Comments Posted By Conor Friedersdorf
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CONOR FRIEDERSDORF AND HIS ABOMINABLE STRAWMEN

"I think Friedersdorf’s point is that the 'terrorist hawks' are blinded by the particular instance of Islamic terrorism, and that they would think differently if police state tactics were used against free people who are more like them just because some of these people like them have committed terrorist acts."

Yes Mike, I don't think Obama will do this -- though we have safeguards for extreme situations, and you never know -- and I do think that "terrorist hawks" are blinded in just the way you suggest (or you suggest I suggest, actually).

Comment Posted By Conor Friedersdorf On 3.06.2009 @ 12:31

Perhaps you are right that the hypothetical terrorist campaign I describe is so improbable that it isn't worth discussing. I worry about various kinds of domestic terrorism, whether committed by religious extremists or Tim McVeigh style anti-government folks or radical leftist environmental or anti-war activists -- like the 9/11 attacks, it only seems improbable until it happens, at which point the warning signs seem clear in hindsight -- but it's a reasonable criticism nonetheless, since I may well be wrong to worry.

But when you state that my arguments are "based on the notion that there is equivalence between a terrorist attack carried out by trained cadres hell bent on killing as many of us as possible and, historically speaking, lone wackos or small groups of untrained fanatics attacking small targets," you are incorrect -- I DO NOT mean to assert any such equivalence. Indeed, I share your conviction that Al Qaeda is almost infinitely more dangerous, and that opposing them ought to occupy almost infinitely more resources.

The fact that I do not find them equivalent, however, does not mean that some future president won't draw a false equivalence, using the fact that both groups can be termed terrorists -- and powers he's been given to fight terrorists -- to commit abuses we'd both regard as abhorrent.

Like you, I'm not particularly worried that President Obama is going to commit such abuses. Then again, I never imagined circa 2000 that President Bush would end up overseeing a program of torture.

You write, "Friedersdorf is trying to make a point about the danger of right wing religious nuts being equal to that of the jihadists..." But that's not so. Jihadists are demonstrably MUCH MORE DANGEROUS. You go on, "...not only as a threat but that tactics used to fight the jihadists would be used to violate the civil liberties of anti-abortion fanatics. That dog don’t hunt."

But why not? Once you give a President unchecked power to use against one kind of very dangerous terrorist, why do you assume he can't or won't use it against another kind of less dangerous terrorist?

Comment Posted By Conor Friedersdorf On 3.06.2009 @ 12:04


 


 


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