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Terrorism, and Why It Never Works

We have seen a lot of terrorism these past several years. It has taken a lot of similar forms and usually involves guns or bombs which killed people of a particular nationality of ethnic group or job.

But terrorism never accomplishes the stated goal of what the terrorists were hoping to achieve, which makes you wonder... why are terrorist groups still using a method that they must know isn't going to work?

If the idea is to make people afraid to go out, terrorism has failed. People are more cautious and maybe reserved, but people have not stopped traveling, even in areas where bombings and shootings are commonplace.

If the idea is to kill particular people responsible, terrorism has failed. The random bombing and systematic slaying of citizens never includes the people terrorists cite as the reason for their derision.

If the idea is to disrupt the economy, terrorism has failed. The trading and commodities markets may sink a bit for a short while, but they come back up.

If the idea is to live to see their eventual success, terrorism has failed. It is rare that a terrorist lives even a few years beyond the moment of their attack and, of course, many are suicide missions.

Even knowing all that, we still have terrorism. We know it doesn't work, it's ineffective in every possible way for ends the terrorists hope to achieve. And it guarantees you as the perpetrator will be hunted and hounded for the rest of your miserable life.

We need to get this message out there. We aren't going to reach the most desperate "nothing left to lose" sorts, but we have to cut back on those who might be reached. If we can do that, maybe we can do more...

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
low_delta
Jul. 12th, 2016 04:49 am (UTC)
They just want attention. They just want someone to hear their stories. To hear of what they perceive as injustices. Ideally, they'd want some change to happen, but just stating their message to the world makes them feel a little bit better.

Strange how it sound like I'm defending them.
penpusher
Jul. 12th, 2016 05:16 am (UTC)
Haha!

I guess I'd buy into that if they were just stating a message. It's when they do it with the explosives and machine guns it gets a little out of whack.

low_delta
Jul. 23rd, 2016 08:26 pm (UTC)
They think they're stating a message. But we don't hear it.

One of their common messages is "you're doing it wrong and you deserve to die." Like when Muslims aren't Muslim enough.

Another message is to the West. "Stop changing our way of life. We will kill you for it. And also the ones you have changed to your way of life."
herwonderfulday
Jul. 14th, 2016 01:42 am (UTC)
We need to get this message out there. We aren't going to reach the most desperate "nothing left to lose" sorts, but we have to cut back on those who might be reached. If we can do that, maybe we can do more...

What is your solution? It's unclear to me.
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2016 11:47 am (UTC)
I have no "solution." However a constant reminder of how terrorism doesn't accomplish any goal might help people who are on the fence about joining such groups, slowing down their progress and potentially saving lives in the process...

Terrorism isn't the answer, that's for certain, and the leaders of these groups aren't the ones blowing themselves up in the name of their cause. If they can pump our propaganda about joining them, we need to pump out just as many facts about how futile and meaningless dying for them actually is.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 14th, 2016 03:56 pm (UTC)
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2016 10:31 pm (UTC)
My thought was that there is a percentage of people who think that they are being effective in some way by doing these acts, and that those people could be reached.

Now, we have Nice. Yet another presumably lone actor, able to create carnage on what should have been a happy holiday.

There really are no words.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 14th, 2016 10:48 pm (UTC)
What would you have told the man in Nice to stop him?
penpusher
Jul. 14th, 2016 10:53 pm (UTC)
That's the thing about this. We need to reach people before they are seriously thinking of doing something like this, to demonstrate the uselessness of it, to convince them that it would serve no purpose to do it.

But we don't know the demeanor of the guy yet. Maybe he was determined to do this and nothing could have been said.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 14th, 2016 11:20 pm (UTC)
We need to reach people before they are seriously thinking of doing something like this, to demonstrate the uselessness of it, to convince them that it would serve no purpose to do it.

What does that out reach look like?
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2016 05:22 am (UTC)
It's kind of what this post has said... Terrorism does not accomplish the stated goals of what it attempts to do, ever. We can go point by point throughout history of how terrorism has never actually done the claimed job and we can look at every case of terrorism and prove that it has failed.

In that sense, it might make some of the people who have some semblance of rationality remaining back away from the concept of joining up with such groups. Any percentage we can cut back will help. I wouldn't expect to reach all people of this sort, but by constantly reminding people that this approach fails every time, and usually in the very short term, we might slow it down.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 15th, 2016 02:48 pm (UTC)
Have we not been doing this all along?
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2016 03:35 pm (UTC)
We definitely have not been doing this, certainly not in the way that the propagandists have been pushing the concept of using terrorism to their minions.

But the fact is we can't really reach many of these people with this message because they don't listen to westerners or they may not even have internet service. How people are controlled, what they see and what they don't see has a great deal to do with what they are willing to do or not do in life...
herwonderfulday
Jul. 15th, 2016 03:36 pm (UTC)
So is this idea of yours even possible?
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2016 04:56 pm (UTC)
If we do nothing then we will surely have an impossible time accomplishing anything.

The issue comes back to all of the issues we are seeing, both within our own country and on the world stage. People may want life to be one way, but if they feel overwhelmed or feel as if there is nothing that can be done to correct it, they tend to ignore it and hope it goes away on its own. Generations have attempted this, which has gotten us to where we are now.

We don't have that luxury anymore.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 15th, 2016 07:51 pm (UTC)
I think your idea is so idealistic that it's moot.
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2016 08:12 pm (UTC)
I don't really see it as idealistic, and I tend to be a "realistic" person for the most part.

But it seems clear to me that there are people who simply are getting a load of propaganda with nothing to contradict it, people who want to "make a difference" but feel disconnected to the world, and are spoonfed this "purpose" as a way of being "useful" of being "remembered" of getting "what they want."

This isn't the only method for slowing down terrorism, but it seems like it should be an easy one to implement, and might be at least partially effective.

But, I can understand how you might not agree.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 15th, 2016 09:20 pm (UTC)
I don't really see it as idealistic, and I tend to be a "realistic" person for the most part.

I don't see one realistic idea in here.

Why do you think I've been asking all these questions? Trying to flesh out your non-solution into something actionable, but I don't see anything.

You wrote 300 words that could've been condensed into, "Can't we all just get along?"

But it seems clear to me that there are people who simply are getting a load of propaganda with nothing to contradict it, people who want to "make a difference" but feel disconnected to the world, and are spoonfed this "purpose" as a way of being "useful" of being "remembered" of getting "what they want."

This isn't the only method for slowing down terrorism, but it seems like it should be an easy one to implement, and might be at least partially effective.


What method? You have not outlined a method.
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2016 10:11 pm (UTC)
It isn't "can't we all just get along."

What we have are disenfranchised people. These are people who feel helpless, feel small, feel they don't have any meaning in their lives. Groups like ISIL and the Taliban come along and pump them with their propaganda, making them feel like they can make a difference and giving them a purpose.

So the idea is to counter that with the truth. Doing that means pumping out our own message as methodically as they are.

The method of doing that can take many different forms. We can have people who are opposed to this method of their own countries working to establish coalitions to stop it. We can bombard these areas with information, internet videos and messages, that sort of thing. We can continually show the results of these previous efforts and how they have not accomplished any of the goals.

Really, it's the lack of method from the terrorists that is the problem. They constantly want bombings and death, and yet when they get it, there is no clear direction for what they want. So to the terrorists I ask, what method?
herwonderfulday
Jul. 15th, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
The method of doing that can take many different forms. We can have people who are opposed to this method of their own countries working to establish coalitions to stop it. We can bombard these areas with information, internet videos and messages, that sort of thing. We can continually show the results of these previous efforts and how they have not accomplished any of the goals.

I want you to reread your paragraph, each example, and explain to me why these suggestions don't really work in practice.

Really, it's the lack of method from the terrorists that is the problem. They constantly want bombings and death, and yet when they get it, there is no clear direction for what they want.

They want infidels dead. And they're getting pretty good at it.
penpusher
Jul. 15th, 2016 11:31 pm (UTC)
The problem the United States and likely the Western World as a whole has is they have treated people from what they consider "lesser" countries as lesser people, and that includes their leaders.

So, my reservation about trying to stop terrorism is tempered because of the policy choices that have been made. It relates right back to racism in its way because if you can't even treat your own citizens fairly, the mindset to deal with people from other places can't be better than that.

The policies that need to change have to come from within, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of movement in that area. So, that's my big reservation.

Obviously, this treatment has defined how Americans are seen by these groups, just as racism has helped define the interactions and views of white and black people. This is why I say we have to fix our racism problem in the United States before we can truly start to repair any relations we have with these other countries, especially the Middle East...

It's funny how it all comes back to the same issues pretty much in every case.
herwonderfulday
Jul. 15th, 2016 11:41 pm (UTC)
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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