All entries for Thursday 07 July 2005

July 07, 2005

Discussion Primer: War on terror

Follow-up to Research Notes: Naive Deleuzianisms, the war on terror, the valorization of self–organizing systems from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

In response to today's attacks. The response from the politicians will be immediate, but potentially deeply flawed. Those flaws may make the situation much worse. These mistakes stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the threat that is attacking us.

Following on from what I have previously written, we can see that:

  • it may be that al-Qaeda are not an 'organisation' in the traditional sense;
  • they may well be a loose confederation, network or even just a set of ideas (a meme);
  • each of these possibilities must be met with a radically different strategy;
  • for example, conventional wars are fought between organisations, with definite territories delimiting quantifiable victories and defeats, this may not apply to terrorist networks;
  • responding with a conventional military campaign against such a force may actually offer them easier targets, propoganda, recruits and most significantly a systematic and coordinated set of learning processes;
  • the tactic of trying to draw a terrorist organisation into a conventional campaign, through the destabilisation of a marked territory (as attempted by the US in Iraq), is a high risk, and likely to fail.