SMART Letter #61
Other People's Words
October 5, 2001
SMART Letter #61 -- October 5, 2001
Copyright 2001 by David S. Isenberg
isen.com -- "ask questions first, shoot later"
firstname.lastname@example.org -- http://isen.com/ -- 1-888-isen-com
> A note from David I
> Quotes of Note
> John Arquilla: How to Fight a Network
> Edward N. Luttwak: Saudi Arabia's Terrorists
> Salman Rushdie: Start Making Friends
> Phil Agre: What September 11 Doesn't Change
> Bob Barr: Don't Dismantle Constitutional Safeguards
> David Obey: Dangerous Times for Democracy
> Colin Powell: Evidence *won't* Persuade Court
> Riaz Mohammad Khan: Evidence *will* Persuade Court
> Jim Muir: Crushed Beneath the Rubble
> Clay Shirky: Why the U.S. is Targeted
> Ari Fleischer Can't Tolerate Intolerance
> Smart Remarks from SMART People
> Don Roszel, former United Pilot
> Einar Flyndal gives a European perspective
> A former AT&T colleague is having deja vu
> Ronald Marks on institutional incompetence
> Stan Hanks on plastic forks and civil liberties
> A brief history of Wars Against Concepts
> Conferences on my Calendar
> Copyright Notice, Administrivia
So it's war, is it? Maybe the First Casualty is alive
buried in the rubble, waiting for rescuers.
I can't think about telecom yet, and I'm finding it hard to
write at all. I'll let the words of others do the talking
for now. -- David I
Quote of Note: John Arquilla
"It takes a tank to fight a tank. It takes a network to
fight a network . . . How do you attack a trust
structure -- which is what a network is? You're not
going to do this with Tomahawk missiles or strategic
John Arquilla of the Rand Corporation, quoted by Joel
Garreau in "Disconnect the Dots", Washington Post,
September 17, 2001, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
Quote of Note: Edward N. Luttwak
"[Saudi Arabia's] schools and mosques have been
hospitable to anti-Western extremists . . . but in the
wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, whose perpetrators
included Saudi citizens, it would be imprudent to
overlook this connection any longer. It would be futile
to hunt down one Osama bin Laden while America's ally is
nurturing many more."
Edward N. Luttwak, "New Fears, New Alliances", on the op-ed
page of the New York Times, 10/2/01.
Quote of Note: Salman Rushdie
"Now that wise American heads appear to have understood
that it would be wrong to bomb the impoverished,
oppressed Afghan people in retaliation for their
tyrannous masters' misdeeds, they might apply that
wisdom, retrospectively, to what has been done to the
impoverished, oppressed people of Iraq. It is time to
stop making enemies and start making friends."
"Fighting the Forces of Invisibility" by Salman Rushdie on
The Washington Post op-ed page, October 2, 2001.
Quote of Note: Phil Agre
"People keep saying that the world has changed completely
since September 11th, but when I checked the [U.S.]
Constitution it hadn't changed at all."
Phil Agre in Red Rock Eater, September 30, 2001,
Quote of Note: Bob Barr
"Before we begin dismantling constitutionally protected
safeguards and diminishing fundamental rights to
privacy, we should first examine why last week's attacks
occurred. Our immediate reaction to such unspeakable
criminal activity must not be to expand law
enforcement's investigative authority, but to examine
how and why execution of current law was not successful.
Let us not rush into a vast expansion of government
power in a misguided attempt to protect freedom. In
doing so, we will inevitably erode the very freedoms we
seek to protect."
U.S. Reptesentative Bob Barr (R-GA) in letter to Attorney
General John Ashcroft
Quote of Note: David Obey
"The most dangerous time for any democracy is at times
of crisis . . . Asking even the most innocent and basic
questions is seen as being nonsupportive."
U.S. Representative David Obey (D-WI) quoted in the
Washington Post, September 17, 2001 --
[Innocent question: "Where's the evidence?" -- David I]
Quote of Note: Colin Powell
"Let's not see [the allegation that Osama bin Laden
and/or his network Al Qaeda was involved in the
September 11 crimes] in terms of one that is going to
trial in a court . . . it is not a question of us trying
to persuade a court."
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in October 2 press
conference, quoted in the New York Times, October 3, 2001.
Quote of Note: Riaz Mohammad Khan
"The material [linking bin Laden to September 11
atrocities] that was provided by the American side . . .
certainly provides sufficient basis for indictment in a
court of law."
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan quoted
on cnn.com, October 4, 2001 --
Quote of Note: Jim Muir
"The man standing beside me in the crowd was sobbing his
heart out. Along with dozens of other people, his wife
and children lay crushed beneath the rubble of the
collapsed building we were looking at.
"It had been brought down quite scientifically by two big
explosions [in 1982]. The multi-story apartment block
was demolished because somebody thought Yasser Arafat
was there. He wasn't."
From "Explaining Arab Anger", by Jim Muir, long-time BBC
middle east correspondent, September 19, 2001 in
[In the post-September-11 world, perhaps the people of the
United States will have more empathy for the pain of
civilian casualties elsewhere -- David I]
Quote of Note: Clay Shirky
" We are not being unfairly targeted here, as if this was
all some sort of misunderstanding. We are being
targeted because we do exactly what they say we do.
We are freedom loving, secular, democratic creators of a
society where people are allowed to do as they like to
an extent unheard of in the history of the world. That
is so completely corrosive of any attempt to corral a
populace into a single way of living that we are hated
by everyone for whom cultural stasis is more important
Clay Shirky [email@example.com] on nettime, September 21,
Quote of Note: Ari Fleischer
"This government will not tolerate any such intolerance
. . . To the degree there is a tiny minority, this
government will get them."
U.S. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer at a press
briefing, September 18, 2001.
[When I heard this live, on the radio, I laughed out loud.
I thought I heard Fleischer say, "We'll get 'em," not "This
government will get them," as the official White House
transcript has it. -- David I]
Smart Remarks from SMART People
Don Roszel [firstname.lastname@example.org] writes:
"[From a Clear Blue Sky -- SMART Letter #60 is] a
wonderful response to the jingoism we are all vulnerable
"Since September 11, I have been filled with feelings of
sorrow, anger and vengeance. All along, I have wished
that the need for vengeance will fade. It is, gradually.
This SMART Letter has helped hasten its demise. I still
have a ways to go, mind you. But I'm getting there.
"Coping with sorrow has been another matter. In a former
life, I worked for United Airlines. Jason Dahl, the
captain of the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania was
based in San Francisco during my tenure as Chief Pilot
of the San Francisco base.
"When my father died a year ago, someone sent me a
proverb that said words to the effect that, "Happiness
shared is happiness doubled, while sorrow shared is
sorrow halved." I've thought of those words frequently
since 9/11. If you haven't seen it, here is a link to a
web site on which are posted pictures from around the
world - of people everywhere sharing our sorrow.
http://thankyou.fast-networks.net/. It too has helped me
Einar Flyndal [email@example.com] writes:
"I was at a hotel in the old capital of Holland, Delft,
[on September 11] when the US was struck by the
(technologically speaking) very simple crash. US-
Americans were crying in the lobby. And it was of course
not difficult to share their feelings.
"I spent the night in front of the TV. Two channels were
of particular interest: CNN and BBC World. The
perspective was amazingly different: CNN's perspectives
were: 'What happened?' - running the same surreal crash
shots over and over again - and 'What will the president
do?' BBC World was showing each new film of the crashes,
but in between, ever more background stuff, like the
splendid interview with the editor of Al Qoud, a Saudi
Arabian newspaper. His important statement was:
'There may be many groups that could have organized
such an attack. The most central topic for the US now
must be to understand why there are so many groups
that could have motives for doing it.'
"Let me add this: some Norwegian university professors
have proposed Bush for the Nobel Peace prize - on the
condition that he manages to meet this challenge of
terrorism without triggering a war, but manages to solve
this with peaceful means.
"The world is waiting for the US president to master this
situation without proving to the Muslim world that
crusades mean horror and terror from the
Westerners/Crusaders/Franks (note: same word and concept
in Arab!). That was what they learned 800 years back,
when the local reporter wrote back to the Pope: "Our men
put the children on sticks and roast them, and eat them
when they are ready grilled." (Amin Malouf: _The
crusades, as the Arabs saw them_)
"Up in the high North, we also want to continue with our
silent sailing with the fishing rod in the back of the
boat . . .
A former AT&T colleague writes:
"Since the May morning in 1940 when the German planes
appeared in the sky over The Hague and dropped bombs I
have thought of war every day.
"All of this [post-September-11 activity] is far too
"Quite a few years ago I said that the good thing about
being old was that I would not be around when things got
really bad. I seem to have been wrong."
Ronald Marks [firstname.lastname@example.org] writes:
"If there's one thing you inveigh against better than
most, it's blind stupidity. So much pain in this world
takes its source from institutional incompetence, but no
one has made the point with such disarming clarity . . .
Nothing I've read for a very long while penetrated to my
core the way your words did [in From a Clear Blue Sky --
SMART Letter #60]."
Stan Hanks [email@example.com] writes:
"A group with which I was involved in the early-to-mid
'80s war-gamed "how to take over a jetliner with a
plastic fork and use it as a weapon". Yeah. Back then.
Not much is different today except (1) Tom Clancy
actually used this as a story line and (2) oh yeah,
someone else did too...
"And I worry a *lot* about civil liberties and right to
privacy. I have already seen a surge in [interest in]
securing critical infrastructure. People seem willing
to put individual rights on hold to "make it happen".
I'm not sure, but isn't that sort of the first step
towards a police state?? And even though the 'net is
supposed to be the ultimate guardian of freedom, what
happens when it's the snare that's being set for the
[Or maybe the Internet would snare anybody who's against
whatever the Government is for -- as in, "If you're not
with us, you're against us." (Not me, Mr. Ashcroft, I
think *every* thing you're doing is JUST FINE, sir.)
-- David I]
A Brief History of Wars Against Concepts
War on Poverty -- Poverty 1, U.S. 0
War on Cancer -- Cancer 1, U.S. 0
War on Crime -- Crime 1, U.S. 0
War on Drugs -- Drugs 1, U.S. 0
CONFERENCES ON MY CALENDAR
RESCHEDULED -- NEW LOCATION & DATE: November 4-6, 2001. San
Francisco, CA. Telecosm.
Latest word is that I will be moderating a
panel on the morning of November 6. Telecosm will be much
different than last year, probably quieter, perhaps more
thoughtful, and certainly different. For information, see
POSTPONED -- NEW DATE TBD: Sarasota FL. Gilder Fellers
technology investor's conference.
Gilder and other notables will be there. I'll be
Moderator. In other words, I'll be trying to get the
participants to hold down the hype, jargon, positioning and
techno-babble so the individual investors in the audience
will understand. Some might argue that this'd be like the
pot calling the kettle . . . For information, contact Joel
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Copyright 2001 by David S. Isenberg
firstname.lastname@example.org -- http://www.isen.com/ -- 1-888-isen-com
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