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Terrorist threat

  • Oct. 15th, 2008 at 8:17 AM
This morning in lovely Costa Mesa, CA, I'm reading the New York Times and drinking a pumpkin spiced latte and dwelling on bombings.

The NY Times quotes the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, respectively. They say: "Most experts expect another terrorist attack on American soil, and according to recent studies, we have much more work to do to prepare ourselves against a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction."

Over in India, meanwhile, cities across the country, such as Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, have tragically had to deal with this very real threat, with bombs in crowded marketplaces killing and injuring hundreds. An Islamic militant group has claimed responsibility for the most recent bombings.

At livemint.com, our paper's Web site, Raju Narisetti writes about meeting a police officer and discussing the reasons behind the Muslim-Hindu divide in India: "Without being condescending and very matter of fact, the police officer says: 'To me, it is all about alienation. We have failed them. We don't understand their issues and most of us haven't bothered to find out.'" (Read the rest of it, plus a flurry of comments here.)

How concerned with the terrorist threat are you?  Is the police officer in India correct? Have we failed the Islamic population in the world?  Do either of the candidates have a better approach to protecting the homeland? What should we be doing to protect ourselves?

I hope you're all having some pumpkin spice in your life wherever you may be.


( Comment )
letitshine wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
Prejudic is rampant. It always has been.

McCain's own campaign depends on this adult human characteristic. His own supporters chose one of two major behaviors: blatant phobia and disrespect to other races, religions and sexualities or silence to those doing the disrespecting.

So I'm wondering just how any of these people, including John McCain and Sarah Palin who loves to all but directly call the other candidate a terrorist, would ever possibly help us? These people are not diplomats and it just so happens that is a vitality.

We must talk to our "enemies"! Guess what, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor once, now they make our shit and help us pay for our outlandish budget. They are no longer enemies but if we ever refused to talk to them in the past, they very well may still have been.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 15th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
lifeismagic wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Pumpkin spice for the win!
i've been wondering myself how things are going to pull together after the election. in a contest this hot and close, close to half the electorate is going to be disappointed and angry on november 5 and a fair number of them will be rooting for the new president to fail and prove them right. going to be a very uphill first few months for whoever gets in there.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
I think the police officer was spot-on in their assessment. I also agree that it is not only a failing of the Islamic population. It is a failing of anybody who is different from ourselves.

seldearslj wrote:
Oct. 16th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
Uh, your phrasing seems to imply that the problem is with the "them" - for being "different from ourselves".

I'm fairly sure you didn't intend this to come out quite the way I'm reading it; are you willing to clarify?
tyskkvinna wrote:
Oct. 16th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
The problem is not with "them", so much as it is with "us" - from thinking that it must be "us" versus "them".

What I specifically meant though, is anybody who is different. The qualifications I would make as "different from me" are vastly different from what you would say as "different from you".

I think it is far too easy for people - any people, but especially those who collect together with some common bond - to form into "us" versus "them". When a group becomes "us", it is so easy to not look beyond "us", and to not bothering understanding "them", because you have no reason to. (At least superficially)
absurdhero wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
I think there's always the possibility of another terror attack, but I'm more concerned about bin Laden releasing another one of his little tapes. They have said before that their goal is to bankrupt the US with useless and futile wars, and there's no better way to do that than to scare us into electing John McCain.
batbuds wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
To me a lot of the alienation has to do with the way the media covers the topic. In my opinion, in the states, we hear so much about militants, terrorists, radiacal Islam, etc. While these are all real and true threats; the stories are mis-proportioned. I work with Lebanese, Palastinian, Isreali Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistani, Indian, Chinese, etc. There are cultural differences, yes, but are any of these individuals a threat... no, they all share the common thread of trying to do right by their family, make things better for their children, practice their own religion... etc.

If everyone who is different is a threat... then look in the mirror; your are a terrorist to someone... your lifestyle threatens somebody...

I firmly believe that radicalism is a problem whether it be religious, political, racial, whatever...

It would be nice to see the media; right and left; cover the reality... show the farmer, or the professor, or the IT tech, working to make life better; show the soldier who is there to help rebuild a nation, not destroy it; show the Dr. who is mending the wounds, with no desire to inflict them... Show the teacher who wants respect and teaches the same... media has a hand in helping to spread the diversity and dispell the myth...
celli_puzzle wrote:
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:28 am (UTC)
I would love for the media to do that. Really, I would. Unfortunately, they're too caught up in their own glorious opinions to take their head out of their ass long enough to see the real world.
brennakimi wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Not very. I could get hit by a bus. No one is promised tomorrow. The potential of an attack does not change the work I must do.

Yes. Absolutely. We have and are failing lots of people because we don't bother to learn about them or what is best for them and what they need from us. Everyone from Muslims to our own children.

Yes, I believe that the candidate who intends to depend strongly on diplomacy at all costs is the better choice.

Learning about other people and seeking to help them is the best thing we can do for our own security. No, that doesn't mean throw money at them.

I am actually sorely disappointed in the flavor achieved when mixing pumpkin with coffee. I'll stick to my pumpkin cheesecake, thanks.
polarisdib wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
How concerned with the terrorist threat are you?

Less concerned than I should be. The problem is that there's very little I can do about it. Our protection is in the ability of our nation to extend its helpful arms to a global population and the attempts to take on the threats elsewhere, even to the degree of distracting them on another field. The idea of defeating terrorism is a complete implausibility, considering that anybody with a grudge and a few rudimentary household materials can become a terrorist--yes, even Americans. The terrorist threat from Islamic sources is something we still don't understand and have alienated ourselves from via a huge missed opportunity. Because of this, I find it highly plausible that we can find ourselves the victim of another large-scale terrorist attack, but short of trying to be real global leaders and less global bullies, I'm not too sure what we can do about it. Thus I don't allow myself to fret, because it's largely out of our control.

Is the police officer in India correct?

I certainly haven't ever heard it approached through those terms before, but it reminds me of what I mentioned above: we missed a huge opportunity. 9/11 gave us a chance to wake up and start using our resources to a general global good through international cohesion and outreach. Afghanistan was a good start. Then Bush got it in his head that we should finish up his daddy's business and fucked up everything. Now alienation is precisely the issue: we've alienated ourselves from many of our allies, we've alienated much of our own citizens, and there will be a generation of people in various parts of the Middle East that will grow up remembering that Americans stormed in and killed their parents. We still have an opportunity to fix it, but it's going to be really hard.

Have we failed the Islamic population in the world?

Not quite yet, but we're not doing well. What we have now is perfect fuel for grudges.

Do either of the candidates have a better approach to protecting the homeland?

Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think there's much they can do. The reason why I like Obama is because of his willingness to attempt to restrengthen international ties. I think that will do the most for us: even if it doesn't prevent future terrorist attacks, it will at least mean that we'll have support to help recover and investigate. The policies the Bush administration has basically boiled down to "Well we're gonna kick their ass and we don't care if nobody done respect us for it." As a result, we may not even have the resources to deal with preventing other terrorist threats. Go figure.

What should we be doing to protect ourselves?

What, not be someone who can be terrorized? The best thing is to be prepared and not let things scare you into losing your reason and ability to live free. Unfortunately, that also means not letting the government tell you you should be afraid, too. I think more Americans are afraid of what the government can do to fuck them over than militant fundamentalist muslims. Keep in mind that goes either way: some are afraid Obama will mess up, especially with his policies in Iraq; others are certain McCain represents "Bush's third term" of overbearing militancy, international aggression, and oil war.

And thank you, I have indeed been craving me some pumpkin spice.

lizlux wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
The best way to avoid terrorist attacks is to reduce the reasons for anyone to want to attack us. The last 8 years have led us in the wrong direction when it comes to this. We must do as much good as possible in the world, and trust and listen to other nations' concerns rather than bomb them, thus making us the terrorists.
I trust Obama to be the peace-maker, not McCain.
dsgood wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I think Muslims in Minnesota are more likely to support violence in their home or ancestral countries than in the US. Which follows a precedent set by Irish-Americans, among other ethnic groups.
divia wrote:
Oct. 15th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Whether we failed the Islamic people or not, we should be focusing on our OWN people. For once we need to keep our noses out of the business of others, especially when all we do is make things worse. Our economy and general morale is incredibly low. Our healthcare system is in shambles. We need to put our focus back to us and build our people back up!
inafoxhole wrote:
Oct. 16th, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
With respect to India, did Gandhi "fail" the Muslims? Was the outreach not precisely what he was trying to do? Or are my western notions of Indian independence sorely mistaken? And how does that assessment jive with countries dominated by Muslims, like in Afghanistan, where militant Muslims enslave and terrorize their fellow Muslims for power and authoritarian religious control?

On the contrary, I don't think we have "failed" them. I think they have failed us. We fail them only by giving in to their insanity. We should be compelling them to learn science and critical thinking and abide by the rule of equality under the law. They warrant no more sympathy from me than a militant Christian who targets doctors that perform abortions, or try to insist that women don't deserve equal pay, or don't deserve an equal education, should stay home and have babies, or who lynches young gay men for not staying in the closet.

No, I have no sympathy for acts of violence.
bossiballs wrote:
Oct. 16th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
The Policeman was telling it as he sees it, and he is not wrong.
As I see it, were we to displace the euphomistic term terrorism,
with the correct ism which is fundamentalism, then the debate becomes a whole lot clearer.

The whole thing is about the fundamentals.

Again with a personal perspective.

Were my culture and land (or territory), invaded by people who had
no respect for the integral dynamic, and who insisted their own version of that dynamic is somehow the only true perspective. I might get a bit hot under the collar my own self.
celli_puzzle wrote:
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:23 am (UTC)
This comm is part of the pumpkin spice :)

I'm not too concerned with the terrorist threat -- I don't think the repercussions won't be as drastic the second time around. The American people have been humbled a fair amount, and disillusioned with the clumsy way the current administration handled the Iraq War and Katrina. We're not too enamored of the way they handled Katrina, and the war has turned out to be one long, 30, 000 death inducing slag for an abstract ideal we don't even know about. If someone can succinctly define in two sentences what a "win" in Iraq would actually signify, and how it ties in to the original reasons we were given for going there in the first place, I truly applaud them.

I think the police officer is correct in the sense that we have failed to bring peace. The anti-American movement has grown greatly. The war jump-started the spreading a deadly ideology that is not only harmful to Americans but also to the people in the region. Jihad originally means an internal war, a war of the conscience. It's been twisted to this ugly thing that destroys people's lives and turns human beings into weapons. We haven't failed the entire Islamic population. We can't have, because it was never our job in the first place to keep it going. It is not, actually, shockingly, our responsibility. We can't always agree to the terms they set us, but that's what diplomacy's for, folks.

I disagree with both of their policies, although I agree with Obama more. A "time horizon" (how I detest that phrase) for withdrawal from Iraq is necessary because otherwise, when are we EVER going to get out? I dislike his idea of a presence in Pakistan/Afghanistan, but I understand his logic. McCain, on the other hand, and his juvenile "Well, Russia/China/Iran/N. Korea/whoever was a bitch to me so I'm not gonna talk to her until I get my way" policy, and the way he grossly agrees with the Bush pre-emptive strike policy...it is rather sickening.

The best way we can protect ourselves is by fully understanding the issues at hand, and not only thinking of ourselves. Thinking of the Iraqi orphan and the violent world he's had to grow up in, and trying to fix it. Humankind prides itself on being able to achieve greatness, and I think we're very capable of it now, especially with the emergence of new technology etc. But as of right now, we're making a big, embarrassing mess all over ourselves. If we personally can accept things and be educated about them, we will not be as easily persuaded that a war, especially such a fruitless war, is necessary.

We need to focus on issues that will affect us all, for instance, global warming and the need for alternative fuel. And for this to happen, we need to set aside our differences and work together, as trite and naive as it sounds. I'm glad the UN is trying, with it's Int'l Year of Reconciliation 2009, but countries and people need to take individual initiative.
osu10a wrote:
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
Hypocrites ???
At first they should punish bloody Sakashvilli which after defeat in its war, has been occupied in terrorist activity. They name terrorists in Russia - insurgents, can name to us terrorists 9/11 insurgents??? As they can speak about Ben Ladene then when they and their servants support terrorists against Russia.
( Comment )