Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Nitty-Gritty of Terror

Wow, lots been happening since last post, huh? Fortunately, the Register are here with some sense amongst the media madness, diving into the "murky" (if only for the extent to which it's ignored) world of actually trying to use liquid explosives. Going all Baudrillard, the Reg points out:

"But the Hollywood myth of binary liquid explosives now moves governments and drives public policy. We have reacted to a movie plot."

Compare this article to Reid's latest sentiments, including a call for "a crackdown on internet sites used to incite terrorism". Hands up who's seen this before? Crackdowns on "incitement" is never a well-defined activity. All too often, "incitement" includes the exact kind of information that the Register article goes over. The moral of the story is that we don't care waht you think, so long as you don't have the tools to do it. Information is a tool. (John Reid is also a tool, but in a different way.)

Expect the usual vitriol about "sites dedicated to bomb-making". Expect the implications that if you know how explosives work, you're obviously either a terrorist or a nutter.

But, as the Register article highlights, less knowledge of the details is a bad thing. If we want governments and their policy to be ultimately accountable to us, then we have responsibility to understand - collectively - the nitty-gritty behind the reasons and the excuses that we're given. If lies or exaggerations are used to enforce rules, then those rules are invalid, and the real reasons should be explored.

This is why this is not simply a fight against terrorism. This is a fight against the fear and irrationality that terrorism feeds off - the same fear and irrationality that is present, to some degree, within all of us that is the basis of kooky rituals and superstition. When something eventually does blow up, everyone will be saying, "it's not our fault - we did everything we could, we must have done because we were afraid", but what an illusion of rationality.

I agree with 2600. Our governments are failing us because we are failing them - in our requirements, as part of a democratic system, to understand the choices they're making.

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