RE: TERRORISM: Is genocide the logical solution?

From: Emlyn O'regan (
Date: Sun Sep 16 2001 - 18:15:58 MDT

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> I know that by raising this issue, I am going to take a large
> amount of flak. But that is the purpose of the Extropian
> list -- to engage in rational discussion of ideas -- even
> if those ideas may seem repulsive at first.

Interesting analysis, Robert. I've tried to digest it without reacting too
emotionally to the suggestion, and I see the point you are making.

However, I would make some counter arguments...

- First and foremost, how is terrorism setting back the singularity? Perhaps
I missed something in the recent deluge of posts, but I would see terrorism
perhaps, and war undeniably, as advancing the onset of singularity, if
anything. America, for starters, seems to function best when it has
someone/thing to rail against (be it terrorists or communists or something
equally nebulous). This is the time when the govt will begin to throw money
at technology in big grubby fistfulls ("the government"? possibly most
western governments). We may very well see a war ensue here, most likely
upon a nation which has only a loose connection at best to the WTC event,
which will be beaten before the war begins, and possibly will end with it's
capital dissapearing one morning, ushering in the era of nanotechnology in
the same despicable manner that the atomic era, in earnest, began.

- To make such incredible martyrs of the population of Afganistan - a people
who have endured mighty hardships, only to be butchered by a former ally -
would galvanise the world into a war of such proportions that it would turn
anyone's blood cold to contemplate it. Imagine the world opinion of the US
if it were to take such action... the image of Nazi germany would be
forgotten, and replaced by a newer, greater evil.

I've been quite impressed by Elizer's posts on this subject (much kudos!).
Here's a favourite snippet:

>samanatha (I think) wrote
>> 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?
>eliezer replied:
>Neither one will make it less likely, so we may as well focus on trying to
>reduce some of the underlying hate by actually obeying international law
>for a change. A moderate, lawful response by the US at this point, a
>response that doesn't involve invading other countries just because we can
>get away with it, might have a real emotional impact in the minds of the
>countries that believe, correctly, in the arrogance of the US. That's how
>Martin Luther King scored his victory. Following international law even
>after a major bombing would send a message that the US is willing to
>choose to play by the same rules imposed on non-superpowers. It wouldn't
>halt terrorism but it might decrease the growth rate.

I can see two options for the US at the moment. Either go off to war (with
somebody???), or don't. If the US goes to war, we are in for dark times
indeed, because it is a war waged for the sake of vengence, which will be
answered with equal measure of the self same hatred. It is a war that will
not end until well after we have forgotten why it was begun, when the blood
which bathes the world drowns the memory of those who died in the WTC and
the pentagon. It may yet do some good technologically (nothing like a war
for that, as I've said above). But ultimately, no gain could balance the

Or, the US can go find the guilty parties now, and bring them to justice, by
the book. Try them, before the eyes of the entire world. Show that the moral
highground isn't just something used to control the weaker countries, but in
fact is a standard to which everyone must hold themselves accountable, even
those few countries that need not. I can only imagine what such an
impressive action would do to unite the peoples of this world in proceeding
into what could become humanity's first century of civilisation.

But there is still bloodlust to satisfy, and a question of jingoism
answerable only in the basest terms. There is nothing I can say to modify
any of that.


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