Re: Impact on history

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 05:46:46 MDT

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> My second reaction was to be glad that I wasn't reading "New York,
> Chicago, and Washington D.C. Destroyed By Nuclear Detonations." We're
> seeing the lite version of the "domestic massive terrorist disaster"
> scenario here. The only really unusual thing about the disaster is that
> it happened in America. Most of the impact, crashing global stock markets
> and so on, consists of people reacting to the terrorism. A nuclear weapon
> destroying New York, on the other hand, would be a significant disaster
> regardless of how people reacted to it.

If we don't act now - clearly, cleanly and decisively - to lance
the boil of antiamericanism and undeclared war against us and
all things secular and progress-oriented, then we will see
nuclear and/or bio-weapon attacks on this country. We will have
sent a message of weakness and vulnerability. We will have a
global "Kick Me" sign on us.
> I think, when I heard the news, that I pretty much guessed in advance how
> the rest of the day would go. I knew that I'd hear a lot of people saying
> that things would never be the same again; a lot of grandstanding from
> politicians talking about hitting back; the absence of any clear target
> for said revenge; proposals for useless domestic security measures whose
> sole real effect is giving people the feeling that they're "doing
> something about it"; attempts to blame the intelligence community for
> failing to stop something that I for one never *expected* them to be able
> to stop, no matter how competent they were... and so on.

Funny. I heard a lot of people speaking for once from their
heart and head and saying what they really thought and felt for
a change. I saw a lot of newspeople actually do news, real news,
pretty well in a long time. I saw a lot of this country gell
more than it has been for a while. We will hit back and must
hit back. Anything less would be suicidal.

> I think the only major surprise that day was when I heard a Congressman
> say on CNN: "We have forgotten that the first priority of the government
> is not education and it is not health care, it is the security of the
> citizens". Apparently someone was angry enough to actually say something
> intelligent without thinking about the opinion polls. I was also
> surprised to learn that all flights had been grounded and that the stock
> market would be shut down for two full days, then surprised again today to
> learn the stock market would be shut down for three days.

Why are you surprised? Flights were grounded in case more
flights were to be compromised and in order to beef up airport
security and probably to enhance some aspects of the
investigation. The stock market was closed because hell was
blown out of some of the financial houses and a pretty good
chunk of New Your infrastructure the New Your exchange depends
on was wrecked.
> My reaction, on the whole, is that people are trying to forcibly make this
> into one of the most significant events in world history. I don't think
> it is. Not intrinsically. I understand the impulse to magnify the
> importance. One doesn't want several thousand people to have died for
> something that doesn't ultimately change the course of history. But I
> think we'll see similar events in the future, and I don't think those will
> change the course of history either. It's just a lot of unnecessary,
> pointless deaths.

It is significant in that a lot of peopel are awake. What we do
as a result is quite significant for better or worse. It is not
just a bunch of deaths. It is rogue nations reaching out and
attacking us on our own soil and hiding behind the assumption
that we are too "civilized" and too "soft" to do anything about
it. We can either tell them they have us pegged correctly or
not. Whichever we do will have quite a few repurcussions on
what comes next.

> If the US does do anything real, militarily, it will probably involve more
> death and destruction than was caused by the destruction of the World
> Trade Center, dozens or hundreds of bombs instead of two planes, dropped
> on some dirt-poor country far less capable of dealing with the disasters
> resulting from each and every bomb impact, and the only real end result
> will be more hatred of the United States. I don't expect that will stop
> the United States from doing it anyway.

Are you saying we should not respond to an act of war as such?
How exactly would this make future terrorism using suitcase or
larger nukes or a bioweapon less likely than if we took out as
many major terrorist cells as we can find?

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:30 MDT