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Radically Inept
Friday, December 03, 2004
  Update on New America Foundation & NYU Law Center Panel on Al-Qaeda -

You can watch the New America Foundation discussion on terrorism if you link through the C-SPAN: archives. It comes into parts, the first is an hour and fifty minutes and the second part is seven hours and forty-five minutes. The short agenda is here: New America Foundation: event -430- "Al Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11 and the complete agenda here: Al Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11 (pdf format)Conference

It's a lot to watch, but I found it well worth my time, though I missed a couple of the later hours while screwing around trying to apply to some govt jobs.

One of the announcers said that NYU would publish transcripts, but I suspect it will take a few days, and I'm not sure if they will make them available on line.

Brief Summary:
There was a fair amount of disagreement on various issues amongst the panalists on specifics, but I think all agreed that Iraq would breed more terrorists, and I think most agreed it was a mistake. All agreed it was badly handled. I say all, not every panalists addressed every issue, but there seemed to be general consensus on these points by those who did address them.

Al Qaeda has been able to survive what we've thrown at it, though not necessarily in its original form and function - may be more the name of a 'movement' now, than a single organization. I heard the terms 'morphed' and resilient to describe them. Also, I think there was a general consensus that we are too focused on Al Qaeda and failing to realize the bigger picture.

The panel that seems to be split between the last of the first part, and the first of the last part, was interesting in the debate on how terrorists are either 'self-selected' and/or recruited. Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks | University of Pennsylvania Press, had some interesting stats on the average terrorist, though he excluded Iraq from his survey, he found most terrorists were from the middle and upper income brackets and highly educated. He makes the point in the Q&A that this has usually been the case. It's true, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the Red Army Faction, almost all revolutionary leaders do appear to fit that bill. Consider Che Guevera, or Fidel Castro as examples.

Jessica Stern, Foreign Affairs - The Protean Enemy, has interviewed over four hundred terrorists to look for commonalities. I think she and just a few others mentioned US home grown terorists along with the islamic terrorists.

Well, I'm not going to try to break down the entire nine hours + panel by panel. It's so easy to want to do that, but it would take me probably the same amount of time to do it, and as I stated above, hopefully we'll be able to get transcripts soon. In the mean time, I highly recommend you get in front of your computer, go to C-SPAN and play solitaire while your watching the program in hour or two chunks.

I've got get back to the job hunt, but I will break in a little while to present some personal observations on 'bar people' - of which I may be considered a true expert. I don't mean like those people that only hang out in bars, I mean as someone capable of probably writing a pretty decent over view of the people found in all types of bars; from biker bars and dives to hotel bars to country clubs to - well, just about most types. Yeah, even those... 
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