Thursday, August 9, 2007

NY Times - What the hell are they thinking?

August 8, 2007, 11:35 am
If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?
By Steven D. Levitt

The TSA recently announced that most airplane carry-on restrictions will stay in place for at least another year, until new X-ray technology has been fully installed. Surprisingly, one item that will now be permitted on board is a lighter. While it seems crazy to keep people from bringing toothpaste, deodorant, or water on a plane, it doesn’t seem so strange to ban lighters, which could be used to start fires. I wonder whether the lighter manufacturers were lobbying for or against this rule change — on the one hand, having 22,000 lighters confiscated per day would seem good for business; but on the other hand, maybe fewer people will buy lighters if they can’t travel with them.
Hearing about these rules got me thinking about what I would do to maximize terror if I were a terrorist with limited resources. I’d start by thinking about what really inspires fear. One thing that scares people is the thought that they could be a victim of an attack. With that in mind, I’d want to do something that everybody thinks might be directed at them, even if the individual probability of harm is very low. Humans tend to overestimate small probabilities, so the fear generated by an act of terrorism is greatly disproportionate to the actual risk.
Also, I’d want to create the feeling that an army of terrorists exists, which I’d accomplish by pulling off multiple attacks at once, and then following them up with more shortly thereafter.
Third, unless terrorists always insist on suicide missions (which I can’t imagine they would), it would be optimal to hatch a plan in which your terrorists aren’t killed or caught in the act, if possible.
Fourth, I think it makes sense to try to stop commerce, since a commerce breakdown gives people more free time to think about how scared they are.
Fifth, if you really want to impose pain on the U.S., the act has to be something that prompts the government to pass a bundle of very costly laws that stay in place long after they have served their purpose (assuming they had a purpose in the first place).

Full Story

Conservative Bloggers Comments:
I find the NY Times allowing a blog on their site to be soliciting for ideas on how to attack the United States (sure it's all make believe) to be absolutely irresponsible. We are dealing with terrorists. It's not like they can't read the NY Times online section. It is common knowledge that our enemies often use our own media as sources of information (troop movements, general info etc.) Why would we solicit ideas for attacking ourselves that we are essentially wrapping up in a cute box with a bow and handing to them? Is it possible that the NY Times readers might shed some light on the American psyche and/or throw out an idea that the terrorists might not have thought of previously? OF COURSE IT IS!!! That's why you don't do this sort of thing. Shame on the NY Times for allowing this type of material to occupy their columns. What little respect I have for the NY Times has diminished even further.


Conservative Blogger said...

Lasermike, at least try to make sense. We have no idea what you are talking about. If you are going to have an opinion, at least have a coherent complete one.

2 Cents said...

This is where you are wrong.

There is no realistic scenario that the NY Times bloggers can make up that is not in the tabletop scenarios already being worked by Homeland Security analysts. I find it highly odd that conservatives, once proponents of less government intrusion, smaller government spending, and defenders of constitutional freedoms have become intrusive spending machines who would toss away basic American freedom in favor of some pipe dream called security.

We haven't been secure since we were created, and we will never be unless we become the totalitarian society we purport to disdain.

Conservatives need to go back to their real cores, the core values detailed by Dr. Ron Paul, and must regain the way they have lost.

It is sad to see what has become of the conservative movement. A once proud platform has been replaced by a hysterical paranoia and lust for power once reserved for Democrats.


Conservative Blogger said...

Ok, 2 things. First to Lasermike. You are welcome to post IF you are at least trying to have some type of coherent (even semi-coherent thought to add to the discussion. Yuo have posted gibberish several times and are forcing me to delte your posts. I will NEVER delete a post that has an actual opinion that relates to the subject matter, but Lasermike, you are simply spamming.

Conservative Blogger said...

Secondly, to 2Cents. While your ramblings are not incoherent you are not really (ok a little on the fringe) addressing the topic that was posted. If it is FACT that our enemies use our own media for intelligence and there was even the remotest possibility that these nuts might come up with an idea that they have not yet though of (we really aren't dealing with rocket scientists here), then why would someone even take the chance? There is nothing to be gained by the discussion and only possible downside to the topic. Common sense once again in the liberal camp is an uncommon virtue.

2 Cents said...


If you think for one minute that our enemies are using our media to GAIN information, you are highly mistaken. They use our media to send out propaganda, and we fall for it.

Again, people should be allowed to communicate in any way they want, and no one should live in fear of a thought. When we do, we have truly lost our way as a nation.

Again, I ask you. When will conservatives go back to their core beliefs of less government, more freedom, and a reverence of the constitution that framed our great nation? I am far from liberal, but view with disdain what has become of the American conservative movement, which appears more liberal than liberals are.

Conservative Blogger said...

I acknowlege that our media outlets are used for propaganda, that is for sure. But they are ABSOLUTELY used for intelligence (this is fact and it has been shown time and time again). It is hardly an attack on freedom to ask our citizens to excercise some common sense. I didn't say what they did should be illegal, I said I that I find it abhorent that in time of war that they would think to do it at all.

2 Cents said...

Let me ask you something though, and this is off topic a bit.

What have YOU done to find out why a group of people would be so adamant an enemy that they would give up their very lives to fight us? Have you thought to review the history of our role in the world and see exactly why we are hated by most of the world's inhabitants?

I find it odd that we are at war with an enemy most of us do not understand. We must understand their motives and reasoning in order to not only defeat them, but to bring a long lasting peace to the region.

If you study how US foreign policy has made us a target the world over, you will see the failings of the US as a nation. You will see why the founders preached about how we should stay out of the affairs of other nations. You will see how true conservatism could have saved us so many lives...

I know this is off topic, but one that should be worth exploring. To look within for answers is sometimes harder to look outside. And sometimes it is more frightening...

Conservative Blogger said...

What I personally have done is to fight for my country which put me in some of the countries we are fighting and allowed me to see first hand that most of the people don't hate us (this is my opinion). I also do not accept that we (the US) have "brought this on ourselves". We are of different cultures and different beliefs. Since I assume we will not all be converting to being Muslim anytime soon I also accept the fact that we will continue to fight the extremists of that faith. They have been waging one jihad or another since well before the US was around and will likely coontinue to do so for the foreseeable future.

2 Cents said...

You are wrong here.

We have reaped what we have sown.

We intervene in the affairs of Muslims in the Middle East. We have NO business intervening in the affairs of any government, and our policies have created enemies willing to die to kill each of us.

They do not want America to become a Muslim nation (speaking of al Qaeda here), they just want us OUT OF THEIR BUSINESS. And we should be.

I guess what you are saying, in a nutshell, that if the world does not think like us then we will have to fight them militarily. After all, "we are of different cultures and different beliefs."

Most nations are of different cultures and beliefs then Muslim nations are. Why aren't they on the target list??

lasermike026 said...

Your a censor who can't take real discussion. Loser.

2 Cents said...


I haven't seen you post anything that resembled real discussion. Relax man, you can't get anything accomplished by taking the tract you are taking. There is a time and place for it, and you aren't there yet.

lasermike026 said...

Get out. This is a conservative blog and only conservative messages are allowed.