Thursday, January 21, 2010

Deterring Terrorism

Democracy In America has some thoughts on how to do so in the shadow of the recent suicide bombing in Kabul:

The objective of attacks like the one in Kabul is to convince the population that the government is unable to protect them, and to discourage people from lending the government legitimacy or working with it. Matthew Yglesias has written a lot of amusing posts over the years ridiculing the "Green Lantern Theory" of conflict, which holds that all military and political challenges can be overcome if we just show enough "resolve". Most of the time such thinking really is ridiculous; but this type of pure terrorist attack is one of those that can be countered through shows of resolve. The Taliban suicide commandos weren't in Kabul to show they had support among the population there; they don't. They were there to show resolve, to prove that they can still recruit people willing to die for a chance at killing a few Afghan government officials.

The best way to discourage that kind of attack is to snuff it out, clean it up, and pretend it never happened. Israeli terror incident response policy calls for cleaning up an attack site within three hours and restoring it to its pre-attack state within four days. The principle is essentially the same as the "broken windows" theory of policing, with its insight that quickly repairing damaged buildings and graffiti ultimately deters vandals. One obvious response to yesterday's attacks in Kabul would be to make a high-priority emergency effort to rebuild the Faroshga market.
I know that I've probably mentioned this before but every time America experiences a terror attack or even some type of near miss I always feel a bit embarrassed at our hysterical overreaction to these types of threats because I hearken back to London during the second World War and their incredible resolve in the face of constant carpet bombing of their city by Nazi forces over the course of several years. I can't express to you how much I wish the American people could just embrace this philosophy of stiff upper lipism in the face of dangerous adversity.

Someone bombs one of our cities? Fuck you, we're all going to work, play, shop, etc. just like we normally would while we rebuild our neighborhood and there's nothing you can do about it. Someone blows up one of our planes? Fuck you, we're all going to go on vacation and drink copious amounts of alcohol whilst eating pork sandwiches and drawing pictures of Mohammed while we're at it (I'm sure that all of my moderate Muslim friends would approve of this course of action on principle). I'd like to think that we'd all agree to do these things as a unified showing of defiance to any and all who would have even the audacity to try and change our American way of life through intimidation but the sad truth is that we collectively tuck our tails and start blubbering whenever some crazy jihadist lights his balls on fire aboard one of our planes and quite frankly it's becoming fairly embarrassing on the world stage.

Israel has the right idea (and it's one that most of us learned in grade school): get back up immediately after you're knocked down and show anyone who would try to intimidate you that you're not going to be cowed like the lazy, decadent pussies the Islamists claim that we are in their propaganda. In short: take it like a man, and stop your crying. If we would all just rise up and symbolically tell these terrorists to kiss our asses every time they tried to attack us instead of shitting our collective pants and spying on our neighbors just like they want us to do we'd be a hell of a lot closer to winning this supposed "war on terror" than we are now. Speaking of which: how's that Freedom Tower coming along? No wonder they keep fucking with us: because we keep letting them.


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