…And Another Thing About Liberals and Terrorism

 

When there’s some kind of act of terror, one very common response from the left is something along the lines of “well, it’s not as big of a deal as …” and then pick almost any other mode of death.   Maybe more people were killed by a white mass shooter in the same period, maybe more people were even killed by lightening.  You get the idea.

 

Here’s the problem with that – again, the have a hard time seeing this as an existential issue.   We don’t HAVE to have the conditions to make terrorism viable.    We don’t HAVE to have the foreign policy that pits us against these people and we don’t HAVE to allow the people we just pissed off to live amongst us.   These are choices that as a society we should be making instead of having them made for us and assuming it’s the way it has to be.

We’re probably all in more danger of being harmed by an American citizen, born and raised here than an Islamic terrorist.   I don’t doubt that at all.    We certainly have some, uh, domestic issues we need to work out…but they don’t exclude each other.   I’m not sure why this is so hard to get for some people.   Just because I’m more likely to be killed by some common criminal here doesn’t mean that terrorism isn’t a problem and it certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t a preventable problem.   Our internal dysfunction is our poison to swallow/cross to bear and has nothing to do at all with terrorism from outside our society.

I just don’t get the mentality that this is something we absolutely have to live with and accept, so whenever something happens we just tell ourselves “well, white people kill people too!” and/or “more people were killed by bear attacks over the past five years!” and that everything will be ok.

On that note, I understand it’s a bigger issue in Europe than the US.   To be honest, I hardly ever see a Muslim out in the wild here, let alone one that seems like he/she has an axe to grind.   Still, I don’t understand why the western world in general has to accept a parallel and often antagonistic society living amongst us.

“Why Doesn’t Anyone Change Their Profile Pics to Turkish Flags?”

Earlier in the week there was a bombing at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.   The bombing was tied to ISIS and it killed something in the neighborhood of 50 people.

 

Immediately after the bombing, there were quite a few “Why doesn’t anyone care when terrorism happens in _____”, as there always is whenever something happens in the Western world.   Someone brings up an attack (that they probably didn’t know about either, btw) that happened in Beirut, Baghdad or whatever that didn’t get any significant media airplay and certainly didn’t get an outpouring of support from American do-gooders.

This question is more or less meant to be rhetorical, just making a statement how close-minded, racist, sheltered, etc. we are.    It never really gets answered, partially because it comes from the clickbait/SJW memes world and usually probably gets written off as “Oh, there’s little Billy trying to save the world again!” or whatever.    To actually answer it is pretty damn simple though…
No one really cares because it happens all the time.   An attack in Paris or the United States  doesn’t happen nearly as often as it does in these places that are basically war zones.   It really sucks for the people who have to live with a real, tangible threat of this kind of violence but people become desensitized to it if it becomes viewed as one of the hallmarks of that civilization.   If you were to plan a trip to Lebanon or Egypt, one of the first things people would say to you would be “oh man, watch out for terrorists!”.   When my ex-wife and I went on our honeymoon to Istanbul years ago, her mom cried because she was worried about us being in that part of the world.  Maybe it was a bit of an overreaction but it’s not exactly unfounded to worry.   It’s also worth mentioning that one of the color revolutions was going on in Egypt at the time.

So it gets called racism that people don’t care.  I think there’s something here, actually, but only in the sense that people identify and empathize more with people like them.  It’s easier to put myself (and yourself, admit it) in the shoes of a Parisian at a rock concert or even a gay nightclub patron in Orlando than it is a street peddler in Baghdad that winds up on the unfortunate side of a car bomb.   The situation in Turkey is a little different though, as the kind of people who would’ve been on the receiving end of this bomb were probably people that had a western-orientated consumer-based lifestyle that we would recognize.    I haven’t checked the nationality of the victims, but I’m sure plenty were probably European tourists that we would definitely identify with.   Even if they were all Turkish nationals, they would be people with one foot in a world we WOULDN’T identify with (Muslim, “developing world” and so-on) and one foot in a world we WOULD recognize (secular, democratic, consumerist, etc.   Turkey isn’t exactly a first world country, but in the grand scheme of the world, they’re doing pretty good).   Overall, people seemed to care a little bit more than if it happened in Ramadi or even Jakarta.   On this note, if it happened in Japan (which obviously isn’t white), I think people in the US would care just as much as if it happened in France because our lifestyles are so similar…and maybe they would be viewed as more of an innocent party than Western Europe/USA/Canada.

Now let’s talk Turkey…   For some reason Turkey has managed to raise the ire of ISIS, even though they’ve been accused of aiding them covertly against Assad in Syria.   It’s kind of a confusing situation, but I think that in the grand mile-high view of these terrorist groups, neo-ottomanism is a huge obstacle against eventually gaining an Islamic caliphate.   Also it could’ve been done to get Turkey to double down on terrorism and hit the Kurds/PKK even harder than they have been, since they’ve been one of the biggest hurdles for ISIS and a constant thorn in the side for Turkey.   Apparently once Russia entered Syria and Turkey shot down that plane, Russia made a huge showing of bombing the shit out of “assets” immediately across the border believed to be sponsored by Turkey against the Kurds.   Ha ha.

Anyways, yeah, it sucks that human life has different relative values but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if people “care” in Kansas that people are getting blown up in Baghdad – there are still places in the world where the kind of violence that is rare and notable in part of the world is an everyday occurrence and no amount of “awareness” will change that.

I’ve Been Thinking About Cyber Warfare and Terrorism Lately…

As everyone knows, there was a bomb at the Boston Marathon last week that killed three people and wounded over a hundred.   The suspects turned out to be Chechens and when they grilled the surviving brother he said part of their  motivation was the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was surprised to find out they were from Chechnya.  I expected either a Middle Easterner or a homegrown lunatic.  After they caught the one guy, I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that American military action around the world was one of the primary drivers of this.

I’ll spare my personal opinions on whether or not having our military all over the world is a good idea, but I think when something like this happens we need to get past the “holy shit, this is America, things like that can’t happen here!” mentality because it can and has.    We need to accept our vulnerability and find ways to limit that and probably more importantly, decide as a society if what we’re doing is worth the “collateral damage” at home.   We’ve been at war for a little more than 10 years now and for the most part it’s been business as usual for the average American citizen.   We’ve forgotten that sometimes civilians pay the ultimate price in wars – and they certainly have in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and everywhere else we’ve been one way or another lately.

We’re not untouchable.   I think we’ve come to the conclusion that we are and that’s made us extremely disconnected from war.  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say “we should go show China who’s boss” or “we should turn Iran into a glass parking lot” or something along those lines because to them it’s an abstract concept with no downside except maybe having a football game or Dancing With The Stars interrupted by a news update.    This kind of arrogant thinking leads to complacency and poor decision making.   A lot of that Red Dawn book that I wrote goes on this theme.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about one way we as American citizens really are vulnerable to the outside world:   Cyber warfare.   A handful of countries have the ability to really do a number on our infrastructure and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.     This is a subject I’d like to look deeper into, but I’ll share my thoughts:

–  Russia and China have well-developed (maybe even better than ours) cyber warfare capabilities.   North Korea and Iran have some pretty good capabilities too.   There’s a few other countries out there and even some non-state actors that could do something.

–  We have these other countries’ number too, but these countries are to varying degrees less dependent on technology than we are.    Especially North Korea.  You can unleash an all-out cyber attack on North Korea and it will pretty much be business as usual so they’re basically immune.

– I think cyber warfare allows states new levels of escalation during conflicts.   Actually deciding to fire a shot is a big deal and almost always a huge step.   Sending a virus into a defense network seems less risky.   In a way I guess that’s good because it gives slightly more humane options (shutting off power is better than bombing something) but in a way it isn’t because it allows the actors to go a little further without making the jump over the line into kinetic warfare.

–  Cyber warfare also gives states some room for “plausible deniability” .    If you launch a cruise missile at another country, you can’t very easily say it was kids playing around.  In cyber warfare, it can be disguised to be someone else fairly easily or you can say it was rogue “hackivists” within your country and don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of this.

–  With cyber warfare you can do things like shut down the power grid, take down networks, give confusing orders to military units, take down satellites, flood sites with traffic, engage in psychological warfare, blow up pipelines, derail trains, bring down airliners, bring down the financial system and throw a wrench into just about anything else that depends on the internet.    In one particularly scary scenario, some power generators can be overworked until they break and to replace parts and all of that takes months under the best case scenarios.

–  Some of our military hardware that we view as our ace in the hole is extremely vulnerable, such as fighter jets and cruise missiles.

–  We’re all vulnerable in the US.   We lived for about 40 years with Ivan in the USSR pointing nukes at us and then after the Soviet Union collapsed we were made aware of the threat of terrorism.   To be frank, most of America isn’t concerned with Al-Queda deciding to blow up a Wal-Mart in the suburbs and I think most people view that as something that could only happen in the larger cities and near real strategic targets.    Like the idea of total nuclear war during the Cold War, cyber warfare is something that really could reach out and touch all of us personally.

From time to time I think we need to be reminded that we don’t live in a bubble.   I’d rather that reminder come from frank discussion on the possibilities than an actual terrorist attack.

 

 

 

 
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