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“There are two great powers,” the man said, “and they’ve been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.”

Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife

Terror is a tactic

Terror is a tactic used successfully by states and groups alike. (See the excellent paper “Terror’s Mask” by Michael Vlahos of the Joint Warfare Analysis Dept, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University.)

Its essence is violence to civilians; any weapon qualifies.

  • Robespierre used guillotines against the French;
  • Stalin, camps and firing squads against Russians.
  • Germany fired V-bombs at the English;
  • England used ‘area attack’ bombing to incinerate Hamburg and Dresden.
  • America did the same to Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two atom bombs.
  • Zionists used small arms against Palestinians in 1948;
  • the Israeli Defence Force now uses planes, tanks and bulldozers.
  • Palestinians use bombs against Israelis;
  • the IRA used to do so against Londoners.
  • And England tried bombing Kurds into becoming taxpayers.

The threat of terrorist attacks is as much terrorism as the attacks themselves. (Terrorism works by instilling terror.) Nuclear weapons are useful for little else; states that own them are ipso facto terrorist. That includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, and India.

  • politics
  • security
© 2003-2021 Stephen Taylor
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