.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Omniarchy describes the principals and positions of a new political philosophy in the United States. The originality of the political positions espoused by the essays contained on the following pages is matched by the novelty of the name used to define them: Omniarchy. If anarchy is the rule of none, monarchy is the rule of one, and oligarchy is the rule of some, then Omniarchy is the rule of all.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London: Dress Rehearsal for a Dirty Bomb?

Although the horrors and agonies endured by the victims of Thursday's bombings in London were tragically heart rending, the British should be thankful that al-Qaeda's butcher's bill wasn't bloodier. Al-Qaeda murdered thousands of innocent people on September 11th, more than 200 in Bali and nearly as many in Madrid. In Baghdad, a bomb attack that kills 50+ civilians and injure hundreds of others is just another bad day - front-page news, but below the fold.

So what's Osama up to? Is he getting soft in his old age? At the risk of being stigmatized as an alarmist, I don't think so.

I'm afraid that London might have been a dress rehearsal for detonating one or more dirty bombs in the US. With the cooperation of Pakistani or Iranian sympathizers, there may be a very good chance that al-Qaeda operatives could get their hands on a significant amount of radioactive isotopes and smuggle this material into the US. If those responsible for detonating the devices in London get over here as well, I think we could be in real trouble. Does the name Jose Padilla ring any bells?

Because of its relatively low level of lethality, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calls a dirty bomb a "Weapon of Mass Disruption" that would cause more emotional and economic damage (from the mandatory clean-up), than human carnage.

Thus, I would prioritize al-Qaeda's three top targets for a dirty bomb attack, in order, as:

1) Wall Street - If at first you don't succeed . . .
2) The Capitol - "This Tuesday's committee meeting will be at Senator Lugar's house. BYOB."
3) A major international airport - probably JFK, Newark, LAX, or Dulles.

(Actually, Hartsfield or O'Hare would probably cause more economic damage to the US, but al-Qaeda's attacks are intended to rally their troops as much as dishearten their opponents. How many mujahideen could find Chicago on a map or have even heard of Atlanta?)

The bottom line is that we can't afford to wait around for the second catastrophic shoe to drop on George Bush's watch. Moreover, short of putting bomb-sniffing dogs on every street corner in lower Manhattan, spending more money on domestic security isn't likely to make our civic institutions or us any safer. That's Congress's knee-jerk reaction to every problem: throw money at it to make it go away.

What we need instead is a coherent anti-terrorist campaign. In short, we need a plan, not platitudes; we need to act instead of react.

Iraq is a problem, but solving it won't end domestic terrorism. (I'm sure that the families of the victims of the London attacks are grateful to Bush and Blair for taking their "war against terrorism" to Iraq so that we didn't end up fighting the terrorists here at home.) Let's face facts, Saddam wasn't the problem, al-Qaeda was and is. Bush's reaction to 9/11 was as if a co-worker had shot him in the leg, so he punched the guy in the nose but then went home and burned down his neighbor's house because he was still pissed off. That may make you feel good and look tough, but you've still got a dangerous nut job with a grudge out there looking for you.

So what should we do? How about the three "I"s?


Terrorist organizations are highly motivated cadres that use extreme and extralegal methods to express their philosophic ideals and accomplish their destabilizing objectives. Much like sociopathic criminals, these true believers hew to a moral or ethical imperative that transcends the codified parameters of acceptable social behavior. Unlike sociopathic criminals, however, they are not demons or monsters. They have civic objectives that transcend mere butchery. Thus, we must use every means at our disposal to dispute, discredit and co-opt their claims of a transcendent moral authority.

Conversely, the ethic upon which we base acceptable civilized behavior must be explained cogently and promulgated vigorously among the organization's potential adherents. It must be conveyed by word and deed; mere simplistic slogans will not sway the skeptical. With significant social support, a terrorist organization is mythologized as a vanguard of warriors and martyrs. Without that support, the organization becomes alienated from those elements of society from which it derives its succor. This is the difference between the Red Brigades and the IRA, and why John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry sparked a civil war while the rampages of the Manson "family" in California didn't. Without social approbation, terrorist organizations deteriorate eventually into ineffectual collections of deranged individuals who are perceived as delusional criminals by their former benefactors. Al-Qaeda's ability to conduct coherent operations must be precluded by eliminating its moral authority, thereby isolating it from its bases of social, economic and political support.


Knowledge is power and ignorance is impotence. The prevention of future acts of terror against the United States cannot depend upon either serendipity or clairvoyance. Human and technological assets must be employed to anticipate the terrorists as well as impede their operational effectiveness. Surfing the web for "chatter" will not suffice. Clandestine methods of disinformation and infiltration are essential ingredients of effective counterintelligence.

This makes the repressive and xenophobic elements of the USA Patriot Act and the torture of captured belligerents especially counterproductive. At precisely the time that our military and law enforcement agencies should be recruiting spies and provocateurs they are persecuting and alienating them. The solicitation of intelligence agents must take precedence over a presumption of guilt by association. Without the penetration of terroristic organizations by human and technological intelligence, the domestic efforts of our police organizations and the foreign efforts of our military organizations are stopgap measures; they cannot prevent, they can only punish. As the attacks on September 11th demonstrated, to the degree that the United States is oblivious, it is insecure. Ignorance is not bliss; it's vulnerability.


Finally, the federal government must exercise its military and police powers against this pernicious form of criminality vigorously and decisively. The United States must assert its intrinsic right of national self-defense and exert international jurisdiction over those individuals and organizations that have committed acts of terror as well as those who facilitate them, regardless of their geographic location. After the moral imperatives of the terrorists have been discredited and their methods of operation disrupted, the due process of the law must be employed to capture and punish the guilty parties. For example, those who were responsible for the attacks of September 11th bear a historical social stigma similar to the Japanese and Nazi war criminals of World War II. Like them, when they are captured they must be tried in impartial and international courts of law, not held in perpetual limbo as enemy combatants or executed summarily in the field. Regardless of the horrendous nature of their crimes or the depravity of the criminals themselves, the due process of law must become an essential tool in the war on terrorism. It is essential not merely because it protects the legal rights of individuals who disdain their reciprocal validity, but because it distinguishes civilization from barbarism. It not only facilitates a civic catharsis for an aggrieved democracy; it demythologizes the perpetrators.

As it pertains to global terrorism, due process is a deterrent against future attacks because it subverts the terrorists' claims of oppression and precludes their aspirations of martyrdom. Without due process, prosecution can be stigmatized as persecution and as the expression of might, not right. With it, due process becomes the physical manifestation of the right of a just society to protect itself from malevolent sociopaths. Among the people of the United States, the perception of prosecutorial fairness and honesty is important; among the sympathizers and supporters of terroristic organizations, its reality is mandatory.

In conclusion, we've become like homeowners buying high-tech burglar alarms and door locks because they provide us with the illusion but not the reality of security. We already have enough locks on our doors; we got to start trying to make our neighborhood a safer place in which to live by reducing the causes of crime, keeping an eye on the bad guys and getting them off the street when they break the law. Our war against terror won't be won until our government decides to focus its efforts on eliminating the rationale for the existence of al-Qaeda and neutralizing its adherents instead of increasing the amount of money it expends on Homeland Security and trying to make Iraq safe for democracy.

Until then, you might want to think about stocking up on potassium iodide.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

1:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home