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Terrorism and War

1) Terrorism is the way of the weak (cf. Dan Smith 2003: 32-3). As a military strategy it is no more immoral than other forms of warfare. Terrorism includes assassinations of political leaders and killing civilians at large, all done to create fear and get attention.

2) Terrorism is an aspect of globalization, since it too flows freely across our borders. As a phenomenon it used to be seen, from its beginning in the French Revolution and well into the twentieth century, as a domestic affair, something each country took care of itself.

3) How do you fight global terrorism, i.e. terrorism without national borders? You can only do so by creating a police state; otherwise you must accept the civilian casualties. How do you create a police state within

a democracy? You avoid using that term, and you appeal to people's sense of insecurity. Take London, for example: the entire city is under camera surveillance, every corner of every street.

4) Small groups have no monopoly on terrorism. Terrorist attacks have just as often been carried out by nation states.

5) What one culture sees as terrorism, another sees as heroism. Examples are not exclusively Islamic. T. E. Lawrence was a British terrorist. All he did in the Middle East was blow up things - bridges, trains, buildings - and in a sovereign state. Instead of going to war against Turkey, Britain supported the Arab "revolution", a terrorist movement.

6) Terrorists like Osama bin Laden are just the vanguard of a much larger Islamic fundamentalist movement spreading all over the Arab world. This movement has substantial support in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Sudan, but it also has a presence in influential circles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Morocco. We can only alter this development by supporting democratic, secular developments and Shiite moderates in these countries (cf. Adler 2005: 37-9). This is not a war we can win, but it is a situation which we can hold in check.

7) The horror of modern war is the many civilian causalities.

8) Bin Laden believed in the return of the Caliphate, seeing himself as defender of the faith.

9) Al-Qaeda, founded in 1988, is not the resourceful organization it is made out to be, but more an idea, at most a school where frustrated young Muslims, many living in the West, come to learn how to make bombs and to seek official blessing for their plans. The suicide bombers from Hamburg and in London and Madrid142 were not al-Qaeda members initially. Al-Qaeda is not a vast organized military unit with cells all over the world, but more of a video-propaganda centre with training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Others have compared the organization to a jihadist franchise or a jihadist venture-capital firm.


1) Economic growth is less dependent upon manual labour than before. In the nineteenth century each man worked twice as many hours. We use fifty times as many machine hours today per worker as in 1800.

2) Well trained and motivated people from Eastern Europe are coming in great numbers to Western Europe to take the jobs we do not want, while we prefer to be unemployed.

3) Fifty years ago all worker's parties worked to abolish unemployment. Today they accept unemployment rates of five to fifteen per cent. This keeps the wages of their members up as the market remains more competitive.

4) Today we are seeing a lost generation, a set of young people who have never had a real job, who have no formal education, who are maintained by their parents and live at home, who have had little regularity in their lives. They represent a danger to society because they are prone to violence. We find them today in neo-Nazi and Fascist movements in Italy, France, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Britain, and Sweden.

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