Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

9/11 Made Us Safer, Says Bruce Schneier

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the silver-lining dept.

United States 280

richi writes "Security guru and BT CTO Bruce Schneier discusses terrorist attacks. In fact, Bruce seems to be saying that 9/11 actually made us safer from terrorists, which seems like a curious argument. While Bruce's blog post is interesting and no doubt insightful, I'm not sure I really buy it. And what's the deal with the new rules for searching the TSA No Fly List? Why is it, in 2010, we're still mucking about with publishing database extracts and waiting hours for them to be searched? How about checking within seconds of an update? Couldn't someone volunteer to show them how to implement a reliable, scalable, NoSQL setup? Instead, the TSA plan to fix this is a classic 'big government' solution."

cancel ×

280 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Just under three thousand people would disagree... (4, Insightful)

craznar (710808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140394)

.. not to mention thousands of soldiers and their families.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (5, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140486)

Man, if I had mod points I'd love to mod this up

9/11 also seemed to flare up a lot of deep-seeded racial profiling urges in a lot of people. Honestly I think we may be in a self-fulfilling prophecy scenario here.

Extremist groups of terrorists attack the country ->
The US gets very hard nosed to these terrorist groups creating an extremist backlash ->
Extremists groups of the US start treating anyone from a "threat country" as a second-class citizen ->
More citizens of that country at large become hostile towards the US in response ->
Extremist terrorist groups abroad grow in response.

Would you be particularly friendly to a foreign nation coming in and telling you how to run your government? Just curious.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140716)

Well, people in Germany and Japan weren't all happy and friendly when they lost WWII, but they lost the war, and they had to do and listen to what we said.

And look how well it turned it has turned out for them. In some ways, messing with the USA is probably the best thing evil governments can do that turns around those countries.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (3, Interesting)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140768)

yep... see also the plot of "The Mouse That Roared" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mouse_That_Roared )

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (2, Informative)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140974)

I think Germany after WW1 is a better example, Tell me again why we invaded Iraq/afganastan/pakistan? then maybe i could tell you why a native pakistani/american decide to attack us.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140914)

Would you be particularly friendly to a foreign nation coming in and telling you how to run your government? Just curious.

Depends on who their predecessor was, what that "how" is, and whether they'd leave willingly.

The US enforcing democracy would have been universally welcomed by Hungary in 1956 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141308)

The US gets very hard nosed to these terrorist groups creating an extremist backlash ->

This most recent "Times Square Bomber" is a good example of this. In the part of Pakistan where he's from and has been visiting (so I understand), there has been a lot of civilian death due to Predator drones. The US military so loves to use these drones, which while preventing US casualties often kill a lot of people that they don't even bother finding out the names of the people they are targeting. At first, they'd have a list of high-value targets and then send in the drones. Now, they're finding houses where terrorists are said to live and send down a drone without even knowing anything specific about the people in the house (or in the houses next door).

The extremists (and even some not-so-extremists) in Pakistan are getting a lot of attention by showing video of the carnage from the Predators on Pakistani television, which of course creates a lot more extremists. The guy who tried to blow up the truck in Times Square didn't fit any of the current profiles used for this kind of bomber. He was educated, from a well-off family and had a good career in the US. His political extremism developed in a relatively short time, coinciding with a trip back to Pakistan that was supposed to be a short visit and then became something else.

No matter how well-balanced and mentally healthy you are, images of innocent people getting creamed from an unmanned drone operated by someone maybe thousands of miles away, can send you over the edge. I'm not sure a lot of Americans wouldn't react differently. Look at what constant bombardment with images of dead fetuses can do to someone whose religious beliefs make them anti-abortion. You can go from wearing a pro-life button to pulling a trigger on an OB-GYN doctor pretty quickly.

Regardless of my feelings about President Obama, I give him credit for toning down the "War on Terror" rhetoric. Even though some Americans would love to hear him talking about the "Axis of Evil" and "Muslim Terror", etc, that stuff's not just for consumption at home. Some young muslim male seeing some US general talking about how "my god is bigger than your god" and how we ought to just nuke Iran might get the impression that his life, his family, his faith is being threatened by the US. I'm not saying that killing civilians with a car bomb is justified, just that it doesn't hurt to understand where it comes from. It's a very complicated problem, and success on our part might require doing the opposite of what would satisfy the human desire for revenge.

Whatever the effect of the less bellicose tone from the White House, something is being done right since we're not seeing planes smashing into skyscrapers or big chunks of the Pentagon being blown up. It seems that the terrorists who do get through aren't all that good at what they do. If at the end of 8 years we've seen dozens of failed bombing attempts, that seems to be preferable to three successful attempts that kill thousands. Further success is going to take very cool heads thinking very carefully about the consequences of continuing the deadly cycle of attack/reaction/blowback.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (5, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140764)

The thing is, that this is a stupid straw man argument that's been put into Schneier's mouth. 9/11 may or may not have made "us" more likely to be killed in terrorist attacks. However terrorist attacks are almost completely irrelevant to the lives of anyone living anywhere except for Iraq. If you've read Bruce's blog, it's pretty clear that he believes 9/11 and more importantly the over-reaction to it in the USA has made pretty much everyone less safe. Just one statistic: more people have died travelling by car to avoid travelling in a plane through dislike of the TSA than died during the 9/11 attack. More importantly, taking away freedom has reduced our security because often the government can be the biggest threat. Since people no longer know what their rulers are doing it is more difficult to make sure they do the right thing.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140844)

That's shocking, who wouldn't like to have virtual strip searches, specious claims that they're on some sort of mythical no fly list or be hassled because they look vaguely middle eastern?

We've lost sight of the fact that the money we're flushing down the toilet on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and TSA bullshit could be much better spent on other things. Such as crime prevention programs, education and making various corporations live up to necessary safety standards. More people have died in the last 9 years in non-terrorist plane crashes than in terrorist cause plane crashes. While that doesn't suggest that we can rest on our laurels, what it does suggest is that perhaps the money would be better spent in other ways. Fixing real problems rather than pushing them elsewhere. Especially efforts that blatantly violate the US constitution.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140966)

Seriously, why the fuck wernt you in the twin towers when you needed to be.

We can only pray your in the right place next time we are attacked. Because fuck wad, because of people like you. It will happen again. Just make sure your there to have a front row seat next time dick head.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141040)

Cowards like you are the reason we are all losing our freedoms as Americans. Go hide under the bed and leave the rest of us alone.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141036)

While I agree entirely with your Iraq/Afghanistan points, I'm compelled to point out the fallacy of one of your logical conclusions regarding the statistic "More people have died in Non-Terrorist plane crashes, than terrorist ones." Doesn't that imply that, perhaps, those safety measures HAVE worked? Consider this: Imagine that a year prior to September 11, 2001, there was a sweeping measure to bolt lock all of cockpit doors. September 11 comes, and goes. 9 years later we hear you opine that "Spending billions of dollars over the past decade on bolting doors on airplanes has been a waste of money." Citing the fact that there have been 0 terrorist attacks, and impacting the point by saying more people died in accidents. Your fallacy, sir, is failure to consider the affects of the UNSEEN.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141100)

Your fallacy, sir, is failure to consider the affects of the UNSEEN.

Hah! I'm lucky I did not fall into this trap and my anti-raptor perfume that I bought of the net has kept me safe from the unseen but grave threat of genetically-engineered dinosaurs invading my home!

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141270)

Crime is at an all time low, education would be nice though.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140934)

However terrorist attacks are almost completely irrelevant to the lives of anyone living anywhere except for Iraq.

Or Ireland.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141116)

However terrorist attacks are almost completely irrelevant to the lives of anyone living anywhere except for Iraq.

Or Ireland.

Or Israel.

Re:Just under three thousand people would disagree (3, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141234)

Can we please try to avoid making emotional appeals in place of logical arguments? Letting emotions win over logic in a casino makes you lose money, letting emotions win over logic when lives are at stake makes you lose lives. Maybe if we had some cold hard rationality in the government we wouldn't have sent any soldiers over to the Middle East at all.

first !! (-1, Offtopic)

hubdawg (1148477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140396)

9 / 11 yoU DO NOT want to get me started on that

LOL (4, Insightful)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140416)

Safer? How?
Shoe bomber... underwear dude... the recent SUV failure?
So much for the TSA... homeland security and all other billion dollar agencies created.

All it did was make ordinary people more aware.....
After the 9/11 attack... I don't think any plane will be hijacked and flown into a building as easily as before.
They have a new problem: the passengers.
I don't think we need these agencies when we have an aware public.

The terrorists attacked a way of life, and won.

Re:LOL (5, Insightful)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140462)

Did you even read the article? I know this is something despised around here, but you could at least pretend you tried. You even assert that we are more safer in your own post, after you say that we aren't. I'm not aware of any successful major terrorist attack after 9/11, if you do, will you please share it with us?

Re:LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140650)

9/11 Was set up by the government as a form of "shock therapy", a blank slate to enable corporate interests to "go wild" at the expense of the common man.

We know it's bullshit, we just rationalize it away because we can't believe anybody working for us would cause such a Reichstag Fire er.. 9/11. Explosives in the towers. The mysterious collapse of building 7. The cruise missile that hit the pentagon. The lack of wreckage in Pennsylvania. The hijackers still being alive. The setup, smear-campaign, and mysterious death of germ scientist Bruce Ivins. The corporations' claims to the newly-conquered Iraq and the reconstruction money that vanished mysteriously through bogus shell corporations.

This is disaster capitalism, [naomiklein.org] my friend, and it's here to stay.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141000)

Mod parent up, he's onto a good point actually.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141072)

I KNEW IT!

One step further (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141154)

I'm not aware of any successful major terrorist attack after 9/11

I don't know if I'm even aware of a major (publicized) terrorist attack attempt post 9-11 that COULD have been successful. We had a guy with a binary explosive in his shoes, the Christmas fellow, that group of fellows on the east coast (I want to say) a few years back that the media tried to play up as a threat, and then the Times Square fellow who didn't know what he was doing at all despite being trained.

Re:LOL (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141240)

I'm not aware of any successful major terrorist attack after 9/11, if you do, will you please share it with us?

In the 10 years BEFORE 9/11, there was only one in the US (Oklahoma City), so the sample is too small to make any conclusions.

(outside the US there have been plenty of successful terrorist attacks since 9/11, including the London and Madrid train bombings)

Re:LOL (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140470)

I guess it made us safer in the same way y2k made our software date handling better. It prompted us to finally close some of the biggest holes We certainly are still getting it wrong much of the time though and in many instances the best cure we have managed to implement is much worse than the disease.

Re:LOL (2, Interesting)

sirknala (1807374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140636)

Exactly. Maybe "safer" isn't the right word to use but it's very close. No major incident since 9/11. Everyone is more aware. Military strikes are taking the fight elsewhere. You can't really disagree with it. I'm in the military and have been to Afghanistan and Iraq several times and I'm going again soon... there's no way you can tell us we aren't helping to keep us safer. And to explain the recent failures in the system... as all programmers know, you can't prevent every exploit since there will always be some kind of bug in complicated code. You just have to learn and adapt. (though there is a lot of "oh well I'll get paid no matter if this works really good or just bare minimum" attitude in the govt)

Re:LOL (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140878)

Umm, Iraq wasn't involved in 9/11 nor was there any credible evidence that Saddam was able to attack us in the US. Perhaps you might explain to the rest of us how that makes us safer. And while you're at it, you might consider explaining how the mission in Afghanistan is protecting us more than the alternative of cruise missiles to training camps would.

What we have done is dedicated a huge amount of resources to nebulous goals in parts of the world of little strategic value, without defining the victory conditions or making credible back up plans for the instance where we need to engage in combat elsewhere in the world. There may be something I'm missing here, but Sun Tzu was right on when he indicated that fighting wars far away for prolonged periods is a serious indicator of failure.

This is largely the same problem we had in Vietnam and Korea, where there was a secondary war going on, which we weren't particularly involved in, which kept our troops in the crossfire. Such wars rarely if ever go well, and the lack of interest in the higher levels of the DoD and Federal government to commit resources we don't have to the mission at hand does not indicate that we're likely to make a meaningful positive difference.

Re:LOL (5, Informative)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140818)

Actually, no, that's not what he's saying.

He's got several points, but the one the second article mangles is a two-parter: (A) A big attack like 9/11 is hard to organize and pull together successfully, without getting caught along the way. (Mostly due to old-fashioned police work, or just the fact that one of you suicide-attackers-in-training might come to the realization that they can actually live this life usefully. And that's assuming you managed to find enough of them in the first place.) (B) No smaller attack is likely to make an impression on the people you need to impress.

So, basically, he's saying is that terrorism has become an all-or-nothing proposition: Either you pull of something spectacular, or you fail. And the more spectacular you try to be, the more likely you are to fail before you get to the point where you pull anything off.

Re:LOL (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140950)

He's got a point there. I remember to some degree the hostage-taking that was happening to Westerners in the Middle East in the 1980s. Even as a kid, I grew used to hearing it on the news, and eventually it stopped in part because it grew to be useless in dealing with the governments.

Terrorist groups have to do something big or something new to catch the attention of Western audiences. They don't have the manpower to undertake large-scale campaigns, and no real sympathy in the populace to let them conduct underground activities unfettered. The biggest options include taking out a US president, but that's damned hard because of the giant force that's arrayed to keep him safe. Even a former president couldn't be taken out in a semi-hostile area with the resources of a government behind the attempt. Other options involve hitting a stadium during a sporting event, but for the kind of display that they want, it would require getting access to a sizable aircraft -- something not really an option these days.

But even with those, where do you go then, after you've made a nation livid? There's no sleeping bear to wake up right now. The bear is awake, and irritating it further isn't going to do much more than put 100,000 more troops into the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area, with Pakistan's approval. Considering how well the Pakistani army is doing when forcing the militants into a straight-up fight, and that's with largely 1980s-level gear. The average US soldier is probably about as well-equipped as the average Pakistani special forces soldier. I can't imagine what kind of lopsided battles would take place.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141250)

Either you pull of something spectacular, or you fail. And the more spectacular you try to be, the more likely you are to fail before you get to the point where you pull anything off.'

That's a point we sometimes forget- a terrorist is trying to cause terror, not necessarily deaths. This can be done rather easily.

Imagine two people with stolen vehicles. A car and a van. Load the van with anything explosive/flammable/toxic/radioactive/otherwise nasty. Maybe several 55-gallon drums of gas, some propane tanks, chlorine (bleach or pool supplies), and/or radioactive smoke-alarm innards. Drive into the Lincoln tunnel, car first. Drive slowly, allowing traffic to clear ahead of you, and build up behind you. The van driver parks the van across both lanes, sets of a 30 second timer, gets into the car, drives away.

Boom.

Now, you have the 'terror' of all the people actually trapped in the tunnel, and those still in New York City who need to use the tunnel to get home at the end of the day. Tunnels will be shut down, bridges might be, too. People will panic, people will be terrorized. And it's all done by 2 people in stolen cars.

If you want to be more 'spectacular' get together a dozen people (still far less than the 19 on 9/11), and hit all three tubes of the Lincoln tunnel, both Hudson tunnels tubes, and the GW Bridge.

Another scenario:
New Years Eve. A small plane (piper cub?) is stolen from an airport in PA or NJ, slightly modified, loaded, then flown east to NYC. It swoops in low across the Hudson, and flies along 42nd street. As it approaches Times Square, the pilot yanks a cord, opening a hatch/door on the bottom, and a cloud of white powder emerges, settling down toward the crowd.

All it takes is one person to shout "Anthrax!" or "Nerve Gas!" or whatever, and there will be mass panic. Tens of thousands of people running up and down the avenues, across the side streets, trying to escape the cloud. National media coverage will have people all over the country panicking.

All done by one man with a stolen plane and a couple 50 pound bags of flour.

The point is, it doesn't need a lot of people to be 'spectacular'.

BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140418)

Bruce never said 9/11 made us safer. Read his words, not the words someone put into his mouth.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140438)

Exactly, he never said that, stupid journalist.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140492)

I think this Richi Jennings guy has a job waiting at Fox News. He just needs to phrase this as a leading question, put it the bottom of the screen, and he's right up there with Neil Cabuto.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140518)

Well, he certainly didn't like the NSA and the American police state opportunistically created in the wake of 9/11, where the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile.

Now he's mysteriously retracting his words at gunpoint, under threats of being jailed for national security reasons. He sure pissed them off when he suggested that Windows is mandated for businesses because of its built-in NSA backdoor that Chinese hackers learned to exploit. I can almost see the red dot from the laser sight on the back of his head as his quavering voice pretends to endorse this safe new America.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140582)

Wow. A drunk, nonsensical rant from a guy named Ethanol-fueled. Who would have guessed?

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (5, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140526)

"After the enormous horror and tragedy of 9/11, why have the past eight years been so safe in the U.S.?"

"If you're a representative of al-Qaida trying to make a statement in the U.S., it's much harder. You just don't have the people, and you're probably going to slip up and get caught."

If you actually read his words, he said that it's much harder to make a big statement terrorist-wise, because the longer it takes you to do it the more likely you are to get caught. He didn't literally say "The US is safer because of 9/11", but he did make the comments that post-9/11 terrorism is all about scale, and that it's harder to pull off a large scale terrorist act because of the threat of being caught.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (2, Insightful)

YXdr (1396565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140672)

That was one of several possibilities he proposed in response to the original question (why no attacks?)

There, he's basically saying that 9/11 changed the equation, which is a statement we can discuss rationally. But instead we get a bunch of responses to the emotion-laden headline.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (5, Interesting)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140688)

Lewis Page, of The Register, said it better, and more eloquently:
        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/08/mutallab_comment/ [theregister.co.uk]

        Check out the second page of the article, entitled "OMG - why aren't we all already dead?"
        -dZ.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (5, Informative)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140760)

He didn't literally say "The US is safer because of 9/11", but he did make the comments that post-9/11 terrorism is all about scale, and that it's harder to pull off a large scale terrorist act because of the threat of being caught.

Yes... that's the premise of Jennings' article. But is that the same thing as being safer?

First - you have to look at context. Schneier wasn't talking about a factor of safety. He was answering the self-imposed question "Why Aren't There More Terrorist Attacks?" [schneier.com] From Schneier's article:

As the details of the Times Square car bomb attempt emerge in the wake of Faisal Shahzad's arrest Monday night, one thing has already been made clear: Terrorism is fairly easy. All you need is a gun or a bomb, and a crowded target. Guns are easy to buy. Bombs are easy to make. Crowded targets -- not only in New York, but all over the country -- are easy to come by. If you're willing to die in the aftermath of your attack, you could launch a pretty effective terrorist attack with a few days of planning, maybe less.

But if it's so easy, why aren't there more terrorist attacks like the failed car bomb in New York's Times Square? Or the terrorist shootings in Mumbai? Or the Moscow subway bombings? After the enormous horror and tragedy of 9/11, why have the past eight years been so safe in the U.S.?

Note that he's saying these attacks are easy (arguably no less difficult than before 9/11 - though that's my conjecture, not his). And, in fact, he even lists attacks that happened after 9/11.

The kicker to Jennings' article is that it imposes a conclusion on someone else's work that was never made. If you go back and look at a lot of Schneier's writing, he often notes that terrorism is not and has never been a major threat. And certainly not the threat that the current crop of fear-mongers make it out to be. To take Scheier's article and conclude that there has been a drastic change in the environment is a step away from claiming that everything done in the name of combating terrorism has been effective. Something else that Scheier is constantly critical of in his writings.

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (1)

josh82 (894884) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140778)

"He didn't literally say "The US is safer because of 9/11", but he did make the comments that post-9/11 terrorism is all about scale, and that it's harder to pull off a large scale terrorist act because of the threat of being caught."

So, in other words, you see that the problem is that the words "The US is safer because of 9/11" most straightforwardly imply that 9/11 directly made the US safer, whereas the reality is that 9/11 only indirectly made the US safer.

What the idiot paraphrasing Schneier should've said was that "The US is safer because of the response to 9/11."

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (1)

josh82 (894884) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140796)

In other words, it's like saying "My girlfriend is pregnant because I took her out for drinks".

The correct response to that is "Umm..."

One crucial and missing middle step is "We got drunk and had unprotected sex".

Re:BRUCE NEVER SAID THAT (1, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140734)

He didn't use those exact words, but he did say:

Even 9/11, which was planned before the climate of fear that event engendered, just barely succeeded. Today, it's much harder to pull something like that off without slipping up and getting arrested.

Which essentially implies that 9/11 made us safer. It made us safer mainly because people are watching out for that kind of thing, not because of weird airline regulations, like the OP suggests. And frankly, I think he is right.

Of course we are safer... (0, Offtopic)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140426)

Read Talebs Fooled by Randomness

People don't do anything unless they are clubbed on the head. Until then we are dumb as ever...

Ask yourself, ever been burnt? Or name somebody who has not been burnt. We all know we can be burnt and thus we don't need to experience the joys of a burn (regardless of the degrees). Yet we are all burn ourselves at one point in our lives...

Work for the anti-terrorist paranoiaaaa (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140446)

I think a lot of programmers would rather just be busy elsewhere, or make it as complicated as possible so it earns a lot of money and the project fails under it's own weight.

No, just more paranoid (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140452)

It didn't make us safer, it just made us more paranoid. That may mean we are looking for trouble in more areas but it doesn't make us more effective at doing so. It increases the amount of noise in the system and costs us a lot of money, liberty, and even sanity in a lot of cases.

Re:No, just more paranoid (1)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141248)

But are you really paranoid if they are out to get you?

I don't buy into the fact that all of the changes since 9/11 have made us safer. They have caused us untold inconvenience and hassle. There is little doubt that the entire TSA is a waste of time, effort, and money. The billions of dollars that have been spent on upgrading the civil defense structures (police, fire, EMS and so on) have maybe helped communities out by having some additional equipment but they really aren't doing much to deter terrorism. All in all what 9/11 did was made a bunch of government providers very rich (example a 24' boat costing almost $250,000 was recently ordered by the Ramsey County MN Sheriff's Department. It was approved by the County Commissioners because it would be paid for out of Homeland Security and Stimulus funds. The boat is justified because it can be used to fight terrorism on the Mississippi River!

But there are some very nasty people out there who are out to get us. Good old fashioned vigilance goes a lot further than all these high tech toys and making us take our shoes off at the airport.

Maybe some of that stimulus money should go to hot dog cart vendors?

Hah! (3, Interesting)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140456)

The illusion of safety is what we earned. Just because we haven't been attacked doesn't mean other countries haven't been. Furthermore, if the plan of a terrorist is to incite terror through violence, they definitely fucking achieved their mission. The average drooling moron is scared shitless of terrorists, and covers it by being excessively racist towards Arabs.

Something smells mildly like V for Vendetta around here...

911 exposed one thing though (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140466)

Americans are not the strong cowboys we watch in the films but a bunch of cowards who cower and panic as soon as a middle eastern man says boo

Re:911 exposed one thing though (-1, Troll)

hhawk (26580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140924)

They hit the Marines in Beirut when Regan was President and he cut and ran.. and that seems to have set the tone that American's would never stand and fight. Today we know that isn't true but it's taken a few other Presidents and a whole lot of blood to prove that American's are not cowards. But I wish people would see that there is strength in pursuit of the path of Peace and that not fighting sometimes takes more courage than to fight.

Clearly, NoSQL is the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140474)

If our countries no-fly list can't be handled by just a simple relational database, then we've got more serious problems than replication.

No Fly List (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140504)

Am I wrong, or would a clever misspelling on a ticket bypass the entire point of an automated no-fly list?

I know the people that check your boarding passes don't check *that* closely. If your name is Faisal Shahzad, you could probably substitute an a for an e or a silent q or something without it being noticed.

Or am I helping the terrorists now? It's all very confusion.

Re:No Fly List (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140630)

you could probably substitute an a for an e or a silent q or something without it being noticed. Or am I helping the terrorists now?

I just turned you into the FBI for "aiding and abetting terrorists". Enjoy the view, and don't drop your soap, ever.

I buy it (5, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140506)

Pre 9/11:
Plane hijacker: Open the cockpit
Pilot: Ok
*passengers cower in fear*

Post 9/11:
Plane hijacker: Open the cockpit
Pilot: I'm sorry, I can't, the door cannot be opened until we are on the ground
*passengers storm the hijackers*

It used to be you played real friendly with hijackers in a hostage situation. Now we know better. We didn't need to change a thing to keep 9/11 from happening again. As much as I'm a critic of many of the anti-terror changes, though, some just make sense (bullet-proof cockpit doors so air marhsells can shoot into them, locking the doors during flight, pilots carrying guns, etc)

On a semi-related note, a friend of mine's father is an airplane pilot. A few years ago, he was going through the security checkpoint. So he hands the TSA agent his gun and goes through the procedure. On the other side, the agent hands back his gun, and says "I'm sorry, sir, I need to confiscate your shampoo"..."you do know I'm a pilot right? And you just handed me a loaded gun?"..."I know sir, please don't make it any more ridiculous than it already is"

Re:I buy it (4, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140738)

It used to be you played real friendly with hijackers in a hostage situation. Now we know better.

Well, pre-9/11 the reason everyone just went along with what the hijackers wanted was because in general the hijackers wanted money, to make a political statement while getting themselves dropped off somewhere where they wouldn't get arrested or simply make a statement by landing the plane somewhere safe, taking all the passengers off and blowing up the empty plane. Basically if you just played along you'd be a lot safer than if you tried to take down the guy carrying a submachine gun and a hand grenade...

Re:I buy it (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141138)

Cooperation and appeasement with criminals was just as idiotic an idea then, as it is now. We have a sad, sad culture where we are supposed to leave criminals alone, and do nothing but call the police. Why? Because the police tell us to do so.

Imagine if what happened to hijackings happened to day-to-day crime... When a few cops are fighting against you, you have a pretty good chance. When the entire public is fighting against you, you have no chance at all...

Re:I buy it (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140830)

"I know sir, please don't make it any more ridiculous than it already is"

Not to worry, that would be impossible.

Re:I buy it (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140912)

We didn't need to change a thing to keep 9/11 from happening again.

Well, there are only two things you can do to prevent 9/11 from happening again:

a) Change your calendars to skip from the 8th to the 10th of September
b) Take all your troops back to your country, and stop messing in other countrie's affairs.

Re:I buy it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141186)

Well, skipping from the 10th to the 12th would probably be more helpful in that regard :)

Re:I buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141220)

a) Change your calendars to skip from the 8th to the 10th of September

That would skip the 9th of September, not the 11th.

Re:I buy it (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141192)

Considering that people fairly regularly go nuts on airplanes for non-political or -religious reasons it's strange that airlines didn't try to keep people out of the cockpit to begin with. Maybe the proof that those people throwing fits are not really crazy is that they refrain from endangering the plane. Instead of attacking the pilots they try to open the door, knowing that it won't open.

Not a big government solution! (5, Interesting)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140508)

The reason it takes so long to check the list is that the airlines are not giving the manifest data back to the TSA. The TSA updates the lists, but it doesn't have access to the manifests, so it cannot check. Instead, the airlines check the lists whenever they chose, but no less than every two (previously eight) hours.

The big government solution would be to compel the airlines to provide the data to the TSA, which can then check the manifests against the lists as the data comes in. But privacy advocates and European governments are opposed to giving the "big government" real time access to people's travel plans. The government has been willing to accept the current system as a compromise.

Ultimately, the question is whether you want to allow the private sector to actually perform the no fly list reconciliation and keep your data relatively secret, or whether you want the government to be able to instantly identify people on the no fly list, but have access to your movements via air travel.

The choices are not great, and I won't express my preferences.

--AC

Re:Not a big government solution! (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140774)

Why is it only possible for the government to check the no-fly list in real time? If the data is available to them the airlines should be just as capable of doing that.

Re:Not a big government solution! (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140948)

Actually you can do a "no fly" list real-time without sacrificing privacy. All that is involved is the government (TSA) coming up with an algorithm to produce a 1-way hash per person on the no-fly list. Airlines get real-time updates from this list, and run the same algorithm to produce the same 1-way hash for passengers. Those 1-way hashes that match can be reported back to the government w/o the exchange of any personal information. If a match is found you could then send more detailed information to the airline (so local authorities have useful information right away).

I assumed that they were already doing something like this (perhaps not).

Re:Not a big government solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141146)

I assumed that they were already doing something like this (perhaps not).

You give them way too much credit, unfortunately.

Ignorance (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140512)

To give him the benefit of the doubt, it appears he's saying that 9/11 was a "wake up call" which should have brought us out of a certain level of ignorance about the state of things both outside and inside our country. While ignorance might be bliss, nobody ever said it was safe or smart.

The problem with this is that it seems to assume that there's a surefire way to prevent all attacks or acts of aggression against the country. Like I was telling somebody yesterday, the only reason that bomb didn't go off in NYC is luck. The guy was stupid and we got lucky. In a city the size of New York there's no reason somebody couldn't detonate a crude device like that without arousing suspicion. Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put in you cannot eliminate a certain level of ignorance.

In any case, the real question is whether or not we're less ignorant of the dangers than we were previously. Given the state of things I'm not so sure we are.

Re:Ignorance (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140616)

There's an old saying along the lines of "The people planting the bombs only have to get lucky once, but the people trying to stop them have to get lucky every day."

Re:Ignorance (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140690)

Like I was telling somebody yesterday, the only reason that bomb didn't go off in NYC is luck. The guy was stupid

It may be more complicated than that. He used low-grade explosives probably because the higher-grade ones would attract more attention during acquisition. Thus, it appears that it's merely an attempt to get around the system by using crappy weapons. Maybe it would have worked slightly better if he didn't make other planning mistakes, but not much.
   

Why NoSQL? (4, Insightful)

tuxish (1022783) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140522)

Slashdot has previously posted about the decline of NoSQL. It was a nice idea, and some stuff was learnt from it, but it's not really any better than an SQL system which has been tried and tested with over 20 years of experience. There's a reason Google uses an SQL backend.

Re:Why NoSQL? (1)

kurtmckee (870398) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140596)

OP clearly has an agenda.

> How about checking within seconds of an update?

No cigar. For whatever advantages it may have, NoSQL's tradeoff is that it's only eventually consistent. You can't update the database and get nationwide replication immediately.

Come to think of it, maybe they're already using a NoSQL database. That'd explain why that guy was added to the no fly list over the Atlantic. He was probably blacklisted well in advance, but the database wasn't updated until he was already on the plane.

Re:Why NoSQL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140958)

There is one thing I can't do in NoSQL: A command like CHECKPOINT that may give the RDBMS a performance hit as it writes all modified code out of RAM and to disk. However, I do have a point in time where the database was consistent.

Eventually consistent doesn't cut the mustard. If I put a name on a no-fart list, I want the name on there NOW, so all subsequent reads by airlines show the name, and automatically give the person Beano when boarding the plane.

Re:Why NoSQL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140930)

Because the OP is a moron who reads a lot of Slashdot and Wired, and apparently has read Schneier's blog, but understood none of it, and has never tried to implement a large-scale multisite realtime database app.

NoSQL? Waittaminute (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140540)

Couldn't someone volunteer to show them how to implement a reliable, scalable, NoSQL setup?

If you don't have A.C.I.D., then you are in political hot-water if one slips away. It's one thing to lose a random face-book image, but a terrorism flag is another. A big-ass Oracle or IBM-DB2 can do the job if you pay enough for tuning.

Re:NoSQL? Waittaminute (2, Insightful)

jda104 (1652769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140708)

A big-ass Oracle or IBM-DB2 can do the job if you pay enough for tuning.

Why is it that, ever since Key-Value DBs came into vogue, that relational databases instantly got perceived as so neanderthal?

A normal-ass Oracle database would surely be just fine for storing a no-fly list which, by necessity, has magnitudes of order less than 6.whatever billion names; I'm guessing it would do so without much tuning, also.

Re:NoSQL? Waittaminute (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141108)

I'd definitely go big-ass (DB/2, Oracle, or even MS SQL Server). A normal-ass database might not have the following features:

1: Real time backups (since this database is critical, a backup system should be catching all writes and socking them away, perhaps to a D2D2T configuration.) You don't want to lose even 5-10 minutes worth of new information, so you either backup all writes, or you make sure the archive log files are well kept. Since this is a 24/7/365 database, there is no time to quiesce the tables for a solid offline backup.

2: Distributed replication. There are a lot of read queries on this thing, and not as many writes relatively, so there should be at least mirrors distributed geographically because the airlines have to check every person boarding the plane.

3: Performance and reliability. Just due to the sheer number of queries (essentially one per person per time he or she hops on a plane, goes past security, or gets a ticket), a big-ass database for scalability is almost required. If the database can't handle the queries, airlines and airports grind to a halt, and since their money is in getting people across the skies at the appointed times, they start hemorrhaging losses if this database is down.

4: Expertise. If a glitch happens, you want the product to be well known so you can get top talent and top talent fast.

Of all the items listed above, just because this database is so crucial to an industry, I'd stick with big-ass and avoid medium-ass, even though the size of the DB is probably not that big. The reason for this is that the name list entries may not take that much room on the SAN, but because you can't cache the lookups (if you cache for 2-24 hours, you might miss someone added to the list 5 min ago), so have to do a full query every time for every person at the gate, going through the metal scanner, getting a boarding pass, or buying a ticket.

Re:NoSQL? Waittaminute (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140852)

NoSQL and ACID are pretty orthogonal concepts. ACID is actually a mix of common-sense ideas and some subtle handwaving:

Atomicity and Isolation are solid ideas and actually doable.
Consistency is ill-defined, sneakily introduces semantics and computability, then declares it's all ok via marketing brochures.
Durability is flat out impossible. Gutsy to even use the term after nukes were invented.

Re:NoSQL? Waittaminute (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140920)

But in practice, the noSQL databases have not had much road-testing with such in place. The more reliable they become, the more like Oracle they become, and thus less cost-competitive with Oracle and IBM. NoSQL DB's are typically used in places where losing or delaying any one transaction would be no big deal because the companies are dealing with high-volume, low-income-per-customer business strategies.

In other words, they favor quantity and cost above reliability. There's no free lunch, it's about weighing your trade-offs to optimize profits. Sometimes it's profitable to blow off a few customers rather than pay extra to prevent such.

Re:NoSQL? Waittaminute (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141004)

Several major investment banks are using NoSQL dbs for multi-billion dollar businesses, and for the exactly opposite reasons to those you describe: high-volume, low-profit/transaction stuff goes to classic SQL dbs; the high-profit stuff runs on the the NoSQL platforms.

Why? Almost all transactions will be examined by 2+ people, so lookup by name is more important than select statements. Consistency is hard to define, so writing complex rules is counter-productive. Ad-hoc queries are common, and are often not expressible in SQL.

Re:NoSQL? Waittaminute (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141202)

Without the details and costs, it's hard to compare. Are they just surfing for patterns, or doing real monetary transactions?

Volunteer to Help? (2, Interesting)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140614)

What has he been smoking? Volunteer? As in giving away your services to an agency that has a mission to take away your rights?

Scalable NoSQL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140622)

> Couldn't someone volunteer to show them how to implement a reliable, scalable, NoSQL setup?

First such a thing would need to exist.

its the sort of problem (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140628)

that your average undergraduate computer science class could tackle, for the cost of coffee and peanuts, in an order magnitude smaller amount of time, and with more competency than the huge bloated slow as molasses and obsolete upon implementation bs that characterizes government involvement

but i'm not saying that as a typical cynical "we're doomed", and that's that, useless observation

what i'm saying is: really, give the problem to an undergraduate computer science class. put carnegie mellon or RPI in charge of implementing it

Bullshit (0)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140640)

This is a load of crap. Those who knew in advance about the attacks were not fired afterward, they were promoted.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141122)

The only load of crap is between your ears. No one other than the terrorists who planned and committed them knew about the attacks in advance.

Biggest reason for few attacks in the USA (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140646)

They're busy killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Al Queada has _exploded_ in political and "terrorist" operations there, it's become part of daily politics. It's also far more effective for their immediate goals of political control, fairly effectively counteracting the military might of the wealthiest nation on Earth.

After all, it worked against the British Empire and later the Soviet Union as invaders of Afghanistan.

Re:Biggest reason for few attacks in the USA (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140890)

The Soviets could have afforded to stay as long as they liked. Their casualties, by Soviet standards, were trivial.
They weren't driven out, but realized they'd never have a capable government of locals.

The strategy of giving Jihadists attractive places to fight and then letting prolonged conflict wear out their local support isn't anything the US would sanely admit to, but it is working pretty well in Iraq. The jury is out on A-stan.

Enough is enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140682)

Couldn't someone volunteer to eliminate the new buzzword, fad, you name it, "NoSQL"? Anyone who uses it proves that he's a jerk and probably a proud owner of iPad and iPhone, too.

Thanks.

Blog posts about blog posts make me cry... (3, Informative)

Squeeself (729802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140702)

No, Richi Jennings who wrote a blog post linking to Bruce Schneier's blog post said that Bruce said that 9/11 made us safer from terrorists. Bruce's claims are insightful, Richi is just stirring up controversy...

y'all niggas postin in a troll story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140742)

[starcraftmazter.net]
 
 

al-Queda ineffective (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140772)

It's striking how ineffective al-Queda has been over the last decade. Bin Laden called for attacks on oil facilities back in 2004 [time.com] - nothing happened. Bin Laden is still out there, issuing audio tapes, but few seem to be listening.

It's very hard to operate covertly against a hostile or unsupportive population. During WWII, the French resistance was able to operate successfully and was able to support British and American commandos. But no OSS spy dropped into Germany ever even made radio contact with HQ. Islamic terrorists in the US are in that position. If they try to recruit, somebody will probably turn them in, or they will be infiltrated. If they try to operate alone, they don't seem to accomplish much.

Loser terrorist operations recruit loser operatives. The "shoe bomber" [nctc.gov] (the only US terrorism incident tied to al-Queda in the US in the last year) did very little damage, was caught, and provided intel about the opposition. The bozo who tried to bomb Times Square last week may have been connected to the Taliban, and may have had "training", but he totally botched the job. He got caught, too.

This is not a technology scalabilty problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32140808)

What's with the talk of NoSQL and distributed databases, etc. How large can the no-fly list possibly be? If you put every human on the planet in there, you've got 6 billion rows, and not all that many columns in a row. This is not a database scalability problem. It's a bureaucracy and process problem. Quite frankly, the TSA ought to be able to publish modifications to the list in a manner that airlines can import in a fraction of a second and final manifest checks can surely run in less than a second between the time the gate closes and the time the plane pushes back from the gate. The only things standing in the way of an effective and simple technical solution are bureaucrats and govt contractors.

Re:This is not a technology scalabilty problem (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141214)

I'm pretty sure most /. readers could design a decent database architecture for this.

You have the main database replicated to several geographic regions, with a few replicas made to be synced, cut off, backed up offline, and resynced for sake of disaster recovery. Another replica runs a real time backup program and those backups get saved to other locations. The key is making sure the database is consistent for a long period of time.

You then replicate the tablespaces which concern each airline (Delta in general doesn't need to see the tables of Continental's ticket holders. I'm sure there are exceptions such as people transferring though.) By this, each airline has a subset of queries they need to make. This gives a performance boost, as they only need to query tables that concern them.

At most places, one would use a view with SHA-256 hashes instead of the names, passport IDs, and identifying information. This lessens the chance of a nosy person from trying to just do a quick SELECT * FROM TERRORIST_LASTNAMES to see if anyone they know is on it. Instead, they could grab a list of hashes and try running a guessing program, but that takes a lot more work (and can get them caught faster) than just a simple SELECT statement being executed.

This is like a game of telephone/Chinese whispers (4, Informative)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140814)

Bruce Schneier: Terrorism is hard, and 'topping' 9/11 in order to really impress their backers is harder.
Columnist: Bruce Schneier says 9/11 made us safer! But not really, that's how I interpret it!
Slashdot: Bruce Schneier says 9/11 made us safer! That's what he said!
Next iteration: Bruce Schneier is AN EVIL MUSLIM NAZI!

NoSQL? (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140828)

I think I'll take a solution that works, and try not to care so much about whether internally it queries in SQL or JSON. But since I'm entertaining this absurdity with a response, let's remember that the NoSQL databases are designed to be eventually consistent, which isn't necessarily a property I want my government's law enforcement relying on.

9/11 just showed us what happen when you steal.. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140916)

Leading up to 9/11 [blogspot.com] was a motive and facts that allowed terrorist to gain self sacrificing followers.

Wanna win out over terrorist? Simply stop giving them reasons to do what they do.

Dude, I'm sick of NoSQL (0, Offtopic)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140918)

If I hear one more thing about NoSQL, I'm going to go crazy.

NoSQL is a niche application, and it's use is only valid for some very specific situations. I handle databases of several TB of data, and that is only a fraction of what some people handle, with MySQL. I have a distributed DB over 3 countries, with latencies over 150 ms between slaves, and it works like a charm. Have we suddenly forgotten how to optimize applications?

Suddenly, the min requirement to run any application is a quad core machine with 8 GB of RAM, and since we can't be bothered to optimize our RDBMS, we drop them altogether.

We don't need no NoSQL (Yeah, way too many double negatives in there). We just need to stop hiring retards in our IT departments.

I agree with the NoSQL skeptics. (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140938)

This is exactly the sort of application where a "tried and true" solution (like a good ol' fashioned relational database) makes sense. Since the list is only updated by the TSA (and is treated as read-only by everyone else), using a traditional SQL database with simple synchronization/replication is a no brainer. You don't want to be reinventing the wheel, especially on critical infrastructure like this.

Huh? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32140940)

Bruce seems to be saying that 9/11 actually made us safer from terrorists, which seems like a curious argument.

I don't see what's curious about it.

Did the Japanese attack on pearl Harbor make the US less vulnerable to surprise attack by carrier-borne aircraft? Of course it did - from that point onwards.

Perhaps the submitter thinks the attacks should have somehow prevented themselves, which as far as I'm aware violates causality.

Revolution in military affairs - terror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32141044)

I don't believe ANY of these terrorist attacks were actually what the government told us.

It's real simple - you have a 'Revolution in Military Affairs' - the agenda is there, it needs to be brought into existence, therefore you need a precipitating event.

What did every 'revolution' throughout history use? What did the Communists do? Incite terror attacks. What did the Jacobites do (just for the culturally illiterate out there - that would be the guys in the French Revolution)? Institute a 'reign of terror'.

What does the American military pursuing a 'revolution in military affairs' do? Especially when they cite in documents such as 'Revolution in military affairs and conflict short of war' directly entire passages from Lenin (just for the techies out there - that was the guy that brought Communism to Russia)? What do they do?

Come on, Slashdot, you can put two and two together here - just get rid of the linear thinking for a minute there.

There's never any security for a superpower (1)

zullnero (833754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32141160)

The only thing any superpower nation can do to protect themselves is to retire from calling itself a "superpower". Any country that gets nationalistic and starts tossing its weight around as a superpower is certain to have plenty of nationalists from other countries focused on figuring out a way to knock that superpower off the top of the hill. China, you want to be called a superpower? Think it would feel good to have the world's hatred pointed squarely at you? Or is there another country that would like to be the target of the rage of every phallically-insecure ultranationalist thug in the world who wants to make himself feel bigger by blowing up your people?

As a citizen of the US who just wants to have a somewhat reasonably decent life, maybe do some good for his fellow man before he punches his ticket, anyone out there can have the ego boost that comes with being part of a superpower. I'd PAY you to take it. Oh, you don't want this? You don't want to be taxed out the wazoo so your country can fix up the economy of other countries even though your own economy is in the tank? Only to have those countries you build up decide to bite the hand that fed them? You'd rather pay your taxes for clean water, good schools, and roads instead of blowing it all on the biggest military budget in the world? You know, we don't really want this. Most of us would much rather just work hard, get something positive back from our government instead of the news that we're going to war again. With some other random country that we never imagined we'd have to go to war with because the corporations who own everything decreed that they were bad business partners. If you want this in your country, then hurry up and take it! I'm sure you'll love it. I'm sure it will make your weenies feel huge, right up to the point that some "terrorist" plants a few bombs in your office building.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?