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[Another] London Terror Attack


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#1 tastywheat

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:40 PM

 

London attack: At least five dead, 40 injured after terrorist targets Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament

 

A suspected Islamist terrorist has been shot dead after killing four people and injuring 40 more in a car and knife attack on London's Westminster Bridge and inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

 

The attack started at about 2:40pm (local time) when a speeding car ran down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before crashing into the railings surrounding the Parliament.

The knife-wielding driver then entered the Parliament grounds and fatally stabbed a police officer, identified as a 48-year-old father with 14 years' service, before himself being shot dead.

The three other fatalities were members of the public hit by the car on Westminster Bridge.

"We've declared this as a terrorist incident and the counter-terrorism command are carrying out a full-scale investigation into the events today," Mark Rowley, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters.

He would not comment on the identity of the attacker, but said police were working on the assumption that the attack was "Islamist-related terrorism".

Hundreds of officers are investigating the attack, and the investigation is working at a "very fast pace", Mr Rowley said.

 

Source: http://www.abc.net.a...-bridge/8378392

 

 

 

Shit.

 

5 people dead, with likely long term consequences to perceptions of public safety, need for increased security, and general impact on Western freedoms.  

 

Daesh or a similar organisation will no doubt take responsibility, with the usual demand for British and other Western forces to withdraw from Syria.

 

Maybe it's time to seriously rethink our Middle Eastern policy, and actually withdraw?  Yes, that will necessarily result in civilian deaths and the likely emergence of oppressive power structures, but I think we need to draw a line somewhere.  The current strategy of bombing the shit out of them is clearly failing, and I think our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq have made it clear that you can't impose democracy or peace on a society fundamentally fractured by tribalism (Sunni vs Shia).


Edited by tastywheat, 23 March 2017 - 12:42 PM.


#2 @~thehung

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:44 PM

Maybe it's time to seriously rethink our Middle Eastern policy, and actually withdraw?


generally speaking, you make some good points. but right now? when so many of the craziest of the crazy and evilest of the evil are clustered together like never before?


no pung intended

#3 tastywheat

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 05:14 PM


generally speaking, you make some good points. but right now? when so many of the craziest of the crazy and evilest of the evil are clustered together like never before?

 

 

I think there's pretty good indication that we're feeding that sort of behaviour (example).  

 

If we analyse this grossly simplified model, we have the following logical progressions:

 

  1. We keep feeding terrorism through continued deploymnet and strike operations.  In order for it to stop, we need to eliminate a majority of the people effected.
  2. We withdraw, it gets momentarily worse, and then starves out.

We've been attempting to stop Islamic terrorism by taking out leaders, resources, and training camps for the last ~16 years.  It's cost trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of civilian lives, and we don't seem to be making meaningful progress.  Objectively, Islamic terrorism has increased in Western countries since we launched anti-terrorism military campaigns in the Middle East.  It's as if terrorism is a predicable by-product of fighting a war against a technologically superior and better resourced enemy, and taking out one terrorist leader (with some collateral damage) breeds 5 more to take their place...

 

If we were to stop everything tomorrow, and withdraw all Defence Force personal currently acting in offensive roles, there is no doubt that there will be negative consequences.  Daesh will benefit, meaning that their influence will likely grow, meaning there will be increased threats of terrorism and civilian casualties.  Terrorism will be justified using retrospective arguments for revenge (like it was for 9/11), instead of immediate demands.  Stability in the Middle East will be reduced.

 

These are not trivial outcomes.  The ethics of staying or withdrawing are irreducibly complex, and I don't have access to the necessary information to fully justify my position.  My reasons for supporting a military withdrawal are threefold:  

 

Firstly, it removes the Foreign Invader narrative used to recruit and convert new terrorists. 

 

Secondly, I believe that long term stability or peace can't be imposed.  It has to come from the people, because they control underlying culture that is the source of ongoing conflict.  The popular model for terrorism is that it's a cancer caused by some random cultural mutation, actively attacking the society that produced it.  I think a model that better fits the situation, and promotes a deeper understanding, is that terrorism is a psychological disease.  Something that can't be fixed with a surgeons knife (unless you consider a lobotomy as a valid solution).  It's complex, and instead of helping, intervention without careful consideration can serve to enable it.  There needs to be an internal source of motivation to resolve these issues.

 

Thirdly, we've collectively invested a total somewhere in the region of $8 to 12 Trillion USD in attempting to resolve these problems.  There is a utilitarian argument to be made that this is irresponsible.  That sort of investment could have made a significant difference to Education, Health, Economic Prosperity, and Scientific Research.

 



#4 Rybags

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 05:29 PM

Another low act, looks like the lone wolf is coming into vogue.

Just days after the gutless wonder in France attempted to take a female hostage.

 

Solution for the problem?  Install a few dictators.  They had their fleeting glimpse at freedom and democracy and let it slip out of their hands.

Bottom line, freedom isn't something that just happens, it needs to be vigilantly maintained.



#5 chrisg

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 05:40 PM

Unfortunately Tasty whilst I'd love to agree with you you are wrong.

 

Back away and they will see it as a weakness and attack stronger than ever, it will not die down, terrorists are a  lunatic fringe but still quite enough to cause world chaos.

 

I somehow doubt you have ever even visited the ME, let alone lived there as I have, the average people are not going to stand up to the lunatics, they'll either keep their heads down or flee as many are doing, a populist uprising is just not going to happen.

 

I do agree, atrocious amount of money for no real gain, but I don't think the choices were even vaguely palatable.

 

There is no easy solution but stepping back will not work.

 

Cheers


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#6 tastywheat

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:36 PM

Back away and they will see it as a weakness and attack stronger than ever, it will not die down, terrorists are a  lunatic fringe but still quite enough to cause world chaos.

 

I somehow doubt you have ever even visited the ME, let alone lived there as I have, the average people are not going to stand up to the lunatics, they'll either keep their heads down or flee as many are doing, a populist uprising is just not going to happen.

 

Genuine question:  Do we have any precedent for your first assertion?  For example, outcomes from Korea, Vietnam, or Somalia that caused global chaos worse than the wars, or security issues for citizens in Australia?  It seems to be something we take precaution against, without ever really having testing the underlying assumptions.

 

I've spent a few weeks in Bahrein (family live there).  I certainly don't know it well enough to speak the language, but I'm aware of the cultural differences, and honestly, the people did't strike me as submissive and unattached to their country.  I'd argue the exact opposite.  What about your time there gave you that impression?

 

Not that anecdotal evidence counts for anything since it can't be independently verified, but I'm not just talking from my comfy armchair.  I have immediate family in the Defence Force, who have been deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria (and are gearing up to go back).  They obviously think what they're doing is righteous, but they don't think it necessarily benefits Australian security.  They do it for the Syrians and Iraqis.  They also agree that the only long term solution is for Muslim nations to get involved with boots on the ground.  We can't solve this situation from the air, or with diplomacy.


Another low act, looks like the lone wolf is coming into vogue.

Just days after the gutless wonder in France attempted to take a female hostage.

 

Solution for the problem?  Install a few dictators.  They had their fleeting glimpse at freedom and democracy and let it slip out of their hands.

Bottom line, freedom isn't something that just happens, it needs to be vigilantly maintained.

 

Things under Saddam certainly appear to have been better from an international perspective...

 

Are you familiar with what triggered the recent increase in terror alert?  I'm not referring to intelligence, I'm referring to a specific incident.



#7 @~thehung

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 08:04 PM

yes those were just more of the points i generally agree with. 

 

but you havent addressed the fact that Daesh is a different beast to what has come before.  these are terrorists involved in a massive land grab who have maintained a standing army and whose mix of motivations is massively skewed towards the purely ideological.  Al Qaeda they aint.  you may think these factors shouldnt effect your thesis, but its strange not to at least acknowledge the magnitude of this geopolitical shift. 


no pung intended

#8 tastywheat

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:07 PM

yes those were just more of the points i generally agree with. 

 

but you havent addressed the fact that Daesh is a different beast to what has come before.  these are terrorists involved in a massive land grab who have maintained a standing army and whose mix of motivations is massively skewed towards the purely ideological.  Al Qaeda they aint.  you may think these factors shouldnt effect your thesis, but its strange not to at least acknowledge the magnitude of this geopolitical shift. 

 

I agree Daesh are different to what has come before, but I'm arguing that there are fundamental causes for their rise that were common to Al Qaeda, and that it was a natural progression of foreign military involvement in the Middle East.  I'm sure you're already across the ideas in first paragraph, but I think it's necessary to ensure appropriate context for the second:

 

Occupy sovereign territory with a technically superior force to address insurgents battling their fellow countrymen for power, and the initial effect it has is to encourage guerrilla warfare.  Guerrilla warfare leads to collateral damage, and the secondary effect is to stimulate public animosity towards the invaders, and a desire for retaliation.  If you continue with these pressures, the animosity grows, the discourse more emotional, and the system shifts more and more out of balance.  Animosity and a desire for retaliation starts to get woven into the insurgent narrative, resulting in increased recruitment/conversion.  Since regular warfare has essentially no hope of making an impact on the invaders, ideological frameworks are commandeered to justify terrorist attacks on foreign civilians (you kill our civilians, so we'll kill yours).  The system then starts to feed back on itself.  Terrorist attacks are carried out, which results in the invaders retaliating, which causes more collateral damage.  The pressure builds to a point where instead of Terrorism being an extremist mentality, large swathes of the population start to support foreign attacks on the invaders.  Selective pressures start to favour more extreme versions of the insurgent narrative, and instead of small isolated militia, large standing armies start to self-organise.

 

Daesh are not special snowflakes, or extreme villains that have materialised out of thin air.  They are humans who are reacting to very particular environmental pressures.  Their ideology has come to power specifically because of the shared experience of hundreds of thousands of people, who at any moment, are considering joining the cause.  All it takes is for the pressure of foreign invasion to continue, and a new incident that finally pushes an individual above their tolerable threshold.  At this point, the main options they have available are to remove themselves from the situation, join the corrupt governments forces, or join Daesh.

 

This brings us back to the original options.  We either bomb the shit out them until there are none left, which in turn serves to recruit more of them, leading to more terrorist attacks, more bombing etc. etc.  Or we withdraw, and contain the situation until Syrian and Iraqi society return to some sort of dysfunctional equilibrium (2-3 decades from now).

 

What other options do we have that resolve the underlying issues, as opposed to suppressing them, and therefore prolonging the conflict?


Edited by tastywheat, 23 March 2017 - 09:14 PM.


#9 Outcast_Aussie

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 02:07 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39372154

 


Kent-born Khalid Masood, who died in the attack, was not the subject of any current police investigations, but had a range of previous convictions.

 

I think the question is what caused the seed of discontent to enter his thought train and then ferment ?



#10 TheManFromPOST

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 05:57 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39372154
 

Kent-born Khalid Masood, who died in the attack, was not the subject of any current police investigations, but had a range of previous convictions.

 
I think the question is what caused the seed of discontent to enter his thought train and then ferment ?
Small dick
Blames others for his own failures
Read from a book full of hate
Low IQ



So much for those who after the lunnie in Bourke St that suggested bollard were the answer

Edited by TheManFromPOST, 24 March 2017 - 05:58 AM.


#11 chrisg

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:17 AM

You are talking about very different wars Tasty, in none of those did terrorism go outside of the territory in dispute, the ME is not like that, they have been practicing terror on Israel for decades, although that has of late quietened down but now they take terror to the nations attacking them, in the main from the air.

 

I utterly agree despite my background that you do not win wars from the air but in the ME you don't really win them with foreign intervention on the ground either. That has not worked in Iraq, bogged down for well over a decade now, it has not worked in Afghanistan, never has there in centuries, all we end up doing is sending troops into a meat grinder.

 

So in one sense I agree, we need to leave them to sort their own problems out, the trouble, from my time in the ME, is I don't think they in general have the will to stand up to their lunatic fringe nor, probably Jordan aside, do they really have much in the way of national pride. I suppose it is a bit difficult to do so when really their borders were mostly arbitrarily draw by Europeans carving the area up, that even includes Saudi but more in the sense that there is only limited control by house Saud over the general population.

 

Bahrain on the other hand is utterly different, the archipelago has existed as a separate nation for a very long time, thrives on trade and has always had ok relations with the west. Geography plays a large part in why it is different.

 

I was based there once, a long time ago, very much enjoyed it, but there is hardly an Arab nation I have not at least visited, some are fine, the UAE and Jordan especially, but Saudi, Syria and Lebanon never impressed, actually a very good friend of mine here is Jordanian, he shares my views and he does go back to the region from time to time.

 

Israel is very different, much more of a Western stance, better organised, better run but I do often wonder if re-establishing a nation based upon a Christian religion in the midst of Muslim ones was such a good idea -far too late now of course.

 

Cheers


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#12 tastywheat

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:28 AM

I think the question is what caused the seed of discontent to enter his thought train and then ferment ?

Small dick
Blames others for his own failures
Read from a book full of hate
Low IQ

I think this is along the lines of what most people will attribute it to. Components of it it may well be true. For example, I think it's extremely probable that pathological religious ideology played a role.

But I also think such thinking fundamentally misunderstands the situation, and therefore does not provide an opportunity to address the causes. This wasn't an attack on Piccadilly Circus, where far more people could have been killed. It's unlikely that the Westminster was an arbitrary choice.

I asked Rybags the same question, but are you familiar with the specific incident that triggered the increase in terror alert, that was followed with a ban on laptops from the Middle East?

#13 tastywheat

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:45 AM

You are talking about very different wars Tasty, in none of those did terrorism go outside of the territory in dispute


Certainly the wars were very different, but I'd argue the impact they've had on the local population generally follows the same format, and the influence they've had on extremeist ideology of the region has been consistently negative.

Daesh is just an expanded expression of this ideology. The international lines of the territory they emerged from are pretty arbitrary. If you instead consider the situation based on discontent with the establishment, and other social factors, Northern Iraq was a prime breeding ground, and it's logical that the once the movement was established, it would expand into Syria based on their ideological beliefs, and military capacities.

#14 Rybags

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:48 AM

Am I aware of what was going down when the first high profile lone wolf attack took place?  Not really.  Wasn't that over 15 months ago now.  The first truck attack.

As far as I'm concerned, countries going hardline on immigration policy or laws concerning so-called refugees is in no way justification for what's going on.



#15 tastywheat

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:47 PM

Am I aware of what was going down when the first high profile lone wolf attack took place?  Not really.  Wasn't that over 15 months ago now.  The first truck attack.

As far as I'm concerned, countries going hardline on immigration policy or laws concerning so-called refugees is in no way justification for what's going on.

 

The following is a hypothetical that I'd be interested in hearing your response to.  It's a crude model, but I'm hoping it'll help illustrate the point.

 

Anzac day is coming up.  We're not a religious society anymore, but I'd suggest Anzac services and memorials are something most Australians consider sacred.  It's a time to pay respects to the people who enabled our society to prosper.

 

If an attack was carried out on a dawn service, killing ~50 innocent civilians, and ISIS takes responsibility, what do you think the appropriate response would be?



#16 Rybags

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:58 PM

Illustrate what point?

 

Tit for tat?  Or something more complex.

The fact that an attack could take place is indication that the vetting process for allowing people into Australia isn't very watertight.  Sure, there's the so-called moderates who jump the fence, but the humanitarian side of immigration is a case of arms far too wide open.

These people get the red carpet treatment more than enough as it is, and the problem with unemployment and lack of integration into our society, well really, it lies at their feet, not ours.



#17 tastywheat

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:14 PM

Illustrate what point?

 

Humour me.  If such an attack were to happen, how should the Australian Defence force respond?



#18 Rybags

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:16 PM

Whack them harder.  Close the borders.

Cave into terrorists just once, it opens the floodgates.

 

So what would your response be?  Given that you have the prejudice such that any discussion about brown people, even if it was Aus vs Iran in a soccer game, starts with the default position of them being "victims", the solution you come up with will always be biased in their favour.



#19 tastywheat

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:25 PM

Whack them harder.  Close the borders.

 

Right.  Go after the source, take out the leaders?

 

Say in the following week after the attack, another terrorist attack took place on a school.  ~30 students and teachers were killed.  Should the magnitude or nature of the response be adjusted?



#20 Rybags

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:29 PM

What are you trying to get at here?  Do you think if we just leave them alone that they'll stop?

Do you think if we capitulate to whatever demands they put on the table that they'll disband and turn into a friendship group?






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