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TERRORISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY: ‘WAGING’ WAR IS ‘WINNING’ WAR

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, NOV. 17, 2015) — French President Francois Hollande gave the speech of his life Monday at the Palace of Versailles in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. He began with an FDR-like soundbite, appealed for unity, and closed with a rousing pledge to the strains of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem. The speech played to those with a nationalistic bent, a thirst for justice, and the emotional strength to cry when tears are needed.

In other words, the speech failed spectacularly.

War? Against What? Against Whom?

Hollande began with the somber declaration, “France is at war. Our enemy is Daesh (the Islamic State).” Good so far. The IS exists in force and in territory. You can point to a map between Iraq and Syria and identify IS’ headquarters. Indeed, Hollande ordered air raids on Raqqa, Syria, vowing a “merciless” strike.

Then Hollande called for an alliance among France, the United States, and Russia “so we can unite our forces to achieve the result that has taken too long.” The notion of international unity in the face of terrorism has undeniable appeal, and, if enough money and lives are spent, such a triad would have a good chance at reducing IS to Barney Rubble.

Then what would happen? The seeds for a nastier discontent would be sown in Syria, Iraq, the Middle East, and anywhere where there are enough hopeless, impoverished young people and enough cynical “mullahs,” “elders,” and the like to exploit them. The seeds would prosper, for example, among regional fundamentalists blowing themselves up deciding who among the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds were The Great Prophet’s closest descendants.

Hollande closed by insisting that France was at war not against another country, not against another civilization, but against terrorism.

“We will eradicate terrorism,” he said.

Can’t be done.

We Can Fight Things, But We Can’t Beat “Isms”

As THE PLANET said yesterday, terrorism, like all “isms,” is an idea. It is not bound by geopolitical borders. It has no army with identifiable uniforms and rank. It lacks regimented command in the tradition of the two “great”  wars we honor with Roman numerals.

World War I.

World War II.

Like the Super Bowl, it has to be important if we assign Roman numerals.

The rise of terrorism as an effective tool of international politics correlates to the rise of technology and the “shrinking” of the world over the past generation. Newer, faster, smaller means of communications — from the most intricate global networks to one person’s smart phone — and an amped up production of more sophisticated, deadlier, mobile weapons have made national borders actually what they are: Imaginary lines drawn upon a map, usually by the victors as spoils (and punishment) in the wake of war.

Killing as Symbolism

The Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the militant West German group from the 1970s, became arguably the first modern terrorist “army” to realize that killing people was not important in itself. The important “kill” was to institutions and ideals. The B-M Gang didn’t expect to “win,” for they already considered themselves beaten. They wanted to “wage” war on reactionary forces such as capitalism, greed, and the like. “Waging” was “winning.”

The plan was to unleash spasms of terror against society, real in their mayhem but magnified in their symbolic effect. Terrorists would act swiftly and unrelentingly, and count on the media to publicize the carnage well beyond its local effect. Although they could only hit in limited and isolated ways, no one — including governments — couldn’t know or predict how and when they next would strike.

Today, with screens and computers being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent in our way of life, terrorism has never had it so good. The “ism” today has practically every citizen of every country asking “Will today be the day?” No national bomb or bullet can wipe out that question, let alone answer it.

——————————————————————————————-

“Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more?”Herman Melville, Moby Dick, (1851), written, of course, in Pittsfield, Mass.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views expressed in any comment section are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment which violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.

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Ed Shepardson
Ed Shepardson
Reply to  danvalenti
5 years ago

Great thought but the families that need these most might not have the means to pick them up. I’d be happy to deliver if you find that is the case.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  danvalenti
5 years ago

God bless you Dan

spagirl
spagirl
5 years ago

Terrorism is,and will be the reality of life . Freedom will never be without a price, and Safety will not reign without fear. Unfortunately this will be the norm of existance.

Being Thankful for what we do have, is of the utmost, and sharing with those less fortunate, is honorable.Great respect for you Dan Valenti, in these hardest of times for the less fortunate. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Pat
Pat
Reply to  spagirl
5 years ago

I don’t see how we can accept this as the new normal when these terrorists intend much more than just terrorist bombings here and there. They intend to take over countries first by destroying our economies from their terror attacks.

Discreet Cat
Discreet Cat
5 years ago

I find it incredulous at best that the radio programming at Taconic allows commercial advertising such as Berkshire Bank today and many others by the host. This is SUPPOSED to be a non commercialized or political and, or Artsfest (other than High School) The hosts seems to be a Cheerleader for JIV also. Incredible.

Two Cents
Two Cents
Reply to  Discreet Cat
5 years ago

Discreet Cat- You are absolutely right. Commercial promotion air-time is not allowed under the educational license that WTBR operates under. Not the only rule it continues to violate. It is very easy to file an FCC complaint that will allow the agency to look into it. Just google their web site and it provides a simple 3 field on-line form to fill out. I believe it can also be done anonymously. If there any actually students at the station who want to pursue broadcasting, shouldn’t they be learning how to follow the rules and that adults with political clout have to adhere to them also

Discreet Cat
Discreet Cat
5 years ago

My post is not off subject, as we are talking Turkeys.

Pat
Pat
5 years ago

Dan V. I totally disagree with you on the terrorism issue. France may be doing a show of force, but doing nothing is not an option either in my opinion. America felt the same way after 9/11 and most Americans felt the same way as France does now. I don’t think most Americans understand that this won’t be just a little terrorist bombing here and there. They fully intend to take down countries. I don’t see how we can just accept this without any defense of ourselves and our countries or any protection of our allies. It won’t be easy. It will be worse than anything we have ever faced, but we can’t just lay down and die.

CosbiesLadies
CosbiesLadies
5 years ago

Didn’t know non public commercials Church announcements, commercials, could be allowed?

Pat
Pat
5 years ago

What are everyone’s thoughts about allowing Syrian refugees into the country when our own government officials have admitted they can’t be properly vetted? I think protection of people in this country needs to come first if fighting terror is to become the new normal. If Obama refuses to do any more on the military front, then why should we welcome potential terrorist suspects into the country? This is insanity. The BB is all for bringing the refugees in and is all over Baker for suggesting otherwise. If we want these people to continue fighting over there without any additional assistance from us, there will be tons and tons of refugees that need homes.

John Loomis
John Loomis
Reply to  Pat
5 years ago

I had an interesting thought listening to an NPR segment. A Syrian male left his country and lives in an apartment outside of Paris.. He talked about the brutality of Daesh and how children know the fighters that fly above them (F-22, Mirage SU -22) .. My thought was, why did u run away from ur country ????? Stand and fight !! why are all these people abandoning their country … I understand if they have to care for their families , but so didn’t the men who stood their ground on the Common of Lexington ……….

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  Pat
5 years ago

Keep them out until they can be vetted. They have fake passports that officials are having trouble spotting. If they can do that, then only families should be allowed. Should also limit the number way under the 100,000 Obama wants.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  joetaxpayer
5 years ago

I agree with allowing families, but young men would be a problem. People will scream that it’s profiling, but what choice do we have in these dangerous times?

Joe Pinhead
Joe Pinhead
5 years ago

Waging war against a thought or any inanimate object is impossible to win and only possible to contain at best. That being said the terrorists need to be fully aware that there are consequences to their actions. Those consequences need to be swift and brutal. We must also be vigilant in our guard against them but must maintain our freedoms or they have succeeded. What does “victory” look like? No more terrorists and no more freedoms and liberty?
How much time and treasure has been spent on the “war on poverty?” have we won? The “war on drugs” how’s that going?
The only thing worse than giving up to the terrorists is giving in to them.

just sayin

I hope that you find families for those Turkeys all the best to everyone this Thanksgiving

Still Wondering
Still Wondering
5 years ago

I was living in Germany during the 70’s. The B-M Gang were first and foremost anti-capitalists. They were a members of the Red Army Faction and their primary targets were corporate and government finance big shots. They were simply outlaws who killed for money and fame. They loved the “underground” life and the celebrity that went with it. Targets were easy to hit and once the people of Germany tired of the killing the alert populace reported the members locations and they were soon all behind bars. All of the ringleaders committed suicide and the RAF passed into history.

Hackett
Hackett
5 years ago

Another thought provoking column DV. Appreciate it as well as turkey gesture.

Juan Pittsfield
Juan Pittsfield
5 years ago

The first step in defeating terrorism will be electing a POTUS who isn’t a PC fool.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Juan Pittsfield
5 years ago

I agree. Nobody is going to change this president. His PC nonsense is dangerous. He is completely ego driven. Anyone who challenges him is a direct threat to him. He would have made a great dictator in another era.

John Loomis
John Loomis
Reply to  Pat
5 years ago

Oh please so eight years of bombastic hubris worked really well… right ??? Get a clue u drive them out with military force they will disperse and reorganize someplace else.. unless u want our military to stay in the Middle East and be a constant target ….. …. think things through people .

stringism
stringism
5 years ago

How about we stop meddling in the affairs of other sovereign nations and mind our own business. Bring the jobs back to the US. Make America great again. How about that shit?1

MrG8811
MrG8811
5 years ago

Come off it Pat. This is not a political issue. Neither party, neither dogma set has gotten this right…ever. The Bush/Cheney chest-thumping war criminals did no better than the current more milquetoast administration, and if you look more closely, they probably made things much worse. Russia is STILL paying for its incursions into Afganistan 30 years ago, and 30 years from now we will still be reaping the bitter fruit of our forays there and in Iraq. Maybe, rather than sending mega-destructive weapons and “advisors” to arm the enemies of our enemies, who eventually turn those very same weapons on us and become our enemies, we should be waging peace; sending advisors to help improve lives, make clean water available, build infrastructure and raise standards of living. Creating a better alternative to the current squalor against which people are willing to fight to the point of suicide might actually work, but we wouldn’t know because we haven’t tried it. Concrete is a LOT cheaper than cruise missles, and I’d venture, ultimately, a lot more effective too. I am all for trying nation-building by actually building rather than destroying everything first. Again, not political, just a tactical change.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  MrG8811
5 years ago

I disagree. There are really bad people in the world and liberals can’t accept that reality.

MrG8811
MrG8811
Reply to  Pat
5 years ago

Pat, I am probably the most liberal person you know; cynical AND liberal. I know there are bad people. My point is, rather than trying to kill ALL the bad people, and those who are thinking about being bad, offer them a better alternative to blowing themselves up. I think, Juan, that you also have it wrong. Many of these people who are blowing themselves up are not good Muslims. They are/were young, extremely gullible, disenfranchised kids with no future who listened to the romantic siren song of martyrdom. I believe if they had a job, a family and hope for the future, blowing themselves up would seem a less attractive alternative. The unemployment rate for youth under 25 in arab countries is at or over 25%. That’s an awful lot of hungry, poor, strong young men whose efforts can likely be easily be manipulated by promises of a better place.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  MrG8811
5 years ago

Maybe, maybe not, but all evil doesn’t have a reason behind it except for just being evil. Lots of people in this country are unemployed with no future, but they haven’t gone to this extreme.

The French people are begging America and Obama to take a leadership role in the world. They are scared and they know they can’t survive without us. Lets have concern for these good people and use our resources to psychologically understand why they are so scared and want help from these maniacs. If we are going to psychoanalyze anyone, how about these scared French people who are on the front lines of this war?

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Pat
5 years ago

I think this whole ISIL terrorist thing is so much more complicated than most people can comprehend. There are so many ways using reckless force can backfire and wind up bringing this terrorist activity right to our cities.

And I did read that our fighting forces are not at any super strength right now to be waging ground wars that could escalate on many fronts. We have many burnt out soldiers and returnees who are committing suicide at the rate of 22 per day. Todays spoiled kids are not signing up to fight in the Army or Marines and if they did they would be hell to train. The drop out rate would be huge. And do you want the draft back…it is coming should we get involved much deeper. Perhaps Obama knows much more than Bill O’Reill;y who thinks we can just walk in and body slam the whole shadowy terrorist organization over night. Consider that Obama is getting information from all kinds of sources and is responding accordingly. He is not winging this himself. Lots of arm chair quarterbacks out there who don’t have a clue to how infinitely complicated this mess is. Consider the proverbial Hydra.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  danvalenti
5 years ago

It will come to our cities if we don’t do anything just like 9/11 came to our doorstep. I have been hearing that our soldiers want to fight, are eager to fight this enemy, but feel they have been held back from that by this administration. I disagree that Obama is on top of the problem. Many of his own military advisors say Obama is not doing enough. He is more worried about the refugees than doing all that can be done to protect the people of this country. Many terrorist plots against us have been stopped in time including one just recently on the 4th of July. This is thanks to our intelligence being so good, but all it takes is missing one and many will die. A lot of people are not happy with Obama’s response to the terrorist bombings in Paris especially calling the recent deaths “a setback”.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  MrG8811
5 years ago

Wish it was as easy as creating jobs in middle east. Fact is, the fanatics don’t care about anything but killing anyone who is not Muslim. Join them or die, that is there job.

John Loomis
John Loomis
Reply to  joetaxpayer
5 years ago

Pat, as a Veteran who served in Iraq … the info. about “our military wants to fight but the President wont let them ” is pure right wing echo chamber BS….

Juan Pittsfield
Juan Pittsfield
5 years ago

The problem is not poverty. The problem is Islam

CosbiesLadies
CosbiesLadies
5 years ago

G188,the last paragraph of your blog sounds like Taconic High. same premise.

May Hemm
May Hemm
5 years ago

Cops all over at Brown Street, thankfully our PPD is out there!

Shelly Liver
Shelly Liver
5 years ago

To Mayor Bianchi…Type in Tyer Victory Party I Berkshires slideshow. Check out photo 39 and 53 and 49 , 51, 58 is a goody, but look who gets the girl in photo 101

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  Shelly Liver
5 years ago

The lovely Linda Tyer is most lovely, but she is still going to raise Pittsfield’s municipal taxes by about 5% next fiscal year. No matter who won, the local taxpayers still lose!
As for evil terrorists and nations, we need to destroy them before they destroy us! We are in a state of war!

juan Pittsfield
juan Pittsfield
Reply to  Shelly Liver
5 years ago

PW couldn’t get the girl in a bordello with a fistful of $100 bills.

juan Pittsfield
juan Pittsfield
Reply to  Shelly Liver
5 years ago

Shelly, thank god that blohard Lathrop left, now its time for Krol, the silver spoon wonder to go. Let’s hope someone from ward 6 is up to the challenge.

Shelly Liver
Shelly Liver
5 years ago

Photo 39 says it all.

juan Pittsfield
juan Pittsfield
Reply to  Shelly Liver
5 years ago

It was a GOB fest. Be sure to check Bianchi’s campaign lit to complete the Pittsfield GOB picture.

Nota
Nota
5 years ago

Jomathan can you put up the photos link for me?

Nota
Nota
5 years ago

There was more a animosity in victory than joy at that celebration. LOw hugging another man, was well let’s just say a latent experience I’m sure.

Guess what
Guess what
5 years ago

That’s why you have to remember who you meet on your way up because they may be the same people you will see on your way down.

Guess what
Guess what
5 years ago

One of my favorite shows.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
5 years ago

Feed the Islamist beasts to feral starving swine.

Don’t allow any to immigrate.

Close ALL borders.

Voltaire
Voltaire
5 years ago

Ok Dan, do u think we’ll see the solidarity and emotional support for the terrorist attack in Nigeria (32 killed and 80 injured). Will National monuments and building across the globe be bathed in the lights of the Nigerian National colors (green & white). The silence after these attacks is the fuel for terrorism.