Boston bombing: Tomorrow’s terrorists are neither religious nor smart.

19 Apr

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1451: GMT, 19th April 2013

BBC Monitoring has just drawn attention to a comment that has been posted to a jihadist internet forum. The BBC says that the post argues against speculating on the identities of the suspects, but notes that the bombing reveals the ‘prominent weak point’ of Western countries. Below is an excerpt from it:

“…The purpose is what results from this operation and its repetition, such as instilling terror, costing America more financial burden, and economic repercussions which will weaken and eventually kill it…”

The BBC does not attribute these words to any person or group so we do not know who posted them or why. We all know that anyone can post anything on the internet and therefore we must be cautious without evidence.

But there are two points of great interest in the comment, particularly if you compare it to the terrorist movements of the last seventy years:

* If one replaces the word “America” with the name of any other world state, one sees how the sentence is actually a direct “copy-and-paste” from the manifesto of every terrorist group in world history.

* The prediction in the sentence that “instilling terror” can “eventually kill” a country is false. It has never happened.

Now, we see why that forum comment is so significant. 

It is the fast food Cheeseburger of political or religious ideology.

Like all fast food, it is just a triumph of packaging and promise that will let down the consumer immediately after the first bite. It is a weak shadow of what it sets out to be. It cannot sustain because it contains only ingredients designed to profit the person who sells it – not the person who swallows it.

The only real winner is the vendor, not the purchaser. Sure, the hungry mouth gets filled but that same hungry mouth will instead choose something more wholesome at the soonest chance.  The Boston terrorists had clearly been fed so many ideological cheeseburgers that one wonders if they had ever studied the tactics of a real, fully-crewed and organised terrorist group. 

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For example, let’s take the list of bombings that the IRA carried out in Britain. One can immediately see how ineffective terrorism is in bringing down a government or a State. Just scroll down that very long list of bombings and then recall that the IRA is now effectively defunct. Its political wing now sit at the same negotiating table as their political enemies.

They ultimately chose democratic debate over explosive devices. The ordinary members of the public who became the IRA’s bomb victims – killed, seriously injured or just plain inconvenienced – payed the price while a mechanism for political and intellectual debate was hammered out between two conflicting political groups.

Once the ruling political system allowed the IRA a path to legitimate political status, the violence stopped like a tap being turned off. Regardless of whether they were described as freedom fighters or terrorists, all the players in the card game realised that the concept of bombing yourself to the negotiating table is a fantasy.

The modern world no longer works that way, whether the terror is driven by the state or the individual. Tomorrow’s terrorists will be neither religious nor smart. The political and religious world we all now inhabit evolves through learning by its past mistakes. Even the spectacular horrors of events such as 9/11 now stand primarily as lessons that terrorism only delivers what it says on the tin and nothing more.

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Any power that terrorism momentarily hands to the terrorist group is more than wiped out by their path towards public acceptance now becoming steeper and rockier. The terrorism makes it harder  for the ideology behind it to be embraced.

The world may now have heard of the terrorist but it loves their cause far less. When whole governments or religions terrorise innocent people, they learn this fact as well.

Though the last century saw many terrorist groups and governments learn this fact, the Boston bombings remind us that some people have still not understood. The political and religious world has moved on, carried by those who learn. The world’s greatest political and religious groups survive precisely because they are educated and enlightened and not because they kill. They grow by their strength of shared values, not terror.

They grow strong from good ingredients, not junk food.

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