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Terrorists Aren't Very Bright - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
greyautumnrain
greyautumnrain
Terrorists Aren't Very Bright
Lets face it, it doesn't take a whole lot of brains to bomb subways and busses, especially during a busy morning commute when half the people around haven't had their morning tea yet. You need one decent engineer, one person handling logistics, and a few people willing to either place bombs or blow themselves in the appointed time and place. None of these jobs is particularly intellectually demanding. It not much of a surprise that the political calculation is a bit lacking.

I'll admit that the September 11th attacks were pretty impressive. They killed Walter Weaver and about 3000 other people, demolished a major landmark, and put a serious dent in the US economy. The US returned the favor by knocking over two regimes. My understanding of the matter is that since what the terrorists allegedly wanted was for US troups to get pulled out of the middle east, that last development was not what they were looking for.

That brings us to this latest attack. I'm guessing that part of the motive was that the terrorists wanted those UK troups our of Iraq. I can't think of what else it might be; if they wanted to make the UK look bad the best thing would have been to do nothing and let the new services cover the G8 protesters. On the other hand they've pretty much just guarenteed theat the UK will stay in Iraq. Having troups there was pretty unpopular with the general public when it was seen as going along with Bush, but there's nothing that will get the Brits committed to a war like getting bombed by the other side. When I was a little girl visiting my Dad's hometown of Hull I saw the some of the sites that had been bombed during WWII, so I'm pretty clear on this point.

So, the bad guys have now succeeded in killing a few dozen more people, damaging the underground and blowing up a bus. Other than that it hasn't gotten them much. The economic damage to London is likely to be minimal and short-lived. Heck, the underground needs some renovating anyway. Given the likely response I don't think the terrorists are going to like the net results of their latest actions.

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twe From: twe Date: July 7th, 2005 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Not Too Bright

Apparently the Italians, citing the language of the original Arabic declaration, don't think this one was actually Al Qaeda, but some other Islamicist group in Britain. I do agree with you that it doesn't seem to advance their goals, and is more likely to be counter productive. The Sept 11 attacks were more spectacular and achieved the goal of getting us involved militarily. Now that we're involved, phase two would be to show us cowardly by pulling back out in failure, which I'd think would be better served by operations in the Middle East. (I suppose the rationale could be that it will split off British support for America, but, as you observe, Britain doesn't seem the sort to give in to that.) Anyway, given all that, I'd certainly buy that it was a less clueful group than Al Qaeda proper.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: July 7th, 2005 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, the only thing I can think of is that they think that Britain will buckle like Spain.
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: July 8th, 2005 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)
If they understood a bit more about us, they might be able to predict who would fold (Spain, Philippines) and who would just get pissed and send more guys (us, South Korea).

Then again, if they understood us that well, I don't think they'd be attacking us at all.
remcat From: remcat Date: July 7th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here's a question ...

In the movies, the Important People always say they "don't negotiate with terrorists" because they don't want to encourage future attacks. If this thinking is true ... what does it mean for other countries, that Spain "folded" after being attacked?
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: July 8th, 2005 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
This sounds like a rhetorical question, but yes, Spain folding makes attacks on the rest of us more likely.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: July 8th, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just like all the payoffs to the kidnappers within Iraq have resulted in never ending waves of continued kidnappings for more money.
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