Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Terrorism Is A Virus

"My fellow Americans, make no mistake about it — terrorism is more insidious than communism, because it yearns to destroy not just the individual but the entire international order."

It is so refreshing to see that
some people get it.
Terrorism is a virus. I often liken it to a virus because to put it is!

Check out these

  1. "Something that poisons one's soul or mind"
  2. " a harmful or corrupting agency"
  3. "a [software] program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to [files] or other [programs] on the same computer"
  4. "A virus has an "engine" - code that enables it to propagate and optionally a "payload" - what it does apart from propagating. It needs a "host" - the particular hardware and software environment on which it can run and a "trigger" - the event that starts it running."

Let me rephrase one of those (#3) to apply the definition of a virus to terrorism:

Terrorism is a program capable of reproducing itself & usually capable of causing great harm to innocents or other targets on the same planet.

Now, the last definition (#4) also says that a virus has an "engine" - "an agent, instrument, or means of accomplishment...something used to achieve a purpose; 'an engine of change'"

Shakespeare refers to an engine as: "Anything used to effect a purpose; any device or contrivance; an agent."

Sir Walter Raleigh refers to an engine as: "Any instrument by which any effect is produced; especially, an instrument or machine of war or torture. "

What is the engine, the agent, the cause, the driving force of today's terrorism?
The terrorists claim that their actions are motivated as a result of a jihad. A bitter holy war against Americans. They use this religious war as a front for their cause. We could also argue that the agents (plural) are: Saddam, al-Qaeda, al-Nedra, Osama bin Laden. They
propagate terrorists by recruiting them; hatred & dissension by spreading it; pain by living it, re-living it, and making sure everyone around them feels it. Another agent we could argue is revenge. From what? Revenge from The Crusades.

The definition says that the virus consists of a "payload" - "The revenue-producing part of a cargo...The explosive charge carried in the warhead of a missile...the front part of a guided missile or rocket or torpedo that carries the nuclear or explosive charge or the chemical or biological agents...goods carried by a large vehicle."

The payloads (plural) should be obvious.

It needs a "host" - the environment in which it runs...One who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity...One that furnishes facilities and resources for a function or event...An army...A great number; a multitude...(Biology) The animal or plant on which or in which another organism lives...a living animal or plant on or in which a parasite lives ...a : an individual into which a tissue or part is transplanted from another b : an individual in whom an abnormal growth (as a cancer) is proliferating.

What is the host - or are there more than one?
I would argue that there are more than one hosts involved. The first of the hosts would be the country - or countries - that harbor(s) and maintain(s) the engine operations:

  • training grounds for terrorist recruits;
  • homes for the terrorist leaders & recruits;
  • businesses used to promote terrorist activities such as raising money or recruiting.
Taking the biology term, I can rephrase it to say: "the soil on which or in which this parasite lives...the soil in which this abnormal growth (as a cancer) is proliferating."

The second of the hosts would be the VIPs who give aid to the engine operations:

  • government officials,
  • financers,
  • businessmen.

The third and final of the hosts would be the planet itself - in all its cities, countries, regions - where the terrorists spread themselves to recruit, operate, maim, kill, destroy, plant "cells" (a.k.a. "sleepers"), gather intel, spread dissension...or simply live (i.e. buy a home, find a job, raise a family) until needed (read triggered).

What is a trigger? The event that starts it running.
This article says, "The devastating military defeat of these groups in the current military campaign in Afghanistan is likely to serve as the trigger for their remaining operatives to seek catastrophic revenge on behalf of their fallen and retreating comrades." It gives these as historical dates likely to trigger al-Qaeda attacks:

  • 17 January (the commencement of Operation Desert Storm)
  • 19 March (Jerusalem Day proclaimed by Ayatollah Khomeini to demand the “liberation” of Jerusalem)
  • 30 March (referred to by Israeli Arabs as “Land Day,” it annually features protests against alleged expropriation of Arab property)
  • 7 May (Israeli independence day)
  • 31 May (the annual pilgrimage in Mecca begins)
  • 5 June (the beginning of the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and her Arab neighbors)
  • 4 July (U.S. Independence Day)
  • 31 December-1 January (New Year's Day)

"Terrorist attacks, particularly by groups such as al-Qaeda, are intended to be of such catastrophic magnitude as to send a strong political message to the targeted adversary and to the group's constituents in Islamic lands. In response, the United States, Britain, and their allies must be supported by good intelligence, strong situational awareness, and effective defensive, preemptive, and deterrence measures."

Who is doing what in the United States to see that we have the following??

  1. Good intelligence,
  2. strong situational awareness,
  3. and effective
    • defensive,
    • preemptive,
    • and deterrence measures.
Who do you think?

Bush "knows you don't reason with terrorists. You defeat them. He knows you can't reason with people blinded by hate," Schwarzenegger said.

"I remember some very quiet nights at the dinner table. George was weighing grim scenarios and ominous intelligence about potentially even more devastating attacks. I remember sitting in the window of the White House, watching as my husband walked on the lawn below. I knew he was wrestling with these agonizing decisions that would have such profound consequence for so many lives and for the future of our world." -Laura Bush

More in following posts...

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