• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

The Smell of Fear

Help Support Ranchers.net:

Cal

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
3,598
Reaction score
0
Location
Southern SD
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006989

WHY THEY ATTACK US

The Smell of Fear
Talk of leaving Iraq makes terrorist attacks more likely.

BY CALEB CARR
Saturday, July 23, 2005 12:01 a.m.

The ultimate targets of the London bombings were not, of course, human beings. Rather, they were a set of governmental policies that the terrorists hoped to change by separating political leaders from the support of their shaken citizenry. Despite this distinction, however, the underlying psychological principles involved in investigating such crimes remain the same as they would were we studying a mass- or serial-murder case, of which terrorists are in many respects the politicized version. Is this to say that the four young men suspected of being the instruments of terror on this occasion can be classified as clinical sociopaths? We will likely be unable to answer that question with certainty, now that they are dead. What we can focus on, however, are the motivations and perversities of the vastly more dangerous Islamist clerics and terrorist organizers who sought out youthful pawns and instilled in them a theology of murder.
Many political analysts have long been anxious to exclude terrorists from psychological profiling. Some fear that such scrutiny undermines the rationalization that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" (as indeed it does), while others worry that focus on the mental pathologies of terrorists will detract from whatever legitimacy their causes may hold--just as the psychosis of Hitler overshadowed Germany's grievances about excessive war reparations. But Hitler did not redress injustices against his nation, he prostituted them to his megalomaniacal visions. In the same way, the preachers of Islamist terror are less interested in securing prosperity and dignity for their peoples than they are in finding new communities of human instruments that they can enlist in their demented campaign to turn History's clock back. In all such cases of international criminal psychology, we have no choice but to move beyond police work and questions of political motive, and reach for the tools of the forensic psychologist--most importantly, the art of profiling.

But it is not only or even primarily the killers and their tutors that must be so examined: Thorough profiling demands that we also study the victims, who in cases of terrorism are whole societies. The point is not to see those societies as they actually are, but as the planners of the outrage saw them. In this particular case, we must try to understand why a terrorist group associated to at least a degree with al Qaeda was suddenly inspired to move beyond the general desire of that organization's leadership to punish Britain; why, that is, such an affiliate became overwhelmingly convinced that at this particular moment, British citizens were not only deserving of the usual terrorist brand of ritualized bloodshed, but would prove, more importantly, willing to gratify al Qaeda's demands in the wake of the bombings. What had these Islamist organizers seen, as they stalked through the land that had so unwisely given them asylum, that convinced not only them, but their young acolytes, that the time had come for a more-than-rhetorical assault on Britain's people?





These questions will not be answered by focusing on the grievances by which the terrorists later claimed to have been propelled: The sociopath's motivations are revealed in his behavior, not in his grandiose self-justifications. Therefore, we must put the issue of the timing of the bombings into the context of the series of similar crimes that have been committed by al Qaeda and its subordinates during the long and deadly spree that they have pursued since the 1990s. Only a few examples from al Qaeda's catalogue of outrages resemble the London attack, in specific purpose and method, enough to be of real use in establishing this pattern. These few are: the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; the bombings of a synagogue, the British consulate, and a Western bank in Istanbul in November 2003; and the Madrid bombings in March 2004. What common elements can we establish among these societies at the given moments that they were victimized?
Of paramount interest is the fact that each nation had recently exhibited a weakening public determination to aggressively meet the rising challenge of Islamist terrorism. Consider the U.S. of 2001: The Clinton administration had left behind a record of essentially ignoring those few terrorism analysts who asserted that full-fledged military action against al Qaeda's Afghan training bases, backed by the possibility of military strikes against other terrorist sponsor states, was the only truly effective method of preventing an eventual attack within U.S. borders. President Clinton himself, we now know, at times favored such decisive moves; but opposition from various members of his cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and finally (as well as most importantly) a general public that would not or could not confront the true extent of the Islamist problem generally, and al Qaeda specifically, forced him to confine his responses to occasional and counterproductive bombings--even as the death toll from al Qaeda attacks on U.S. interests abroad rose dramatically. Correctly sensing that the new president, George W. Bush, was treating the terrorist threat with a similar attitude of denial, al Qaeda's Hamburg-based subsidiaries launched the 9/11 operation.

Turkey, for its part, had taken the dramatic step of withdrawing its cooperation with the invasion of Iraq in early 2003. This move had drastically reduced the number of troops that the U.S. could bring to bear quickly on the operation, and may have colored the entire course of the war. Turkish leaders explained their decision by citing concerns about their nation's role in the region, as well as by saying that they did not trust the Kurds not to try to take advantage of the invasion. Perhaps so; but reports persisted that the Turkish government was worried about revenge attacks by Muslim extremists, along exactly the lines that (in a seeming paradox) did occur in November. Once again, an attempt to deal with the terrorist problem through avoidance only produced savage assaults.

In Spain, during March 2004, a similar public wish to avoid any forceful confrontation with terrorism prevailed, but for entirely different reasons: Spain had joined the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq, which, after enjoying dramatic early success, ran into a buzz-saw of bitter resistance organized by Saddam loyalists, Iraqis angered by occupation, and foreign Islamist terrorists (many trained and supplied by al Qaeda's network). The majority of the Spanish public had never supported participation in the invasion; and the Iraqi insurgency's viciousness only made them more committed to adopt a neutral stance in the global war on terror generally. But Spain was also, at that time, facing an election, and a bizarre component of that contest were warnings issued by an obscure Islamist group (later connected to al Qaeda) which stated that the Spanish people's failure to elect a candidate who would withdraw troops from Iraq would result in attacks against them. As election day neared, it seemed likely that voters would comply; yet despite--or in fact because of--this cooperative posture, the terrorists detonated a particularly cruel series of bombs aboard commuter trains in Madrid just days before the voting. We may never know how much the victory of the antiwar Socialist candidate was prompted by the attacks; what we do know is that Spain's posture of pre-election submission did not save her citizens, and that after the election, when the new government did obey the Islamists' demand that they withdraw troops from Iraq, the terrorists ultimately announced that not even this move could guarantee Spain's future safety.





In all of these examples, then, the "trigger" for terrorist action was not any newly adopted Western posture of force and defiance. Rather, it was a deepening of the targeted public's wish to deal with terrorism through avoidance and accommodation, a mass descent into the psychological belief, so often disproved by history, that if we only leave vicious attackers alone, they will leave us alone. It is hardly surprising that by actively trying--or merely indicating that they wished--to bury their collective heads in the sand, the societies were led not to peace but to more violent attacks. Al Qaeda and terrorist groups in general have tended to press their campaigns of violence against civilians in areas where they have sensed disunity and a lack of forceful opposition. In the manner of clinical sociopaths, they seem to "smell fear"--and to find in it, not any inspiration to show mercy or accept accommodation, but a compulsion to torment all the more vigorously those who exude it.
When the situation is viewed through this lens of victim profiling (never to be confused with "blaming the victim"), we can begin to see why al Qaeda's leaders and affiliates evidently began to think themselves capable of breaking an alliance that once withstood the assaults of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. For a widespread psychological phenomenon has gained strength in Britain in recent years, coming to a crescendo in the last few months. In political and editorial writings, but perhaps even more tellingly in the mass entertainment media to which the young bombers were reportedly heavily exposed, many Britons have subscribed to a new narrative of the post-9/11 world, one in which the U.K. is portrayed, not as a willing partner in the invasion of Afghanistan, nor as the author of much of the incorrect and/or deceptive intelligence that so rallied support in the West for invading Iraq, but rather as the largely innocent tool of a nefarious U.S., one whose government has been "bullied" by Washington. In this remarkably distorted yet equally powerful version of events, Britain emerges as a nation that would, if its leaders would only obey the true will of its people, display greater concern with such benevolent programs as ameliorating world hunger and climate degradation, and far less with combating terrorism. Indeed, they are only involved in the latter, runs the new "history," because of Tony Blair's obliging participation in Mr. Bush's oil-propelled policies.

Nations that experience collective psychological crises frequently attempt such reinventions, just as do individuals. By revising the facts surrounding irrationally violent incidents so that they themselves are somehow made responsible for them, victims often seek to exert some kind of control over if, when, and how their tormentors will inflict their random cruelty. But what British citizens who have participated in this revision of the historical record do not realize--just as Americans in 2001, Turks in 2003, and Spaniards in 2004 did not--is that showing fear and self-disparagement in the face of al Qaeda's threats only marks the society in question as a suitable candidate for attack. Sociopaths revel most in assaulting terrified, submissive victims; and a Britain so concerned with avoiding attack that its ordinarily wise citizenry would give voice to the kind of simplistic thinking expressed in the media in recent months evidently fit that description to an extent irresistible to al Qaeda's minions within its borders.

In this light, the trigger for the London bombings was far less the presence of British troops in Iraq, and far more the media circus that surrounded protestors outside the G-8 summit, as well as the utterances of musical and other celebrities during the "Live 8" performances in support of an end to world hunger, many of whom allowed their declarations to bleed over from understandable economic and political sentiments into dangerously blatant statements of opposition to the Iraq war, the global war on terrorism, and the U.S. generally. As a branch of sociopaths, terrorist leaders possess their own deformed cravings for fame, which makes them particularly susceptible to the false realities projected by celebrities. And if al Qaeda or one of its cohorts indeed mistook the angry but deeply confused language recently bandied about Britain as final proof that that nation's will to fight terrorism had become mortally compromised, then we may well have our answer for why the London attack occurred when it did: The long-sought-after moment when a seemingly retreating Britain could be fully separated from the U.S. had finally arrived. It only required violent exploitation.

What the result of that violence will be is by no means certain. Early polls suggest that the majority of the British public has been sharply and tragically reminded of what its true interests and who its true friends are, whatever the momentary shortcomings of this or that government or administration in London or Washington. Is this only a temporary reaction to outrage? Perhaps, but this much is certain: While we in the West, in our efforts to defeat al Qaeda's terrorist network, occasionally elect unwise or even duplicitous leaders and courses of action, there is no lack of wisdom so profound (to paraphrase the often duplicitous FDR) as that produced by fear. As it feeds historical distortion and ignorance, so does fear feed terrorism--indeed, it is terrorism's very DNA. Citizens afraid of future attacks, along with ignorant protestors and careless celebrities, do no good--do, in fact, the work of terrorists for them--when they divide the members of the most important Western alliance by displaying faintheartedness at a time when the West needs above all to maintain its unity. Just now, that unity must be defined as seeing the Iraq endeavor through to some sort of safe conclusion, if only because al Qaeda have themselves made it clear that their fate hangs on their ability to demonstrate their potency, as well as gain a new home, in Iraq.





But whatever the ultimate reaction of the British people to these latest terrorist outrages, we must hope that American intellectuals and celebrities will not emulate Britain's recent exercises in wavering, revisionist behavior. Already there has been unfortunate evidence that the tendency to "blame the victim" after July 7 was greater in America than it was in Britain. Such words and actions only cause the scent that emerges from our own communities to become that of fear--and should al Qaeda again detect such an odor inside our borders, we may expect attacks such as those that struck our oldest and most trusted ally to once more visit our own shores. And we may expect them very soon.
Mr. Carr is author of "The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians," and "The Alienist." He teaches military history at Bard.

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
More excuses for the Bush Bunch. There were few, if any, terrorist in Iraq when Bush chose to invade that country. There are many terrorist and some training camps today in Iraq. We've had terrorist attacks in Spain, Britain, Egypt, Saudi.... A long list since Bush woke up the radical Musliums across the middle east with his call for a "Crusade." That many, many people hated this country is not news to anyone. But we at least held the high ground in the argument with terrorist before Bush invaded a soverign country that posted no threat to the US. Today we're supporting a government that sends out death squads and finds torture acceptable in Iraq. That's no different than what they had under Saddam. We're supporting the writing of a constitution that may well restrict religious rights and the rights of women. That's worse than under Saddam. The country has no more clean water or electricity than when Saddam was in charge. They live with the fear of a car bomb every time they send their kids out to play. Criminals and thugs run rampant in the country. I saw the story of an Iraqi doctor who was leaving the country with his family. His oldest son was kidnapped and he paid a large ransom to get the child back well and unhurt. The next week the kidnappers called and threatened to kidnap his other son, so he sold everything he owned, paid the ransom and took his family to Jordan. Those are the kinds of people Iraq needs to build a country; but because there's no security, they're fleeing the country for their family's sake. You can pretend otherwise, but this Iraqi situation is getting worse every day. That you can support this war that you know is based on lies shows that an otherwise sensible American can talk themselves into believe anything.
 

passin thru

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
2,603
Reaction score
0
"Can I just say very directly, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq."
~Australian Prime Minister John Howard
 

Sierraman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
299
Reaction score
0
Location
Texas
passin thru. I hope no one was NEEDING to be reminded of that, but if they did, thanks for doing it!
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
passin thru said:
"Can I just say very directly, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq."
~Australian Prime Minister John Howard

And I will remind you that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. So what's your point?
 

Brad S

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Messages
3,017
Reaction score
0
Location
west of Soapweed
Dis if you had any honor you wouldn skulk away and die of embarassment. Do you suppose the first assault on the towers by Al Quaeda was in any way related to the second? The first operation was planned in IRAQ; the second elsewhere. Dis would have us believe there is no intel traffic within Al Quaeda. Bravo Einstein!
 

Faster horses

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
28,906
Reaction score
231
Location
NE WY at the foot of the Big Horn mountains
Well, Dis, what's YOUR point?

You surely have figured out by now that you are NOT changing anyones mind on this site. Don't you have better things to do? I mean, you have DOMINATED the Political Bull forum and have spent a lot of time and energy here and FOR WHAT?

Get it figured out. We don't give a tinker's damn what you think.

Smart people don't need advice and stupid people won't take it. So either way, you are wasting, that's WASTING your time.

I will take President Bush over bill (PUKE) clinton ANY DAY. You haven't made one dent in my thoughts. I happen to think there are better people than you running the country. (Hard to believe, huh? That's got to be SO discouraging after putting your heart and soul into your posts, only to find out it just hasn't mattered.)

I think you would like to be in charge. You think you have all the answers. Well, here's a little advice for you: "You wouldn't make a pimple on a cowboy's butt."
 

ranchwife

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
3,990
Reaction score
0
Location
ennis, montana
FH------you go, girl!!!! Bout darned time you got angry and gave that boy a piece of your mind!!!! :wink: :wink: :wink:
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
ranchwife said:
FH------you go, girl!!!! Bout darned time you got angry and gave that boy a piece of your mind!!!! :wink: :wink: :wink:

She really can't afford to be handing out pieces of her mind.
 

Disagreeable

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
0
Faster horses said:
Well, Dis, what's YOUR point?

You surely have figured out by now that you are NOT changing anyones mind on this site. Don't you have better things to do? I mean, you have DOMINATED the Political Bull forum and have spent a lot of time and energy here and FOR WHAT?

Get it figured out. We don't give a tinker's damn what you think.

You continue to defend this war, even though you can't tell me why we're in Iraq except that George said we should go. Anyone who reads this board can see that I post documnted facts while you post propoganda. The fact that you get angry only suggests to me that you're not comfortable with your propoganda. If you're not comfortable with it, those lurkers may really start to pay attention to the newspaper articles and government reports that I post. That's why I do it.

Smart people don't need advice and stupid people won't take it. So either way, you are wasting, that's WASTING your time.

Oh, I disagree with that. Smart people are smart because they recognize good advice and take it. It's my time. I'll spend it where I want to spend it, as long as the forum owner doesn't boot me off.

I'll take President Bush over bill (PUKE) clinton ANY DAY. You haven't made one dent in my thoughts. I happen to think there are better people than you running the country. (Hard to believe, huh? That's got to be SO discouraging after putting your heart and soul into your posts, only to find out it just hasn't mattered.)

:lol: If the best you can do to make Bush look good is to compare him to Bill Clinton.... Well, that speaks for itself.

I think you would like to be in charge. You think you have all the answers. Well, here's a little advice for you: "You wouldn't make a pimple on a cowboy's butt."

ROTFLMAO!! Man, you're really getting tough here. But it doesn't change the fact that George W. Bush took us into Iraq based on lies. Doesn't change the fact that people are dying every day there because his bunch of XXXX refused to listen to professional soldiers and messed up this war. Doesn't change the fact that he refused to let other countries come in and help with the rebuilding and now we can't rebuild because of the insurgents and bombers! So keep patting yourself on the back, but people are dying every day because of Bush. And you support that. Pretty sad.
 

Sierraman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
299
Reaction score
0
Location
Texas
Faster horses said:
Well, Dis, what's YOUR point?

You surely have figured out by now that you are NOT changing anyones mind on this site. Don't you have better things to do? I mean, you have DOMINATED the Political Bull forum and have spent a lot of time and energy here and FOR WHAT?

Get it figured out. We don't give a tinker's damn what you think.

Smart people don't need advice and stupid people won't take it. So either way, you are wasting, that's WASTING your time.

I will take President Bush over bill (PUKE) clinton ANY DAY. You haven't made one dent in my thoughts. I happen to think there are better people than you running the country. (Hard to believe, huh? That's got to be SO discouraging after putting your heart and soul into your posts, only to find out it just hasn't mattered.)

I think you would like to be in charge. You think you have all the answers. Well, here's a little advice for you: "You wouldn't make a pimple on a cowboy's butt."

It's the attention. Using tactics of a 4 yr. old.. I know I've said this before, but... it remains true!
 

Latest posts

Top