Author Topic: Vandalism  (Read 8356 times)

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Offline trinity

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Re: Vandalism
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2004, 01:22:45 pm »
Quote

Time to decide: fight or be destroyed? Which is it to be?


AQ are not capable of "destroying" the West. They're capable of being a right pain in the butt, and of attracting a lot of political attention. But they're not capable of much more than that.

The organisation - and the political and military weakness it highlights - are if anything a testament to the total defeat of Islam that Spain started in 1492.

 

Offline jet

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Re: Vandalism
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2004, 01:54:23 pm »
After all the examples that history demonstrates its about time people realised that fighting and aggresion is never the answer.
Defense is another matter.
It is always wrong to interfere with another country, people must be allowed to sort themselves out. Just like GB & USA had to in their civil wars.
As for dmocracy, it only works if in excess of 50% of all eligible voters form a majority government.
We have a government backed by a minority of the voters, the result is apathy and a feeling of dissenfranchisation.
The result of this apathy is vandalism because these types of people see no future for themselves by being good citizens.
regards,
jet
 

AgentOrange

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Re: Vandalism
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2004, 12:07:44 am »
Trinity,
AQ may not destroy the West militarily but they can inflict a lot of damage say with a small nuclear or biological device. These are not unreal prospects. If as a result of one of these or an atrocity on the scale of Madrid cause any of us to modify our behaviours, have our liberties curtailed, or change governments as a direct result then that process of destruction is underway. Slice by slice they are winning.

Jet,
Its easy in Europe: we learnt that it's always better to jaw jaw than war war. Other people have not learnt: they hate the West for our civil liberties, our morals and above all our wealth. Envy is a terrible thing. In this case it is being used by extremists to push forward a particular agenda. Unfortunately the situation is being exacerbated by a US president with a very particular view of the world and a limited grasp of... many things. Whether we like it or not, whether we left them all alone or not, as the USA has found out with the USS Cole, the Marines barracks in Beirut, the embassy bombings in Africa and on 9/11, they are coming to attack us. One old Roman whose name I forget said 'If you want peace, prepare for war'. This is true, and remains a terrible indictment of human nature.

And I would put the BP vandals in the same category. If you want peace, prepare to police it!
 

Offline trinity

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Re: Vandalism
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2004, 01:58:23 am »
Quote

AQ may not destroy the West militarily but they can inflict a lot of damage say with a small nuclear or biological device. These are not unreal prospects. If as a result of one of these or an atrocity on the scale of Madrid cause any of us to modify our behaviours, have our liberties curtailed, or change governments as a direct result then that process of destruction is underway.


They can inflict a lot of damage with bombs in rucksacks, hijacked aircraft and the like. Nuclear devices are a different matter - fabrication and construction of something that will go off is relatively straightforward given available material. To make it easy that material has to be highly-enriched U235 so that a "gun" assembly can be built. But even making these takes a lot of skill and testing to match the smallest - which fit in a 6" artillery round and have a yield of a few tons TNT equivalent.

Consider making something deployable. It either has to be "big and easy", or small and very difficult. The trouble here is that both of these things are exactly the sorts of things that intelligence agencies in the West and the FSU are looking for - there is a lot of "spoor". We know that for all AQ's noise about matryrdom they're very reluctant to put themselves in harms' way. So if it were that easy to do and stay hidden, they'd have done it by now. Furthermore, just look at what happened post-9/11 - then multiply it by the effect of AQ's use of a single nuclear bomb. To be deployable it would likely have a yield of 200 tons TNT at most (considering the sorts of military equivalents and assuming that the organisation has access to the appropriate talent and facilities). Somewhat larger than the effect of three airliners with maybe 120 tons of kerosene on board in total - but not vastly so. Politically and psychologically, though, it would be far more of a wake-up call.

Biologicals are even worse. Biological and chemical weapons have largely been discarded by militaries because they just don't work very well. Look at the small effect that the "military grade" anthrax had.

OK, so they can cause panic. They can make things uncomfortable. But people are generally pragmatic and work on the principle that they have to get on with their lives. They do this. They always have.

Quote

Slice by slice they are winning.


I don't believe that they are. They're being a pain. But so are yardies driving round the streets with submachine guns. So is low-grade vandalism. So are the suboptimalities of the workings of the EU, the US political system, both flavours of Irish intransigence and the Israels. Not to mention advertising, politicians and the taxman.

AQ are *very* vulnerable to US policy. Currently, AQ aren't winning so much as US policy with regard to support for Israel seems designed to lose Middle-Eastern "hearts and minds" in as effective a way as possible.

One of the things that will be interesting to see isn't the effect on the West - which has seen off the Arab world before just as it has seen off devils of its own making, such as Hitler, Imperial Japan and the communists and, I maintain, will see off AQ and their ilk as well, given time. It is more the effect on Islam itself. One of the attractions of that faith is that it is very much less centrally-organised than the major Christian religions. That is also its weakness since any jumped-up nutter can proclaim themselves a "sheik" and have some chance of gaining a following. It brings the whole faith into disrepute not only amonst the other people who have to share the planet with the Muslims, but amongst the Muslims themselves. It will be interesting to see how they handle the problem. I hope for the sake of a great religion that has given much to the world, that they manage to survive it.
 

AgentOrange

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Re: Vandalism
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2004, 12:43:44 pm »
Alas, I wish I was convinced. A UK hospital was fined earlier this week for the loss of a quantity of caesium 137. All too easy to hide and place alongside conventional explosive and bang you have a serious contamination problem that will last for decades. Never mind the local loss of life and the significantly increased cancer risk. The FSU? Given that 2 Russian generals advised Saddam on how to fight the Americans (let the armour pass by and then take out the supply chain) I wonder how effective the safeguards really are!
Martin Rees' book Our Final Century makes it quite clear that it is all to easy for a fanatic sitting in a lab to weaponize biological and chemical agents and it is getting easier as information proliferates on the internet. Remember, we trained most of Saddams scientists here in British universities. The West has moved away from such weapons because of international treaties and the end of the Cold War, as well as public revulsion. Al Quaida are not bound by any such treaties as for the first time in a long time the US is not fighting an existing nation state or a fledgling one. They are fighting a looser organization without the infratstructure that so much of US military might is designed to destroy. There is also the lack of on the ground intelligence: as one CIA agent put it: 'Who is going to volunteer for 10 years of bad food, no booze and no women?' (To be PC, or men either, but there you go!).

The problem I think is that AQ are now making the calculation as to how to change governments in the West, not if they can. Spain proved they could.  I agree with your points on US policy. But I fear that what we will end with is an ongoing long haul war as Orwell described in his book 1984. Newspeak (No. 10 press office?) and victories against the opposition. Sounds familiar?

I would hate to see a rerun of the invasion of Europe by the Mongol or Islam hordes that occurred around 1000AD ( I think). I would prefer to see a society such as the one that existed in Spain before the eviction of the Muslims, where peaceful coexistence was the name of the day. Remaining true to our core beliefs and values has never been more important.  Unfortunately our politicians feel they have to do something: knee jerk reactions abound.

Finally Islam used to be centrally organized: it was called the Caliphate and I think the Turks finally destroyed that institution. Only Christianity remains centrally organized and even that is split with competing bureaucracies! Alas suboptimalities abound. That I am afraid is the human condition. There is an old prayer somewhere that asks for the strength to change what I can, accpetance of what I cannot and the intelligence to know the difference!

We can stop vandalism in BP. The question is how.
 

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