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The coming urban terror
Posted by: McQ on Monday, August 13, 2007

John Robb details what he believes to be "The Coming Urban Terror" based on terror tactics developed in Iraq:
Iraq is a petri dish for modern conflict, the Spanish Civil War of our times. It’s the place where small groups are learning to fight modern militaries and modern societies and win. As a result, we can expect to see systems disruption used again and again in modern conflict—certainly against megacities in the developing world, and even against those in the developed West, as we have already seen in London, Madrid, and Moscow.
I'm not sure this comes as a surprise to anyone, but Iraq is hardly the "petri dish for modern conflict". Unless Beruit never happened that is. Iraq, and Baghdad in particular, are simply extensions of the nihilism that was practiced in Beruit during the Lebanese civil war. And certainly it is quite easy and quite common for tactics that work to be exported to other conflicts. That's why we see IEDs increasingly showing up in Afghanistan.

As much as many would like to lay the urban terror at the feet of the Iraq war, I'd argue that all we've seen there is a continuation and refinement of tactics discovered in other eras and other places. We have to remember 9/11 happened prior to Iraq.

That aside, Robb is correct to note that what they've rediscovered is:
Over the last few years, small groups’ ability to conduct terrorism has shown radical improvements in productivity—their capacity to inflict economic, physical, and moral damage. These groups, motivated by everything from gang membership to religious extremism, have taken advantage of easy access to our global superinfrastructure, revenues from growing illicit commercial flows, and ubiquitously available new technologies to cross the threshold necessary to become terrible threats. September 11, 2001, marked their arrival at that threshold.
The difference between Beruit and any future attacks (or NYC on 9/11) is Robb's note of the interlinked "global superinfrastructure". The terrorism today isn't as mindless as that visited and confined to Beruit. There are easily identified critical nodes to the global superinfrastructure in which the pay off for destruction is much higher than if terrorist hit another target. The difference today is that terrorism is more focused on particular results globally vs. local results.

What we see in Baghdad is a refinement process going on. Each act has a specific purpose. Taking out the power grid raises tensions. Blowing up a huge VBIED in a market demonstrates the powerless of the state's security. Etc., etc. The point that Robb is making, and we've certainly seen inklings of it in London and Spain, is he expects this refined type of terrorism to be more widely exported and concentrated in the West's megacities where critical nodes of that "superinfrastructure" are concentrated and the effect of their disruption will be the greatest.

I mostly agree and wonder whether those centers have been identified by Western intelligence and security forces and the critical nodes identified with them. I also wonder if there are security plans in effect and/or in the works.

The problem, of course, is the huge number of the targets. The question is how sophisticated and able are our security forces and do we really believe we're able to thwart the type of attack(s) that will attempt to cripple these critical nodes and, effectively, the West, that almost everyone assumes is coming at some point in time in the not to distant future?
 
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And in fact such tactics have been in use in some form since Nazi occupied France. The resistance didn’t exactly play nice. These were also part of the plans to be used by the german spies that landed on US shores, but never came to pass because one of the ratted out the rest.

I agree completely that Iraq isn’t the first place you see this, but it is certainly a refinement. It isn’t about blowing up the corner deli any more. It’s about blowing up the town’s transformers/water works.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
That was a fascinating essay. It is long, but well worth reading in its entirety.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Well, I think terrorists are going discover something, that Terror, applied continuously, really doesn’t achieve it’s ends. The United Kingdom and the US delivered at least 1,000,000 tons of bombs onto Germany and the Germans responded with V-1’s and V-2’s. In both cases the belief was that civilian morale would "crack", n in neither case did it do so. Civilians are tough and can "take it."

So if the civilians can take a combined multi-megaton exchange do terrorists REALLY think that delivering a few TENS of tons of bombs are going to do anything? As to critical infrastructure, this too, is a canard. BECAUSE modern systems are interdependent and inter-connected they are survivable. Again, look at the bombing campaigns 1940-45. The Germans AND the Allies struggled to cripple their opponent’s economies, thru bombing. It turns out that modern economies, because of their complexity have tremendous resilience and multiple work-around. For those who want more recent history, examine Kosovo or Iraq, twice. Again if the delivery of a megaton or more (WWII) or the delivery of several thousand tons of precision munitions (Kosovo/Iraq) does not end technical civilization a few metric tons of ordnance isn’t going to end it either. This is all predicated on the fact that "they/we" are "soft". The Germans thought the Brit’s would crack, the Brit’s and the US thought the Germans would crack or that our fathers were tough but "we’re soft" and that they cold take it, but we’ll crack. Well, look Eretz Ysrael, has IT cracked? No. Or are Jooos/Zionist/Imperialists just inherently tougher than us? No, I don’t think so. Or look at Baghdad, is it screaming anarchy? Have Baghdai’s fled because of the terror-yes and no, their is ethnic cleansing, yes, but that is a little different from terror bombing, too. Souks/bazaars are still in operation and life, albeit different than my life goes on.

Bottom-line: Terrorism is just a Poor Man’s Terror Bombing/De-Housing Campaign and if RAF Bomber Command, the 8th and 15th Air Forces, or the Luftwaffe couldn’t bring down their opponents, why would a few car bombs? It’s over-rated and when it becomes commonplace it will lose a lot of it’s punch and people will adapt.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Truly, if you read about Lebanon in the 1980’s, you won’t think this is all new. In fact, it is frighteningly the same.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Joe, the question is not whether I can withstand a terrorist attack it is whether I want to withstand it. Yeah, I could probably adapt but I don’t want to.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
The point of the story was "When not if"....OK, I was just saying, OK, the When isn’t going to achieve many ends either....

Personally I’m not so sure of the "when." Exactly who is going to be doing this terrorism? The Crips, the Bloods, the Aryan Brotherhood, the massive populace of Shi’i seeking dominance over the Sunni or the Sunni seeking revenge for Shi’i depredations in Iraq, or the Catholics or the Presbyterians or the Unitarian Universalists? I don’t see US society as riven as Lebanon/Iraq/Ulster/Rwanda/Sierra Leone/(Insert H3ll-Hole Here).

Bottom-line: The when doesn’t seem all that likely and the FEAR of the thing is much worse than the thing itself, IMO. Not like I want to live in Eretz Ysrael and wonder if I’m going to survive my trip to Sbarro’s, BUT Israeli’s have and do continue to live a modern, technical existence, so this is pretty survivable.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
We would adapt, but part of that adaptation would be increasingly strident demands on our political leaders to undertake increasingly radical fixes to the root problem. Keep in mind, when the terrorists are entirely among us (as with the troubles in Northern Ireland), it is a lot harder to end it than when the enemy is mostly foreign. You can’t (in terms of political feasibility) carpet bomb your own cities. However, that doesn’t apply to someone else’s cities: you can destroy them with impunity when you can plausibly make the case that it will end domestic terrorism. Make no mistake, the final end of a domestic terror campaign in the US would be the eradication of Arab/Muslim civilization in an increasingly more inclusive fashion until the problem stops or there are no remaining majority-Muslim societies. Indeed, the problem for us is not that "you can’t kill 1.2 billion Muslims," but that it is harder to kill the right 100,000 Muslims than the total population.

That is, in fact, the main reason why I hope that Bush’s strategy of planting a relatively free and relatively secular society in Iraq as a way of lessening the attractiveness of jihadism, by providing an alternative that gives Muslims better results, works. If it doesn’t work, the end will likely be genocide, theirs or ours.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Uh Jeff in the face of Ulster nationalism or in the face of Palestinian nationalism did either Britain OR Israel become anything close to what you posit?

I don’t recall the great push to throw the Irish Catholics out of Londonderry and Ulster, neither do I remember the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and other Arabs from Israel....I can’t remember Britain demanding the destruction/reformation of Catholicism around the globe nor do I recall Israel declaring war on Muslims.

I too, support the current war(s) and the idea of "transforming the Middle East". I think it’s better to be on offense than playing defense. Better killing AQ in Iraq than NYC, BUT I really question the Apocalyptic tone of some articles and postings about the "coming" terror in the US and how it will be the Götterdämmerung of Liberal Society in the US.

Bottom-line: when we observe the actions and reactions of two modern liberal states that have undergone a sustained urban guerrilla campaign we find that our darkest fears do NOT have to materialize, that civilians in liberal democracies can take the punishment that fanatics can deal out and continue to remain LIBERAL democracies.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m not trying to be some Pollyanna here or Buck Turgidson, "I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed...but twnty million dead, TOPS!" I’m just trying to put some perspective on the issue(s) being raised:
1) How inevitable is it?; and
2) How life-altering is it going to be?

I just think there are historical examples that put both questions into perspective.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe;
The German population did not ’crack’ in WWII, but their economy most certainly did. The cold war was won, in large part, because the Soviet economy was cracking without us dropping any bombs.
Not to say that the terrorists are on their way en masse, but significant results can be achieved though economics alone.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Ted, their economy cracked when the Allies occupied the Ruhr.....And the Soviet Union spent about 20-25% of GDP on defense, crippling it, but it wasn’t because of terrorism. The Titanic went down too, but what does that have to do with terrorism, either? And my point is that terror is likely to have less an economic impact than many think....

Plus, again who is going to mount this sustained socio-economic campaign? I really don’t see the PIRA or Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade in the US. Are the Unitarian-Universalists going to be mounting this campaign, will it be Opus Dei? Sure I’m all down with the Pope and awaiting his secret marching orders to be delivered, but are the rest of us Catholics preparing our ANFO devices and renting Ryder trucks?

I don’t mean to Poo-Poo the idea of Terror here, because we’ve HAD terror here, OKC, WTC I and WTCII, but never at the level of sustainment that Israel or Britain faced, and neither of those societies cracked....and Britain is a good example, Britain COULD have acceded to the PIRA’s demands, much more easily that Eretz Ysrael can to the demands of the Palestinians. Yet in neither case did either society cave in to the demands placed on them nor did they become despotic nations oppressing the masses, furthering the goals of the terrorists/guerrillas.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The GWOT? Roger Simon says:
”I never cease to be amazed –- and perhaps it is my own myopia – that my former colleagues on the Left can be blind to this situation. They act as if the threat is not real and is only a blip caused by a post 9/11 overreaction by George Bush, thus ignoring virtually all of Western history since the year 800, not to mention the overwhelming demographic changes of recent decades.”
Mr. Greenwald says:
”They actually think this is going to happen ("read Zawahiri’s speeches about the Plan for Caliphate!!") and believe that we must do everything in our power — without limits — to stop it. And there are a lot of them who think this. In recommending this essay, the most-read right-wing blogger today described it as: "ROGER SIMON has thoughts on gay marriage and the War on Terror." There are many ways to describe what Roger Simon wrote, but "thoughts" would not really be one of them.
It is so astonishing that they think this that it is actually easy to forget, and it is thus worth taking note of every (sic) and then. Maybe the next time journalists and Beltway pundits want to throw words around such as "extreme" and "fringe" and "unserious," they may want to consider whether this qualifies.
As usual, Mr. Greenwald maliciously inserts false hyperbole (“...we must do everything in our power — without limits"[my emphasis]) into the issue.
Guess to him I am an extreme, fringe, unserious person too. Odd.

That is exactly how I view Mr. Greenwald.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
A couple more interesting ’graphs:
Unfortunately, the improvements in lethality that we have already seen are just the beginning. The arc of productivity growth that lets small groups terrorize at ever-higher levels of death and disruption stretches as far as the eye can see. Eventually, one man may even be able to wield the destructive power that only nation-states possess today.
It is almost certain that we will see repeated, perhaps incessant, attempts to deploy bioweapons with new strains of viruses or bacteria. Picture a Russian biohacker who, a decade from now, designs a new, deadly form of the common flu virus and sells it on the Internet, just as computer viruses and worms get sold today. The terrorist group that buys the design sends it to a recently hired lab tech in Pakistan, who performs the required modifications with widely available tools. The product then ships by mail to London, to the awaiting “suicide vectors”—men who infect themselves and then board airplanes headed to world destinations, infecting passengers on the planes and in crowded terminals. The infection spreads quickly, going global in days—long before anyone detects it.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
The potential impact on a community or a society cannot be judged merely by the statistical impact on the individual person but by the perception of the society at large. We can see the effects of hyper sensitivity to risks all around us. The "alar" scare of the 80s is a prime example. Apples and other fruits and vegtables were being treated with "alar" (Daminozide - a plant growth regulator) in order to maintain their ripeness after picking. The food police went in to a tizzy - why? - a controversial study which found that Alar residue could produce tumors in mice. A national campaign was waged to prohibit the use of Alar.

While Alar has been verified as a human carcinogen, the amount necessary for it to be dangerous is extremely high. The lab tests that prompted the scare required an amount of Alar equal to over 5,000 gallons of apple juice per day. But the campaign to prohibit the use of alar was so effective that today "Alar scare" is shorthand among news media and food industry professionals for an irrational, emotional public scare based on propaganda rather than facts.

It doesn’t matter how effective a terrorist campaign is. It doesn’t matter how much an individual person is actually put at risk. Just go back a couple of years ago and remember the DC sniper scare. An entire metropolitan area virtually crippled by a couple of snipers. The real question is not how many attacks will take place before society knee-jerks to the threats but how few!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
And all this "Nano—", "Bio-", "Cyber-" weaponry will face an ever evolving set of defenses. What if my immune system is hooked to the ’Net and can download the proteins and antibodies to combat this dangerous nano-weapon that the bio-hacker has created? This "terror" thing seems to be based on the fear that the threat is ever-evolving, but that the defense(s) are static. It all seems very Neo-Malthusian, that population (terror) will outgrow food supply (counter-measures) and I don’t know that that is so true. Finally this bio-hacker somewhere, IF he’s AQ/Muslim fundamentalist, do I really fear this person, bearing in mind that Pakistan has EIGHT international patents, pending. There always seems to be this belief that a bunch of Fundamentalist Religious Zealots are going to be able to create these sophisticated weapons, even though they really don’t understand the technology or it’s applications. Yes AQ Khan made nuclear weapons, but he didn’t invent them....Iraq had Chemical weapons, but likewise none were developed by Iraqi’s and the technologies and their counters, such as they are in the case of nuclear weapons, were well-known to the West, which had developed them originally.

Again, it’s not that there aren’t threats or risks, but so often this sounds like the Press prior to the Second Gulf War. The Iraqi’s were battle-tested and Desert-hardened. The reality was that Saddam’s World’s Fourth Largest Army wasn’t very good and had never really fought in a desert, in short the fears were based on HYPE, not fact.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It doesn’t matter how effective a terrorist campaign is. It doesn’t matter how much an individual person is actually put at risk. Just go back a couple of years ago and remember the DC sniper scare. An entire metropolitan area virtually crippled by a couple of snipers. The real question is not how many attacks will take place before society knee-jerks to the threats but how few!

Was it really? AND since I don’t live in the DC metroplex it was just a news story to me. How much did it REALLY take off regional GDP? I mean people need gasoline, so did anyone really take the bus or subway so they didn’t have to pump gas?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
10,000 hicks with 30-30s and 30.06s and .308s will be terrifying when things get messy in the U.S.

I pity anyone labeled "terror-supporter" after a few bombs go off in shopping malls and at NFL/MLB games.

I pity them when they get caught in the scope of a high-powered rifle held by Uncle Joe, who grabs his deer rifle after suicide bombers hit a couple locations in the Heartland. And despite 50 years of propaganda, he is still patriotic to the core (in the true sense of "patriotic.")

Ole Uncle Joe has shot a few bucks in his day. He knows how to put one on the paper, even if they are out 500+ yards. And he will be looking for anyone who matches the stereotype. If this is wise or unwise, it depends on the circumstances.

But it will get ugly fast, and we know which side holds more guns.
 
Written By: Foresights
URL: http://
I pity anyone labeled "terror-supporter" after a few bombs go off in shopping malls and at NFL/MLB games.
Bombing a NASCAR event would be like shaking the biggest killer-bee hive on the planet...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Was it really? AND since I don’t live in the DC metroplex it was just a news story to me. How much did it REALLY take off regional GDP? I mean people need gasoline, so did anyone really take the bus or subway so they didn’t have to pump gas?
How badly was New York City affected by "Son of Sam"? I don’t know but from the reports of the day, it was more than just another murder mystery.

During the time of the sniper attacks in the DC area there were news stories of restaurants with empty seats, malls with empty parking lots, etc. My daughter worked in a small restaurant in a mini mall. It was deserted. On three seperate occasions, the owner had to shut down and send the help home - no customers. Any place where people had to wait outside in lines - movie theaters, restaurants, etc, became deserted. Several schools near where attacks had taken place prohibited recess - they did not want children exposed. People would pull their cars into gas stations and purposely avoid the self service lanes - they would not get out of their cars. I know of several elderly people in the subdivision where I lived that would not venture out of the subdivision - for any reason whatsoever. I know this how? They asked me if I and/or my wife would please shop for them.

Every morning it was virtually the only topic of conversation at the company water cooler. People talked of their not going out, not going to the gas station, etc. ordering out for Pizza instead of going to the pizza parlor. Dominoes in the area were slammed as if it was a Super Bowl Sunday.

It was indeed a local phenomenon but again how little did it take to affect people’s perception of their safety? The DC metropolitan area is home to some 4-5 million people. How many people were killed or wounded by the snipers? What was the real risk? But more important at the time was what was the perceived risk?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Finally this bio-hacker somewhere, IF he’s AQ/Muslim fundamentalist, do I really fear this person, bearing in mind that Pakistan has EIGHT international patents, pending. There always seems to be this belief that a bunch of Fundamentalist Religious Zealots are going to be able to create these sophisticated weapons, even though they really don’t understand the technology or it’s applications.
Look at the way computer hacks work today: A freak living in mom’s basement creates a new worm or trojan and posts it to a hacker site. Then it is picked up and deployed by other people who may only have a superficial understanding of programming.

The argument is that the recipes for bio-weapons might soon begin proliferating on the internet, where they could easily be cooked up by anyone who has basic lab supplies. Pakistan may not have that many nuclear scientists, but I’m sure thay have plenty of pharmacies. If we are talking about a bug that has the potential to create apocalyptic epidemics then I do think that there is cause for concern.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
The question is how sophisticated and able are our security forces and do we really believe we’re able to thwart the type of attack(s) that will attempt to cripple these critical nodes...
Saudis have successfully defended thousands of miles of oil infrastructure against AQ attack for the past 25 years. If they can do it why can’t we?
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
SShiell stories are not data...I hate to sound like Erb, but stories of empty seats and the like are not the same thing as empirical cost data. I heard stories about the Superdome in NOLA, too. I mean this purely in a nice, non-confrontational manner, BTW.

Aldo, your point about hackers makes a good point. I had to spend 100-plus dollars ONCE to debug my PC. Now I have a firewall and viral software, that has automatic updates and I haven’t had that problem since.

Again we "hear" about the future, but lets actually look at today and yesterday, and when we do that we SEE that what IS is different from the "possible" future.

Fundamentally you have two equally implausible futures ahead, Kurzweil’s The Singularity (The Rapture for Nerds) and William Joys’ Dystopian future of widespread Nano and cyber weapons. Personally, I neither fear nor expect either of them. I may be uploaded one day or I may have to take my PC into CompUSA for repairs, but I really don’t expect my society to be entirely cybernetic nor doi I expecty a bunch of nhilistic, Fundies to bring Modern Technic Society to it’s knees via a technology that they can merely ape.

Yes, 9/11 was awful and showed what terrorist can do with hi-jacked technologies, BUT that’s the only 9/11 since then, too. No one else has managed to duplicate the effect and 9/11 did not destroy nor permanently damage the US economy. As I understand it the Airline INDUSTRY has NEVER been profitable, so the losses the 19 hijackers inflicted merely increased the misery, not fundamenatally changed the business climate for air travel.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
SShiell stories are not data...I hate to sound like Erb, but stories of empty seats and the like are not the same thing as empirical cost data. I heard stories about the Superdome in NOLA, too. I mean this purely in a nice, non-confrontational manner, BTW.
And I have not taken your comment in any but a friendly manner. The DC snipers were a blip on the commercial radar. Their impact was measured in days and I cannot find any empirical financial data to back up any financial "claim" I may have inferred. My point was that there does not need to be huge 9/11 type activities to bring about a mojor disruption to societal normalacy.

In many cases there is more to the perceived threat than reality when compared to the actual risk being encountered. You are far more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by a shark. But yell "Lightning" out loud in any park or outdoor environment and watch peoples reactions. You’ll be lucky to see any acknowledgement from them at all. But yell "Shark" out loud at the beach and watch the reaction. Different story.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
And that was my larger point, TERRORISM is more in the Shark Attack Effect, than any real effect, if it starts occuring. Terror and many articles about are like Seversky’s Victory Thru Airpower. The reality was that airpower was not war ending thing it was supposed to be. I just think terror is way over-rated as a straegy and a tactic. Terror is harder to mount than a De-Housing Campaign. To damage Germany took thousdands of aircraft and a million tons of bombs, and several hundred thousand people. Where is AQ going to find the equivalent firepower in martyrs?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There are some differences between the events in Iraq and Lebanon vs. what might happen in the US. Small scale attacks can take place, as those already There are some differences between the events in Iraq and Lebanon vs. what might happen in the US. Small scale attacks can take place, as those already There are some differences between the events in Iraq and Lebanon vs. what might happen in the US. Small scale attacks can take place, as those already mentioned, but it is much more difficult in the US to amass the material to perform the type of attacks we see and have seen in those two countries. Even using the fertilizer/diesel fuel bomb as in Oklahoma is not that easy now.

I don’t have much faith in the majority of Americans to manage well if such attacks start. I saw people who lived here, over 100 miles away, not allowing their children out to play in their yard because of the snipers. But we do have that core of Americans who will not knuckle under. We have over 4,500,000 million concealed carry permit holders in the US and many states allow open carry of firearms. I carried for several days after 9-11 expecting more small attacks, which of course never happened.

It will be interesting to see how the American civil authorities respond if there is another major attack; seize weapons from good citizens as they did in New Orleans? The sad fact is that organizations such as CAIR have made the Muslim population in the US look suspect and the matter is further complicated because the majority of American Muslims remain silent. I fear an over reaction if there is another large, deadly terrorist attack; a release of the Furies.
 
Written By: amr
URL: http://
A similar pattern is suggested by Richard Morgan’s sci-fi far future noir Takeshi Kovacs tales. It really is a thinly veiled parable of the writer’s
pro-anarchist, anti-capitalist view of the current situation. Think Buck Rogers filtered through the world of pulp fiction. The UN seems to have taken the lead in the interstellar colonial expansion, based on insights derived from on discoveries of the long extant martian civilizations; The lead character, a former Envoy; a genetically enhanced, hyper instinctual(Commando) employed by the UN for global pacification; deployed by ’needlecast’ transmission and downloaded into clone like ’sleeves’ which are a tool of the rich to secure
virtual immortality. turned private detective; comes from a planet, Harlan’s World; plagued by a nihilist, anarchist terrorist movement called the Quellists. The group aims at nothing less than the "Unsettlement" of that planet’s ruling class; which employs everything including emotionally triggered suicide bombers. They don’t really succeed, but not without a huge collateral costs. This model would seem plausible to those radical anti-globalist, anti-war orientations would drive them to this extent by frustration with current political trends. "You Don’t need a Weatherman"
well you get the picture.
 
Written By: narciso
URL: http://
I bet Greenwald would have bet a million dollars Hezbollah would never bomb Argentina. But they did.

That said, I believe in the USA we already have enough loner types and nutcases that we have a certain "base" level of terror potential. How well do we do against those now?

For those downplaying the home-made biological attacks, etc., please understand that those scenarios while futuristic aren’t too far off either. Also note that the Anthrax letters were never solved, especially as to how the killer could handle the materials, etc. Just a note of caution.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Joe, I specifically noted Northern Ireland as a counter-example where one couldn’t devastate one’s own cities. Israel/Palestine, due to the occupation, falls into much the same vein, though note that Israel has been much more active in Gaza since withdrawing from it. Also note that the Israelis are not the rock-solid bastards we are (ask the Japanese old enough to remember if you don’t believe that one).
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Narciso, I loved Takeshi Kovacs, at first, but the more I read Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, the sadder it made me....I’m gonna plow thru Woken Furies and hope that their is some light at the end of the tunnel.

I guess my problem besides the anti-capitalist message was that 15 years ago I WAS a Quellist.

"When they ask me how I died tell them, ’Still Angry.’"

"Thats about F^cking ENOUGH!"

Reileen Kawahara almost a awesome as Quellcrist Falconer....and that was where I was 15 years ago. Glad I’m not there and don’t really think a society can function if it has a lot of Quellists.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Jeff:
Also note that the Israelis are not the rock-solid bastards we are (ask the Japanese old enough to remember if you don’t believe that one).
Oh that’s a laugh! And I’m a Zionist, rest assured Israel or Israelis can and will do just about anything, required to keep Israel safe.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Getting back to the question you ask at the end of the post, McQ....
"...how sophisticated and able are our security forces and do we really believe we’re able to thwart the type of attack(s) that will attempt to cripple these critical nodes and, effectively, the West, that almost everyone assumes is coming at some point in time in the not to distant future?"
...I dunno. What I do know is from past readings of John Robb’s blog, he doesn’t seem to think we’ll be able to stop the attacks. In fact, that’s the main flaw I find in his writing: the constant "It’s 4GW! They’re global guerrillas! They can’t be stopped!" Personally, I think that’s bs. They’re global guerrillas? Fine but they’re not omnipotent. They *can* be stopped. We’ll screw up a lot at first and we’ll have to make some major changes as we go through what I fear will be a painful and expensive education. Overall, though, I think we’ll be able to adapt and overcome.
 
Written By: zonker
URL: http://thundernroses.typepad.com/
Is this the guy who applies computer jargon mixed with military jargon? Yeah, I think I read some of his stuff and thought the same thing. Some ideas and metaphors are interesting, but can be carried way too far.
 
Written By: Harun
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Vicious Capitalism

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Slackernomics by Dale Franks

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