Thursday, January 25, 2007

Forshadowing from 24???

So 24 is back. I watched every episode of the first 3 seasons but lost some momentum as the show seemed to become more and more formulaic. I just couldn't stand the thought of hearing Jack say "I had no choice!" one more time!

However, last semester I took a political science class on International Terrorism. It was probably my favorite class at BYU. Anyway, as we discussed the motivations and tactics of terrorists I often wondered about some of the issues that 24 is now dealing with.

There are those who argue that today's terrorists are different than any previous terrorists in that their end-game actually includes mass casualties. While in the past terrorists have used violence or the threat of violence to achieve political goals, the death of large numbers of civilians was not the ultimate goal. For example, the Russian terrorist group Narodnoya Volya from the late 1800s political aim was to bring about not only a regime change but a government type change. And while they used assassinations as their primary tactic they were vary cautious in avoiding collateral damage.

In contrast, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and September 11 showed a significant shift in this paradigm. For the first time a terrorist group actually killed a huge amount of people and declared that the destruction of America and its people was one of their primary objectives.
So I've wondered, if many of these Islamist terrorist groups really want mass casualties then why don't we see more Israeli/Palistinian type terrorism. Why aren't there suicide bombers here in the US blowing up buses and such? Bus bombs and suicide terrorism in general seem like an incredibly effective way to kill many people and instill terror in every American. Is it possible that the terrorists just haven't thought about that?! Could 24 be giving ideas to the terrorists?! Yeah...


Richard Miller said...

Mikel, the Wall Street Journal had a good article on 24 this week:

Jack Bauer’s Dilemmas–and Ours

Mikel said...

Richard, thanks for that article. It was very interesting!