Science Seen Physicist and Time One author Colin Gillespie helps you understand your world.

RSS Feed

Terrorism needs our help: 7 things we could be doing better to ensure its success.

’Tis the season to consider causes that need our support. Let’s not overlook terrorism. 

Terror is a multi-billion-dollar business with a clever strategy. But it could have a fatal flaw. To succeed it must recruit a steady stream of pawns to take on tasks that mostly fail. Almost all those who don’t fail end up dead.

How can we help to keep this risky business going? First step is to understand its economics.

Key media players are vital partners. They provide billions of dollars’ worth of free advertising essential for recruiting. More importantly, they (not the terrorists) create most of the terror.

terrorism-word-cloudTheir role bucks reality so it isn’t easy. The world has never been totally safe. But lately it’s far safer than it ever was. Left to think about this people might start feeling better. This is where key media come in, keeping up the flow of artificial adrenaline.

It’s easy to check the evidence for media that pull their weight. As soon as there’s a terrorism incident—or one that might be terrorism—they jump to the pump. They break out the Breaking News label. Tag the event with its own theme music. Get a crew on location. Find talking heads to interview. Preempt other programs for a day or three. The top terror media can pull this trick off anytime and anyplace on the map. Of course these media can’t do their bit without the terrorists and vice versa. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship.

Governments are the third leg of the terror tripod. The whole point of terrorism is to screw with the economy. So governments’ interface with terror is of the essence for success. Reliably, they shut each barn door once the horse has bolted. For instance, do you recall the terrorist who tried (and failed) to make a bomb out of his shoe? As terrorists sought better plans, governments set out to check billions of shoes, spending vast sums of money to make longer queues. They did what the bomber could not do: they made his crazy scheme a big success.

As well, compliant politicians are good talking heads. They can be counted on to hype how horrible the mayhem is. They don’t say their time would be better spent reducing traffic accidents or workplace injuries. Some go the extra mile to aid the industry, rushing to denounce an incident as terrorism long before the facts are known. They are smart; they know it is free political advertising for them too—another aspect of the symbiosis.

Yet the key players in all this are me and you. We support the terror-industry economy; we tune in to that breaking news. We help to victimize the victim countries. We shun travel to them, so much so that travel agents swiftly cancel all arrangements. Local hotels and restaurants are almost empty. Thus terrorists can focus on tourist locations knowing they are sure to leave a lasting economic wound.

There is room to improve our performance. Here are seven things we can resolve to do to keep the terrorism business going:

  • Tune in to CNN and BBC. Reward their key role in the terror industry by patronizing advertisers. Leave the TV on while they run breaking news of terror.
  • Stay away from terror-struck locations; ignore deep discounts and go to places that seem safer.
  • Applaud the time-wasting, costly and ineffectual security in airports.
  • Write to legislators; ask them to keep funding for intelligence and policing capped at levels where their staff are overloaded.
  • Support parties and candidates who hype terror.
  • Vote for leaders who do terrorism’s bidding.
  • View all Muslims with suspicion.

What we do is a strategic element of this fragile terror ecosystem. So in this resolution season please give thought to your support for terror. Your small contribution makes a world of difference.

Image credit:

Outside the Beltway,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.