Saundrie

After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Now this article demonstrates a *REAL* understanding of terrorism and how to fight it!

I found this article (an alternate link to this article and the comments it recieved is at the author's blog here, thanks to POGGE for this link in POGGE's post here)via Red Tory this morning and I read it and found it so well written and clearly understanding of the real aim of terrorism that I simply had to blog about it myself. The problem with the current means of waging the so called war on terror is that instead of reducing the fear of terrorism and thereby preventing the terrorists from achieving their primary goal (which is to instill fear in the targeted group/population) instead we see the danger played up and hyped by politicians using this for domestic partisan political purposes instead. While this problem currently is far worse in America we have seen this being attempted by our current governing party, likely due to a combination of genuine belief that there is a threat (even if they do not recognize the actual odds against being a victim of terrorism as shown by the CATO Institute among others) and the recognition of how powerful this fear can be in allowing politicians to gain, hold and increase their power. The actions of the Cheney Presidency (Which on issues of foreign policy is clearly the case, while I can accept that GWB plays a real role in shaping domestic policy such as it is whereas it is clearly Cheney that has called the shots from day one in foreign affairs) have shown the world just how easily a open/free society with careful checks and balances between branches of government can be distorted/destroyed by the use of fear and partisan polarization through the use of "with us or against us" thinking. To think the CPC have not noticed this and is the main reason for the wholesale importation of GOP political tactics and strategies for use in this country as I have blogged about in the past is to be a fool IMHO.

Terrorism is about striking fear in the targeted population by the use of violence, usually random in nature leaving the population feeling less safe. This is done to get the targeted population to change their behaviour in some way and to force the government to alter certain policies. This is incidentally nothing new, terrorism in one form or another has existed for millennia, the idea that only since 9/11/01 terrorism is something new and must be fought in an entirely different manner than anything prior to it and that it is acceptable to override laws and legal protections we have kept while fighting real wars is actually the grasping arm for power by those politicians that advance this idea pure and simple. I would recommend this article to any and all that read this blog and I would ask people to consider carefully what it says. The way to fight the so called war on terror is to first off not call it a war as doing so elevates terrorism and terrorists to the same level as legitimate State combatants and gives them a legitimacy they do not deserve. Next we need to recognize the simple truth that we are far more likely to die in a car accident, slipping in the bathtub, falling down the stairs, and other far more common everyday occurrences than from a terrorist attack. This is something the well known conservative think tank the CATO Institute has shown recently. The most important way to fight terrorism though is to not hype the threat and whip up fear in the population, no it is to do the opposite. Recognize the real threat, put it into proper context, and do all one can within the law to fight it wherever possible.

We can never live in a world with perfect security, to think this is possible is to be delusional IMHO. Therefore the argument that we must sacrifice freedoms for security against terrorism is inherently flawed and indeed if the terrorists really do hate us for our freedoms (among other things like American/UK/Imperial colonial powers policies in their countries over the past several decades) then the thing we should be most reluctant to do is to limit/lose those freedoms, yet that somehow seems to elude the thinking of many that claim to believe in the "hate us for our freedoms" motivation of terrorism. The true target of terrorist attacks are not those killed/maimed but those left behind, to terrify them and to trigger them into making bad decisions that they would otherwise not have made. For example, if one had known who OBL was prior to 9/11/01 one would have known that a core principle of his beliefs was that the West and especially America wanted to take over the oil rich countries of the ME and therefore was hoping with the attacks he was engaging in to trigger a war of occupation of an oil rich Arab country just like Iraq (not Afghanistan, although he could and probably would have expected that if it was invaded that the terrain and people would be very helpful in bleeding American military power just as they did to the Soviets in the 1980s) to confirm his propaganda about America/the West and GWB and the neoconservatives in Cheney's circle fell for it with the ugly results we have seen.

In the last five years we have seen international terrorism become stronger, more frequent and increasingly deadly. We have seen the power of America, both hard and soft shown losses, limitations, and weaknesses. We have seen the American financial resources wasted in fighting a war on the cheap by giving tax cuts to the rich, which incidentally is the first time America has cut taxes in a time of war, normally they raise taxes in wartime because fighting wars is never a cheap thing. We have seen America become increasingly isolated from its allies, especially the other western democracies thanks to the unpopularity of American actions from Gitmo to renditioning to Abu Ghraib and other torture examples demonstrating a systemic policy of sanctioning torture despite all the claims by Bushco to the contrary. This has turned people away not just from American policy (which is nothing new) to against the American people themselves (which is something new) for sanctioning it by giving Bush a second term in the 2004 elections once much of this had become public knowledge. In every way possible this method of fighting terrorism has weakened American and for that matter global security and sacrificed important long term interests on the alter of short term political expediency and lust for increased power which we have seen in the creation of the Imperial Presidency under GWB.

This is the pattern the CPC wants to follow in fighting terrorism, and if followed will only work against our security interests as it has for America, not increase our security. I do not oppose the CPC on this topic out of partisan differences, I do so because I believe from the core of my being that the method they wish to follow is fundamentally flawed and actually works to the advantage of terrorists/terrorism and not to the interests of my country and its security. I felt the same way whenever I saw the Liberals following blindly the American lead, the case of Maher Arar being one example I was most displeased with from the moment his renditioning became publicly known (even if then his identity had not) because the Libs had sold out the rights of a fellow citizen and did not appear willing to make sure he was what the Americans claimed and definitely should not have been sent to Syria by America but to Canada instead. It is one example off the top of my head where I fundamentally disagreed with the Liberals on the security/terrorism issue but not the only one, I only mention it to underscore that on this issue my primary motivation is not partisan politics (whereas on some other domestic issues I will readily acknowledge that it is) but what I truly believe to be in the best interests of my country and the security of my fellow Canadians.

15 Comments:

Blogger knb said...

Well said and I completely agree.

What is perplexing however, is why Harper would even consider following this obviously failed policy. It's ineffectiveness is clear, so what is motivating Harper?

It has to be more than ideology. Foreign Policy ideology is reviewed, based on results, changing times, etc.

It's not difficult to understand why the Bush team haven't changed. With Cheney at the helm, this has been his worldview for a very long time, unalterable and absolute. Furthermore, if the administration was to change now, their credibility, (did I just put those two words together!), their, be afraid, be very afraid, stranglehold on the nation, would be exposed for the lie that it is.

Harper on the other hand, is not very far down that road yet, (in public). So, what's motivating a supposedly intelligent man, to follow a clearly unintelligent plan?

If it is purely ideology, then what aspect of it enables one to ignore fact?

I'm stymied and frankly far more afraid of this, than any terror alert.

Fri Aug 25, 01:38:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Red Tory said...

I find it somewhat odd that we seem to have collectively lost sight of the meaning of “terrorism” and what its real objectives are. Perhaps the horrendous human death toll and material destruction of 9/11 changed emphasis from the simple inducement of pervasive fear to that of a siege mentality where it’s felt that the “barbarians are at the gates” so to speak. There’s little doubt that the Bush administration has abused and manipulated terrorism to expand their grasp on power and exercise authority in ways that would be inconceivable were this not the case.

The entirely misbegotten Iraq War was premised on fear-mongering (WMDs and nukes) and a totally false connection between the Hussein regime and Al Queda. Even now, knowing what we do, Bush (or Cheney, if you prefer) persists in perpetuating his lies by insisting that Iraq is the central front on the Global War on Terrorism and asserts that withdrawal is not an option because this would encourage the terrorists to “follow” the U.S. Army back to America. What utter rubbish.

Let us also not forget how many times the laughable “Terror Alert System” (you know that silly colour-coded thing) was conveniently employed whenever it suited the convenience of the Bush administration during the last presidential election, whether it was to gin up support, cover up some gaffe, or provide a distraction for some nasty piece of legislation coming down the pike. If anyone thinks that system wasn’t shamefully gamed for political advantage, they’re self-deluded fools.

That Harper and the Conservatives are more than happy to play this game as well is, quite frankly, revolting. I’d like to think Canadians are a bit more savvy about this, but when I read some of bilge coming from the Blogging Tories, I really wonder about that. They sound an awful lot like their brethren south of the border when it comes to the issue of terrorism, how best to deal with it and the scorn they heap on liberals who feel that their hysterical approach simply exacerbates the problem.

Fri Aug 25, 01:44:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Red Tory said...

KNB -- Harper may be an intelligent man (in fact, I have no doubt of that) but he’s also an opportunist. Let’s never forget this. His merger of the Canadian Alliance with the PC Party was pure opportunism. The entire platform and “promise a day” tactics used during the last election was likewise opportunistic pandering to the lowest common denominator. It’s often said that all the Liberals care about is power. I don’t see Harper as any different in this regard. If he can leverage people’s fear and insecurity to his advantage, then he’s going to do that, whether it’s a “tough on crime” stance (even though crime rates have been steadily dropping for a decade) or a “tough on terrorism” position (even though the actual threat is highly remote).

Fri Aug 25, 02:00:00 PM 2006  
Blogger knb said...

RT I have no doubt what you say about Harper is true and I have been aware of same for some time.

What it points to however, is that the man does not have the interest of the country in mind, simply power fo the sake of it.

Your comments about how the Bush administration has exploits the fear that Americans felt on 9-11 are spot on. I have reflected on that often. To me, they intentionally perpetuated, what surely must have been a form of collective PSTD. They have been successful and continue it to this day. I can think of few things more dispicable.

To a certain extent, some of that has crept across the border, in large part due to our exposure to US media. You're right, it plays to the lowest common denominator. It is comparable to being a child, who is afraid of something they don't understand. It's much easier not to think about it or to analyze it's complexity. It's easier to let 'Dad' do that and to follow his instructions as he keeps you safe.

I have faith that it is a minority of Canadians who feel this way. Though the Haperites do fit the above analogy. Think of how often they make reference to Harper being 'decisive'. Let him make the decisions, I'll follow no matter what, because I don't understand the issue.

I think the minority government he recieved was due to knee jerk reactions to the times. The more he shows himself for who he is, the more that will change. Have you seen the SES poll? Big dip in Quebec. While the numbers aren't great in La Belle Province for the Lib's, I think it's safe to say that the slide for the con's is due to people seeing the reality of the man.

We need a leader who is going to bring the reality of the man and his policies into clear relief.

Fri Aug 25, 03:33:00 PM 2006  
Blogger knb said...

Sorry, I meant to link to the poll.

Fri Aug 25, 03:43:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Red Tory said...

LOL. I hadn't seen the poll. Good news I'd say given the circumstances (Libs being leaderless, in disarray, etc.) I've been waiting for the latest SES poll, because I think they're the most trustworthy, so thanks for that.

Fri Aug 25, 08:18:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

Red Tory:

Needless to say I agree with everything in your comments to this thread, as KNB I have reflected on these points many times in the last few years. This Cheney-Bush Administration is the worst disaster to hit the international stage since the Chamberlain one in the 1930s, and for worse reasons then that one too. The law of unintended consequences from these actions will reverberate for decades to come. In that respect Bushco has been transformational, just not in the direction that aids America just her enemies.

I also thank you for your kind description of this post at your blog as well as the link you make to it. Since I am an independent not on any aggregator this helps others find my writings that otherwise likely would not and I appreciate that, especially given the clear glowing recommendation you have given to my work.

KNB:

One of the main reasons I believe we see Harper following these footsteps even after everything we have seen is because both Cheney and his crowd and Harper and his circle were heavily influenced by the same political philosopher, a man by the name of Leo Strauss. I'm sure you have run across references to him in the past given your choice of blogs to read and the many Canadian bloggers that have referenced him and his influence in the Calgary School of political thought of which Harper is a follower/devotee.

This then leads them to not just the same sort of policies but alas also in the same belief in the use of the "noble lie" and the belief that only elites like themselves have any business having an opinion in how a country should be run. That the general population is not qualified nor should be heeded in such matters but only those that fit the proper qualifications that they themselves see themselves as archetypes of. I'd say this more than anything else is behind it, although the success the GOP has had over the last decade or so by using these tools also plays a role in this I suspect, especially given how hard it is for a strongly conservative party/movement to succeed and govern in this country given our national makeup/demographics and political culture.

Like yourself I have faith in the majority of my fellow Canadians to not be taken in by such chicanery. However I also had faith in Americans to not be so taken in prior to 9/11/01, so I am not going to assume the same cannot happen here, which is why I so vocally oppose the CPC/Harper agenda and goal of becoming a majority government. I recognize the unfortunate human tendency to want to let others deal with complex matters that do not generally touch on a person's day to day life. When combined with the way fear can drive people into blind faith/trust I recognize the danger even in our own society/culture and do what I can to guard against it.

Indeed, one of the reasons you will see me periodically go back to the Grewal fraud last year is because it demonstrates just how unscrupulous, unethical, immoral and willingness to embrace criminal conduct Harper has already proven in himself and tolerating within his party. Which is why there is a long post about it in one of the threads at Red Tory's I might add. Grewal is what convinced me that Harper is truly nothing more than expediency driven and opportunistic to the max. Before then I thought he was an honest ideologue, way wrong in my view but personally as honest as a politician can be. The Grewal fraud and his at the minimum active role in covering it up after the truth cam out about the editing of those recordings and the unedited version making clear that the allegations made were bogus from the start is bad enough, and that is the best case scenario for him in that matter.

The rest of the scenarios have him at varying levels of active complicity from the very beginning or soon afterwards and what that says about the man's lack of fitness to hold power speaks volumes indeed. The fact he dominates his party to the degree he does shows just how willing it and the cult of personality which has formed with many of his supporters online and offline will be in enacting whatever he decides. Indeed they see his arrogance in acting like a majority with this weak a minority in his party's first ever government as being decisive and the best thing since sliced bread. That shows just how dangerous he and his party in it's current incarnation/configuration really is and why it must be opposed.

The CPC under Harper is slightly preferable to the idea of the BQ as a government but not by anywhere near as much as one would prefer IMHO. Just finding there to be any contest whatsoever between an avowed Separatist party and what is supposedly to be a national big tent party is chilling for me. I would take the NDP, Libs, Greens even over the CPC any day of the week. They would also do things I would object to but I do not think they would be as actively corrosive to the fabric of our national society/identity, especially given the degree of practice of the politics of division the Harper CPC clearly has embraced.

P.S. Thanks for the SES poll link, like RT I find them to be the most credible given their track record the last few years now.

Sat Aug 26, 12:37:00 AM 2006  
Blogger knb said...

Thanks Scotian, I am familiar with Leo Strauss and for some strange reason had put him out of my mind during this discussion, (perhaps falling for a Strauss tactic, lol).

I have not been blogging very long, so I was not around, (here), during the last election. Was Strauss a topic? Was it discussed much by either the left or the right?

I ask the question, because it would appear that many who voted for Harper are likely not familiar with his philosophy. I suppose one of the most disturbing aspects about his party, is how they have convinced people that they are no different than the old PC's.

Which leads me to my next question. Why don't his opponents clarify who he is, using Strauss? Is that what Martin's "scary" personification was supposed to be?

I imagine the same is true in the US, though perhaps to a lesser extent, but how many Bush supporters do you imagine have read the, Project for the New American Century? And why don't the Democrat's in the US identify clearly just exactly what the Administration's real aims are?

I think part of the answer lies in the conservative's ability to create distraction by focusing on a negative of their opponent. They in turn are then constantly on the defensive and putting out fires. It seems to me it wouldn't be that difficult to turn the tables by clearly profiling Harper, his philosophy and objectives. I've no doubt that many of the leadership candidates are well versed in his history.

Well as I said, I wasn't here last time, so perhaps it's been discussed to death.

I'm going to hold on to my hope that Canadians will see at least part of the truth, but believe that they need more information. Like you, I was surprised by our last election results and aghast when Bush received a second term.

I think there is ample opportunity for him to change the country in a negative sense, with a minority gov't, as we've already seen. The thought of a majority, makes me shudder.

Here's to the desire, of at least some of us, to not allow Harper to further "dumb down" the discourse.

Sat Aug 26, 06:34:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Red Tory said...

KNB -- Strauss is something only known to total wonks like ourselves. Remember that most people can't even locate America on a map of the world. And Canadians aren't all that much better!

Tue Aug 29, 02:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Red Tory said...

Scotian -- It's always my pleasure to highly recommend you because I honestly admire your thoughtful writings and independent positions on various issues.

That said, I would strongly suggest that you join up with aggregators like Liblogs and Progressive Blogs because this will give you a lot more well-deserved exposure. You don't have to toe the line with these folks. Goodness knows, I've bitten the hand that feeds more than a few times and taken quite illiberal positions. That's what makes it fun.

Tue Aug 29, 02:10:00 PM 2006  
Blogger knb said...

RT a columnist in the Toronto Star wrote an interesting piece a few days ago, entitled, The Americanization of Canada by Harper.

I think that speaks to your point that most people wouldn't know who Strauss was, so it's easier to just draw the analogy to Bush. However, the Conservatives aren't buying it and call the charge facile and it is in my opinion.

I agree with your assertion, but it could also be said that people don't know, because they haven't been told. I don't know how you condense it to make it palatable to the masses...but then I'm not a politician.

I wrote the columnist about this and he replied with thanks, saying he'd return to the subject. A small step, but one just the same.

Scotian, I agree with RT re' aggregators and had the same thought when I read your thanks to him. You do deserve to be more widely read.

Tue Aug 29, 03:42:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

I would not join Liblogs because I am not a Liberal despite my currently finding them a more acceptable government than what we have now. As for Progblog, I considered it but ultimately rejected it after watching some of the fights between bloggers there and whether they should or should not be considered "progressive" in nature. While I understand that staying off aggregators limits my exposure I do comment a fair bit throughout the blogosphere and slowly over time my exposure may increase that way. I am after all just a poor Canadian citizen voicing my 2 cents on what I see in our political environment and what concerns me within it and on occasion foreign policy issues and international ones as well.

I do appreciate the kind words about my work though, it is nice to know that contrary to the opinions of some that are dead to me now that my writings/thoughts are seen as considered and well reasoned. Especially when it comes from those whose own work has impressed me for it's intellectual content. Perhaps over time my view regarding aggregators will change, especially if I start being a more prolific blogger, but for the moment so long as my work is out there it is enough for me especially when those that are on aggregators and read by many link to my works. Besides, it makes it harder to get blogswarmed when you are not on a list within a target group...:)

Wed Aug 30, 11:24:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Sara said...

Coleharbour weekly :) let me know if you see it...

Wed Sep 13, 06:37:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Paladiea said...

Good post, as always Scotian, maybe you'd like to do a guest spot now and then on the Blahg?

:)

Sun Sep 17, 01:09:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Scotian said...

Paladiea:

I have a hard enough time coming up with quality posts for my own blog, somehow I doubt I would be able to manage at My Blahg to compete with you and Robert...:)

Sara:

I'll keep my eyes open for it, thanks.

Wed Sep 20, 07:00:00 PM 2006  

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