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Thread: Does Terrorism Work: A History, Richard English. Book review and announcement. 3 Oct

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    Does Terrorism Work: A History, Richard English. Book review and announcement. 3 Oct

    There might well be thousands of books on terrorism, which means that it is extremely difficult to imagine something new. But Richard English’s Does Terrorism Work? A History, due to be released next month, differs from most discussions of the terror phenomenon.
    [ ... ]
    English perhaps underappreciates how the brutality and unpredictability of terrorist attacks serve as force multipliers, providing “little victories” and often compelling governments to act contrary to their true interests, even if the eventual result is something less than regime change. And it is certainly possible to disagree with him over the rationality of terrorist leaders in light of his own conclusions. But his observation that terrorism always fails certainly gives one pause in attempts to explain the appeal of quasi-political violent movements that are by nature suicidal. Perhaps attributing it to hatred and revenge taken together, rather than to any rational process seeking to bring about real change, is as close as we can come to understanding it.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.c...ism-effective/

    https://www.amazon.com/Does-Terroris.../dp/0199607850
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    There might well be thousands of books on terrorism, which means that it is extremely difficult to imagine something new. But Richard English’s Does Terrorism Work? A History, due to be released next month, differs from most discussions of the terror phenomenon.
    [ ... ]
    English perhaps underappreciates how the brutality and unpredictability of terrorist attacks serve as force multipliers, providing “little victories” and often compelling governments to act contrary to their true interests, even if the eventual result is something less than regime change. And it is certainly possible to disagree with him over the rationality of terrorist leaders in light of his own conclusions. But his observation that terrorism always fails certainly gives one pause in attempts to explain the appeal of quasi-political violent movements that are by nature suicidal. Perhaps attributing it to hatred and revenge taken together, rather than to any rational process seeking to bring about real change, is as close as we can come to understanding it.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.c...ism-effective/

    https://www.amazon.com/Does-Terroris.../dp/0199607850
    Do the articles define terrorism? I ask because it occurs to me that government defines terrorism pretty much whichever way suits its propaganda purposes.

    I have little doubt Charles I would have labeled Oliver Cromwell a terrorist. I have little doubt James I would have labeled Guy Fawkes a terrorist. Definitely, the British establishment labeled the IRA as terrorists even before they blew up Mountbatten's yacht.

    Here comes the soapbox.

    Let's use Mountbatten's yacht. Mountbatten was the last viceroy of India. He was a royal. He was definitely a part of the British establishment. And, the establishment was suppressing Northern Ireland.

    The IRA planted a bomb on Mountbatten's yacht. One of the dead was a young man--maybe 16-18 years old. A nephew--I don't recall for sure, but its all easily google-able. The point is there is almost no way this young guy could have been involved in the British suppression of Ireland. Yet, the IRA blew him to pieces as part of their attack on Mountbatten.

    "Oh! I think its tragic that a handsome young man who had nothing to do with the suppression of Northern Ireland was destroyed by those terrorists in the IRA!!"

    Oh, really? The Brits criticized the IRA for not agreeing to the rules of civilized warfare--killing innocent non-combatants? Really?

    In suppressing Northern Ireland, the British government essentially said to Northern Ireland, "We don't care whether you agree. Your ideas don't matter. You will do what we say just because we say so."

    So, where did the British government get standing to complain when the IRA said back, "Oh, thank you for setting the rules--agreement doesn't matter. If you can use force to inflict your ideas on us, then it is necessarily fair for us to inflict our ideas on you without your agreement."

    What? The Brits wanted to claim it was uncivilized to kill the youth? HA! They themselves authorized his death!--by saying it was OK to use force, including lethal force, to force their ideas on others. At that instant they also said, "Force is what counts. Not ideas. Not agreement. Not consensual persuasion." The youth's death was totally legitimized by the Brits themselves: if agreement doesn't count, if agreement isn't necessary, then the IRA didn't need British agreement before blowing up the boat. I'm not saying murder is legitimate. I am saying the British government has no standing to criticize the IRA--because they themselves said his killing was legitimate.

    So, how is terrorism defined by the author cited in the OP? Or, more importantly, who is doing the defining?
    Last edited by Citizen; 09-21-2016 at 09:19 PM.
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    The government defines terrorism to their advantage. It is just another meme. Seriously, search out Meme Magic. We are so cucked.
    Last edited by Nightmare; 09-21-2016 at 09:18 PM.
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    Terrorism that works simply is not labeled as terrorism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Terrorism that works simply is not labeled as terrorism.
    ++

    by the victors who rewrite the internet's historical accounts regaling the activities of their beloved freedom fighters in the long struggle to....

    ipse
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    Guerilla warfare, I am sure, would have been consider terrorism back in the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Guerilla warfare, I am sure, would have been consider terrorism back in the day.

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    the british considered our fighters terrorists since they didn't fight according to their conventions...we hid behind, in, and around and took potshots at their men...

    ipse
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JTHunter View Post
    And they learned a valuable lesson, didn't they?
    It's a shame the U.S. didn't remember that lesson in Viet Nam. Things might have turned out differently.
    "Civil war" would have been different too.

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    Some of US remembered those lessons in wars since.

    In the War of Northern Aggression, massed conflict was a tactic of superior forces.

    From the Viet Nam Era, I am one circle of acquaintances removed from Carlos Hathcock, and we all know his story of potshots.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Guerilla warfare, I am sure, would have been consider terrorism back in the day.
    Those who would make that comparison today are either ill informed, or dishonest.

    Guerrilla warfare does not require targeting innocent, non-combatants.

    Terrorism almost always does.

    If one is looking for a mode of warfare to compare most closely to terrorism as it is most accurately understood, one would look to the "total warfare" of burning the Southern States, the Battle of Britain, carpet bombing of Germany, and the firebombing and nuking of Japan. Each of these targeted civilian populations with the express intent of eroding popular support for the war effort.

    Where terrorism and total war diverge, however, is that total war tends to work toward actually removing war making capability (factories, mines, railroads, infrastructure) as well as eroding popular support. True terrorism, in contrast, rarely attempts or manages to have a material impact on actual capability, but focuses almost entirely on eroding popular support.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

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    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Here comes the soapbox.

    ...

    In suppressing Northern Ireland, the British government essentially said to Northern Ireland, "We don't care whether you agree. Your ideas don't matter. You will do what we say just because we say so."

    So, where did the British government get standing to complain when the IRA said back, "Oh, thank you for setting the rules--agreement doesn't matter. If you can use force to inflict your ideas on us, then it is necessarily fair for us to inflict our ideas on you without your agreement."

    What? The Brits wanted to claim it was uncivilized to kill the youth? HA! They themselves authorized his death!--by saying it was OK to use force, including lethal force, to force their ideas on others. At that instant they also said, "Force is what counts. Not ideas. Not agreement. Not consensual persuasion." ...
    What utter poppycock.

    Yet again, the guy with the hammer sees everything as a nail.

    The Irish were not nearly as unified against union with England as the anarchist would like to believe. Indeed, a significant minority in Northern Ireland favored political union with England. The hardcore separatists, were bound and determined to impose their rule on all of Ireland despite desires by the majority in Ireland not to break ties.

    Which is not to say the British did not oppress and abuse various factions within Ireland. It is just to point out that Ireland was not monolythic and the Irish were pretty good at oppressing and killing each other either for religious (Catholic vs Protestant) or tribal reasons even without the British. Indeed, much of the British actions in Northern Ireland in the mid to late 20th century can be seen as imperfect attempts to protect the Protestant minority from the Catholic majority.

    And there were a lot more innocent deaths and injuries than just the nephew of a royal.

    Simply put, moment someone deliberately targets school children (as both the IRA and PLO were wont to do), I don't care how just the cause is, they can rot in hell.

    While noting the oxymoronic nature of "civilized warfare" might be a nice joke, the reality is that civilized men do not target innocent children. Unintended casualties and collateral damage are terrible. But to deliberately target, alone and independent of a city/factory/mine, is barbaric. And anyone who attempts to justify such conduct in an attempt to bolster up his chosen socio/political theories is beyond pathetic and ammoral.

    Get off the soapbox. It is beyond tiresome. It is now disgusting.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    Those who would make that comparison today are either ill informed, or dishonest.

    Guerrilla warfare does not require targeting innocent, non-combatants.

    Terrorism almost always does.

    If one is looking for a mode of warfare to compare most closely to terrorism as it is most accurately understood, one would look to the "total warfare" of burning the Southern States, the Battle of Britain, carpet bombing of Germany, and the firebombing and nuking of Japan. Each of these targeted civilian populations with the express intent of eroding popular support for the war effort.

    Where terrorism and total war diverge, however, is that total war tends to work toward actually removing war making capability (factories, mines, railroads, infrastructure) as well as eroding popular support. True terrorism, in contrast, rarely attempts or manages to have a material impact on actual capability, but focuses almost entirely on eroding popular support.

    Charles
    So, the US government used terrorism on Japan and Germany...
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    What utter poppycock.

    Yet again, the guy with the hammer sees everything as a nail.

    snippp

    Get off the soapbox. It is beyond tiresome. It is now disgusting.

    Charles
    mate, please do...and as for your constantly regaling your conversations are polite and civil...

    ipse
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by solus View Post
    regaling
    Checkmate

    https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/regale
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    not so fast there oh great and powerful wik-oz as you might just wish to check your own position on the board...

    https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/regale#English

    regale ‎(third-person singular simple present regales, present participle regaling, simple past and past participle regaled)

    (transitive) To please or entertain (someone). [from 17th c.]
    26 June 2014, A.A Dowd, AV Club Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler spoof rom-com clichés in They Came Together[1]
    You’ve Got Mail is certainly the basic model for the plot, which finds corporate candy shill Joel (Rudd) and indie-sweetshop owner Molly (Poehler) regaling their dinner companions with the very long, digressive story of how they met and fell in love.



    ipse
    I'm only human; I do what I can; I'm just a man; I do what I can; Don't put the blame on me; Don't put your blame on me ~ Rag'n'Bone Man.

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    So, the US government used terrorism on Japan and Germany...
    The case can be made that they did if one accepts that "total warfare" is a form of terrorism. As I noted, however, there are important differences between what we think of as terrorism and total warfare.

    Bottom line, in many cases "terrorism" (like "torture") is loaded word used (or avoided) far more for political goals than to increase true understanding of a given situation.

    Does one wish to understand the efficacy of the tactics used in WWII? Does one desire to honestly grapple with the moral and ethical questions of warfare and how to defeat an enemy and avoid another, similar war a generation later? If so, the word "terrorism" probably has very little place in the conversation.

    Or does one simply wish to use pejorative terms to paint the US government (or all governments) as inherently evil and oppressive? Or to justify the terrorism being employed by such groups as the IRA, the Palestinians, Al-Queda, or ISIS? If so, immature and sloppy use of the word "terrorism" might evoke all kinds of emotions.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    <snip>

    Indeed, a significant minority in Northern Ireland favored political union with England.

    Charles
    A significant # of Englishmen wanted to get out of Ireland too. Not all support the occupation.

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