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Human Nature Trumps Homeland Security

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the please-stop-with-the-ass-covering dept.

United States 304

netbuzz writes "Security expert Bruce Schneier suggests this morning that 'there might not be a solution' to our post-9/11 penchant for making domestic anti-terrorism decisions based on the basic human desire to cover one's backside. He might be right. But shouldn't we at least try to figure out a better way? For example, wouldn't 'Commonsense Homeland Security' be a winning political banner, not a risky one? "

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304 comments

Causes, not symptoms (4, Insightful)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115016)

Like it or not, the only reason we have anything to fear from Islamic terrorists is because we've spent decades interfering with their politics. You can't fight an idea, but you can arrange things so that people don't have any motive to blow themselves up.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (5, Insightful)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115108)

Exactly. You don't see terrorist bombings in Norway, because Norway isn't sticking their collective noses in other peoples' business.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115134)

Exactly. You don't see terrorist bombings in Norway, because Norway isn't sticking their collective noses in other peoples' business.

      I thought it was because of the beautiful Fnords!

Re:Causes, not symptoms (3, Funny)

Control Group (105494) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115594)

The beautiful...?

Your post would be more comprehensible if there was a word between "beautiful" and the excalamtion point.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116008)

Your post would be more comprehensible if there was a word between "beautiful" and the excalamtion point.

        Must be that damned slashdot filter ;)

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116116)

You wanna buy some spray-on contrast enhancer that'll allow you to read that word? Only $20! Comes with a free daypass on the saucer!

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115168)

Check France, Holland, or Spain recently?

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115382)

Check France, Holland, or Spain recently?

And if you had bothered to look, you would have noticed that Spain was part of the coalition in Iraq, and both France and the Netherlands are in Afghanistan.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116016)

The train attacks in Spain came from local sources. It had nothing to do with any involvment in Iraq except it being brought up by the "Why did it happen croud". Spain was being held hostage by violent terrorist since way before Iraq was on the radar.

And this makes me wonder if any "common sence" approach to national security could ever come about. It seems that everyone wanting something else doesn't understand the picture or the threat that is being presented to us. Bin Laden cowtails to some extream religios view for personal gain because just like any other religions because it helps get people on his side (it has recuiting benifits). And I think these others are somehow being sucked in.

It isn't that there cannot be "common sence" security. The problem is that when people demonstrate that they do not know what the problems are or that they are incappable of interpreting it, the solutions would always seem lacking. National security is already a ballence between preserving freedoms and effective security measures. But to have someone suggest a change in lue of security for more freedom when they cannot even get the picture of what is going on correct means that it will fail or makes us less safe (the reasons it will fail).

I'm not saying shut all the idiots up or anything. That would end up shutting me up too. The debate is a good thing but some home work needs to be done before making the claim about "laxing this aspect of security". I don't want to get attacked because some asshat who has little clue thinks this should work. The attitude now is that terrorism only exists because we are in Iraq and neglects many other aspects of it. You even made the claim that Spains problems were because of Iraq when they weren't. This shows they are winning the propaganda game.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (3, Informative)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115448)

>Check France, Holland, or Spain recently?

WRT sticking their noses in other people's business, both France and Spain have a long and bloody history of mucking about in (Islamic) north Africa on the one hand and squashing the Basque between them on the other. The Netherlands have their history in the east Indies, but I can't see that Holland is a big terrorist target these days. Random nut-cases aside, of course.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116100)

Part of spain and france's more recent history of mucking about in northern africa comes directly from the end of WW1 and the league of nations mandate that ordered them to administer peace and set them up for rule on their own. This was portions of the previous "ottoman empire" who were conquereed previous to the great war.

Ironicly, the US and Briton has had a better track record on this when dealing with territories and the fall of the ottoman empire. More terroritories to date were under local control faster when the US or Briton had control of them. Of course were some problem spots that will make everything look worse.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (3, Informative)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115340)

Exactly. You don't see terrorist bombings in Norway, because Norway isn't sticking their collective noses in other peoples' business.
There haven't seen terroist bombings yet in Norway, though they have been directly [boston.com] threatened [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Insightful)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115808)

There haven't seen terroist bombings yet in Norway, though they have been directly threatened.

That sounds a lot like the US administration when they try to scare the public by saying that just because we haven't been attacked since 9/11, doesn't mean that the terrorists won't attack tomorrow...

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116084)

That sounds a lot like the US administration when they try to scare the public by saying that just because we haven't been attacked since 9/11, doesn't mean that the terrorists won't attack tomorrow...
The US administration is right, some terrorist group will strike the US; the problem is that people don't put terrorism in perspective.
20,000 people die each year from the flu, perhaps there should be some sort of war on virii declared - maybe we'll get universal health care funding :)

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115872)

It's because they don't matter so much. When in USA WTC was destroyed, the whole world was speaking about this, and this was "news" for a week. If something like this happened in Poland for example, it would be maybe at end.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115914)

Exactly. You don't see terrorist bombings in Norway, because Norway isn't sticking their collective noses in other peoples' business.
Sure they do, Norwegian claims to fishing grounds in the North Atlantic are quite aggressive to the point of where you could classify them as a comic form of miniature Imperialism and they cause constant friction in Norway's diplomatic relations with it's neighbors. The reason you don't hear about armed clashes in the region is simply that North Atlantic costal states such as Russia, Norway and Iceland have long since abandoned such futile methods as conventional warfare for solving disputes about fish in favor of consuming large amounts of alcohol and then mooning each other from the bridge wings of their trawlers. The tactic gained popularity after it worked wonders against the destroyers and frigates of the Royal Navy during the cod wars of the 1950's and 70's.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115114)

Cue the vitriolic attacks against this common sense statement by neo-con crazies in 3..2..1..

Because, you know, suggesting that the universe is comprehensible, that actions have consequences and effects have causes beyond "They're EEEEEVIL!!!" is tantamount to treason these days.

They hate use for our FREEDOM. End of discussion.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0, Troll)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115472)

Yeah you're right, if we just sit at home and do nothing then terrorists will leave us alone. That idea worked great on September 10th, 2001 so let's try it again.

Only TWO ways to win the war on terror, take your pick:

1) Kill all Islamic terrorists.

2) Convert to Islam.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115578)

You, sir, are either an idiot or deliberatly trolling. The point is that we were NOT sitting at home leaving them alone on September 10th. We were fucking with them. Learn some history before you embarass yourself again. Who supported the Shah? Who supported Saddam? Who supported and supports the brutal Saudi monarchy? Who sends billions in "aid" to Isreal?

Are you really that uninformed?

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115598)

Actually, number 2 does not work too well either.

See Indonesia.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (2, Interesting)

Cyraan (840132) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115634)

But we weren't just sitting at home, we've been meddling in their affairs for decades, installing and propping up murderous dictators, and sometimes assassinating democratically elected leaders in the process. While obviously not all their grievances against us are legitimate, the fact is our actions in the past have helped to shape theirs in the present.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115644)

Do you really think that on Sept 10, 2001 the US was just sitting at home and doing nothing? We have been messing about in the middle east for *decades*. Islamic extremists have hated the US for just as long. Just because we only gave it a catchy name - The WAR on TERROR! - after sept 11 doesn't mean the conflict started then.

And there is another way to win the war on terror: Namely wait for the current generation of terrorists to fade away, and STOP pissing off the next generation so they don't grow up hating us. It's a long term proposition, but it's fitting that it should take decades to fix what took decades to mess up.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115848)

"That idea worked great on September 10th, 2001 so let's try it again."

Tower 7 was never hit by a plane. It came down in an unexplainable textbook demolition style against inconceivable odds. So what's the difference between 2001.09.10 and 2001.00.11?

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

osxadvocate (719680) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115534)

"They hate use [sic] for our FREEDOM. End of discussion." I love when people use pronouns without an antecedent.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115570)

Of course, all the evil acts committed by the people driving the terrorism do confuse the issue.

An interesting take that minimizes religion as a driver:

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/061218fa_ fact2 [newyorker.com]

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115116)

Muslim armies were plenty keen on invading the Christian and pagan states around them from the 7th century on, slaughtering the pagans and placing high taxation on the rest. Hard to blame the United States when we're only seeing the latest evolution of a trend dating back over a thousand years before the U.S. existed.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115176)

Just as Christian armies have been plenty keen on invading Muslim and pagan states around them throughout history.

The unifying notion is that many people fear and hate the unfamiliar, and will wage war against it no matter what it is.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115186)

As far as I know, most every state around that time was pretty keen on invading their neighbors. And I'm fairly certain that a long time has passed since then. Do you judge modern Christianity by the actions it took during that period? Thought not.

I love it when people imply things they are too cowardly to state flat out. Are you denying that US actions have any impact on Muslim attitudes towards us? If you mean it, say it.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115244)

As far as I know, most every state around that time was pretty keen on invading their neighbors. And I'm fairly certain that a long time has passed since then. Do you judge modern Christianity by the actions it took during that period?

The difference here is that there is continuity between those actions and the present. Islamic extremists look back to the early waves of expansion and say, "That's just, we need to keep it up." Meanwhile, it's hard to find any Christians who are trying to bring back the Byzantine Empire.

Are you denying that US actions have any impact on Muslim attitudes towards us?

I don't deny that Muslims feel wronged by the U.S. However, it seems likely that there would be strong impulses towards violence from certain sectors in that society regardless of what the U.S. was doing. Thailand and the Philippines have problems with Muslim insurgencies even though they are not meddling superpowers.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115490)

I disagree that there aren't any Christians trying to bring back the Byzantine Empire. In fact, I think that fairly accurately describes what certain Christian groups in the US are trying to do. Our extremists are no better than theirs, so why you might choose to judge a whole religion based on their extremists escapes me.

Thailand has been through so many governments since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1932, including several brutal military dictatorships, that it does not surprise me that Thai muslims might want in on all the action. As for the Philippines, they have been in a similar position. One does not have to be a super power to meddle, and it's not only meddlers that attract insurgencies. You might want to check how many non-muslim insurgencies a country has had before using them as an example of how Muslims are violent.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18116072)

How about judging a whole religion based on how many of them are extremists?

Re:Causes, not symptoms (2, Insightful)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115528)

The difference here is that there is continuity between those actions and the present. Islamic extremists look back to the early waves of expansion and say, "That's just, we need to keep it up."
You mean, except for the several hundred years during which the Islamic states (other than Turkey) were taken over and run as client states by the Europeans, right?

Meanwhile, it's hard to find any Christians who are trying to bring back the Byzantine Empire.

Not so hard to find, there's one living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC. Check in with him & his boss, Dick.

Thailand is an outlier, but in the Philippines you've got a non-Muslim government made up of the leftovers of a Spanish & US colonial system. The Muslims in the south were most certainly meddled with by westerners, it just happened long enough ago that most folks in the US have never heard of it. Ditto Indonesia. It amazes me that folks think France can take over Syria, England can take all of Mesopotamia, the US can grab the Philippines, and then set up arbitrary borders, paying no attention to traditional tribal and ethnic boundaries, walk away and be surprised when the people who were essentially enslaved start 1) Fighting with each other and 2) looking for a little payback.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (-1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115540)

Muslim armies were plenty keen on invading the Christian and pagan states around them from the 7th century on, slaughtering the pagans and placing high taxation on the rest. Hard to blame the United States when we're only seeing the latest evolution of a trend dating back over a thousand years before the U.S. existed.

The way I understand it, Christians (as in the people who identify with the label 'Christian' without strictly following the teachings of Christ) have been the most bloodthirsty religious group ever to exist. Muslim societies in the in Europe and the Middle East where for the most part secular and peaceful. There schools of theology encouraged the reading the Bible and Tora and the first Muslims were a mixture of Jews, Christians and Pagans. They only really got sectarian after they were attacked by Christians, who were involved in campaigns to kill any group who didn't join them. "If you're not with us, you're against us" is a philosophy with a proud Christian heritage.

Remember that Christians have a long history of burning other Christian groups who didn't follow their particular brand of Christianity and that most of the surviving Churches around today are descended from the most violent and criminal groups in modern terms. That is how they survived. Islam survived by rising to the challenge.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115746)

They only really got sectarian after they were attacked by Christians, who were involved in campaigns to kill any group who didn't join them.

All I can say is, pick up a history textbook. Muslim armies sprang out of Arabia and overran the Empire before the Christians had ever heard of this new religion. The Byzantine Empire had been tied up for two decades at that part in a war with the Persians, none of the Empire's attention was on the Arabian peninsula. The pagans there, and subsequently the early Muslims who then subdued the pagans, lived in isolation and were unmolested by the Empire. Sorry, but as many examples of Christian violence you might be able to point to in the years to come, the Muslims really did strike the first blow here.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115198)

On the other hand, maybe we can keep interfering to the point where the rate of suicide bombings overtakes the birth rate. That way the problem will eventually take care of itself. Just like the payroll glitch in Office Space.

Do not agree (5, Insightful)

scuba_steve_1 (849912) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115332)

I do not agree...at all.

Certainly, we are not without sin, but the current rift is more complex than you portray. At the very least, it is due in part to a clash of cultures and religions that are almost diametrically opposed to one another. Freedom of speech, expression and, yes, religion are basic tenets of American society. We have grown so used to these basic freedoms that we assume that they are universally true...and they are not...regardless of how much we (or others) would like them to be.

I am not attempting to flame, but I think that it is fair to say that some societies (especially some of those in the Mid-East) hold a specific religious dogma to be of principal importance to their society. All other laws and rules of behavior flow from that religious dogma...or, at the very least, cannot conflict with it. I think that it is also fair to say that the level of tolerance for conflicting beliefs is fairly low. Doubt it? Try carrying a stack of bibles into Saudi Arabia and see how far you get through customs. I'll tell you how far - to the line that leads to jail:

http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGMDE2300220 00 [amnesty.org]
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1 012.html [state.gov]

In America, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I worked in Japan for some time and realized that a somewhat similar Japanese phrase crystallizes the difference between our two cultures - the nail that sticks up gets hit. The clash of philosophies between Islam and the West make the differences between the US and Japan look trivial.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115344)

I prefer to be honest. We have not been 'interefering with their politics".

Instead we let Republican Presidents (yes, it was ALWAYS Republicans that did this, Carter and Clinton did not make this mistake) search out and finding the most vicious, obnoxious, totalitarian, Facists we can find, giving them large amounts of aid, helping them to gain power. Then when we looked at who are friends were and what they were doing, we abandon them, often when they have grown dependent on our aid. This pissed them off, and either they declare us traitors, or they get thrown out of power and the revolutionaries hate us. We did it with Iran (Shah/Khomeni), Panama (Noreiga), Iraq (Hussein), and Afganistan (Bin Laden)

Re:Causes, not symptoms (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115464)

Okay, so the republicans get us into the problems. Then the dems ostensibly try to get us out with the results that they now hate us. Then the reps get us into something new. Eventually these conflicts boil up into wars that allow us to throw billions at the military-industrial complex, from which both dems and reps profit. So are you sure it's the reps making it all happen? I'd say it's the result of collusion between both parties, or from a more paranoid view, some higher level of organization that really runs both. I'm not really making that assertion, but you do have to realize that both reps and dems are populists, not actually liberals or conservatives, and that they are all part of the same corrupt kleptocracy.

In the words of Boots Riley (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115614)

War ain't about one man against the next,
It's poor people dying so the rich cash checks.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115654)

We did it with Iran (Shah/Khomeni), Panama (Noreiga), Iraq (Hussein), and Afganistan (Bin Laden),

Actually, bailing on Iran was Carter's doing. The other two you can "blame" Republicans, but notice how Panama and Afghanistan have been "fixed".

Re:Causes, not symptoms (2, Interesting)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115348)

Your comment might have been insightful, except for one thing. "the only reason" That shows blatant ignorance. This world is far more complex that. There is no "only reason" for anything. One of the reasons that they want to kill us is because of the political/military interference. Another reason is their hatred of our religion. There is also a centuries old grudge against the West based on the Crusades. That will not go away, EVER. Some few people will always be able to find a "motive" to do evil things. I'm sure if you actually think about it you will be able to come up with more reasons. But you chose to spout your liberal rhetoric that is just as bad and as broad a generalization as the neo-con rhetoric that others replied with. Again, I am only referring to the extremists, the terrorists.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115370)

you can arrange things so that people don't have any motive to blow themselves up.

I think the situation is a little more complex than that. "Arranging things" so that one group has no motive will very likely give another group motive, especially in the fiercely diverse belief systems throughout the middle east.

Nonetheless, military strikes are clearly not the solution in most cases, except to combat another agressive military. Random acts of violence are crimes, not military offensives, and should be treated as such.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115682)

Random acts of violence are crimes, not military offensives, and should be treated as such.

Some say that attitude is what caused 9-11. I'm sorry, but jaywalking is a crime. 9-11, the Cole, and various embassy bombings are acts of war.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (3, Insightful)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115386)

Interfering with their politics? More like daring to a non-Islamic free society. To quote the Aussie PM:

Australia is a western nation. Nothing can, will or should alter that fact. As such, in this new world, we are a terrorist target. Those who assert that through some calibration of our foreign policy we can buy immunity from terrorist attacks advance a proposition which is both morally flawed and factually wrong.

It is morally flawed because this nation should never fashion its foreign policy under threat. The foreign policy of Australia should always reflect the values of Australia. Bin Laden identified Australia as a terrorist target because of the intervention in East Timor. Let me pose the question, if that threat had been issued prior to the invention in 1999 should the Australian government have pulled back? I think not. Would the Australian public have wanted the government then in the face of that threat to have pulled back? I think not. The proposition about your foreign policy being adjusted is also factually flawed because the victims of terrorists over the past decade have come from many nations sharing a full variety of foreign policy and strategic views.

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115556)

Like it or not, the only reason we have anything to fear from Islamic terrorists is because we've spent decades interfering with their politics. You can't fight an idea, but you can arrange things so that people don't have any motive to blow themselves up.

What has Indesia [npr.org] done? How are they interfering in Islamic politics?

Re:Causes, not symptoms (2, Insightful)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115686)

Like it or not, the only reason we have anything to fear from Islamic terrorists is because we've spent decades interfering with their politics. You can't fight an idea, but you can arrange things so that people don't have any motive to blow themselves up.



History does not agree with you, for reasons others have pointed out. This has been going on for centuries. The only thing that has changed in the past few decades is that oil wealth and technology have finally made it possible for Islamic terrorists to effectively strike us at home in the US and Europe.

The important factor is that Western cultural ideas are threatening conservative Islamic ideas - this is the real threat the jihadists perceive. They don't hate our interference in politics, it's our "interference" in their culture. Are you willing to compromise your liberal Western values to appease Islamic conservatives? Are you willing to ignore their hideous human rights abuses?

Re:Causes, not symptoms (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115706)

Like it or not, the only reason we have anything to fear from Islamic terrorists is because we've spent decades interfering with their politics. You can't fight an idea, but you can arrange things so that people don't have any motive to blow themselves up.
The US has made a number of enemies by interfering, not just in the Middle East, but also South America. But to say that's the reason Islamic terrorists hate the US is wrong. Denmark has reason to fear terrorists, and all they did was print a cartoon!
Fundamentalists, no matter whether they are Islamic, Christian or other, feel threatened by ideas such as secular government and free speech. Closed-minded people with guns no matter what they believe (religion, environmentalism, nationalism) is the reason there is a threat.

Just because there is a threat though, doesn't mean there should be fear. We should fear drunk drivers more than any terrorist threat.

Hmm. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115042)

What about the Department of Frosty Piss?

I gotta blame (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115074)

the media for this CYA security. Every time A Bad Thing(tm) happens, the media (TV) is all about "How can we prevent this from ever ever ever happening again?". Nothing is ever a fluke, every time something goes titsup, we have to take action, dammit!

Re:I gotta blame (3, Funny)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115310)

Sounds right to me. Now how can we prevent the media from doing this ever, ever, ever, again?

You're on the right track, but apply Occam's Razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115558)

1) Stoke terror fear, playing to basic self-preservation instinct - now you have the peoples' attention
2) Sell info, services, products, agendas (hidden or otherwise), snake oil and lies under guise of protection
3) (not needed)
4) PROFIT!

There's money (and one less step) in them thar fears!

Not just the media's fault (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115938)

The problem is more complex than just blaming the media. It is a circular problem, modern Americans are amoral, lazy and uneducated so the media gives em what they want. Of course the media also had a large hand in creating that populace but gets to share the blame with the government schools, the entertainment industry (related to the media but somewhat seperate) and the socialists who pushed things down this road to hell we are now pretty much stuck on.

A hundred years ago the average American was a hell of a lot more educated than his modern descendent, such that most people would have seen right through the idiocy and emotional based 'policies' that drive modern political discourse. Which is why a determined campaign was waged to dumb people down.

Ideas that can't be expressed in a paragraph (or better a bumber sticker) have no chance of going anywhere in these days of two minute TV news stories that have to fit in the idea, the other party objecting to it and the network twit pontificating about it. And ideas that by all rights should be dead issues because they are so self evidently bogus are taken seriously because politicians can rely on 90% of the viewers being too ignorant to know better and that under no condition will the TV dude call them out on saying something retarded.

So where does it end? Can it be reversed? Doubt it. It will end, as Amb. Kosh said, "In fire."

Re:I gotta blame (3, Insightful)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115992)

The true test of a stable society is when a tragedy occurs and no laws are changed.

Homeland Security (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115084)

wouldn't 'Commonsense Homeland Security' be a winning political banner, not a risky one?


Homeland Security is not about security. It is about using the public's tax money to enrich your friends and business partners. And politics are determined by the players not by the voters (as much as we'd all like to believe otherwise).

How To Stop Terrorism (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115096)

Terrorism isn't the product of random deranged individuals; it is bankrolled by foreign governments. Saddam Hussein, for example, used to pay $30,000 to the family of each Palestinian suicide bomber. For another example, the governments of many countries, including Palestine, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, teach lessons that extol terror in their government-funded schools. The only way to be secure against terror is to destroy it at its roots -- and that means seriously debilitating the governments that are paying for it.

If this is done, random individuals may still carry out terror, but such random terror will be much less well organized and much less of a threat.

Re:How To Stop Terrorism (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115192)

Terrorism isn't the product of random deranged individuals; it is bankrolled by foreign governments.

Attacks in Europe have generally been planned by disgruntled individuals without any government support but with a few friends around them just as meaninglessly disgruntled as them.

The only way to be secure against terror is to destroy it at its roots -- and that means seriously debilitating the governments that are paying for it.

Many of these individuals are from fairly moderate states like Morocco, born in the EU, or even foreign converts. I don't think pulling down Saudi Arabia or Iran's governments (though still a good idea) would be a panacea.

Kill children's parents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115676)

Oh, no, wait... That's how you increase terrorism.

hmmm.

Re:How To Stop Terrorism (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115716)

How To Stop Terrorism


Redefine the meaning of stop?

Re:How To Stop Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115888)

Probably easier to redefine the meaning of terrorism.

Re:How To Stop Terrorism (2, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115800)

> The only way to be secure against terror is to destroy it at its roots -- and that means seriously debilitating the governments that are paying for it.

Yeah, just like the war on drugs... oh wait.

Some problems can't be solved just by throwing enough money at them.

How do you teach an intolerant person tolerance?

--
How do you win a "war on terror" when you're the one creating it??

Re:How To Stop Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115970)

how do you stop terror, you start by not financing and training the terrorists. like Bin Laden, who do you think financed and trained him ?? and give him weapons, and trained him and his army how to use those weapons ??

the USA thats who, so if your going to train them up, and use them to fight off the russians in the bulkans, when you are finished with them, dont just "forget" about them, and leave them to their own devices, otherwise the dog you trained will most probably come back to bite you.

so you can think your US government, your CIA and Secret service boys, for the problems you have. also before the US got into IRAQ, there was no known connection to terrism and Iraq, the terrism was from pakistan and from Bin Laden, Bin Laden and Husan did not have the same idoligies and there is no recored of them ever meeting each other.
US only went into IRAQ because of OIL and money, and because it was easier than going after Bin Laden. still is.

It is a no-win situation (5, Insightful)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115104)

But shouldn't we at least try to figure out a better way? For example, wouldn't 'Commonsense Homeland Security' be a winning political banner, not a risky one?

Scenario 1:

  1. $PRESIDENT and $EXECUTIVE_BRANCH_POLITICIANS say "this is overblown, go back about your normal business"
  2. Terrorist attack happens
  3. People howl that $PRESIDENT and $EXECUTIVE_BRANCH_POLITICIANS did nothing when they had the chance

Scenario 2:

  1. $PRESIDENT and $EXECUTIVE_BRANCH_POLITICIANS do everything that they can to prevent anything even resembling a terrorist attack
  2. No terrorist attacks happen for a short time
  3. People howl that $PRESIDENT and $EXECUTIVE_BRANCH_POLITICIANS only want to take away people's rights and institute facism

With options like that, it doesn't matter what they do, as they are always going to be wrong.

Re:It is a no-win situation (1)

OMRebel (920875) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115204)

Great post. I'd mod you up if I could. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Re:It is a no-win situation (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115222)

My $PRESIDENT variable isn't set to what I think it's supposed to be set to. Can someone please debug that? Or do we need a hard reboot?

Not exactly. (3, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115228)

Most of the time the politicians WANT the people to be afraid because fear is an emotion and emotions are easier to use when re-election time comes.

Politicians who run on fear don't have any thing else.

Re:Not exactly. (2, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115548)

Most of the time the politicians WANT the people to be afraid because fear is an emotion and emotions are easier to use when re-election time comes.


"I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion.
  I want everyone to remember *why* they need us!"

Exactly. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115698)

The people will still be the people. They might be voting against you, but they are still the people.

In a Democracy, the government will still be the government. You might not be re-elected to it, but it is still the government.

The politician is not the government. The politician is not the nation. The politician is not the people.

These have all existed before the politician and will exist after the politician.

But the politician will attempt to confuse them and portray himself/herself as the people, the nation, the government, the only thing that stands between all of them and oblivion.

Re:It is a no-win situation (2, Insightful)

MidVicious (1045984) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115230)

$PRESIDENT and $EXECUTIVE_BRANCH_POLITICIANS do everything that they can to prevent anything even resembling a terrorist attack

Does that include duct tape on the windows and the banning of liquids on all non-private airlines? (God forbid if a terrorist has a enough money to charter private flights).

When your 'do everything they can' scenario actually happens as a viable and logical solution, maybe then your 'do everything they can' scenario will make sense. Or possibly be proven invalid.

Re:It is a no-win situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115334)

Indeed. The danger behind common sense laws is the lack of the everyman's ability view the entire situation.

It sounds reasonable that tighter monitoring on muslims in the US would offer better protection against Muslim terrorists, but that completely disregards any expectations or rights that may be guaranteed to all citizens.

How many Japanese-Americans did we lock up up during World War II?

Re:It is a no-win situation (2)

MazzThePianoman (996530) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115510)

The whole idea of homeland security doesn't matter much really. No matter how many troops you have, no matter how many cameras are put up, somebody can strike anyplace at anytime. The main tool of 9/11 was information and box cutters. Some kids in Columbine had a lot more at their disposal. Think about it. Instead of actively aggravating the problem beyond the use of covert means, and giving up rights for anti-productive policies people need to accept that terrorism happens and that we need to live with it. Trillions of dollars can not protect every school, every home, every US Citizen. I am not saying give up. But the result of 9/11 is more disruption to our rights and way of life than before. Maybe in that way we are losing? If saving human life was the real goal then instead spend the money on the means of cleanup and use the extra toward things like ending world hunger etc.

Re:It is a no-win situation (1)

SkriptoR (804515) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115786)

Isn't that the purpose of our foreign intelligence, so that the politicians don't have to act at one extreme or the other? At least when they do, they should have at least a slight bit of information regarding WHY they think the need to be warning the public or calming them.

No (4, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115112)

Being perceived as "tough on terrorism" is far more important than having a workable plan. Politics is mostly about posturing while having your way with an unrelated issue at the same time.

Cynics abound.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115616)

Ahh, Illusion. The cornerstone of any great Republic. Usually associated with the beginning of its downfall.

Unfortunately, illusion is needed as reality is too cold and harsh for mass consumption by the public.

/for a good time watch the movie 'CRANK'

Republicans are genius marketers (1)

wass (72082) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116024)

That's the sad thing about Democrats versus Republicans. Republicans are AMAZING marketers, they have brilliant ways to convince the people their plans are the best. If they would only put this effort and briliance to work bettering the country instead of just working the media, trying to get re-elected, and giving kickbacks and crony positions to their supporters, we as a nation and as a planet would be in much better shape.

Democrats suck at marketing, and the 2004 campaign is perfect example of that. Republican marketers managed to turn a US war hero, Kerry, into a swiftboated lame coward, while the draft-dodging Texas Air Guard guy who went AWOL was turned into a war hero. Hell, there is no way any civilized country would have re-elected George Bush, after all his miserable failures, yet the Republicans convinced the US public that he was the better candidate.

It's really too bad that Republicans don't put this effort into making decent policies or solving national or global problems.

the democrats know what to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115120)

not the current ones, i'm talking FDR.

We can't have any more politician politicians (4, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115216)

There should be a few new rules to be a president/VP of the U.S.

#1. If you start a war, you send your kids to the frontlines of whatever country you are attacking.

#2. Your kid stays there till your term is over.

#3. You cannot own any companies or be a shareholder of any.

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115306)

I think we should alter #1 to go back to the really old days when the leader actually led the army into battle. The President and VP should be the first two people to enter every major battle.

Let's see Bush actually complete his service.

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (1)

orielbean (936271) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116014)

King Leonidas for the win!

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (1)

wass (72082) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115356)

Agreed. Maybe extend #1 to include the children of any Senators or Congresspeople that vote for said war.

Of course all this will do is open a bureaucratic maze of legal loopholes to allow them to declare war without declaring war, to keep their own kids off the front lines. Ie, kind of like how Congress never officially declared war on Iraq, yet by any sense of the word we're at war.

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (2, Insightful)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115402)

There are some people that already do this. Like John McCain. Hey, wait a second, he supports the war. Actually, I believe that you'll find that the majority of politicians that have relatives in Iraq support the fight as well. McCain wants to be president and he'll feet these inane requirements, plus he was a POW for several years himself. I don't know why I'm even replying to this thread. It's simply ignorant.

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (1)

wass (72082) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115902)

Actually, I believe that you'll find that the majority of politicians that have relatives in Iraq support the fight as well.

Majority of politicians with relatives in Iraq? There's only a handful of Senators and Congressmen that actually have their children or their siblings serving in the war. Many are just begging to count their 4th cousin twice removed that's serving, so they can claim they have relatives in the war.

Look at the biggest pushers for the war, and consider how many of them have children serving. McCain is one of the very few exceptions. You also bring up his POW status, which is ironic since that's what Bush shamelessly exploited during the pre-2000 primaries, to convince voters that McCain is batshit insane from his days of torture and therefore unfit for office. Sad, coming from Bush who used family connections to even get into the Texas Air Guard during the draft, and then went AWOL.

Since you bring up McCain, why not bring up Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, whose son is serving in Iraq, yet he also wants to bring the troops home. A few months ago Webb's son was almost killed by an IED explosion, and when Webb met Bush at the White House a few days later, Bush was explicitly told to be sensitive about this to Webb. Yet Bush still managed to be a dickhead to Webb when Webb said he wants to bring the troops home.

The basic pattern is that of the pushers for the Iraq war, including this latest surge attempt, very few have members of their immediate family's serving. Put Jenna and Barbara Bush on the front lines, put Cheney's daughter on the front lines, then see how much George and Dick will want to keep US troops in Iraq.

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115794)

#1. If you start a war, you send your kids to the frontlines of whatever country you are attacking.

I served so the Bush twins wouldn't have to. I'll gladly donate my service to them. That's why it's called a Volunteer Force. No one is in Iraq that doesn't want to be. If they wanted out, all they have to do is make a pass at their commanding officer (provided their commanding officer is the same sex they are)

#2. Your kid stays there till your term is over.

Did that... served in the MidEast under two administrations.

#3. You cannot own any companies or be a shareholder of any.

Their money is in a blind trust. They don't know where their money is. Besides, if they had to put their money into common interest baring accounts, they would get blasted everytime the interest rates went up. Or would you prefer that they just keep all their money under the mattress in the Lincoln bedroom?

Re:We can't afford more morons like you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115802)

In case you hadn't heard, membership in the U.S. armed forces is voluntary

How can a parent "send" their seventeen year-old child into the military?

Oops! I forgot - no facts allowed when the "reality-based" community has the floor.

Asshole.

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (3, Interesting)

gregoryb (306233) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115840)

I read a book recently that touched on something similar to this. Part of the argument was if more of our leadership actually had any military experience, they might stop treating the military as a black box they can just throw any problem in and crank out any solution they desired. Also, if more of our leadership (cultural as well as political) had children who served in the military, they might think twice of using the military in some of the ways it's been used in the past decade.

The book was titled AWOL [amazon.com] . Pretty interesting book, and while I don't agree with everything in it, it made me think.

-gb

Re:We can't have any more politician politicians (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 6 years ago | (#18116036)

Because obviously as the child of the president you deserve to be forced into military service. After all, you always could have chosen other parents, or been a more obedient child so your mother wouldn't have to start a war.

Reactionary, not preventative (3, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115246)

If the government was seriously interested in reducing the threat from terrorism, they would've come up with a comprehensive, and practical, plan for creating stability and peace in the Middle East. But that's simply not the case. For example, the only thing the extremists hate more than the US and the West is Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli/Palestinian peace process has never been on the administration's frontburner when compared to Iraq and Saudi Arabia policies. And speaking of Iraq, what better way to galvanize potential terrorists than by fulfilling Osama's message that the Infidels want to invade the holy lands? Not having a competent reconstruction plan or means of dealing with sectarian conflict doesn't help either. Then there's the perception that the US is ignoring diplomacy with Iran because President Bush wants war. Even if this claim is meritless, that is still how many people see it. All of this, coupled with deep-rooted societal issues, creates the conditions that foster terrorism. New government agencies and stupid color-coded charts do jack shit to address the core issues. And by relying on bureaucrats, as the author says, we're setting ourselves up for disaster. The government needs to stop with the feel-good, expensive, worthless Homeland Security measures and really tackle the issue at its source...

Re: Ignorance, not insight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115652)

And speaking of Iraq, what better way to galvanize potential terrorists than by fulfilling Osama's message that the Infidels want to invade the holy lands?

In fact, bin Laden was refering to American bases such as Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, created to enforce the U.N.-mandated southern no-fly zone established post Gulf War I to stop Saddam Hussein (May He Rot In Hell for Eternity) from committing genocide against Iraq's Shiite population.

IIRC, the American military presence at Prince Sultan and other other locations went to almost nil within 30 days of the liberation of Iraq.

And the "deep-rooted" causes of Islamic radicalism is a religion that is stuck in the 9th Century.

But you go ahead and buy into that jihadi/"Progressive" propaganda. Asshole.

As a slogan, yes (2, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115272)

"Commonsense security" would make a grand slogan. But in practice that would be the same stuff we get now, because the spin merchants would insist that whatever they're promoting is commonsense. "It's common sense to imprison everybody and have robots look after their basic needs; after all, if it saves one child..."

my speaking points in a winning presentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115328)

I can get a standing ovation in any presentation (even a presentation about replacing batteries in our server room UPS) by saying: "We must be eternally vigilant in this post-911 world where terrorist are waiting to strike the heart of every god-fearing citizen of this great country. Common sense dictates that the majority of the actions that we take will not be done in fear but in positive response to a potential threat against our children. Security must be on the mind of every person in this meeting and we also must continue to strive for our united goals to eradicate the danger"
Then, I quickly add...
"And so, we have to replace the 3-year old batteries in the server room"

Nobody argues. I could have said "we need to have three-hour Doom tournaments once a week" and I would get it.
Feel free to cut-and-paste my speech and try it out at your next budget meeting.

TDz.

Unfortunately self interest interferes (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115366)

It is far more than just 'coverings ones ass'. The is also the power trip of being able to control people and make them jump through hoops. Add to that there is job security, no inflated risk, no job to contain the risk, real or not. Then there is the opportunity for promotion, the greater the risk, the bigger the department, the higher the head of the departments salary as well as an inflated sence of self worth for that department head. Incumbent politics also loves a populace who feels under threat as they are less likely to vote the other party in, FUD always tends to win over the unknowing. Then there are the corporations that profit as a result of all those security threats, security systems, guards etc.

Everything remains until such time as the electorate get sick of all of it and kick out the party that is profiting by it and replace them with the politic party that will shift the focus away from terrorizing the public with bogus threats and focus on all those mundane issues that will affect the lives of the majority like, universal health care, universal education, the environment and the falling average standard of living ie they toss out the party that focuses on the wealthy minority and making them richer, safer and protecting them from the poor that the rich create and instead focus upon the working poor and on preventing the now shrinking middle class from sliding down to join the working poor.

You can always tell the most corrupt politicians because they will always pat themselves on the back for how much profit the corporations and the wealthy that control those corporations are making and completely ignore how many ex-middle class families have joined the ranks of the working poor.

I blame the electorate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115408)

We get the government we deserve.

No politician has even been fired for CYA. I doubt they will start firing them now.

Most people like the feel good security. It makes them feel safe. If you point out the men with the guns don't mean much if the airport perimeter is not secure or the luggage is not scanned, they don't worry. It's about the perception of security.

The American electorate is not particularly nuanced. Most buy into their candidates merely by party affiliation, or the people they see on TV. They buy their illusions of security with as little thought.

Every time someone dies somewhere of anything, people cry out for a new law to fix the supposed problem. Politicians rarely get in the way of the response, because it is a safe move to "do something" without doing anything or actually caring about the real outcomes, of even that pesky constitution.

We either need to change the way we vote or who we vote for if we have any intent on changing this mess.

Security? (3, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115496)


When I think of the term security, my first thought is as the first word in the term "security blanket". It's an emotional state for a person, not a logical state to be achieved in a system.

The same holds whenever I hear the term 'homeland security' and 'national security' - these systems are not designed, oriented, or run in any way to make an impervious wall to potential damage - they are, and have always been, publicity measures to evoke the emotional state of security.

If we were to create a system of real 'functional' national security, it would be a nightmare all around. We would have to make it practically impossible for any damage to be done to the protected area - which isn't plausible unless you completely prevented living things from being in the protected area or anything in range. Even the middle of the Demilitarized Zone in Korea would not fit such a definition.

Beyond this technicality though, people don't want even limited functional security. They want a shield from external consequences - they want a daddy to look over them, a very biased daddy who will listen to their complaints and hurt the bad guys. This, to a degree, is the goal behind the current illusion of security.

At the same time though, I'm glad it is the merely political/emotional system it is. Because I'd rather have a bumbling mostly-absent daddy-figure in that space, than a system which actually had the power to implement a system of authoritarian measures beyond most people's 'convenience' threshold. I acknowledge that I'm in mild danger without some precautions (in any case, really) - but I find an entrenched abusable 'security' environment much more terrifying than all the horrible rebel terrorists in the world, in the same way that I'd find a poison labeled as candy more terrifying than all the poison in the world.

Ryan Fenton

obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115526)

Bruce Schneier Fact [geekz.co.uk]

Did I miss something? (1)

Beached (52204) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115636)

Apparently the Germans bombed Perl Harbor? At least that's what the article said. I know that the Japanese allied with them to get some oil in WWII but I do not remember reading about 109's or Heinkels over Perl Harbor.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Informative)

Chr0me (180627) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115748)

yes. It was called _Animal_House_.

Political Banners (4, Funny)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115650)

> wouldn't 'Commonsense Homeland Security' be
  > a winning political banner

Nope. The media won't understand it. That banner has too many words.

Def: Common Sense (1)

canipeal (1063334) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115662)

commonsense (km'n-sns')adj.
Having or exhibiting native good judgment: "commonsense scholarship on the foibles and oversights of a genius" (Times Literary Supplement).

Synonyms: astute, businesslike, commonsense, down-to-earth, earthy, hard, hard-boiled*, level-headed, matter-of-fact, practical, pragmatic, pragmatical, prudent, rational, real, reasonable, sane, sensible, shrewd, sober, sound, unfantastic, unidealistic, unromantic, unsentimental, utilitarian

Antonyms: "Commonsense Homeland Security"

Einstein Says: (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#18115734)

"'Common sense' is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

Just so you know your audience.

Way To Go Zonk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18115976)

Let's GET IT ON!

. . .

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