Archive for the ‘War on Terror’ Category
Bruce Schneider had a very interesting essay on the soundness of massive citizen profiling.
Intuitively, a libertarian will abhor attempts by government to collect that level of private informations (unchecked by anything in practice). But Schneider shows that these efforts are bound to fail even at the stated goals: preventing terrorist attacks.
Let’s look at some numbers. Assume an unrealistically optimistic system with a 1-in-100 false positive rate (99% accurate), and a 1-in-1,000 false negative rate (99.9% accurate). That is, while it will mistakenly classify something innocent as a terrorist plot one in a hundred times, it will only miss a real terrorist plot one in a thousand times. Assume one billion possible “plots” to sift through per year, about four per American citizen, and that there is one actual terrorist plot per year.
Even this unrealistically accurate system will generate 10 million false alarms for every real terrorist plot it uncovers. Every day of every year, the police will have to investigate 270,000 potential plots in order to find the one real terrorist plot per month.
So do we give them the benefit of stupidity, or just call their intentions malevolent?
Folks in Washington accidentally released a new Al Qaeda™ video ahead of schedule. The public still needs to be frightened into submission, so Bin Laden Studios will work overtime to release new content. Not to worry, the War on Terror™ is going ahead as planned, small slips notwithstanding.
There are no conspiracies (if this isn’t one)…
Michael Rozeff writes about the next great state racket: terrorism.
There is every reason to conclude that the war on terrorism does not aim to eliminate terrorism. That is a pretext. What are these reasons?
(1) Terrorism can’t be eliminated.
(2) Terrorism is not a large problem.
(3) The costs of fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are huge, at least one trillion dollars, compared to the costs imposed by terrorism.
(4) The U.S. has caused more terrorism by starting two wars.
(5) The U.S. has made no effort against terrorism in many parts of the globe.
(6) The U.S. has made no significant effort to reduce its own political, military, and economic presence in foreign countries that entangles the U.S. in local power struggles.
(7) Worldwide terrorism has risen since the U.S. began the war on terrorism.