Thursday, December 4, 2008

Those Darn Terrorists

This is the age of terror. No doubt about it.

Dr. Theodore John Kaczynski was the "unabomber" and he considered that technology was basically the bane of mankind. His writings, in the form of a manifesto (which was written sometime within the 1980 to 1995 range), described a future world where terrorists use high technology. That is a great problem, of course, and the governments of the world would use any and all high technology of their own to counteract it.

Of course, this technology would give police states ever increasing policing ability, thereby able to relieve man of all freedom, permanently. The unabomber manifesto was extremely detailed and seemed to ramble or rant, at least in my opinion. It was not inaccurate, in fact it seemed pretty much on target so far as the world of bad guys is concerned.

But the manifesto was definitely the work of somebody with a personality disorder, not to mention being exceptionally critical of capitalism and authoritarianism (although that was not his madness, only his politics.) Certainly, he was paranoid, at least in the street meaning of the word. Supposedly he does have real disorders of the mind, but anyone who feels like murdering other people on some whim of a manifesto must be implicitly irrational.

I don't want the terrorists to win - nobody wants that except them. People that murder other people indiscriminately can't be allowed to keep doing that, no matter what. In Texas they might say, "they need killing" - obviously the terrorists need to be terminated. Yet, anyone who could terminate all the terrorists would surely be able to terminate anyone at all, at whim. Those who did such things would become terrorists by definition.

If someone was fighting a war in our back yards, and if our children were harmed in any way, it seems that just about any technique that can "get those guys" would be acceptable. Yet, any actual success would probably result in a similar number of their children being harmed. The cycle of revenge would thereby repeat indefinitely.

The war is actually in our front yards, where the WTC stood and the damaged but repaired Pentagon still stands. It is something we cannot ignore. It is a real danger to our survival. The only fly in the ointment is that we have to only fight a war that wins, not a war that kills everything on the planet. Nor do we wish to live in a world similar to THX1138, where all aspects of emotion and mind are controlled by biochemical and cybernetic means.

If wars can be won without shooting, such as by countering their logistics or confounding their communications, and so forth, then that must be tried as far as it will work. It can at least minimize the amount of shooting necessary.

In terms of bullet cost alone, it would be cheaper to kill only those terrorists who are actually guilty of terrorism. The problem with that is that it may be extremely costly to put the one bullet to use, needing extremely difficult pinpoint locating techniques. In that case the solution tends toward using larger, less accurate bombs.

So we cannot win a war with an unremitting enemy, who will not fear death nor be deflected by rational argument, unless we become as unremitting and free of deflection. We must always become as terrible as our enemy or we will be defeated by them, one or the other.

If we must be defeated, but merely serve as the vanquished and not be tortured (perhaps we treated the Japanese as such after WWII) then defeat would not be so important. The Japanese have not suffered so badly at our hands. They have thrived. It would be better than death, at least, even in the spirit of Samurai.

The more likely result from defeat at the hands of Islamic extremists would be a bloodbath, with mass beheadings, etc. And all in the name of some weird sect of Islam that doesn't make any sense to the rational mind, and indeed pours gasoline on all fires.

Religions can be good or bad (from a certain frame of mind) but they cannot be rational. Anything that demands belief without some degree of proof seems to be sheer folly and cannot be rational.

If one wishes to believe in invisible pink bunnies then that's OK, but believing that Allah wants my head on a stick is not OK. To me it is a very clearly defined problem. I already have problems dealing with modern religions, which, though irrational, usually have found ways to live with each other peacefully. I can never live with an irrational AND violent religion.

The modern, peaceful religions are usually merely argumentative, however, not prone to hack off my head at the hint of disbelief in their particular view of Allah. I am not so afraid that Lutherans will bomb my house if I express some doubt in the views of Luther.

We will not win using religion, such as Baptists vs Sunnis. That has never worked. They will use any technology as a weapon, believing that Allah has blessed any and all weapons, however demented, against us. So we must use even greater technology as a shield, to protect us from such irrational extremists. But where the best or only shield might only be an even more demented weapon, then the irrational extremists will ensure that we must use it against them.

That is suicidal of them, no doubt. Ours is a choice then, between the bodies being either us or them. We may or may not be deserving of victory, but I think we must make sure that the bodies will be theirs. Hopefully I am wrong, and that rationality might prevail - no need to light up the nukes.

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