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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
"The Dread Pirate Bin Laden - How Thinking Of Terrorists As Pirates Can Help Win The War On Terror"
By Douglas R. Burgess Jr.
LEGAL AFFAIRS
July-August 2005
http://www.legalaffairs.o...laug05.msp

I wish the few voices who spoke out about this just after 9/11 had gained a larger audience. But, given the emotional tenor at the time and the cheap jokes the subject can generate, I suppose it's little surprise that they weren't given a chance to state their case. I remember exploring this subject in a foreign policy seminar in 89 or 90 and even then with just 8 or 9 people who were supposed to be looking into the topic in a serious manner, it took a while to get past the "Yarghs" and pirate jokes.

But, if one looks at it with a open mind and looks at the tools it provides, it's a good, solid paradigm - a model that worked well in the past (Douglas does a good job of outlining those tools so I won't go into that here).

At a less tangible level . . .

It seems to me, that simply using the word "war" we are granting legitimacy to the terrorists that they don't deserve. By using the word "war" we are boosting their morale and giving them a powerful recruiting tool. It seems to me, that the very perception that the United States is at "war" with Al Qaeda, gives them more credibility and status on the world scene than they should ever have. And yes, to some extent, this is a matter of semantics . . . a matter of perceptions . . . but those are powerful tools when it comes to swaying the hearts and minds of individuals and of nations.

And as we are seeing, using a war-based paradigm imposes restrictions on our course of action - whereas the model described by Douglas opens up a world of options, military and civil alike.

If do reexamine the way we are combating terrorism in the post-9/11 environment - I'm hoping that this time around this model will be one of the possible avenues that will be explored
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
"Why the U.S. Loses `Small Wars'"
By Larry Kahaner
HISTORY NEWS NETWORK
November 27, 2006
http://hnn.us/articles/31296.html

I've not read C.E. Callwell's book, referenced in Kahaner's article, has anyone read it?

I recently finished:

Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (1992).

Oleg Sarin, and Lev Dvoretsky, The Afghan Syndrome: The Soviet Union's Vietnam (1993).

Both are good reads for those interested in the region's history. The Afghan Syndrome is interesting as it's co-authored by a former Soviet General who was there during that particular war.

I'll have to see if I can lay my hands on a copy of Callwell's Small Wars - I see it's available for an almost affordable price.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14821) 14 years ago
That is an interesting article and concept.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
Yes, it is an interesting conception / option.

The idea has been kicked around before in the not so distance past. To a certain extent the US and other Western Nations employed very similar models (or portions of this model) in combating terrorism in the 70s and 80s (Red Brigades, Red Army Faction, PLO, etc).

There was buzz during the Regan Administration that the anti-piracy model was being explored for use against the Narco-Cartels, but I don't believe it was ever coherently applied to that end.

I'd sure like to see the concept given some consideration by our policy makers. I sometimes think if someone at State or DOD or Homeland Security would write it up without mentioning the word pirates - it might receive serious examination and consideration.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
Modern day Populists . . . battling for the heart and soul of the West and the Deep South.

Will one side emerge victorious or will both self-destruct in a fireball of demagoguery as has happened so often to "popular" movements in the past?


"Blue-ing The West"
By Sasha Abramsky
THE NATION
January 22, 2007
http://www.thenation.com/...s=abramsky

"Why the GOP Is Doomed"
By Chris Caldwell
HOOVER DIGEST, No. 4, 1998
http://www.hoover.org/pub...33086.html

"Incoming Democrats Put Populism Before Ideology"
By Robin Toner and Kate Zernike
NEW YORK TIMES
November 12, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/20...yt&emc=rss

Maybe Littlefield was right:
http://www.amphigory.com/oz.htm

or maybe not
http://www.halcyon.com/pi...pulism.htm
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Posted by Chad (+1758) 14 years ago
Argh, matey! To compare a terrorist to a pirate is week at best. Pirates are good humored, care about their peers, and often aided the poor. Let's keep pirate out of the terrorist scene.
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Posted by jessiker (+285) 14 years ago
I totally agree with you, Chad. They may not have been wonderful, but they looked out for people and showed compassion to people who deserved it. Comparing terrorists to pirates is like apples and chicken - not even close.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14821) 14 years ago
With apologies to Johnny Depp, this is a great idea and a strategy that should be adopted immediately. Nobody really knows what a terrorist is or does. But nearly everyone understands what a pirate is and does. This really is a war on pirates.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
"The Right To Bear Bazookas: A New Take On The Second Amendment"
By Saul Cornell
HISTORY NEWS NETWORK
March 19, 2007
http://hnn.us/articles/36531.html
- - - - - - - -

"Computer Model Hints At How Opinions Evolve"
By Mark Buchanan
NEWSCIENTIST.COM NEWS SERVICE
March 14, 2007
http://www.newscientistte...olve-.html
- - - - - - - -

"Arthur Schlesinger's Missing Vital Center"
By Clare L. Spark
HISTORY NEWS NETWORK
March 12, 2007
http://hnn.us/articles/36239.html
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Posted by Stone (+1591) 14 years ago
Hal, once again a couple people do not read the article and look past the point to pointless humor. If they think that pirates are the fun loving souls that they see on TV then they are sadly mistaken. Pirates are not Robin Hoods they are butchers.

Like Global warming some people will joke it away until it hits them in the face. Good article and good policy. I am sure that the stupid Shrub will have no problems following the logic of pirate policy.

1. Stop talking about Al Queda in the news and stop giving them credence- much like the NFL and streakers.
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Posted by Chad (+1758) 14 years ago
Pirates of yesterday and those of today were or are no good. But they were not trying to make a political statement or run a religious war. Pirates may commit acts of terror, but they're in it for the money, not Jihad or government overthrow. A pirate, in the traditional sense, is a man of the Sea that follows few laws and refuses to conform; he steals and pillages to make ends meet. Illegal and immoral? Yes. Terrorist- I don't think so. A terrorist aims to kill, to maim, to disrupt, to wreak havoc in order to gain some political (or spiritual?) goal.

Perhaps we should lump the Punk Rockers of 1970's and 80's England into the pirate/terrorist definition. They disobeyed the law, didn't conform, were disruptive... naw, that's stretching it too far.

It's all semantics. I'd suggest some Cabernet and reading some S.I. Hayakawa.
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Posted by Stone (+1591) 14 years ago
Chad, maybe I am missing the point but I think his analogy of pirates/terrorists is spot on. Yes the religious element threw a curve into the scenario but after reading the article I felt like it was the first good policy for dealing with terrorism and terrorist that I have ever seen. This policy is looking outside the box of Nation/State warfare.

Chad you said that, "Pirates of yesterday and those of today were or are no good. But they were not trying to make a political statement or run a religious war."

I respectfully disagree with you. Pirates in many cases were running an unorganized war against society and its Feudalistic bondages (the noble element) and many were running from religious persicutition. As for terrorist I do not believe they are trying to make any political statements- to make a political statement is to belong to a state and to practice the citizenship of their state. They, like pirates are stateless or as the author suggest should be stateless. Furthermore I do not believe that these terrorists are running any kind of religious war. At the very least maybe they are practicing guerrilla warfare through the cowardly acts of terror. Al Queda transcends all boundaries like piracy and should be systematically stomped out by every Nation on this earth- one cell or individual at a time. Nowhere to run nowhere to hide.

I think that the common denominator is that pirates affect all STATES by being in a maritime setting and as doe's terrorism in its religious zealous form. They both operate outside the modern boundaries of Country, although they effect every nation that they target. Thus they transcend warfare, as we know it. There is no way to entrench and have a conventional battle with terrorists. They are from all different countries, and races. Not all Muslim radicals are of the Arabic decent. It is not that he is just comparing pirates and terrorist but it is that he is presenting a new way of looking at the problem of terrorism.

" AT FIRST GLANCE, THE CORRELATION BETWEEN PIRACY AND TERRORISM seems a stretch. Yet much of the basis of this skepticism can be traced to romantic and inaccurate notions about piracy. An examination of the actual history of the crime reveals startling, even astonishing, parallels to contemporary international terrorism. Viewed in its proper historical context, piracy emerges as a clear and powerful precedent."

"IF THIS CHRONOLOGY SEEMS FAMILIAR, IT SHOULD. The rise and fall of state-sponsored piracy bears chilling similarity to current state-sponsored terrorism. Many nations, including Libya, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, have sponsored terrorist organizations to wage war against the United States or other Western powers. In each case, the motivations have been virtually identical to those of Elizabeth: harass the enemy, deplete its resources, terrify its citizens, frustrate its government, and remain above the fray. The United States is credited with manufacturing its own enemy by training, funding, and outfitting terrorist groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Central America during the cold war."

"TO UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF DEFINING TERRORISM as a species of piracy, consider the words of the 16th-century jurist Alberico Gentili's De jure belli: "Pirates are common enemies, and they are attacked with impunity by all, because they are without the pale of the law. They are scorners of the law of nations; hence they find no protection in that law." Gentili, and many people who came after him, recognized piracy as a threat, not merely to the state but to the idea of statehood itself. All states were equally obligated to stamp out this menace, whether or not they had been a victim of piracy. This was codified explicitly in the 1856 Declaration of Paris, and it has been reiterated as a guiding principle of piracy law ever since. Ironically, it is the very effectiveness of this criminalization that has marginalized piracy and made it seem an arcane and almost romantic offense. Pirates no longer terrorize the seas because a concerted effort among the European states in the 19th century almost eradicated them. It is just such a concerted effort that all states must now undertake against terrorists, until the crime of terrorism becomes as remote and obsolete as piracy."
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
Pirates of yesterday quite often claimed religious and/or political motives. Whether they were any more justified in their claims that Osama the Arab is in his today . . . I don't know. But they did, quite often, attempt to cloak their criminal actions with such claims.

Take the "Barbary Pirates," for example. Like Osama they (at times) claimed to be waging religious war against the West. At other times like they claimed to be waging war on the basis of nation versus nation for dominance of the Western Mediterranean.

If you look at the Pirates of the Caribbean (the real ones, not the Disney ones) - you'd see a religious element there as well. Protestant versus Roman Catholic (look at Drake). At times you'd see nation versus nation / geo-politics playing a role (again, Drake is a good example).

All that aside, one of what I feel to be the more telling points raised by Burgess in his article is - that by treating "them" as criminals, we avoid legitimizing them.

By treating them as criminals, we'd gain a (not inconsequential) propaganda tool that might help keep the world's attention focused on their crimes and not their claims to legitimacy. It's easy to make light of such things as propaganda, moral ascendancy, the appearance of legitimacy, "hearts and minds," and all of that - but those are potent tools whether in a war on terror or a campaign to bring a bunch of low-life murdering SOBs to justice.

But heck, we're doing so well at bringing Osama the Arab to justice, I guess there's no need to look at other tools we might use.



I see that Voyde Harrelson died the other day.
http://www.chron.com/disp...49344.html

Too bad Osama isn't sitting in his old Supermax cell . . . rotting away . . . knowing that he lost to Us.
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Posted by Stone (+1591) 14 years ago
Hal, didn't Garrison's book claim that Harrelson had something to do with the JFK assassination. Wasn't he supposed to be one of the three Hobos with patton leather shoes. Woody's dad shot JFK.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+9781) 14 years ago
I remember seeing news items about Judge Wood's assassination back in '79 - but it was years later before I knew that his assassin was Woody Harrelson's father.

The brief mention of Voyde Harrelson's alleged involvement in the JFK assassination in that article was the first I'd heard of it. I assumed when I saw mention of it in that article that it was just jail-talk to gain himself some sympathy and/or leverage for his legal appeal.




The problem I typically have with conspiracy theories is that folks tell me that the evidence / proof has been destroyed or is otherwise impossible to access and review, but I'm supposed to believe them or else prove that their missing/inaccessible evidence is incorrect.

I guess I have trouble buying into to a logic system where the absence of provable facts is to be taken as factual proof
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