On Terror

by Beauchamp Art

“Whenever it is possible to inflict serious material damage, nobody gives that up in favour of mere terrorism. […] People turn to terrorism because they know they cannot wage war, so they opt instead to produce a theatrical spectacle.”

Hence the US and NATO’s drone campaign in the Middle East; they cannot be seen to be intervening, so must act remotely to engage in terrorist warfare without the fear of reprimand. They are not hinder by military inferiority, as they vastly out gun all other armed military bodies, but must convey a sense of respectable distance to avoid attracting too much attention at home, to keep the domestic populous subdued. Terrorism is seen as a favourable tactic by the US because it can boast about having ‘not boots on the ground’ and keeping hard-working US (and UK) soldiers safe at home, whilst engaging in the most aggressive off-shore campaign ever conducted from afar. Terrorism is also comparatively more cost effective, so is even more populist.

“This strategy is almost always adopted by very weak parties, who are unable to inflict much material damage on their enemies.”

Again, the US and company do not engage in this tactic out any sense of inferiority, but out of a superiority; it does not have to engage on the ground because it can deal such havoc from the home shores. Much as the vast armaments of Nuclear weapons are never designed to be used, to do so would mean immediate eradication of all life on the planet, but are designed to ensure ideological terror can be mutually sustained by both side, hence MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. If both side of a conflict sustain terrorist campaigns against one another, then both can enjoy the benefits of do so; being able to more easily control and manipulate the populous, to ‘tame the bewildered herd’, as its considerably easier to claim that unpopular decisions (ones that the populous would disapprove of under peace-time conditions, but can be crow-barred through, undemocratically) in the face of threats to National Security (a phrase that communicates little to no actual information).

“If tiny organisations representing a handful of fanatics could destroy entire cities and kill millions, there will no longer be a public sphere free of political violence.”

Terror is useful to powerful nations because they can use it to excuse the inexcusable actions undertaken against its own, domestic populous. Enacting terrorist regulations they mean every conversation is tapped, every person can be stop and search, every group can be dispersed, every one in the street can be made to sit at home in fear, just praying that they are not next, that they will be controlled to be kept safe. But this international abusive relationship is evidence of a great sense of inferiority felt by its perpetrators.
Terrorism is the tool of the weak, but whereas off-shore militant groups are weak because they are made up of a few hundred or thousand men with small-arms that could easily be disposed of through the most minimal military intervention, or (more ideally) the source of their political unrest (such as poverty) could swiftly be reprimanded by the financially strong nations (NATO, et al.), the Governments of the nations of international terrorist groups, such as the UK and US military, are weak because their fear the genuine strength of the domestic people, should they realise their genuine power that could destabilise the political order should they be allowed to stop and think for themselves, or allowed to unify or should any sense of group solidarity. Starting from community groups, to labour unions and Councillors, up to elected officials; any idea that the population can have any say or control is crushed, or funneled into making petty decisions that have no real impact, to give the illusion of choice, in order to manufacture the consent required to establish the means of domestic control. Amongst this decision making, all choice with undesirable outcomes are blamed on the populous, all positive outcomes are seen as a product of a strongly-willed government party.

“Terrorists undertake an impossible mission: to change the political balance of power when they have almost no military abilities. To achieve their aim, they present the state with an impossible challenge of its own: to prove that it can protect all its citizens from political violence, anywhere, anytime.”

Nothing would be more terrifying than seeing NATO Peacekeepers on the streets of the Western civilian populous, it would incite such tremendous fear the populous would be in their most malleable state. Hence, every now and then, a situation like the manhunt following the Paris attacks, or the armies on the streets of Ferguson surrounding protests, or following natural disasters, is very desirable for those in power. It allows these governments to be seen to be establishing public order, by the use of domestic terror tactics.
War is waged on a manufactured enemy to keep the real enemy, the domestic population, under control, and thankful for their domination.