Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Deterrence Will Not Work Because Radicals Can Execute Without the Aid of States
Written by: Speculator

So, what's the play should our country suffer another massive attack, similar to Sep 11?

Victor Hanson (I don't subscribe to the three-name reference or address - if you currently ask your fellow man to address you with a hat-trick of names, rethink things) raises a key point: there has been precious little discussion of our response should, what has now almost been termed "the inevitable", happen.

Hanson suggests that deterrence still trades with those waging jihad. Not directly, of course, but as local chapters of the radical group du jour have yet to arrange divine sustenance, they require funding from states. If these states are to understand in clear terms the consequences of their affiliations, they would find reason for pause, so goes Hanson:
What to do? The key for the United States - in very quiet and deferential tones, in private, and to the albeit illegitimate leaders of these relevant countries - is to convey the message that if there should be a repeat of 9/11, the United States will hold any countries responsible who are proved to have aided or sheltered any of the guilty. Now what does that overused and near-meaningless phrase "hold responsible" really mean? (emphasis original)

Perhaps it would be best to inform hostile countries right now of a (big) list of their assets - military bases, power plants, communications, and assorted infrastructure - that will be taken out in the aftermath of another attack, a detailed sequence of targets that will be activated when the culpable terrorists' bases and support networks are identified and confirmed.

Both sides should anticipate the consequences should another 3,000 Americans be incinerated at work.

I like the idea. We should have an established SOP published so as to be understood by the entire global community. And we better damn well have the fortitude to execute it to the letter (this is the exclusive reason that abstaining from voting in this year's upcoming because of your hang-ups with the current administration, albeit potentially legitimate, is just wrong).

I however do not agree with Hanson's requirement that these radical groups exist at the exclusive gifting of states. I believe that we have inadvertently forgotten just how easy, from an operational and fiscal standpoint, it was to execute 9/11 (it seems to me that the only two other ingredients were suicidal delusion and extreme amounts of patience, often complimentary traits). We seem to have arrived at an undiscussed assumption that the sophistication of the attacks must be commensurate with the results. It simply took the tragic amalgamation of specific variables, the biggest being the fact that you could board a plane in Portland, ME with a predictable lax amount of inspection, and be given system-wide access to the domestic air-travel system.

We have a much more rigorous and homogenous screening system in place today. This creates additional problems and costs for would-bes. A good debate would be found in discussing whether this is a key part of the reason we have gone almost 3 years without a repeat attack. I don't know. I often think of the reasons why we have not revisited 9/11 and I cannot come to a clear determination (I do believe it has a great deal to do with the increased complications in trying to enter this country, which should only be enhanced). But, while I agree in having a globally-understood US reaction set, should we find evidence of a state-funded operation, where does that leave us if we are to be attacked by a group exclusively funded by the Elk's Clubs of Greater Damascus? What would be our legitimate response? Would it be to punish the country that had such a negligent police force? Would it be to begin installing our own paramilitary training efforts in problematic countries? Or would it be something so, gasp, rash as to understand and execute upon the idea of extermination?

I believe our over-subscribed assumption of the necessity of state sponsorship in global terrorism is a dangerous faith.

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John Beck

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