Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

The Error On Terror

Friday, May 24th, 2013

President Obama’s speech on terror was welcome, but many more things need to be said and done:

1) A recognition that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and occasionally Pakistan have been pointless. Terrorism is best handled as a law enforcement/intelligence issue.

2) The drones we use are an admission that our military is not equipped to wage prolonged wars with insufficient troops. Global terrorism involves perhaps 10-20,000 active fighters, and we cannot defeat them when our resources are devoted to being an occupying force in failed states.

3) Guantanamo should be closed, its inmates released and/or tried in US civilian courts. The cowardice of the Know Nothing Party on this issue defines their equally stupid and fatal attraction to fighting endless wars that contribute nothing to national security.

4) The Patriot Act should be repealed. That the Justice Department feels it can spy on the press in a vain effort to punish whisteblowers says our country has lost freedom during the 12 years we’ve lost our mind about terrorism.

5) We need a complete revamp of national security and defense policy. The focus must be on vital national security interests, not chasing down fifth-rate criminals and fretting over the likes of North Korea and Iran. We need to worry a lot more about cyber attacks and more sophisticated forms of espionage currently being undertaken by the Chinese. We need to reduce defense spending on programs that refight World War II (do we really need an Air Force or a Navy to meet today’s national security challenges? must we spend 10 times what the rest of the world spends to be secure? etc.).

The President’s made a good start on these issues, but we also need to stop seeing the Pentagon as a middle class jobs program and national security as a theatrical exercise in restraining our own human rights.

Gorilla says: “Let’s be secure, but let’s also be wary about those in our country who would restrict our freedom!”


Goosing With Terror

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Only in Britain (and America) would a machete attack by two obviously disturbed nuts be seen as a terrorist attack.

So good to know from the toff British PM that he won’t “give in” to terror, just continue to use the word to distract from more obvious threats e.g. long-term unemployment and counterproductive austerity.

Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke seems to have forgotten entirely the meaning of his own words.

Goosing asset prices isn’t actually working in macroeconomic terms, unless you’re a shareholder.

The economy continues to drastically underperform the long-term trend, inflation is non-existent, and unemployment remains unaddressed.

Helicopter Ben only cares about Wall Street banks, so what we’re getting is Hang Glider Ben, gently falling to earth in his Bolsa wood dream machine.

So the rich folks will have a few days to ponder a market correction and decide in the long-term what the term “long-term” implies, because clearly Bernanke hasn’t a clue.

Gorilla says: “Would be nice if somebody in power cared about something other than being seen as seriously out of touch with reality!”


A Fence For Canada?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

While the insane and racist idea of a border fence with Mexico continues to have traction, the fact that Canada has far more terrorist wannabes gets no mileage whatever!

A couple of idiots wanting to derail a New York/Toronto train didn’t last 24 hours as a news story.

We seem to think the Canadians are just like us, only slightly colder and slightly more humane, a multicultural country with better health care, fewer guns, and a commitment to doing their best by the international community.

Gorilla says, “It’s a joke, son, a joke!”


Bits And Bobs And BVDs

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Another underwear bomber: another ridiculous story of a plot that went nowhere, apparently designed to make DOD/CIA/TSA budget requests foolproof.

Hillary hits a snag in India: no, the Indians will not be supporting the US boycott of Iranian oil, and no, the Chinese won’t either.

Gay marriage: what’s worse, not stating what you believe or pretending that your cowardice will change once Arne Duncan weighs in?

Greece and France: Contagion will continue, as will pointless austerity. Elections no longer seem to matter in Euroland, unless they’re approved by the Bundesbank.

Gorilla says: “So far, a weak of very minor irritations and politics as usual!”


Killing The Preacher

Friday, September 30th, 2011

And the President adds another terrorist sympathizer to his belt, the contrast with his predecessor remains quite stark…

But the terrorism sermons will go on, and we need to recognize that they are not an existential threat to the US.

Deploy appropriate resources of law enforcement at home, occasional drone strikes and intelligence gathering abroad, and above all a commitment to helping failed states like Yemen and Pakistan achieve something other than chaos and violence.

Gorilla says: “Appropriate doesn’t mean $750 billion/year in defense spending to fight fifth-rate preaching clowns!”


More Fake Terrorism

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Nothing wrong with law enforcement monitoring people who make violent threats against the country, but why does the FBI feel they must stage manage crimes in order to stop terrorism?

It’s clearly all about justifying your budget allocation, but it’s also ridiculous and counterproductive. Aren’t there enough actual terrorists to go around without inventing new ones?

Gorilla says: “Remote controlled airplane bombs are one thing, phony remote controlled airplane bombs are something else!”



Friday, July 22nd, 2011

What happened in Norway today was terrible.

At this point we do not know who’s responsible, although some “jihadist” groups have claimed responsibility.

But we also need to understand that four pointless wars against Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Somalia) are contributing enormously to the recruitment and operations of Islamic terrorists.

We’re not going to rid the world of such terrorism.

We need to recognize that terrorism is a minor threat, best handled by local, regional, and international law enforcement and intelligence coordination.

Terrorists will occasionally get lucky, as they did in Oslo today, but they do not represent an existential threat to our civilization and way of life.

To suggest terrorists are an existential threat is to give fifth-rate murderers a level of recognition they do not deserve.

We’ve also got to do more to strengthen countries that are failing and thus providing a raison d’etre for terrorism: that means less military assistance, more humanitarian aid and far less restrictive trade barriers.

The Norwegians have always been very good at devising and implementing humanitarian initiatives. Their society is a model of equity and fairness for all citizens.

But the continued military involvement in and occupation of Muslim countries means we may have to pay the price in blood for our fear and our hubris.

Today, Norway paid that price.

Gorilla says, “Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and injured, while our heads need to be thinking much more sensibly about what national security really means.”

Update 1: The Norwegians are saying the camp shooter was Norwegian. Doesn’t change the argument above at all. Terrorism fundamentally is a law enforcement/intelligence issue, not a clash of civilizations issue.

Update 2: And the Norwegian turns out to be a right-wing Christian extremist. Right-wing religious extremists are certainly in the US a greater threat than Islamic extremists, but what civilized nations really need is less religion full stop.


Who Is More Ridiculous?

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Angela Merkel: in describing killing bin Laden as being “a victory for the forces of peace”, now currently engaged in 3 pointless wars?

Our national leaders, whose latest rationale for fighting in Afghanistan no longer bears any resemblance to our original rationale for fighting in Afghanistan?

A dead terrorist who got lucky once and then became the greatest threat to civilization?

Gorilla says: “All of the above equally, I believe!”


Things We Already Knew And Learned Again

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

In the wake of bin Laden’s death:

1) Pakistan cannot be trusted. That bin Laden was found 35 miles from Islamabad and 800 yards up the road from a military academy says it all. Pakistan has been playing both sides against the middle for over a decade. We haven’t used our leverage over Pakistan for the same reason we haven’t used our leverage over Israel: we’d rather have reliable crazies running these countries than do anything at all to make these countries better.

2) Islamic terrorism is not a very serious national security threat to anyone other than autocratic rulers in the Middle East. We need to be saying clearly that we are on the side of everyone fighting for freedom in the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia to Syria, from Palestine to Bahrain, from Egypt to Iran. Double standards do not provide security (see Pakistan).

3) Pointless wars and vast Pentagon spending increases have not made the world any safer.

Gorilla says: “Make up your own list, but never forget Santayana!”


At Last

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Osama is dead, a great victory for this President and our country, so hopefully we now decide:

1) Fighting and losing 3 pointless wars is and was a waste of lives and of treasure. We should have caught bin Laden in 2001, and seen fifth-rate terrorists like him for what they are: fifth-rate terrorists.

2) Doing something for the 25 million unemployed Americans should be our highest national priority.

Gorilla says: “It’s a happy day, but only if it lasts!”