Re: TERRORISM: the grim prospects

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 15:46:08 MDT

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> Here is an interesting article by an Antropology professor at Rutgers:
> "Rogue males"
> Lionel Tiger
> It points out one of the fundamental problems the hording of women
> by the Islamic wealthy so the young poor men have few alternatives but to
> go to war. Not that I'm against "Islam" per se, but this is a fundamental
> problem that is built into the religion (like any priciples against interest)
> Antropologists believe that lack of food or mates are the only two things
> that can sufficiently motivate men to "go to war".
> Excerpts:
> > Will the situation change? There are countless young men in poor "states
> > of concern" whose only plausible luxury may lie in the symbolic realm of
> > moral and theological triumph. They are likely, at best, to have to scrape
> > out a minimally tolerable existence that pales beside the images of
> > sensual and material peril - America! America! - their leaders seek to
> > hide from them but cannot. "The Great Satan" strictly translated is "the
> > great tempter". A select few, perhaps the most angry or lonely, perhaps
> > the most pious or theoretical, will decide not to try to become part of
> > America or its way of life but to destroy it.
> > American and other forces will have to find, confront, and destroy
> > something new. They may well succeed in rooting out at least the more
> > overt groups. But the much larger and longer-term problem for us and the
> > world at large - that there are millions upon millions of these young men,
> > not just Bin Laden's thousands - will finally have to be faced by the
> > currently feckless leaders of the grim societies that have produced and
> > nurtured such wild theological pathologies.

This is rather biased and I believe, quite inaccurate. The real
situation is not at all similar to this. When I was in the area
I did not notice nor hear of young men being unable to find
wives. It also tends to continue the trend of putting the blame
for the entire situation on "them" and more or less exonerating
or at least ignoring "us". This is common tactically in times
of conflict. But it is no less annoying, biased and likely to
lead to poor decisions if not balanced out.

They are all male because the most fundamentalist sects and, in
some countries, the soceity in general, only support males doing
much of anything publicly and especially acts of war and
revenge. This is very old and typical of humans and human
battles as it is of many of our primate cousins. We ourselves
only let males have combat roles for much of our history. So
what? Most of the points of the article could be applied to any
elite battle group or special forces almost anywhere in the
world and throughout history. The article is useless as
purported explanation.

> And here is an article that suggests we are partially in our current boat
> because we have failed to follow 20 year old recomendations about reducing
> our dependence on foreign oil.
> Again, Samantha, worth your time to read as the article points out that
> bin Laden *pays* the families of individuals who commit suicide for his
> agenda.

Actually, that is not the main important point of that article
at all. It is not uncommon for any society or group to take
care of the surviving depends (to some degree) of its dead

What is good about the article is that it makes the point that
such attacks as 911 are an adaptation to be able to strike at a
much more powerful foe at all. This is important to point out
as we bluster about using such "cowardly" means. It is also
important to point out that the adaptation of means is certainly
not over and that we are vulnerable and cannot remove all the
means we are without destroying much that we value highly.

It is also good to point out that most Americans are ignorant
bystanders of the forces involved. It would be quite beneficial
to understand much more deeply both "sides" of the conflict.
Facile and biased interpretations will not help us.

Reducing dependence on nuclear energy makes no sense at all.
Without it we will not replace dependence on mid east oil. And
nuclear plants are much more centralized and easier to defend.

> And a commentary on the need for "mimetic" engineering:
> Unlikely Doves: Counter-terrorism Experts
> David Corn, AlterNet
> The only thing I tought a bit far-fetched was this quote:
> > nanomachines that can invade the circulatory system and effect the brain and
> > thought patterns of the target
> Not anytime in the near future....

True and such invasion would be the ultimate act of violence and

The article had a lot of good points. But I don't believe it
goes far enough in acknowledge the righteous reasons that much
of the Middle East is angry toward the US. Great powers DO
manipulate the governments of the region. This is not a mere
belief. We have done a large and often quite smelly share of
the manipulating. Many of the people of the region have ample
reason not to trust us. That is going to be difficult to

I am very glad the article points out the empty effect of our
public rhetoric about this "war" on the roots of the anger in
the region.

The stuff by "Skunk" Baxter is truly bizarre. I do not consider
this creature a friend and I am amazed and mightily discouraged
that he has the ear of anyone with any power at all.
> In response to Samantha's question regarding "fatwas", a "fatwa" is
> a religious ruling by someone with "authority". The problem with
> Islam, and many other religions with the possible exceptions of
> Buddhism and Catholicism, is that there is no "supreme authority".
> Islam, like evangelical christianity, seems to have a book which
> can be interpreted in many different ways. So "fatwas" can
> go many ways from "Islam is a peaceful religion" to "Killing
> infidels in the name of Allah is what Islamics should do".

There is no "supreme authority" in Buddhism or even in but one
variant of Catholicism. A fatwa is a relgiously inspired
judicial decision. Again, a fatwa demanding the execution of an
outsider much less a citizen of another country, is a rare
exception and actually meaningless within the context of the
range and legitimacy of fatwa as I understand it. A blanket
statement of killing all "infidels" has absolutely nothing to do
with fatwa and neither does a pronoucement on Islam being a
peaceful religion. This is the equivalent of claiming a
pronoucement by a local judge determines the goodness of our
foreign policy or of our culture or can set us to destroying all
who are not American. It is an outrageous and meaningless claim
in both cultures.

- samantha

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