19 April 2011

Sound Off! Terrorists vs Criminals

Would you rather spend your counterinsurgency time hunting...

Terrorists who kill innocents for the hell of it?

Criminals with a profit/power motive?

Create your target profiles in the comments with your thoughts!

By: Brant


Guardian said...

Brant, are you trolling your own comments pages now? Terrorists don't just kill innocents for the hell of it. They have a profit/power motive too.

The chain of reasoning from "I want equal rights for the oppressed Krasnovian people!" or "I want everyone to share the peace and enlightenment that the Flying Spaghetti Monster brought to my life when He touched me with His Noodly Appendage" to "I'm gonna strap a bomb to little Abdul here and tell him to go take a walk in the market" is long and twisted, but it's does exist, at least in the unhinged mind of the bad actors.

-- Guardian

Brant said...

I'm pretty sure the Baader-Meinhof Gang knew they weren't going to overthrow the German gov't. Similarly, there are plenty of folks who would claim the Manson family were a terror group as well.

Jon Compton has talked about the way that terror groups grow and then eventually flame out, and there is no shortage of terrorists who are drawn to the 'mayhem' component as opposed to someone like the FARC, who use terror as a weapon to keep people out of the way of their narco-profits.

Guardian said...

This is well-worn ground, but I think we've just identified two primary motivators for violence:

1) Ideological (my Krasnovian Liberation or FSM examples from the first comment)

2) Financial/economic (modern FARC as a narco-terrorist organization)

As you said, the Manson family could be considered a terrorist organization. They had an ideology and strategy, as bizarre as it might be.

That said, I agree that there are a lot of people who drawn into violent organizations simply for the mayhem of it. The organizers of an anti-globalization protest at a G-20 summit, for example, have an ideology, but the average rioter on the street throwing rocks through storefront windows probably doesn't have very deep motivations beyond the adrenalin rush, showing off for peers, and venting angst.

And, as in most human affairs, there are shades of gray. FARC may well still wrap itself in some kind of Marxist revolutionary people's ideology, but the day-to-day reality is that it's all about the drugs and money.

-- Guardian