Happy Christmas thoughts about terrorism

I’ve often commented on my confusion as to why terrorists don’t abstain from massive 9/11 style attacks and instead focus on numerous small-scale attacks — like walking into a 7-11 and blowing everyone away with an AK-47. In the current Time magazine, Fareed Zakaria argues they are beginning to do just that.

Over the past year we have seen the rise of a new kind of warfare: microterrorism, which can be defined as small-scale terrorism, driven from the local level, whose practitioners choose not the largest or most spectacular operations but those that are likely to succeed.

“We do not need to strike big,” [Al Qaeda] say. “Attacking the enemy… is to bleed the enemy to death,” a tactic they dubbed “the strategy of a thousand cuts.”

This is, of course, what terrorists have been doing in Israel for decades, and many other parts of the world. Strap a bomb on someone, march them into a pizzeria, and whammo — 20 people are dead. A steady onslaught of such attacks could cause a radical restructuring of democratic society. And, as technology becomes more available, bombs and bio weapons become only easier to make.

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