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America's War on the Web 428

An anonymous reader writes "The Sunday Herald is reporting that while the US is continuing to pursue traditional means of protecting national security, they are also planning to launch a new wave of 'information warfare' to help combat a perceived growing threat of IT security. From the article: 'The Pentagon has already signed off $383 million to force through the document's recommendations by 2009. Military and intelligence sources in the US talk of "a revolution in the concept of warfare". The report orders three new developments in America's approach to warfare [...] the Pentagon says it will wage war against the internet in order to dominate the realm of communications, prevent digital attacks on the US and its allies, and to have the upper hand when launching cyber-attacks against enemies.'"
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America's War on the Web

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  • by wiz31337 ( 154231 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:07PM (#15052889)
    The last time I checked Al-Qaeda uses a rather primitive approach to terrorism. They use incendiary devices in shoes, which often fail, second hand weapons, and other non-technical approaches.

    The website for Al-Qaeda should be near the bottom of the list for the defense department.

    Everyone has the idea that terrorists will one day hack into the power grid and cripple the stock market. They should focus on protecting the power grids from physical attacks before they start focusing on "cyber terrorism" where they could take the grid by "hacking into the system."
  • by ( 960072 ) * on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:08PM (#15052898)
    Our civil liberties are eroding like a California mud-slide.

    E.g. an American creates an anti-us website, and happens to cross-link an image located on a Pakistani website. Now this is considered an "international communication channel" which justifies to the NSA full sniffing of packets, forfeiture of logs from the ISP, etc.

    Jim []
  • by Dolly_Llama ( 267016 ) * on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:11PM (#15052924) Homepage
    Once again, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri proves to be the best game ever made:

    As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

    --Pravin Lal
  • Let me guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:12PM (#15052928) Journal
    The government is going to contract this job out to Cyberdyne Systems in California?

    Seriously, we are able (most of the time) to have oversight on what the government is doing to its own citizens, and that hasn't worked out so well in the US so far... can I mention here things like: The pristine bullet, McCarthy, weather control, and a number of other things that 'seemed ok at the time' but later turned out very wrong, and would have been stopped with oversight.

    WHO (not the doctor or the World Health Organization) is going to monitor those in the government that will be monitoring the Internet? Mr Orwell, we miss you!
  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:13PM (#15052933)
    Most of the protections we've been putting up are (poorly built) against unlikely attacks. However, they are glamourus attacks. Ones that sound good.

    If you realize the main point of these protections is to get people elected, this makes perfect sense.
  • Scary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother@oEINSTE ... minus physicist> on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:14PM (#15052945) Journal
    The report says the US military's first priority is that the "department [of defence] must be prepared to 'fight the net'". The internet is seen in much the same way as an enemy state by the Pentagon because of the way it can be used to propagandise, organise and mount electronic attacks on crucial US targets.

    It can also be used to say, spread the truth about illegal covert activities by the US against sovereign nations, allow oppressed people to get word out about their plight, give Americans a say in how their money is spent, and generally promote freedom and democracy. I can see why the Pentagon would be so frightened by the Internet.

    Sorry to tell the pointy-heads in the Pointy-gon, but you're going to have a hard time bringing down even small portions of the Net. Perhaps you can take out individual sites, or even clusters of sites that reside on the same server farm, but I doubt they could take out enough to stop Internet traffic. They could certainly disseminate false or misleading information, but hey, people do that everyday already. As to dominating communications around the planet, the only thing I know of that can do that is the sloar wind. I think the Pentagon would have itself a cyber-Vietnam on its hands if it ever tried to 'attack the Internet'.

  • by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) * <> on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:15PM (#15052948) Journal
    to fund terrorist organizations, does that mean no income taxes on April 15?
  • America's war on * (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Archon ( 13753 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:16PM (#15052953)
    ... the Pentagon says it will wage war against the internet ...

    Is there anything that America doesn't "wage war" against? It's like a mentally retarded child who responds in the same way, regardless of stimulus.
  • Boooooo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ehiris ( 214677 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:18PM (#15052971) Homepage
    Who decides who an enemy is? Warfare should be used to fend off attacks, and minimize risk and not to ATTACK the information of someone because they have a different point of view.

    Throughout history capturing and using enemy information has been a lot more useful in combat than attacking the information of the enemy.
  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:19PM (#15052974) Journal
    In the light of the fact that the Dept of Homeland Security just got an 'F' on its recent general security practices and server audits, I wonder what if this is really supposed to intimidate anyone....

    Should they not get their house in order firstbefore thinking about greater things?

    Mmmm... I think I am starting to see a pattern here.

  • by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:23PM (#15053009)
    From TFA:

    Secondly, psychological military operations, known as psyops, will be at the heart of future military action. Psyops involve using any media - from newspapers, books and posters to the internet, music, Blackberrys and personal digital assistants (PDAs) - to put out black propaganda to assist government and military strategy. Psyops involve the dissemination of lies and fake stories and releasing information to wrong-foot the enemy.

    Wow, now that's a good idea. I sure don't see anything immoral here, and certainly no potential for abuse. After all, the only way to have a stable democratic state which protects its citizens' freedoms is if that state controls the media and uses it to knowingly distribute lies and propoganda. The founding fathers knew this, which was why when they wrote the first amendment, they... Oh wait, that's right. The media is supposed to be independent from the state. A state that uses the media to distribute lies is a mortal danger to freedom, and needs to be deposed, quickly.

    Thirdly, the US wants to take control of the Earth's electromagnetic spectrum, allowing US war planners to dominate mobile phones, PDAs, the web, radio, TV and other forms of modern communication. That could see entire countries denied access to telecommunications at the flick of a switch by America.

    Do I really even need to comment on this one? Combined with their planned propoganda campaign, they're looking to completely exclude targeted populations from recieving accurate and timely information. Again, if the true objective here was to combat terrorists by spreading democracy, this would obviously be massively counterproductive. But of course we all know that this is not about spreading democracy, or combating terrorism, any more than Iraq or Afghanistan were about freedom and democracy. It is about control.
  • by cat6509 ( 887285 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:24PM (#15053015)
    "The website for Al-Qaeda should be near the bottom of the list for the defense department."

    I disagree, the Internet is a great propoganda tool ( on both sides ), it is ideal for sending discrete messages, some degree of anonmity, synchronizing activities in distant places etc. It is not FUD to say that these capabilities can be exploited to their advantage.
  • by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:25PM (#15053026)
    From the Article:

    "IMAGINE a world where wars are fought over the internet; where TV broadcasts and newspaper reports are designed by the military to confuse the population; and where a foreign armed power can shut down your computer, phone, radio or TV at will."

    Imagine? We don't have to imagine, we are already living it!

    The irony is, it's not the military that's waging a ware of dis-information, it's our own government waging a war of dis-information on us! Examples: Terror Alerts, WMDs, Climate Change, Evolution...Contradictory statements are being released by government officials. The government rebrands military operations: The War on Terror, The Global War on Terror, The Long War, or The Global War on Extremism...

    This is indeed an interesting time in which we live.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:28PM (#15053038)
    C'mon....our "intelligence" agencies (in the US) couldn't even reliably tell whether or not Saddam had any serious weapons. Do you think these guys will be able to really crack systems that are set up by reasonably smart people? Can these agencies crack 1024 bit encryption? Can they break into systems that meet D.O.D. levels of security? What exactly do these guys think they will accomplish?

    It's a waste of time and money. Terrorists want one thing - BODY COUNT - you don't get that from DOS'ing a bank's web site, or even by breaking into a bank's web site. Terrorists like the idea of disrupting our economy and lifestyle, but that isn't the primary goal, that goal is a byproduct of the act of terrorism.

    The goal on 9-11 was to kill as many people as possible. The economic fall-out was just gravy as far as the terrorists are concerned.

    Even if we hardened our networks, and we preemptively attacked the IT infrastructure of the bad guys, do you think it would have prevented 9-11? The first think Osama did after 9-11 was stop using his satellite phone. He found much lower-tech ways to communicate (and we still can't catch the bastard).

    It's a waste of time and money, and another excuse to bug the law-abiding world.

  • My first question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by underpope ( 952425 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:31PM (#15053066) Homepage
    The first question that came to my mind when I saw this was, "Which of Bush's big business buddies will this benefit the most?" Of course, that's the first question that comes to my mind whenever I hear of anything the Administration comes up with these days.
  • by Loualbano2 ( 98133 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:32PM (#15053077)
    Right. Because Al-Qaeda is the only and last terrorist group to ever exist. And because they instituted this thing only to fuck with terrorists.

    Communications in a war or whatever they want to call blowing shit up this week is fairly important.

    Not having an a plan in place to disrupt your enemy's and protect your own communications would be irresponsible, even if there is no official war.

    I do agree with your comment about protecting other things first, but there's no reason to not to this just because other things aren't being done. I am sure there's someone out there trying to get those things done too.
  • by number6x ( 626555 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:37PM (#15053126)
    • Waging a land war in the jungles of SouthEast Asia.
    • Trying to bring peace and democracy to a Middle East dictatorship through bombing and occupation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:39PM (#15053152)
    You are naive. Al qaeda has many members; some of them are essentially armed thugs while others may be highly talented programmers. Do not underestimate Al Qaeda or related terrorist cells; our underestimation of Al Qaeda is probably the #1 contributing factor to September 11.

    They are more organized and better planned than you think. There are undoubtedly people in Al Qaeda who are smarter than you. Their stated goal is to bring instability to the American economy and thus American society. The moment you say "Oh, we don't have to worry about that, those sand rats could never work a computer!" is the moment you realize your bank accounts have been drained (do that to a couple thousand people and create a mass hysteria where people don't trust banks.)

    Just because they're misguided and brainwashed doesn't mean they can't use technology. In fact, some of them might say the same about you (the misguided and brainwashed part.)
  • by IflyRC ( 956454 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:41PM (#15053174)
    Hi, how are you? I'm the mentally retarded child that donated money to help Tsunami victims in Asia. Private sector contributions []

    US Contributions [] Should we talk about how America responds to the aids crisis? famine? The tons of workers that volunteer time to help those in need around the world?

    Based on your statement, the US responds to ANY stimuli with some type of war machine. I think the points I've made disprove your assumption and show you have a biased opinion of the USA. I'm sorry to hear that.
  • by wuffalicious ( 896539 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:42PM (#15053175)
    Neat! So our new strategy is making stuff up and putting it on the internet? Let me try.

    "We're thinking that we'll take things to a whole new level." Commented a representative from the department of defense. "You know, when our enemies try to download new ring tones, all they'll hear is the theme song to 'Team America, World Police' whenever they get a call."
  • by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:42PM (#15053181)
    Oh, for some mod points:). The type of proposed behavior (distributing lies, shutting down civilian communications channels to inspire FUD, etc.) is precisely the type of behavior ascribed to terrorists (plus, of course, blowing things up, and we all know how good the state is at that task).
  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:43PM (#15053184)
    E.g. an American creates an anti-us website...

    That's an interesting choice of words. Not "a website critical of US policy" or an "anti-Bush website". An "anti-us" website.

    This is why conservatives don't trust American liberals (leftists). We have always suspected the "I love my country but hate its policies" line was really just a public face for "My country isn't perfect so I'm willing to work against the interests of my fellow citizens".

    If someone creates an "anti-us" site, not just a site critical of US policies, or Bush administration policies, they should get scrutiny from the US government. Sedition is not a civil liberty. I'm not saying the site owner should be necessarily arrested or the site shut down, but the same people who are crying over lost civil liberties now will be whining "why weren't you tracking these people?" when the next attack occurs.

  • by AndroSyn ( 89960 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:51PM (#15053247) Homepage
    Not all government websites are painfully insecure. Some branches of the government do take security quite seriously and are quite proactive and have very effective security policies. With that said, its very possible to be both proactive with regards to defense security measures and still formulate offensive actions at the same time. Also there is nothing wrong with planning for hypothetical offensive actions against hypothetical threats.

  • by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:53PM (#15053263)
    A summary with a bit more information (and without horrible formatting errors), including a link to the actual document, can be found here. Apparently it's been declassified for a couple months now...but better to get this info out a little late then never I suppose.

    This article and summary seems like a huge troll to me. It's carefully worded to be inflamatory, and appears to be, in large part, wrong. The US isn't preparing for war "on" the internet... as much as it's preparing for a war via the internet. The article goes on to use a bunch of careful prepositional games where I have to guess whether the US is actually thinking about attacking the internet... or considering how warfare will be conducted via the internet. It then goes on to quote a bunch of unnamed military guys saying things that I've never heard them say before...

    Every plan I know of details a plan for electronic warfare using the internet.... yet here you have some terrible editorial trying to stir the spot, feeding into the slashdot groupthink and... stirring the pot. You already have people talking about the US "attacking" the internet. This is just shoddy journalism and bad editorializing to preach to a bunch of sheep. And the sheep cometh...
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:54PM (#15053272) Homepage
    The US should always have a strong military but I don't think we should project it the way we do. I think we should mind our own business and I'm sure I won't have trouble finding people to agree with that simple view.

    Recently I downloaded "Why [] We [] Fight []" a BBC documentary detailing the buildup and creation of the US's Industrial Military Complex. It goes a long way to explain how it happened, why it was useful and why things are the way they are today. It spells out in great detail, for example, how the US put Saddam Hussein into power and GAVE him his weapons of mass destruction. (The US was fine with them using them as long as the humanity they used them against were considered enemies of the administration in power at that moment.)

    Watching this really helped me to change my perspective on what "war" is and how it's being abused by the current "system" in power in the US. In short, it's all about power and making money. It has nothing to do with world peace or spreading democracy. I believe now more than ever before that we can spread peace and democracy through peaceful and genrous means.

    Whether you agree with the information presented or not, I urge anyone to see this. Refute it or believe it. But I think it's quite enlightening.
  • One question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @04:56PM (#15053292) Homepage
    Secondly, psychological military operations, known as psyops, will be at the heart of future military action. Psyops involve using any media - from newspapers, books and posters to the internet, music, Blackberrys and personal digital assistants (PDAs) - to put out black propaganda to assist government and military strategy.

    And elections?

  • by isotope23 ( 210590 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:03PM (#15053344) Homepage Journal
    This is why conservatives don't trust American liberals (leftists).

    And its sad that both words have been hijacked. Today's liberal is in reality a socialist,
    while today's conservative would be either authoritarian or national socialist.

    Classical Liberalism []
    Classical Conservatism []

    It is truly a shame that the country has wandered so far from its roots....

  • by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:04PM (#15053348)
    As an American citizen, let me be the first to tell you that you are not alone in finding this abhorent, for many reasons. First, there's the fact that it is hypocritical to claim to be founding a stable democratic state (the current popular excuse for hegemonic wars of aggression) which respects the natural rights and liberties of its citizens (something that no state can do in the long run, democratic or otherwise), while subverting one of the most important institutions in a free society, the press and communications channels. Second, as an American citizen, I have no doubt that this policy would be abused (as if its very existence were not abusive of state power) domestically as well as internationally. Never evaluate a government proposal on the basis of the good it will impart if properly administered, but rather by the harm it will inflict when abused.

    It is important to disassociate political states and their actions from the individuals the state opresses and dominates. There are many Americans who do not support or condone the actions of the state, and many others (myself included) who do not recognize even the legitimacy of the state's very existence.
  • by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:11PM (#15053401)
    The US should always have a strong military

    As Einstein so famously (and accurately) stated, one cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. Any state with a substantial standing army will have a propensity to USE that standing army. There's money to be made, lots of money. Plus, as history has shown time and time again, people are more willing to surrender their rights to the state in times of war. A large, powerful standing army is a first step to tyrrany. Besides, a massive standing army is not necessary for defensive purposes (such as fending off an invasion), their only purpose is offensive. As long as the US government has access to the strong military you say it should have, it will continue to be used by politicos for political and personal gain.
  • by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:11PM (#15053404)
    Because you've been trolled by yellow journalism. The US isn't attacking the internet. He is using prepostional magic to feed anti-US sentiment. The US is preparing for a war via the internet... That's a big difference then "ON", which implies the internet itself is the target.
  • by p2sam ( 139950 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:14PM (#15053421)
    That sounds so much like Jihad.
  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:19PM (#15053450)
    "Strange...the Bush crew is often portrayed as bumblers who can't do anything right, then they are accused of being devious co-conspirators to rule the world. Which is it guys?"

    I think it's both... They want to be devious co-conspirators who want to rule the world but they really are clueless bumblers.

    Unfortunately, their clueless bumbling is a threat to world stability without any real control ... worst of both worlds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:34PM (#15053553)
    You can't be both "extreme far right" and "libertarian". Extreme far right is usually taken to be fascism, which state-controlled means of production is a far cry from the libertarian ideal of free markets and contracts for everything.

    One dimension isn't adequate to distinguish between political philosophies.

  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @05:50PM (#15053659) Journal
    Strange...the Bush crew is often portrayed as bumblers who can't do anything right, then they are accused of being devious co-conspirators to rule the world. Which is it guys?

    I think it's a case of stupid-productive people.

    Given a matrix with two qualities: smart vs stupid, and productive vs unproductive

    smart productive people are the best - they do lots of stuff and do it well
    smart unproductive people are generally non-harmful - they do stuff well, but just not much of it
    stupid unproductive people are generally non-harmful too - they might do stupid stuff, but they don't do much of it

    It's the stupid-productive people that you really have to watch out for. Not only do they do stupid stuff, they do a lot of it.
  • by Bimo_Dude ( 178966 ) <> on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:46PM (#15054002) Homepage Journal
    You seem to forget that the goverment in the US is the people. Contrary to anti-american or anti-republican belief, our officials are elected and while they may not represent every single person down to the exact issue - they try their best. Our goverment does not spend the USA's money, it spends the people's paid into via taxes. If you don't like how it's being spent, you have opportunities to vote for President every 4 years with congressional votes in between.
    The government of the US seems to me to be the wealthy people, which is hardly representative of the average American. Add to that lobbying, corruption, and the potential for abuse in the electoral system, and I have a hard time believing that these people are really elected by the people and try their best to represent. I'm sure there are some that really do try, but very few seem to. To me, this has nothing to do with being anti-american or anti-bush|republican, it is an issue with the system that we have (but that's a discussion for another day).

    2004 [budget] (figures are in millions):

    Econ. Growth, Agriculture & Trade: $4,421
    Global Health: $2,534
    Democracy, Conflict, & Humanitarian: $1,198
    based on this document US Foreign Aid

    From the president's 2004 budget []:
    • Department of Defense (DoD): $380 billion (+$15 billion or four percent). President Bush's DoD budget is $84 billion higher than the budget he inherited -- the largest increase since the Reagan Administration.
    • Missile defense: $9.1 billion in 2004.

    So, it looke like the US government spent (of the taxpayer's money):
    $8.153 billion on helping people, and
    $404.1 billion on defense (or war, and preparation for war).

    The original argument still stands: the US government spends a lot more (about 50X) on war than helping people.

  • by da.maestro ( 854047 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:53PM (#15054040)
    Navies make war on boats. These guys will make war on the Internet.

    Get the idea?

    Very cleverly worded and ambiguous, until you RTFA and think about it for a second.

  • false dichotomoy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Paua Fritter ( 448250 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:17PM (#15054183)
    Either way...I thought at first, it was pretty interesting...till it broke down into a rant about the US wanting world domination...kinda went wacky after that.

    Ever heard of the Project for a New American Century []? Believe me, this project is for real. Yes, they really do aim to dominate the world.

    Strange...the Bush crew is often portrayed as bumblers who can't do anything right, then they are accused of being devious co-conspirators to rule the world. Which is it guys?

    It's both. They are both hegemonic and incompetent. Why is that [] so hard to imagine?

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:42PM (#15054313)
    We are the only remaining superpower. We have a huge responsibility to set an example for the rest of the world and to help mature all of our societies. We have to try and steer the whole damn world into globalism at a pace that isn't threatening and is respectful to all of our cultures.

    Why? Where's your authority to act as the world's authoritarian father-figure? Because you have the largest, most well-equipped army? This is the sort of attitude that gets planes flown into tall American buildings - "We know best; when we bomb you, it's for your own good".

    It's not America's responsibility to "steer the whole damn world"; it's America's responsibility to steer America. That's what makes sovereign nations sovereign - they steer themselves. The reason many people react against the war in Iraq is because it shows how much America respects the sovereignty of other nations; it doesn't. It wages a war that much of it's populace is against, that was not sanctioned by most other nations, and that, after the fact, has little evidence supporting the original justification for it.

    People are are against America because they're afraid of America. You are the last superpower. And you go to war on little more than a whim.

    Ultimately, it's up to them.

    So if they decide, democratically, to institute a fundamentalist religious government, you're not going to blow the crap out of them again? If it was ultimately "up to them", then you should have left their country alone, and let them sort it out themselves. You're not some school teacher intervening in a fight between school-kids. You are one adult telling all the others how they should behave at the point of a gun.
  • by Mancat ( 831487 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:48PM (#15054339) Homepage
    And when it becomes too much, who can we rely on to help us?

    Our guns.
  • by OmgTEHMATRICKS ( 836103 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:43PM (#15054629) Journal
    Napoleon has a better chance of taking Russia during wintertime than the US does going to 'war' with the entire world wide web and winning. How do you even begin a war on the internet?

    "My fellow Americans, during these times of tuhr attacks, the threats of the in - innernets have grown too large. We must stand together and keep these innernets from torturing their citizens and invading our beloved country. I've amassed an army of 80,000 marines to invade the innernets and stop the evil man Osama Bin Laden from striking against the American people with tuhr and hate."

    "Uh, sir, you can't attack the internet. It's a network of millions of computers."

    "My fellow Americans, I've just changed my mind. I'm going to EMP the entire globe. The scientists have dubbed this project 'Project Escape-From-L.A.' God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America."

  • by XchristX ( 839963 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @09:51PM (#15054940)
    That is the most singularly insightful thing I have ever heard about al-qaeda in an internet forum. Bravo!

    Their being terrorists is not what makes them so bloody dangerous. What makes them so bloody dangerous is that they are SMART terrorists. They use the internet as a propaganda tool to portray themselves as "Romantic Desperadoes" trying to rid the world of poverty, disease, crime, secularists, socialists etc. Then they subtly change that to "America, Canada, Britain, Spain, Israel, India, China, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Freedom of women, etc. ".

    They create the muslim version of the concept that it's "cool to die for Allah" and butcher people like cattle on television.
    They are a lot like drug pushers that way, slithering their way into the minds of impressionable teenagers in the Muslim world and converting them into suicide bombers.

    Wasn't there an article on slashdot some days ago about an al-qaeda black hat hacker who got caught?

    Found it: 0206 []
  • by mjbkinx ( 800231 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:16PM (#15055031)
    Why is it that I rarely read comments like the parent post from outside the US and people convinced we're in a holy war?

    The former: resignation, the latter takes a bit longer to explain:
    The US is, compared to any other western society, extremely religious (that Bush actually used the word "crusade" to refer to the Iraq War didn't exactly help, either). Granted, there are quite religious countries in Europe, too (Poland, Ireland and Italy), but not to the same extend, and they seem to be more successful separating it from politics.
    You can compare survey data [] of various aspects of life between countries, and you will find that religion is not as important in Europe [] as it is in the US. For example, if you look at the results of the question "How important is god in your life?" for the US, Iran, and secular European countries like France or Germany ("Old Europe") the US' relative similarity to Iran, compared to Europe, is striking (sorry, no direct link to the graphs is possible, but trust me it's worth the effort).
    I also found a poll [] that said 45% of Americans believe in the biblical creation, 38% in ID creationism, and only 13% that no god had part in it. In a German poll with the same questions the results were 12%/25%/61% (link in German []).
    The relatively common references to god even by mainstream US politicians, along with the Good/Evil classification, let many things appear religiously motivated, even if not intended. I assume those Americans that don't share the mainstream's religiousity perceive that rhetoric as as frightening as I do.

    When there's a culture that believes westerners are the devil, peaceful integration is very difficult to accomplish.

    Well, bombing them probably doesn't help making them see us in a more positive light, either.
    Peaceful integration is the only way. You can't force somebody to share your believes.

    [Bush] had a very difficult decision to make. He could either let things continue to happen organically and knowingly face more 9/11 incidents or he could make a desperate attempt to speed up the integration.

    The key to preventing "more 9/11 incidents" lies in understanding the terrorists' motivation. The US' military presence in the Middle East, along with the support for oppressive regimes as in Saudi Arabia and what is seen as agressive Israeli politics/military actions, is a major factor.

    I'd like to expand on Iraq in particular because it seems to bring out the most cynical of viewpoints. There are so many people blaming us for the current state of Iraq. I can understand blaming us for Iraq no longer being under Saddam's control and therefore introducing freedoms that the people never had. Nobody seems to want to put any responsibility on the Iraqis themselves.

    The US chose to attack Iraq, and as the occupying power carries the responsibility [] to provide security for the parts of the population not taking part in the fighting. The US created a power vacuum and different factions try to fill it -- that was predicted by many people who opposed the war from the very beginning. You can put some of the blame on Jaafari & Co., on the terrorists, or on the insurgency if you believe resistance was unexpected, but not on the Iraqi people as a whole.

    They have many more freedoms that they never had before.

    That depends. Actually many women, especially in the Shiite south, probably would point out several freedoms they have lost. Saddam was bad, but he was secular (which, incidently, is why the islamists hated him).
    Also, elections are not the same a

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