so many volunteers for suicide missions that he referred to them as a swarm of bees," explaining: "Bees die after they have stung." Okamura is credited with being the first to propose the kamikaze attacks. He had expressed his desire to lead a volunteer group of suicide attacks some four months before Admiral Takijiro Ohnishi, commander of the Japanese naval air forces in the Philippines, presented the idea to his staff. While Vice Admiral Shigeru Fukudome, commander of the second air fleet, was inspecting the 341st Air Group, Captain Okamura took the chance to express his ideas on crash-dive tactics. “In our present situation I firmly believe that the only way to swing the war in our favor is to resort to crash-dive attacks with our planes. There is no other way. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country, and I would like to command such an operation. Provide me with 300 planes and I will turn the tide of war.” When the volunteers arrived for duty in the corps there were twice as many persons than there were aircraft. "After the war, some commanders would express regret for allowing superfluous crews to accompany sorties, sometimes squeezing themselves aboard bombers and fighters so as to encourage the suicide pilots and, it seems, join in the exultation of sinking a large enemy vessel." Many of the kamikaze pilots believed their death would pay the debt they owed and show the love they had for their families, friends, and emperor. "So eager were many minimally trained pilots to take part in suicide missions that when their sorties were delayed or aborted, the pilots became deeply despondent. Many of those who were selected for a bodycrashing mission were described as being extraordinarily blissful immediately before their final sortie."
Bingo. We supposedly have "security guards" and "security checks" around everything important, but they don't really do much (in the literal sense that they don't actually check much). Besides, is it that much better if someone detonates themselves at the gate to a street party or shopping mall with a crowd around than if they get inside? What if it's a particularly active street party whose attending crowd has exceeded the gates and there are sellers of food and souvenirs outside getting mobbed, too (like the one for Independence Day I attended last night)? Anyone can just walk in and blow everything up.
Any large, open concentration of humanity is a target. The Israeli solution to this is closed borders and a really fucking harsh military policy. Contrary to popular belief, America does have its own response: very low population density to reduce the value of any one target.
Examples? You mean like 9/11?
For true believers like yourself, what would the "end game" look like? What would have to happen before we can stop thinking about this bullshit and consider terrorism a thing of the past? Is that something that could ever happen or will there always be "bad guys" that require us to bomb weddings, assassinate american citizens and so on?
For all the flaws of the U.S., we have one of the most ethnically inclusive societies in the world. We're far from perfect, but we don't have the specific class of injustices, at a high enough level, to produce the simmering grudges that cause such a thing to happen. Most of our terrorists are lone nutcases.
Relatedly, Americans and Northern Europeans tend to be culturally individualistic, so the people who would be domestic terrorists tend toward spree violence with either no political mission, or one that is not charismatic enough to post a threat of recurrence. For example, as horrible as Breivik's attack in Oslo was, it didn't motivate a wave of similar attacks. He had a political agenda, but not a coherent one that many people would follow.
TL;DR: Terrorism has many forms, and some pose high rates of recurrence, but foreign terrorism tends to occur in one-off attacks and the U.S. does not presently have the conditions (or, at least, does not seem to have them) that would cause recurring domestic terrorism.
Lelisa Desisa (Eth): 2:10:22
Micah Kogo (Ken): 2:10:27
Gebregziabher Gebremariam (Eth): ?
Rita Jeptoo (Ken): 2:26:25
Meseret Hailu (Eth)
Sharon Cherop (Ken)
I say, don't keep calm and carry on, take this as an example that life can end any second, just like that, out of nowhere. Live your life enjoying what you do. Most of us don't, which is sad. If you're enjoying life to the fullest, carry on. If you aren't living your life to the fullest, then no, don't just 'carry on'. Life is fragile, and this should be a reminder. I for one know, I shouldn't 'carry on'. I need to improve my life.
Make the most out of your precious time.
Good read btw!
> Stoltenberg further vowed that the attack would not hurt Norwegian democracy, and said the proper answer to the violence was "more democracy, more openness, but not naivety".
Please, can we have such a sensible reaction everywhere?
So why should we keep calm, not in the face of a terrorist attack, but knowing that our government has priorities that differ from the people's?
Consider how much time and energy our government spends to stop file-sharing and pot smoking, which despite what Nancy Reagan might have said, has not contributed much of anything to the terrorist financial networks.
I'm not so sure the measures taken so far to prevent terrorism were even designed for that purpose. Given the rotten state of government finances and the US's overall economic decline, the massive surveillance apparatus under construction seems better suited to preventing capital flight than plot detection.
It's sort of like the massive fence that used to separate Czechoslovakia from West Germany. The Czechs supposedly built it to keep NATO out, but the nuts and bolts faced towards West Germany.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. And I wouldn't mind it one bit.
One of the major outcomes of WWI and WWII was a rapid advancement in trauma surgery, with reconstructive surgery advancing decades almost overnight. It'll be one of the enduring legacies of the Iraq and Afghan Wars that those who lot their legs in this event will be running the marathon again.
A week hardly passes that I don't see it on a shirt, a coworkers wall, or in a meme.
So "purchasing safety" was "not joining armed forces that fight criminals and enemies". This was before the revolution, and what Americans call "the frontier" was in Pennsylvania.
It's not through terrorism they beat us. But through politics.
Either twisting the minds of the current leaders, or infecting political parties and slowly implementing sharia - happening in Sweden, with our own tax money.
Forget gay and female civil rights.
However, I would just offer a quick point of advice. Don't spend keystrokes saying you might be down-voted for something. It's actually bolder to just say what you're going to say. When you reference downvoting, you stigmatize it and influence people not to do so. I would rather know if people are going to have a downvote reaction to my comment than shame them into not downvoting me. I've had the exact same tendency to observe "well I might get downvoted for this," but I think it's a tendency that should be resisted.
The only proper reaction is take care of the survivors, bring the responsible to justice and then cry for the dead. Do not assassinate them - bringing them in chains in court is much more humiliating.
Probably the most difficult parts of this will be to define who is responsible and what exactly constitutes as justice.
Killing them like osama, blasting them with a drone or detaining them in gitmo means the terrorist have won, because they have dragged the system down to their own level.
Also it still may be not an act of terror. Just some wackos that decide it is fun to blow stuff up. They don't have a need for a political agenda or ideology to do stuff like that.
Also murder is crime in Pakistan ... so if there was Pakistani rule of law the navy seals are murderers.
On the nuts and bolts, the distinction you're trying to draw is also moot; Congress explicitly authorized:
That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate
force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines
planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that
occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or
persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international
terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or
About the best I think you can say is that striking Bin Laden could have been an act of war against Pakistan. Somehow, I don't think they're going to follow up on that.
In any case, what Osama did would clearly be an act of war if he had been a general acting on the orders of a government. So what makes it not an act of war just because he's acting on behalf of an entity that isn't a sovereign state? Surely, it is most logical to measure the justifiable response to an action in terms of the nature of the action itself, not the political affiliation of the actor.
Finally, as you note, it's hard to say that there is any rule of law in Pakistan. Laws only have meaning to the extent courts have jurisdiction to enforce them. "Murder" isn't a universal constant--it's a law defined in the context of some sovereign entity's legislative jurisdiction. Killing a terrorist on the battlefield is not murder if there is no court that has jurisdiction over the actor that would call it murder. Indeed, it seems utterly non-sensical to me to argue that someone like Osama, that has rejected the criminal jurisdiction of any state, can turn around and claim the protection of the laws of that state.
People in Europe are learning right now how not awesome it is to get yourself into binding international frameworks with people who are connected by incomplete legislative and executive jurisdiction, and whom often have dramatically different national priorities and values.
In any case, it's arguably unconstitutional for the U.S. to support international courts. If Congress signed up for a treaty binding us to the decisions of say the IJC or ICC, would those decisions be reviewable by the Supreme Court? If so, then accepting jurisdiction would be redundant, since the Supreme Court is perfectly competent to adjudicate disputes under "international law." If not, that would arguably be a separation of powers violation: Congress signing us up to accept the superior jurisdiction of a foreign court whose judgments couldn't be reviewed by what is supposed to be the court of last resort: the Supreme Court.
Those were acts of war, and prosecuted under those rules (international law, Geneva Convention, etc), rather than domestic criminal law.
I don't understand the trouble you have with the Osama situation. The US attempted to apprehend Osama so they could bring him to justice but he resisted and was shot to death. How would you have handled that situation?
And yet I think that the most powerful and expensive military in the world should have found a way to properly extract him. I am not convinced that the way it was handled brought the needed closure to the 9/11 events. It just proved that US was better at targeted killing than Al Caida or whatever that ragtag bunch was called.
I guess "make the leaders live abroad for a while and force them to read enlightenment century books" is off the table as a reaction to terrorism?
For this and other reasons, I think electoral politics is one of the least effective places to put energy, in working for change.
Wait, you are saying terrorists deserve a fair trial, too? What a strange concept...
Amidst warfare, laws are silent. Therefore the wicked shall designate all times "amidst warfare".
Edit: Searching for the first phrase, "inter arma enim silent leges", found this:
Apparently, the original is from Cicero (slightly differently worded).
Thought I was reading House of Leaves there for a second.
I wonder if there were people saying that to Romans about the barbarian Germanic hordes.
So, small difference.
So it is totally irrelevant with the current situation.
I can envision terrorist attacks doing major irreversible damage to our society, but only through the fear, spiraling out of control, that they have the potential to cause. A fear so excessive that it could figuratively drive our society off the cliffs of Saipan.
Presumably (since you appear to be advocating fear, and since it would be plainly idiotic to suggest a sacking is immenent) you are suggesting a different mechanism.
So what is this mechanism?
An attack a hundred times more deadly (which would be something like 3% of NYC's population dead, if my mental math does not betray me, or something a little less than 10x The Blitz.) than 9/11 would be a tragedy with only a few parallels in history. It would be an astronomically staggering blow to our economy. Hell, the mangled remains of the economy after such an attack probably would not even be recognizable as an economy at all... But bring down our society? No, not unless we allowed our fear to betray us. Not unless we abandoned any pretenses of maintaining our morale. Not unless we permit it to destroy us.
To be honest, it really just sounds like you've been having too many Red Dawn fantasies. There are no more barbarian hoards; sorry to disappoint.
Here is the real trick though, this "New Rome" is not a city. We don't have a seat of power from which we derive our identity and shared culture, or any sort of sackable cultural Mecca which we define ourselves by. You could level NYC and kill every last person in it, dismantle the government and turn dollars into papiermarks, but you would not have dismantled the society.
Remaining you would still have hundreds of millions of Americans with no invading army to eradicate them and what they beleived in. More importantly, you would still billions of others, across the world, who would continue to make up bulk of our society. The worldwide shared culture of the 21st century, of which Americans represents but a fraction. A culture of appreciation for scientific progress, the arts, and political theories. A collective history, solemly remembering the same wars, sharing the same accomplishments. A Library of Alexandria that (thanks to dramatic advances in publishing and distribution since the last) cannot be burned.
A few well placed bombs by a few extremists who want nothing to do with any of this could never put an end to all of this. This is a society that cannot be taken, cannot be sacked; we can only give it up. Only we present an existential threat to ourselves.
Could there be massive lose of life, and would that be worth preventing? Absolutely. Are these people the Germanic hoards, posed to sack us? Are they in a position to dismantle our society? No.
Also, the word you should be using is 'hordes.' Hoards are things like piles of gold or other valuables.
What is your point? I am not claiming that the aspects of our society that we cherish are unique to our society, or were absent in Roman society.
"...a culture which is not nearly as universal as you seem to imagine."
We are talking essentially about the society of all developed and rapidly developing nations. This is not an American concept; even if this hypothetical mega-attack caused the American governmnet to go tits up it would survive, both domestically and throughout the world. Not even "starvation or hopelessness" would erase this modern identity. Not any starvation falling short of extinction-threatening.
Are particularly American perspectives in our modern society something that is, outside of the US, less than universal (to say the least)? Certainly. But 1) who cares? American perspectives are but few of many in modern society, 2) such perspectives are not endangered, and would not be endangered by any collapse of our particular current government.
By all means, you can all carry on being afraid. Your fear, your lack of resolve, your lack of confidence in our way of life... that is the real threat. It is that which the (few existing) terrorists wish to stoke.
You're defining "society" as a pointless philosophical abstraction. I'm defining "society" in terms of the only thing I care about: the people and country around me. I'm not interested in the history books that remain to be written. I think most Americans feel similarly. It might be satisfying in some intellectual sense if "the worldwide shared culture of the 21st century" (of which America might represent a small fraction numerically, but which is disproportionately American in its composition) survives, but does little good for Americans who suffer.
The country/government is irrelevant, the people are the society and that is what I am defining it as. Governments have come and gone with great frequency; societies almost always survive them. Really only genocides, cultural or otherwise, can halt them (and mad bombers are in no position to perform any sort of genocide against modern society).
It strikes me as a fairly American-centric viewpoint that conflates American government and American society. Plenty of other countries with strong, long-lived, cultural identities have gone through numerous governments in past centuries, many of these governments lasting a few short decades or less. A government is much easier to kill than a society, and dies with far fewer consequences.
If the death of a society is not what you are actually concerned about, then perhaps you should have put some thought into your initial comment before drawing comparisons to the fall of the roman empire. If merely the fall of governments and economies is what you are worried about, there are countless better examples.
I don't know that that's a likely outcome, but I think it's possible. In any case, I think this idea that we can pre-emptively kill everyone who might possibly attack us at some point in the future is both dangerous and evil.
Starvation or hopelessness tends to erode idealism pretty quickly. You don't need any kind of ridiculous Red Dawn fantasy to appreciate the possibility of critical injury; nor would the fall of an empire be an overnight thing. It's relatively easy to identify strategic weak points with the potential to tip a country into a tailspin.
We have numerous great examples of total societal collapse and eradication. Starvation to the point of extinction can do it on islands with no resources, disease can do it in previously isolated societies with no defense against it, invading armies can do it, and mass immigration and cultural conversion can do it. None of those is adaquate or available to a bunch of redneck bomb-chuckers. Not if they are trying to erradicate a society that spans countries, continents, languages, and armies.
Modern society simply does not face an existential threat from terrorists. They can do a lot of damage sure, but they will not erradicate modern society. If you want to suggest otherwise you are going to have to do better than "a few hundred thousand Americans die, the American government crumbles under the disaster relieve effort, then people start eating each other." I know you guys are really digging that fantasy, but you are delusional if you really think that would pose a threat to the modern global society.
that's one point of reference.
Here a different point of reference. It involved about 1/10 the number of annual automobile accident deaths.
Human beings are not automotons.
Huh? Are you replying to someone else who made a claim about resource allocation (bc I didn't)?
If anyone's going to end up sacking and pillaging America it'll be American corporate greed and not extremists. Now there's some barbarian hordes you should be watching out for.
I'm not sure why Germans would be bombing Boston because of the Romans. You aren't really thinking this through. The Romans don't even have an empire anymore.
Thats really bad writing!