Another plane almost taken out by terrorists?

Regardless, the security theater on planes courtesy of the TSA is complete bullshit and the people responsible should be flogged and sacked.

On a flight into Detroit from the east - Aren’t you over Canadian airspace for most of the trip? (at least for the last hour)

What if did work? Would it be a strike against NATO countries? Are air routes likely to change?

I find it hard too Lorini, but Guantanamo is one abuse. Or Abu Graib. or Blackwater Mercenaries.

But then you have http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pim_Fortuyn who I sort of agree with (he liked Berlusconi and I don’t) and was killed by an extremist (weirdly an animal rights extremist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkert_van_der_Graaf ) or the hysteria caused by the (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_cartoons_controversy) cartoons which make me think what the hell am I trying to defend.

But those are HUMAN abuses. No one should be tortured, not even extremists. There’s just nothing about terrorists as terrorists that I can see as defensible.

They don’t see themselves as terrorists, they see themselves as freedom fighters.

No, I am defending their human human rights, I am just saying it is hard to defend their human rights when they( and I mean they as extremists) violate so many human rights themselves. This is what I mean when I say that the right wing have picked a fight with the bad guys in a way. And by bad guys I dont mean the 100s of millions of Muslims who are not extremists intent on bringing down the USA!

Their cause is just in the sense that self determination is widely recognized even for peoples with lifestyles not in keeping with modern norms, and their means are usually very moderate in proportion to what they view as their constituency has endured. Terrorism is a tactical or strategic choice that most successful efforts at winning a conflict through violence employ to some degree, not a magic label that separates good from evil. Likewise, Islamic fundamentalism to the point of violence operates on a broad spectrum of motivations and means. One could argue that American pilots and soldiers cannot have anything past their human rights defended, if you are raised to believe the cause for which they deliver violence is unjust.

Number of countries that weren’t their own that were bombed into oblivion by Islamic terrorists : 0. You do the math on our score. My point isn’t so much to defend particular groups of extremists. I just want to make clear that the extent to which your assertion can be applied to virtually anyone engaged in violent struggle for anything makes it a distinction that is based more on your preconceived notions and tastes than on the absolute truths you seem to be attributing to it.

It will be very very hard, and more notably, take a very very long time. But it can be done.
Generally it means a lot of biting your tongue and grinding your teeth when nations other than your own do stuff you don’t like.

danger: armchair general ahead:

take Zimbabwe. There is some seriously bad shit going on there. I’m sure half a dozen harrier Jumpjets from the UK or Apache helicopters from the USA could pretty much flatten Mugabes entire regime in fairly short order, and serve up some just deserts to some really evil bastards in the process. Job well done.

BUT

In the long run, does that really help?
A large rich nation with state of the art weapons marching into another country to ‘bring peace’ often ends in either complete quagmire, or leads to untold resentment, hatred and extremism. That’s one reason Empires fall. the British empire was huge, now its pretty much just the homeland, Ditto the French Empire, the Italians, The Germans, The Russians, Greeks…
Eventually everyone realises empire building causes more trouble than it’s worth.

I genuinely believe this is why there is friction between Europe and the US on international affairs. You guys are on your first empire, and it hasn’t crashed and burned yet. Meanwhile a lot of old crusty countries like germany and France have been down that road and seen how it ends.

You don’t get peace in the long run by conquering neighbours you don’t like.They say Bin laden only became militantly anti-US after US forces were stationed in the holy land to fight saddam in Gulf War 1. These things always go wrong the minute soldiers from country A walk into country B, even if 10% of country B invite them.

I genuinely think bringing all troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq would in the long run do more to fight terrorism than anything else*. If you HAVE to keep troops there, they really need to be united nations troops, with blue helmets.
Nobody likes seeing the flag of a foreign country on armed guards on the streetcorner.

*it would be chaotic and lead to bloodshed for a long time, probably 5-10 years, but are we playing the long game here, or just the next election cycle?

We’re flying out tomorrow to visit the in-laws over New Years; if there was any way I could get our tickets refunded, I’d say fuck flying and make the eighteen hour drive instead. And not because I’m afraid of the plane getting blown up, either.

My mom used to work for British Airways and they used to do security checks every so often. Because I wasn’t a recognized face anywhere but the BA terminal, they had me do one once so as not to tip anyone off that it was happening. It consisted of borrowing my mom’s purse, putting in a HUGE FUCKING HEAVY METAL GRENADE THING without hiding it or wrapping it in anything, and then having me walk through security, put the bag through Xray, etc. A BA rep waited on the other side a bit off to the side ready to intervene if/when they found it so that they could say what was happening and that I wasn’t actually a terrorist.

I go through security, my bag goes through. Nothing. I’m fine.

So the BA agent goes up to the TSA manager and tells him what’s going on. He gets PISSED and starts tearing through my bag, complaining that whatever it is must be so small they didn’t catch it. So he’s literally throwing things out of my mom’s bag, finds the big metal thing which weighed about seven pounds, gets this furious look on his face, throws everything BACK in the bag (at which point I am like ‘that is someone’s actual purse’ and he ignores me) and stomps back to the guy that just let it pass through. He holds up the bag and says, “Watch this one carefully.” and puts it through the xray.

We all watch the xray as it goes through. There, clear as day, is the big ass metal thing.

The TSA agent says, “It’s fine.”

He was fired on the spot. But yikes, thank god I wasn’t seriously trying something. There were of course other times when whoever was doing the bag was flagged immediately. But it only takes one thing like that to go through cause someone is lazy.

Currently out of the country and flying back to the US late New Years Eve. Should be a fun experience.

I think we disagree on the definition of terrorisim. From Wikipedia:

"Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants." (emphasis mine)

I have no idea what ‘absolute truths’ you are attributing to me, but I don’t believe nor will I ever believe or defend terrorism as defined in the above paragraph. I don’t see terrorism as defined as the common belief in that paragraph as ever being ‘moderate’; it’s designed to hurt people. If you want to point out non-violent terrorism as a part of Islamic terrorism, then I’m willing to listen, but I personally have not heard or read of such in practice. Certainly anything can happen ‘in theory’ but the practice has not been that of non-violence. The historical guerrilla tactics that I’ve read about (and again you are welcome to counter point) have always involved violence.

I will not defend violent tactics particularly those aimed at ‘non-combatants’ done by anyone. The Islamic part is not relevant to my personal beliefs. I have serious issues with the Nation of Islam regarding their attitudes and treatment of women, but that’s not necessarily part of the terrorist/extremist acts that they have been involved with.

When Lizard King says “moderate” in comparison, I think he’s referencing the, oh, say, hundreds of thousands dead, injured or displaced in Iraq versus the 3,000 killed in the WTC attack. Yes, we know both are wrong, but one is somewhat more egregious in terms of the human cost (I know, brown people don’t count when it comes to American media, but still).

I’m not arguing that it’s not usually violent (literally) or that it doesn’t target noncombatants. I’m saying that’s par for the course in virtually any military strategy of note, and the morality of it is in the eye of the beholder. This is something discussed many times here, so I apologize for trotting out what must seem like endlessly recycled points. The atomic bomb’s use in WWII, for instance, targeted civilians specifically and was arguably also part of a broader campaign of American intimidation. “Strategic” air bombing in WWII went hand in hand with that, just as it did when we used it in Vietnam or Iraq (shock and awe). Napalm is not just convenient for jungles, it scares the shit out of people, and “civilized” militaries still have no qualms about employing white phosphorus on enemies and whomever is nearby (US->Fallujah, Israel->Gaza, etc). The British got a head start on Saddam by using chemical weapons on recalcitrant southern Iraqi tribes in the 20’s, in order to intimidate the other groups. The Predator drone now, whether it takes out an individual person of interest or his entire family along with him, is designed to create an environment of fear and paranoia in addition to its practical goals of killing people.

A lot of uses were arguably successful, and are sometimes defended by the argument that going after a military capacity directly can often be far more costly in terms of lives and suffering. That is, scaring someone into backing down can sometimes be less destructive than actually diminishing their capacity to fight in physical terms. Terrorism is broadly understood in military terms as a means to that end. That’s not a value judgment so much as pointing out that it is a technical term with real meaning rather than a smear accusation.

I will not defend violent tactics particularly those aimed at ‘non-combatants’ done by anyone. The Islamic part is not relevant to my personal beliefs. I have serious issues with the Nation of Islam regarding their attitudes and treatment of women, but that’s not necessarily part of the terrorist/extremist acts that they have been involved with.

I’m not sure if you mean Islam generally, Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam specifically, or what. I would not dream of trying to convince you that violence directed at “noncombatants” is a good thing or something you should be concerned about defending. It’s your prerogative what you consider moral policy on the part of governments or individuals. What I want to get across is that terrorism has been bandied about as if it were simply a convenient smear for something other people do, but that common view of it seriously handicaps any discussion about politics or war. You have to have perspective on what has happened in your own nation’s hands in order to better understand what others are doing.

Islamic extremists who have chosen to act violently agains the United States are not usually guided by envy or blind fanaticism as, for instance, tv commentators and politicians love to allege. If you listen to what they say and the message they are actually marketing, it is because they can point to so many concrete transgressions on the part of the west against their cultures and peoples that they have the capacity to fuel what are philosophies of death and revenge. Bin Laden himself has stated many times he does not even care that much about the revenge, he wants the consequence of meddling in the middle east to be so huge that the west is forced to deal reactively and defensively against the spread of his radical mindset. To a certain extent he has succeeded, but it is a testament to just how similar people who happen to be Islamic are to people everywhere that we are not drowning in the blood of Americans right now. Unless, of course, you credit extraordinary rendition, the TSA, and the rest of Bush’s collection of red herrings and fear generators with actually stopping Al Qaeda and its imitators.

I was referring to the broader pattern of Western conduct in the Middle East, but yes, that’s the general idea. Not so much to get in a statistics comparison contest but to understand that violent, grotesque action in the service of initially legitimate causes is not something any side has a monopoly on.

Anyway, the link to Yemen is pretty clear, and as far as America is concerned this was an understood threat before this idiot lit himself on fire. I don’t know if I’m as optimistic as Yglesias about the wane of AQ, as I think that the foundation of legitimate grievances that made it so powerful in its heyday is, if anything, stronger once you get over congratulating yourself as a country for not having Bush as president anymore. That is, there’s still a tremendous window of opportunity for motivated nonstate actors to leverage dissatisfaction in the Middle East as our energy strategy and political strategy of balls deep intervention continues to offer them the funding and cause.

What shocks me the most is how effective terrorism is against the US.

Basically anyone willing to light themselves on fire while riding an airplane can cause this nation to collectively wet our pants and significantly undermine our civil rights and our way of life in pursuit of a fantasy of security.

It used to be that we had a system of belief that went beyond “Please mister, don’t hurt me!”

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again!

Second Nigerian man arrested after locking himself in the bathroom of the same flight.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34602186/ns/us_news-security/

I don’t really need to read things on the internet to know that constantly reacting to the last attack with punitive measures that inconvenience millions may just be a bad idea.

So my representative apparently thinks Obama is responsible for the terror attempt.

SuperFreakonomics, a fun read, has some great statistics on the impact of Richard Reid.

Let’s say it takes an average of one minute to remove and replace your shoe… In the US alone, the procedure happens roughly 560 million times a year. 560 million minutes equal more than 1065 years divided by 77.8 years (US life expectancy) is nearly 14 person-lives. So even though failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year

Doing a bit more digging I find that the flight Reid tried to blow up had 196 passengers and crew. We have taking off our shoes for 8 years now, in 6 years the lives lost due to shoe removal will be equal to if he had blown up the plane. This doesn’t include the expense associated (more TSA employees) due to shoe removal.

At this point, I think we have to start rooting for the terrorist to succeed in blowing up planes and hoping that the government can’t figure out how they did it.