Re: If we do get Afghanistan, what shall we do with it?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 08:44:36 MST

Dwayne wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > Charlie Stross wrote:
> > >
> > > I mean, would *you* want to visit a European state where the
> > > government had passed regulations saying that basically you
> > > relinquished all rights to due process of law by entering their
> > > borders, and if they felt like it they could have you arrested,
> > > tried by a military tribunal, and executed on the spot with no
> > > appeal?
> >
> > If I were attempting to overthrow that government or even merely trying
> > to engage in a propaganda war to destroy the hypothetical high trust
> > society of that hypothetical european country, I would expect such
> > measures as a matter of course.
> Erm, "propaganda war" ???
> You'd *execute people* because of what they said? Aren't you a fan of
> free speech?

Don't you even see the referents in the statement? In the scenario
above, *I* am not the government, I am the revolutionary attemting to
subvert the government. Under revolutionary doctrine, it is in my
interest to promote the repression of free speech *by the government*,
so as to bring more support to my side.

> > My revolutionary cabal's plans may even
> > *require* that such measures be enacted, on the theory that they would
> > engender mistrust and resentment enough to engender further support from
> > the "useful idiots" in that part of the local intelligentsia who engage
> > in arguments of moral equivilancy in order to shround their lack of
> > responsibility as citizens.
> Isn't part of that responsibility enduring that government doesn't get
> out of hand? Isn't this about to get -way- out of hand?
> It seems to me that while no one is supporting the terrorists, an awful
> lot of people find the idea of these military courts deeply disturbing.

Yes, they do find them disturbing. The only scenario where the
terrorists win is if those who find them disturbing join the terrorists
in fighting against the government over this issue. It is a proven fact
that standard revolutionary insurgency doctrine does not work if a
sufficient majority of the population trusts the government enough to
allow it to engage in temporary, targeted, forms of repression that are
specifically focused on the sources of insurgency.

We see this occuring in the wake of 911 where you get 80%+ support from
the african-american community for the profiling of arab/muslim
individuals by law enforcement. So long as this sort of repression is
not broad based: i.e. profiling african americans as well, the
population will support the government actions.

In insurgency doctrine, the point of triggering massive government
repression with atrocities is to get the government to oppress enough of
the population to feed a large growth in participation in
anti-government activities, which leads to more atrocities by terrorists
and more repression by government.

The problem in this calculus of force is in predicting the balance
between the public perceptions about the atrocities committed by
terrorists and the proportionality or weightedness of the response by
government. If the government's repression following the atrocity is
seen as less severe than the atrocity itself, public support remains
with the government. A revolutionary needs the government to overreact,
and for media sources to widely sensationalize any overreaction.

For this reason, I look at the anthrax attacks with a suspicious view.
By targeting members of the media, especially those who have records of
sensationalism and/or sentiment toward left wing anti-government
opinions, the media has specifically been turned into a tool of
sensationalism against government into one of its biggest supporters,
and thus they tend to downplay any repression the government does engage
in, since in their own biased editorial view, it is at least partially
justified, if not fully justified.

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