The last week’s news sounds like the plot of Mel Brook’s The Producers; in the musical/movie the main characters discover that, by producing a musical that will certainly become a flop, they will paradoxically bring in more money. I wonder if there is a terrorist group channelling the ideas of Mel Brooks (and not sure if that would be hilarious or horrifying).
Had the gentleman of the exploding shorts succeeded in his attempt, we would probably never have known what brought the plane down nor possibly where the man was from, etc. (though these groups are usually quick to shout out what they’ve ‘accomplished’). However, what if the set goal was to fail outright? What if they never intended to destroy the plane?
If a plane is brought down it represents a certain financial loss and obviously a loss of life; though these groups seem intent to bring about the most loss of life possible, I would imagine their goals are more nuanced than that. We are essentially talking about a conflict of worldview; it’s more practical to disrupt the norms of living than to kill large numbers of people (the former requires only a bit of leverage in the right place; the latter usually involves a great deal of effort and risk of exposure).
A few years ago, a man attempted to hide a bomb in his shoe and now, all around the world, travellers must remove footwear for inspection. This man succeeded far more in failure; the disruption he’s caused is global rather than just one flight. Now because of the Underbomber, we are now told to arrive four hours early for flights rather than the accustomed two. How much economic and social disruption do these extra two hours represent? How much stress for people who are already stressed (and how much more surly will the already overworked TSA screeners become)?
I think we risk becoming completely subject to the failures of ideologues; but I suppose that is nothing new.