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Thread: Is the Terror Threat Overrated? (Article & Discussion - Merged x2)

  1. #1

    Is the Terror Threat Overrated? (Article & Discussion - Merged x2)

    [B][SIZE="4"]Is the Terror Threat Overrated?[/SIZE][/B]
    By David Ignatius

    WASHINGTON -- Politicians who talk about the terrorism threat -- and it's already clear that this will be a polarizing issue in the 2008 campaign -- should be required to read a new book by a former CIA officer named Marc Sageman. It stands what you think you know about terrorism on its head, and helps you see the topic in a different light.

    [B]Sageman has a resume that would suit a postmodern John le Carre. He was a case officer running spies in Pakistan, and then became a forensic psychiatrist. What distinguishes his new book, "Leaderless Jihad," is that it peels away the emotional, reflexive responses to terrorism that have grown up since Sept. 11, 2001, and looks instead at scientific data Sageman has collected on more than 500 Islamic terrorists -- to understand who they are, why they attack and how to stop them.[/B]

    The heart of Sageman's message is that we [B]have been scaring ourselves into overexaggerating the terrorism threat -- and then by our unwise actions in Iraq making the problem worse. He attacks head-on the central thesis of the Bush administration, echoed increasingly by Republican presidential candidate John McCain, that, as McCain's Web site puts it, the United States is facing "a dangerous, relentless enemy in the War against Islamic Extremists" spawned by al-Qaeda.[/B]

    The numbers say otherwise, Sageman insists. The first wave of al-Qaeda leaders, who joined Osama bin Laden in the 1980s, is now down to a few dozen people on the run in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. The second wave of terrorists, who trained in al-Qaeda's camps in Afghanistan during the 1990s, has also been devastated, with about 100 hiding out on the Pakistani frontier. These people are genuinely dangerous, says Sageman, and they must be captured or killed.[B] But they do not pose an existential threat to America, much less a "clash of civilizations."[/B]

    It's the third wave of terrorism that is growing, but what is it? By Sageman's account, it's a leaderless hodgepodge of thousands of what he calls "terrorist wannabes." Unlike the first two waves, who were well-educated and intensely religious, the new jihadists are a weird species of the Internet culture. Outraged by video images of Americans killing Muslims in Iraq, they gather in password-protected chat rooms and dare each other to take action. Like young people across time and religious boundaries, they are bored and looking for action.

    "[B]It's more about hero worship than about religion," Sageman said in a presentation of his research last week at the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank here. Many of this third wave don't speak Arabic or read the Koran. Very few (13 percent of Sageman's sample) have attended radical madrassas. Nearly all join the movement because they know or are related to someone who's already in it. Those detained on terrorism charges are getting younger: In Sageman's 2003 sample, the average age was 26; among those arrested after 2006, it was down to about 20. They are disaffected, homicidal kids -- closer to urban gang members than to motivated Muslim fanatics.[/B]

    Sageman's harshest judgment is that the[B] United States is making the terrorism problem worse by its actions in Iraq. "Since 2003, the war in Iraq has without question fueled the process of radicalization worldwide, including the U.S. The data are crystal clear," he writes. We have taken a fire that would otherwise burn itself out and poured gasoline on it.[/B]

    The [B]third wave of terrorism is inherently self-limiting, Sageman continues. As soon as the amorphous groups gather and train, they make themselves vulnerable to arrest. "As the threat from al-Qaeda is self-limiting, so is its appeal, and global Islamist terrorism will probably disappear for internal reasons -- if the United States has the sense to allow it to continue on its course and fade away."[/B]

    Sageman's policy advice is to "[B]take the glory and thrill out of terrorism." Jettison the rhetoric about Muslim extremism -- these leaderless jihadists are barely Muslims. Stop holding news conferences to announce the latest triumphs in the "global war on terror," which only glamorize the struggle. And reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq, which now fuels the Muslim world's sense of moral outrage.[/B]

    I don't agree with all of Sageman's arguments, especially about the consequences of a quick draw-down in Iraq, but I think he is raising the questions the country needs to ponder this election year. [B]If Sageman's data are right, we are not facing what President Bush called "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation," but something that is more limited and manageable -- if we make good decisions.[/B]

    [url]http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/threat_of_terrorism_may_be_ove.html[/url]

  2. #2
    We know it was over-rated when Clinton was CIC.

  3. #3
    This is interesting:

    [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/26/AR2008022603267.html[/url]

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=Company_Man;2393899]This is interesting:

    [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/26/AR2008022603267.html[/url][/QUOTE]

    Another thing that could be interesting would be if you actually commented on the thread topic instead of trying to hijack the thread to avoid the point.

  5. #5
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    I actually started a thread about this last week.

    Not only is the threat of terrorism completely overexaggerated and overblown, we are putting the vast majority of our resources and military might toward the cause of stability in Iraq instead of where the most significant terror related domestic threats to us lie in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=parafly;2394091]I actually started a thread about this last week.

    Not only is the threat of terrorism completely overexaggerated and overblown, we are putting the vast majority of our resources and military might toward the cause of stability in Iraq instead of where the most significant terror related domestic threats to us lie in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[/QUOTE]

    Very good post. This is just a thought but consider...........
    [B]Fascism[/B]
    Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state, party or society as a whole. [B]Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, religious attributes. [/B]Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: [B]patriotism, nationalism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism, collectivism, autocracy and opposition to political and economic liberalism.[/B]

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascist#Definitions_and_scope_of_the_word[/url]
    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 02-28-2008 at 12:28 PM.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2394057]Another thing that could be interesting would be if you actually commented on the thread topic instead of trying to hijack the thread to avoid the point.[/QUOTE]

    You could have responded to my first post.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=Company_Man;2394251]You could have responded to my first post.[/QUOTE]

    You could’ve responded to the thread topic in which you posted in.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=BrooklynBound;2394339]You could’ve responded to the thread topic in which you posted in.[/QUOTE]

    I did.

  10. #10
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    The Fading Jihadists

    [URL="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/27/AR2008022703179.html"]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/27/AR2008022703179.html[/URL]



    By David Ignatius
    Thursday, February 28, 2008; Page A17

    Politicians who talk about the terrorism threat -- and it's already clear that this will be a polarizing issue in the 2008 campaign -- should be required to read a new book by a former CIA officer named Marc Sageman. It stands what you think you know about terrorism on its head and helps you see the topic in a different light.

    Sageman has a résumé that would suit a postmodern John le Carré. He was a case officer running spies in Pakistan and then became a forensic psychiatrist. What distinguishes his new book, "Leaderless Jihad," is that it peels away the emotional, reflexive responses to terrorism that have grown up since Sept. 11, 2001, and looks instead at scientific data Sageman has collected on more than 500 Islamic terrorists -- to understand who they are, why they attack and how to stop them.

    The heart of Sageman's message is that we have been scaring ourselves into exaggerating the terrorism threat -- and then by our unwise actions in Iraq making the problem worse. He attacks head-on the central thesis of the Bush administration, echoed increasingly by Republican presidential candidate John McCain, that, as McCain's Web site puts it, the United States is facing "a dangerous, relentless enemy in the War against Islamic Extremists" spawned by al-Qaeda.

    The numbers say otherwise, Sageman insists. The first wave of al-Qaeda leaders, who joined Osama bin Laden in the 1980s, is down to a few dozen people on the run in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. The second wave of terrorists, who trained in al-Qaeda's camps in Afghanistan during the 1990s, has also been devastated, with about 100 hiding out on the Pakistani frontier. These people are genuinely dangerous, says Sageman, and they must be captured or killed. But they do not pose an existential threat to America, much less a "clash of civilizations."

    It's the third wave of terrorism that is growing, but what is it? By Sageman's account, it's a leaderless hodgepodge of thousands of what he calls "terrorist wannabes." Unlike the first two waves, whose members were well educated and intensely religious, the new jihadists are a weird species of the Internet culture. Outraged by video images of Americans killing Muslims in Iraq, they gather in password-protected chat rooms and dare each other to take action. Like young people across time and religious boundaries, they are bored and looking for thrills.

    "It's more about hero worship than about religion," Sageman said in a presentation of his research last week at the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank here. Many of this third wave don't speak Arabic or read the Koran. Very few (13 percent of Sageman's sample) have attended radical madrassas. Nearly all join the movement because they know or are related to someone who's already in it. Those detained on terrorism charges are getting younger: In Sageman's 2003 sample, the average age was 26; among those arrested after 2006, it was down to about 20. They are disaffected, homicidal kids -- closer to urban gang members than to motivated Muslim fanatics.

    Sageman's harshest judgment is that the United States is making the terrorism problem worse by its actions in Iraq. "Since 2003, the war in Iraq has without question fueled the process of radicalization worldwide, including the U.S. The data are crystal clear," he writes. We have taken a fire that would otherwise burn itself out and poured gasoline on it.

    The third wave of terrorism is inherently self-limiting, Sageman continues. As soon as the amorphous groups gather and train, they make themselves vulnerable to arrest. "As the threat from al-Qaeda is self-limiting, so is its appeal, and global Islamist terrorism will probably disappear for internal reasons -- if the United States has the sense to allow it to continue on its course and fade away."

    Sageman's policy advice is to "take the glory and thrill out of terrorism." Jettison the rhetoric about Muslim extremism -- these leaderless jihadists are barely Muslims. Stop holding news conferences to announce the latest triumphs in the "global war on terror," which only glamorize the struggle. And reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq, which fuels the Muslim world's sense of moral outrage.

    I don't agree with all of Sageman's arguments, especially about the consequences of a quick drawdown in Iraq, but I think he is raising the questions the country needs to ponder this election year. If Sageman's data are right, we are not facing what President Bush called "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation," but something that is more limited and manageable -- if we make good decisions.

  11. #11
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    I have a hard time believing Bhutto was killed by kids from an Internet chatroom.

  12. #12
    Not many threats to identify when one sticks his head in the sand.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2393798][B][SIZE="4"]Is the Terror Threat Overrated?[/SIZE][/B]
    By David Ignatius

    WASHINGTON -- Politicians who talk about the terrorism threat -- and it's already clear that this will be a polarizing issue in the 2008 campaign -- should be required to read a new book by a former CIA officer named Marc Sageman. It stands what you think you know about terrorism on its head, and helps you see the topic in a different light.

    [B]Sageman has a resume that would suit a postmodern John le Carre. He was a case officer running spies in Pakistan, and then became a forensic psychiatrist. What distinguishes his new book, "Leaderless Jihad," is that it peels away the emotional, reflexive responses to terrorism that have grown up since Sept. 11, 2001, and looks instead at scientific data Sageman has collected on more than 500 Islamic terrorists -- to understand who they are, why they attack and how to stop them.[/B]

    The heart of Sageman's message is that we [B]have been scaring ourselves into overexaggerating the terrorism threat -- and then by our unwise actions in Iraq making the problem worse. He attacks head-on the central thesis of the Bush administration, echoed increasingly by Republican presidential candidate John McCain, that, as McCain's Web site puts it, the United States is facing "a dangerous, relentless enemy in the War against Islamic Extremists" spawned by al-Qaeda.[/B]

    The numbers say otherwise, Sageman insists. The first wave of al-Qaeda leaders, who joined Osama bin Laden in the 1980s, is now down to a few dozen people on the run in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. The second wave of terrorists, who trained in al-Qaeda's camps in Afghanistan during the 1990s, has also been devastated, with about 100 hiding out on the Pakistani frontier. These people are genuinely dangerous, says Sageman, and they must be captured or killed.[B] But they do not pose an existential threat to America, much less a "clash of civilizations."[/B]

    It's the third wave of terrorism that is growing, but what is it? By Sageman's account, it's a leaderless hodgepodge of thousands of what he calls "terrorist wannabes." Unlike the first two waves, who were well-educated and intensely religious, the new jihadists are a weird species of the Internet culture. Outraged by video images of Americans killing Muslims in Iraq, they gather in password-protected chat rooms and dare each other to take action. Like young people across time and religious boundaries, they are bored and looking for action.

    "[B]It's more about hero worship than about religion," Sageman said in a presentation of his research last week at the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank here. Many of this third wave don't speak Arabic or read the Koran. Very few (13 percent of Sageman's sample) have attended radical madrassas. Nearly all join the movement because they know or are related to someone who's already in it. Those detained on terrorism charges are getting younger: In Sageman's 2003 sample, the average age was 26; among those arrested after 2006, it was down to about 20. They are disaffected, homicidal kids -- closer to urban gang members than to motivated Muslim fanatics.[/B]

    Sageman's harshest judgment is that the[B] United States is making the terrorism problem worse by its actions in Iraq. "Since 2003, the war in Iraq has without question fueled the process of radicalization worldwide, including the U.S. The data are crystal clear," he writes. We have taken a fire that would otherwise burn itself out and poured gasoline on it.[/B]

    The [B]third wave of terrorism is inherently self-limiting, Sageman continues. As soon as the amorphous groups gather and train, they make themselves vulnerable to arrest. "As the threat from al-Qaeda is self-limiting, so is its appeal, and global Islamist terrorism will probably disappear for internal reasons -- if the United States has the sense to allow it to continue on its course and fade away."[/B]

    Sageman's policy advice is to "[B]take the glory and thrill out of terrorism." Jettison the rhetoric about Muslim extremism -- these leaderless jihadists are barely Muslims. Stop holding news conferences to announce the latest triumphs in the "global war on terror," which only glamorize the struggle. And reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq, which now fuels the Muslim world's sense of moral outrage.[/B]

    I don't agree with all of Sageman's arguments, especially about the consequences of a quick draw-down in Iraq, but I think he is raising the questions the country needs to ponder this election year. [B]If Sageman's data are right, we are not facing what President Bush called "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation," but something that is more limited and manageable -- if we make good decisions.[/B]

    [url]http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/threat_of_terrorism_may_be_ove.html[/url][/QUOTE]

    Sorry, less than 7 years after 3000+ were killed by terrorists plus the London/Madrid bombings,etc, our politicians on both sides owe it to the American public to continue to protect us against a terror threat. So while the probability of a terror attack may be lessened (I am taking your assumption), we are not scaring ourselves needlessly.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=sect112row36;2394632][B]Sorry, less than 7 years after 3000+ were killed by terrorists plus the London/Madrid bombings,etc, our politicians on both sides owe it to the American public to continue to protect us against a terror threat.[/B] So while the probability of a terror attack may be lessened (I am taking your assumption), [B]we are not scaring ourselves needlessly[/B].[/QUOTE]

    Now if only we could've fought the people.....[B]who actually attacked us on that day[/B]. I think the politicians owe Americans, and more to the point, the soldiers that much.

  15. #15
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    The bottom line is that Al Qaeda is as much of a concept and ideology as it is an organization trying to wage war against us.

    A US occupation in the middle of their "Holy Land" is not an effective tool to suppress the spike in radicalization that has occured over the last several years.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2394645]Now if only we could've fought the people.....[B]who actually attacked us on that day[/B]. I think the politicians owe Americans, and more to the point, the soldiers that much.[/QUOTE]

    Are you saying we should have attacked Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan?

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=parafly;2394668]The bottom line is that Al Qaeda is as much of a concept and ideology as it is an organization trying to wage war against us.

    A US occupation in the middle of their "Holy Land" is not an effective tool to suppress the spike in radicalization that has occured over the last several years.[/QUOTE]

    You mean the Iraq War has not made the world safer? Golly gee, but thats what President Cheney and Sean Hannity tells me all the time, so it[B] MUST[/B] be true. The world is safer from terrorism because of this war.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=sect112row36;2394675]Are you saying we should have attacked Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan?[/QUOTE]

    I am saying we should have attacked Afghanistan. Also, we would have had little problem building a powerful coalition of countries. Then we would not have had to fight a long battle with little help. Do you remember the amount of pro-American sentiment in the days after Septemeber 11th? Odd what an immoral war will do to that support.

    if we put our full resources, along with a real coalition of countries eager to help us after September 11th, we would be in a better position in many ways right now.

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=sackdance;2394562]Not many threats to identify when one sticks his head in the sand.[/QUOTE]

    I guess this C.I.A. agent was not as informed about global terrorism as "sackdance" is.

  20. #20
    I do know this, there is nothing the Republicans would like more then a large terror attack on our nation that kills thousands of innocents

    As it is I would say it is 50/50 wether Obama or Mccain get the Presidency, a terror attack would ensure a Mccain presidency as that is his only rallying cry

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