QUESTION ONE: Reality Dislocation?
“It is entirely possible that the true and authentic reality is being drowned out by countless superficial information bits noisily and breathlessly presented in propaganda fashion. Consequently, one may be entirely knowledgeable about a thousand details and nevertheless, because of ignorance regarding the core of the matter, remain without basic insight … Arnold Gehlen labeled it “a fundamental ignorance, created by technology and nourished by information . . . … the place of authentic reality is taken over by fictitious reality; my perception is indeed still directed toward an object, but now it is pseudoreality, deceptively appearing as being real, so much so that it becomes almost impossible any more to discern the truth.” (Josef Pieper – Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power,” 1974)
“Whether it be the intrusion of hackers, a major explosion at the World Trade Center, of a bombing attack by bin Laden, all of these greatly exceed the frequency bandwidths understood by the American military . . . This is because they have never taken into consideration and have even refused to consider means that are contrary to tradition and to select measures of operation other than military means.” (Col Qiao Liang, Col Wang Xiangsui, Unrestricted Warfare, 1999)
Josef Pieper’s quote (above) has been used to suggest that intense concentration on data bits in support of models can degrade discernment over the “core of the matter” to the point where reality dislocation occurs. Has the dominance of the social sciences in the conduct of the counter-terror effort since 9/11 pushed that effort into Pieper calls pseudoreality (or the Matrix’s identities as the Blue Pill universe)? A few questions to consider when answering:
Did we win or lose in Afghanistan?
Did terrorism succeed in reducing American power and prestige along lines forecast by the Islamic Movement?
Has America’s response been reduced to incoherence because of it?
When answering the question, please account for the observations of the two Chinese colonels from Unrestricted Warfare, as posted above.
Question TWO: Suicide Terrorism
1PAPE1.pdf Download 1PAPE1.pdf Please read this article (click on the link).
Do you agree with Jordon Smith’s characterization of Robert Pape’s argument that terrorism is a RATIONAL, goal-directed, strategic response aimed at achieving a certain objective? Why or why not? Does the article sustain a narrative or does it orient on the terror threats as they present themselves?
Cite at least three supporting examples for your argument based on groups we have learned about this semester.
(Here, the opposite of rational is not ‘irrational’ or ‘crazy’. Pape is not arguing about the mental health of terrorists, but whether they are capable of formulating and carrying out a strategy aimed at achieving an objective.
Question Three: Types of Terrorism (25 points)
Are terrorists who they say they are unless proven otherwise? When confronted with terrorism by groups that define themselves and the reason they fight, should that be the start point of the counter-terror effort or should the investigation begin with the categories of terrorism?
Take a look at your textbook and note all the different TYPES of terrorism which they identify (nationalist terrorism; religiously-based terrorism, domestic terrorism, etc.)
Do you think it is useful to break down terrorism into different types in this way?
Why is it important to be able to say what type of terrorist someone is?
Do you think that the differences between the groups are more important – or are the similarities between groups more important, and why?
Question Four: Nationalist Terrorism (25 points)
Some analysts have argued that our world is becoming more globalized. People travel more, they interact with others through the internet and as a result, we are perhaps becoming more nationalistic.
Do you think that Nationalist Terrorism is a response to globalization (or, in the alternative, terrorism by those seeking the destruction of national identity) will at some point cease to be a force in international relations, or will it always be an important source of conflict? IF you think it is becoming less important, what other forces are perhaps becoming more important?