Frame:Terrorism

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Framing: Terrorism

This page is for creating frames about Terrorism.

Framing Rounds Involving Terrorism

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Unfinished Pieces of Frames About Terrorism

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Note 1

(This section is moved from the original Vision for America page.)

Security and "War on Terrorism"

Transnational companies, transnational gangs, and transnational hate groups become more and more important as transportation and communication methodologies improve. Transnational companies can escape effective government control by reason of only having part of their resources in any one place, by incorporating in safe haven nations that impose minimal government oversight, by having control of wealth greater than that of many U.N. members, etc. Transnational gangs enjoy many of the same advantages.

Structurally, these entities are similar; their main difference lies in the goals for which they work. Al-Qaida does not have typical corporate business goals, organized crime goals, etc. But simply calling them a "terrorist" group is not helpful in understanding what they are or how to combat them.

If an individual were to seek to terrorize others without having any other motivation, he or she would most likely be regarded as highly irrational. Such an individual might be expected to have great trouble in recruiting any confederates.

If bin Laden is not simply attempting to scare large numbers of American people, what is he attempting to do? He uses Islam as his ideological justification. He indicates that he would like to establish a new caliphate to rule the world. The motive of power is clear despite any doubts one might have about the religious motivations for seeking that power.

The goals become clearer: (1) To disrupt the abilities of the several Western nations to defend themselves. (2) To disrupt cooperation among the Western nations by creating opportunities to avoid terrorist attacks by giving subtle advantages to al-Qaida forces. (3) To encourage Western leaders to commit injustices that will drive more of the uncommitted into al-Qaida ranks. (4) To encourage Western leaders to make attacks that will be perceived as attacks not on al-Qaida but on Islam in order to give religious sanction to all Muslims to unite against the West in defense of their religion. (The requirement that all Muslims take arms to defend their religion is a key point that zealous Christians ought to be able to appreciate.)

A century ago, a rabid leader might aspire to blow up a capitol building, a parliament building, or something of that scale. An evil man might infect his enemies with smallpox or some other contagious disease. Hardly any non-governmental organizations were capable of taking actions that would do more than superficial damage to a nation or even a city.

Now the situation is quite different because of the presence of suitcase nuclear weapons, national borders so porous that larger weapons of mass destruction could enter U.S. or other ports and be detonated in the harbor, poison gas generators that are highly portable and safe until detonated, and the possibility of anthrax attacks having been at least partially demonstrated (resulting in several deaths and mass disruption of federal government functions).

In retrospect it appears that all warnings of impending danger before 9/11 were discounted as hysterical thinking by "nervous Nellies" in and out of government. Bush was warned. He said, "O.K., now you've covered your ass," and that was the end of it. (See Suskind's latest book.)

After the 9/11 attacks the problem of defending against nation-less attackers armed with weapons of mass destruction came into sharp focus, but nobody knew what to do. Many things were tried, and many of them were tremendously counter-productive. What has been done so far has concentrated on narrow issues, predominantly on how to extract information from suspected irregular combatants, sweeps using dragnets with small mesh, etc.

It is not "science fiction" to imagine that a liberated Soviet era backpack nuclear weapon explodes at the point of highest population density in the U.S.

What would be the 20-20 rearview judgment of the steps that would have been acceptable to prevent that disaster? It is easy to think of steps that would not ever be acceptable. Denying the enemy their success by doing the job for them ahead of time would only be the most extremely unacceptable counter-move. Would somebody at that point say, "Better the destruction of Metropolis than that Homeland Security should ever read my e-mails!" Would somebody object to their purchase of electric vibrators by credit card being recorded somewhere on a roll of computer tape in a warehouse in Wichita and say, as the bomb went off, "It's worth the price to protect my privacy!"

On the flip side, "black helicopters," drug-bust style break-ins of front doors of somebody's 80 year old grandma and grandpa, etc., are just the kind of thing that al-Qaida wants -- because excesses drive people (especially people who are already stigmatized by ethnicity, religion, etc.) into their hands, or at least away from free cooperation with the security apparatus.

The very greatest mistake of the Bush regime has been the systematic denial of due process -- ruling it out from the get-go as a requirement of national security when the actual requirement of national security is the preservation of the fact even more than the appearance of justice and due process. Just ask the British how they got through the Twelve Year Emergency in Malaysia.

People accused in error mean an automatic overload of the security system. This situation is unlike that of the district attorney who wants more convictions in order to win reelection, and like the situation of the community in which the crime and false conviction occurs: The true danger to the community is not removed, and a new danger is perhaps created.

Crimes "solved" in error mean criminals running around free while the innocent suffer and may become embittered, ripe for recruitment by al-Qaida.

Suspects tortured become radicalized and may become one's most feared enemy.

False information offered to escape torture results in squandering energies to chase down non-existent suspects and threats.

The Bush regime has thus far perverted the course of justice, dulled the instruments of inquiry, turned the sympathies of the peoples of the world against us, and in general failed to make due diligence in objectively investigating which techniques are productive. At this point we are still flying blind because we have primarily followed through on the policies that appealed to the gut instincts of the President and Vice-President in the aftermath of 9/11. Nobody really knows what to do, and the whole area needs to be revisited by people who have been trained and tempered to be objective in the evaluation of methodologies for heading off attacks with weapons of mass destruction being used by transnational gangs.

The principles behind any effective strategy are, however, clear: justice, due process, objectivity, total situational awareness (no more ignoring container shipments while hyping far lesser threats).

Moves by al-Qaida to look forward to with trepidation: (1) Assassinations of the actually most effective of our leaders. (2) Subtle promotion of leaders who use counterproductive moves.

Resources:

  • William R. Corson, Vietnam Betrayed.
  • Fletcher Trenchant, The Wobble. (Lazar Publishing Co., Singapore, 1965)
  • Ron Suskind, The One Percent Doctrine

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