Terrorism and the Global Societal Conflict
By Roy D. Follendore
Copyright (c) 2003 By RDFollendoreIII
January 7, 2003
terror and societal conflicts threaten the existence of us all. Technology and
knowledge put the ability to create weapons of mass destruction into the hands
of anyone willing to manufacture them. It is impossible to absolutely
limit technology and knowledge without placing restrictions that also have the
potential of limiting future survival. Ultimately it is also impossible to
significantly limit the potential of technology and knowledge of doing harm
without describing a totalitarian world society. If this is the solution
that we choose for mankind then so be it. But there are alternative
possibilities that are not being considered.
are negative and positive ways to deal with the creation and growth of global
terrorism. The negative way is to search out, punish and destroy the
terrorists. The positive way is to understand and then eliminate the means
by which terrorism as a global societal conflicts come into being. This is
analogous in medical research to defeating cancer by redefining the bodies
immunity system rather than implementing an invasive surgical procedure.
Our American national agenda should be to intelligently define a preemptive
first line of solutions that detect and defeat the implementation of terrorist
organizations before they come into existence. We can start to achieve this
through the recognition of the importance of sociological value systems in
context with the technical means through which values are exchanged. Our second
line of solutions to terrorism must be to establish economic and political
alternatives in such a way that they undercut the base values of terrorist
organizations and societal conflicts that spontaneously arise. Both of
these lines of defense can be achieved with the degree of honor and honesty that
can not be accomplished through propaganda. Most importantly, we must use these
mechanisms to assure that when society may be required to use punishing and
destructive force, it is using it appropriately and most effectively.
"war" that we Americans are attempting to fight with fleets of ships
and B-52 bombers is not a "war on terrorism" so much as it is a world
wide societal conflict of concepts and values. What our leaders must keep
in mind is that terrorism is an event. As such, it is also a despicable means to
an end. This "thing" we are seeing is a new kind of international
warfare of the classes. It is a natural but unethical extension of the
commercial war of persuasion where no real ethnic boundaries exist. This
thing doesn't really have a well centered religious basis containing a true
majority. There is no major religion that supports the doctrine of terrorism. It
represents an expansion of radical ideas that are more representative of cult
than culture. Such leaders purchase their right to lead by founding and
providing economic support for their following. Their followers represent an
impressionable faction that are taught that the enemies of perfection are the
powers that be. They are then "given" the unique
opportunity to "be something more" than what they would otherwise be.
In a way, the followers of terrorist leaders are like children being lead to the
slaughter. Once they discover this, it is too late. They feel they
must reinvest in their actions or face the consequences.
identify a positive approach we must begin to recognize the quandary in which
terrorist leaders find themselves. Terrorist leaders are not children, but
neither are they recognizable as legitimate civilized world leaders. By
definition they can not be. They become stuck in a transparent state of
factional parity through the very means which they achieve organized leadership.
Like adolescents doomed to adolescence forever, they may have once been capable
of anything but are unable to extend their leadership skills beyond their
limited threshold for destruction. Like adolescence their effectiveness is ill
defined and to them justifiable. Like adolescents who rebel against the
foundations of society, the followers of terrorism are unable or unwilling to
recognize the difficulties of achieving justice within complexity, followers of
terrorism expect their struggle to force a shortcut to their leaders utopia. But
like adolescent gangs, what the grass roots members really require is to be
listened and included. In the case of the global terrorist, they desire to be
more than participants in a globalized system that they do not and can not
understand. What terrorists share with rebellious adolescence is the
conflicting conviction that they do not want to be dominated as an ideal, though
they need to be dominated as individuals.
are not pointless sociological observations for they are the potential means by
which strategies can be created to engage and then defuse potential situations
without having to constantly resort to the destructive and expensive concept of
war. The enabling mechanism for the global terrorism we are seeing is
technology. The means by which we as a civilized society choose our
strategies for the development of technology affects the ways in which we are
able to deal with global societal conflict. We need to look at those enabling
causes and effects. Society desperately needs to better understand
the sociological differences. For instance, with modern global terrorism comes
the observation that "globally diffused" independent self
determination has been communicated across what were once economic and social
as radio once required a specific frequency in order to operate, so too
organizations required a specific location in which to organize. That is
no longer the case. The dissemination of communication technology has
changed organizations in much the same way that spread spectrum technology
changed radio. The fact that an organized political will of a terrorist
organization no longer requires any specific geopolitical border as a base is a
social change that has been largely brought on through the establishment of
ubiquitous international communications. Technology created the basis by
which they are able to organize.
utopian ideal of the Internet began by the idea that through simply opening
channels of communication, ideas and concepts can be exchanged and solutions to
problems discovered. We did not then and we still do not allow
communications and sociology experts to have a say in such experiments.
What we are constantly discovering is that communication is a two edged sword.
It is by definition both a good and a bad thing. We have found solutions
through new forms of communication technology. But the complexity and
difficulty of sociological problems we face has increased through communication.
It has essentially stirred the soup of world society. Technology has
increased cultural interaction faster than the traditional organizational means
to deal with those problems that arise.
response that organized societies have to this social change and relating social
change with respect to communication technologies will make the difference in
the way that we all are able to coexist in the future. If the United
States attempts to continue to play the role of the superpower who bullies
political, economic and military correctness, then it is inevitable that we will
be principally involved in conflicts that will not be in our national interest.
We simply do not have the means nor the wherewithal to achieve the kinds of
military results that are required across sovereign boundaries without severe
implications to our political and economic welfare. We must look for
technological solutions that help us solve some of these societal conflicts
before they begin. If we do not then as a nation we shall remain forever
stuck in the imperial role that is not of our choosing.
is unrealistic to assume that the United States can continue to operate both
fairly and unilaterally as the World Police without risk of conflict and the
potential of grave danger to our national security. Our internal interests and
ideals are far too narrow for so many diverse cultures. It is a fair statement
to say that just because we Americans may be considered as the
"melting-pot" does not mean that the American culture fits all. It
can't. What is happening since 911 is not merely the surface face of acts of
"terrorism," it is the slow recognition that the American national
image is becoming loathed, feared and often hated by a cross section of people
whose opinions are not necessarily represented by governments.
bottom line is that if we do not step up to the technological imperative of
preventing terrorism and the global societal conflicts that bring about
terrorism then we will not succeed. The doctrine to accomplish this
represents a new and modern approach for society. The United States Government
must be willing to establish and lead an academic research panel that can
research, implement and deploy the technological means through which this
doctrine can be accomplished. Furthermore we must invite positive
participation of other countries. America is not alone in this.
By Roy D. Follendore
Copyright (c) RDFollendoreIII
January 6, 2003
men engineer things that the majority of others do not want. War is such a
thing. Most people say that they do not want war. They refuse to
acknowledge that they are part of any possible war by design. But they
also do not want to be part of the "enemy" who come back from the
battlefield defeated or in a body bag. If war is to exist, then it should
be "over there." If someone has to die in war, it should be that
other guy. If a city has to be destroyed it should be that other guys city.
These are the rational reasons why we are all part of wars engineering design.
When it comes right down to it, we Americans support war. It does not make
any difference why, as long as war is presented to us an inevitable and
somewhere else. This is the nasty bottom line. If we are victors we
can always justify our reasons for waging war later.
the time that war actually occurs, war has already been engineered. There
was a momentum that was required. The momentum that goes into
engineering war is something that few people are willing to discuss. It is
easy to get people to discuss the reasons and justifications why war should take
place. It is easy to get people to explain why we need all kinds of
weapons to protect us. The hard part is the discussion that involves how
we participate in what is essentially a contract to go to war. It is hard
to talk about how the accumulation of weapons leads us to war. The
"war experts" do not want to discuss the fact that weapons
manufacturers have a stake in the destruction of the weapons systems that they
create. The Pentagon does not like to state the obvious fact that is the
industry of engineering weapons that designs tomorrows battlefield horrors.
The doctrine of war is still concentrated overwhelming lethal force upon the
enemy. The pinpoint accuracies of modern bombs were never designed or
purchased to save lives; they were engineered to destroy lives more effectively.
Maybe the effect of new weapons that are more accurate is the saving of more lives. After all, bombs that miss a target 60% of the time is 60% more likely to hit something that was not intended. But such weapons were justified in engineering terms as "force multipliers." It takes fewer resources to do the job and that fact allows less to do more in less time. The byproduct is that using less over a shorter period of time puts less at risk. This is the great revolution in modern warfare. With modern weapons systems we can now expect to go into a conventional state of war and risk the lives of a handful of men and women, while killing tens of thousands. The point is that the risks are lower, but so are the justifications for war. With advanced engineered weapons it seems that we do not appear to have to be as tolerant of the candidates who would be our enemy.
This is an old story and the idea is really a trap. Because we have created a longer sword, a certain culture seems to have a clear advantage. They try to take advantage of their new-engineered "technology" of war. Then that culture finds out the effectiveness of shields. The culture with shields becomes the dominant aggressors. Then some other culture discovers a way to penetrate the shield. This is the history of the engineering of warfare for many thousands of years. Somehow we now are willing to think that things will change. Once we agree to ignoring this, we become the implements of the engineering of war. Sure war is sometimes necessary when it is brought upon us. But is this particular war something that we should be doing? This is the question that we as well as other societies must be willing to discuss and debate openly if we are not to become like many broken nations.
Americans are now in the dominant military situation where we are willing to engage in warfare on a pretense that is not being presented to us as observable facts. This affects how we might react to certain questions, which become inevitable in war. What number of American casualties would be worth our success? If we were to lose five or ten soldiers, would that be worth our involvement? What if that number were a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred thousand? How many causalities would it take for America to change it's mind? That is the question that our enemy commanders are now asking themselves. But the engineering of a war goes beyond weapons and destruction.
No one is comfortable witnessing the gruesome effects of war, particularly when they are the side of the ones engineering those effects. As weapons systems become more and more accurate, not only are the causalities of the side using the weapons less acceptable, so are causalities presented through the media. The side with the weakest military might be able to be expected to engineer their version of the war through the media, simply by reporting the facts as they are. There are many levels of the modern engineered battlefield. Taking a position is not the same kind of problem as holding a position. It is the battlefield of public opinion in which wars are ultimately won or lost.
To strip away modern wars engineered advantage is to strip modern warfare to what it really has become. It is a horrific real time media event. If on a level battlefield, two determined warring sides were equally modernized with the latest in war engineered technology, the life expectancy of any resource put into combat would be a matter of minutes. Success would primarily depend on timing. When war has passed and the bodies are buried, the destruction is cleaned up and the buildings are rebuilt, we will have been changed in some way. We should not make the mistake that war can be engineered to create peace. War is simply the opposite of peace. What we choose to do with peace is up to us. The lasting result of war is not peace because peace cannot exist without both reasonable and rational tolerance. The most profound and lasting result of the engineering of war are the images and the memories of the media. When this war is over, the next is always being engineered. The simple underlying rule is that as we are more successful in engineering military objectives in war with less risk to ourselves, the less necessary pretense and justification for war becomes.
are the reasons why national dialogue and debate within the media are
fundamental requirements for national security. If the history of
humanity’s engineering war should have taught us anything, it is that the
means are not the justification for the end.
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved