Pinker on Terrorism .... Self-Defeating

by jgnat 23 Replies latest social current

  • confusedandalone

    Besides, the group is self-limiting by being so extreme. It will lose it's backers.

    It often happens that once the individuals who back them have to actually get their hands dirty or the spotlight is shined on thier involvement they then find the strength to pull away.

  • FFtruther144

    ISIS, ISIL, ISA, IS - whatever name they put on it today, it is the same people and structure that we used to call Al-Qaeda.

    ISIS is Al Qaeda - not doubt about it and Al-Qaeda is the mujahideen from the 70's.

    The US government and CIA created, trained, funded, and to this day protect and use these people to great effect.

  • Simon

    I think the analysis works for terrorist groups of the past but it doesn't mean it will always apply or that people don't mean and adapt and create new type of organizations.

    What we are seeing now where there is a combination of radical religious fervor and militant extremism isn't guaranteed to die out at its own hands and so far seems to be sustaining itself.

    Hopefully it will die and we can talk about it in the past tense like the IRA and others.

  • JeffT

    A lot of people did not take Hitler and the Nazis seriously in the early 1930's. I can't find the quote just now but I've read some political leaders at the time who said that they expected Hitler to moderate his policies once he had power consolidated.

    ISIS seems different from other terrorist groups in that they are seizing and controling territory (or attempting to). Their stated goal is to reestablish the Caliphate as an actual government over the captured land. They may be gone someday, but we don't know what its going to take to do that.

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill


    British General Lord Richards, recently retired as their Chief of Defence Staff, is widely reported as noting that ISIS is not just a terrorist organisation, it also fields large conventional forces. As such, it will require conventional forces to defeat it. Further, in his view, these will certainly need to include ground forces - airstrikes on their own will not be sufficient (particularly those confined to within the borders of Iraq.

    Unpalatable as it may sound, in the opinion of this senior army officer of 42 years military experience, the only way that ISIS can be defeated (let alone destroyed) is for the West to commit itself to an all-out war in the Middle East. According to Richards, an alliance with Russia would be necessary, as would the need to carry military operations across the border into Syria (there would be little likelihood of success if ISIS can take sanctuary in a neighbouring country).

    Lord Richard's views are being widely reported at the moment (both in our Australian newspapers, and others). He may well have a point!


  • JeffT

    Bill, I had not seen what he said, but I talk to a lot of military and ex-miltary on the net. A number of them are making or quoting similar comments. Air power enthusiasts have been claiming for a hundred years or so that aircraft can win wars by themselves. I think some people are claiming that Bill Clintons bombing in Serbia ended that conflict. The claim is disputed, and even if true its the only time it happened.

    I agree, its going to take "boots on the ground."

  • Vidiot

    Anything that flares up brightly can't help but burn out; fuel isn't infinite.

    It's one of the reasons I concluded the WTS couldn't be much longer for this world.

  • Frazzled UBM
    Frazzled UBM

    Vidiot: "Anything that flares up brightly can't help but burn out; fuel isn't infinite." The same could be said of a thread on JWN.

  • jgnat

    The analysis I linked above noted that not a single religously-motivated terrorist group managed to gain their objective before they expired. Partly because their objective is too broad or too vague (i.e. world domination).

    I wonder if boots on the ground would help. Organized military action typically fails against terrorism, as it is too blunt an instrument. Too slow, too much collateral damage.

    I say cut off the supplies. The Edmonton and Calgary Muslim communities want help deterring recruiters from taking their children in to an ultimately doomed enterprise. These are families who have come to this country for peace, security, and a hope of a future. They don't want to lose their children to these fanatics!

  • Frazzled UBM
    Frazzled UBM

    Very good points jgnat. ISIS is a bit of an unusual terrorist group in the sense that has becoem a military force. I wonder whether the West treating it as a traditional military enemy may give it more creedibility and that it may switch to more traditional and less brutal military tactics tot ry to sustain itself. It certainly seems unlikely the West will defeat it using air power alone but committing ground troops will be politically unpalatable. So I suspect we will see further IS successes before we see reversals.

Share this