Tampa Prep 2009-2010 Impact Defense File


AT: Agroterror 1. No FMD attack – lacks shock value, terrorists prefer spectaculars



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AT: Agroterror



1. No FMD attack – lacks shock value, terrorists prefer spectaculars

Seebeck 07 – Professor of Complex Systems Anaylsis @ Queensland University of Technology [Lesley Seebeck (Ph.D from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Queensland University), “Responding to Systemic Crisis: The Case of Agroterrorism,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 30, Issue 8 August 2007, pages 691 – 721]


With high target vulnerability and ease of access to resources, the key question is one of intent: a judgment concerning the achievement of political coercion. Of itself, it's not likely that an FMD attack would be an effective means of coercion—certainly AQ and others have not been attracted to strictly infrastructure attacks in Western nations. That an agroterrorist attack lacks the shock value of immediate and bloody human carnage could prove the best defense against such a possibility. Still, other factors need to be considered where AQ—and its subsidiaries—are concerned. AQ has established itself as favoring “spectaculars, which it achieves through leveraging organization, local cells with local knowledge, and using the everyday in an innovative fashion. Although the pressures of the global war on terror have led AQ and its subsidiaries to focus on more limited tactical strikes, AQ by nature is adaptive,112 and should the opportunity arise is likely to seek more adventurous operations. In judging the attractiveness of FMD as a terrorist tool, one needs to consider organization, coordination, and escalation. For example, an FMD attack may be synchronized with multiple point sources, synchronized with other forms of attack, or signaling intent to escalate.


2. No military retaliation

A. No perceived as a proportional response

Chalk 04 - Analyst at RAND specializing in international terrorism and emerging threats. [Peter Chalk, Hitting America’s Soft Underbelly: The Potential Threat of Deliberate Biological Attacks Against the U.S. Agricultural and Food Industry, RAND Corporation]



In addition, the mechanics and potential impact of agroterrorism give this type of aggression a sizable payoff in the form of extortion and blackmail. Unlike with human-directed biological threats, terrorists could firmly establish the credibility of their intention to carry out a bio-assault by proceeding with an attack, safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to elicit massive retaliation from a government that feels all limits on coercive counteraction have been lifted. Certainly, destroying cattle en masse would not elicit the same sort of institutional counterterrorist response as would killing thousands of civilians with the plague or anthrax. Moreover, given the potential immediate and latent damage that could be inflicted by repeated attacks, both state and federal governments would have a strong incentive to negotiate with the terrorists. Pg. 27

B. Public anxiety prevents

Huddy et al. 05 – Professor of political science @ Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY [Leonie Huddy, Stanley Feldman (Professor of political science @ Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY), Charles Taber (Professor of political science @ Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY) & Gallya Lahav (Professor of political science @ Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY), “Threat, Anxiety, and Support of Antiterrorism Policies,” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 49, No. 3, July 2005, Pp. 593–608]


The findings from this study lend further insight into the future trajectory of support for antiterrorism measures in the United States when we consider the potential effects of anxiety. Security threats in this and other studies increase support for military action (Jentleson 1992; Jentleson and Britton 1998;Herrmann,Tetlock, and Visser 1999). But anxious respondents were less supportive of belligerent military action against terrorists, suggesting an important source of opposition to military intervention. In the aftermath of 9/11, several factors were consistently related to heightened levels of anxiety and related psychological reactions, including living close to the attack sites (Galea et al. 2002; Piotrkowski and Brannen 2002; Silver et al. 2002), and knowing someone who was hurt or killed in the attacks (in this study). It is difficult to say what might happen if the United States were attacked again in the near future. Based on our results, it is plausible that a future threat or actual attack directed at a different geographic region would broaden the number of individuals directly affected by terrorism and concomitantly raise levels of anxiety. This could, in turn, lower support for overseas military action. In contrast, in the absence of any additional attacks levels of anxiety are likely to decline slowly over time (we observed a slow decline in this study), weakening opposition to future overseas military action. Since our conclusions are based on analysis of reactions to a single event in a country that has rarely felt the effects of foreign terrorism, we should consider whether they can be generalized to reactions to other terrorist incidents or to reactions under conditions of sustained terrorist action. Our answer is a tentative yes, although there is no conclusive evidence on this point as yet. Some of our findings corroborate evidence from Israel, a country that has prolonged experience with terrorism. For example, Israeli researchers find that perceived risk leads to increased vilification of a threatening group and support for belligerent action (Arian 1989; Bar-Tal and Labin 2001). There is also evidence that Israelis experienced fear during the Gulf War, especially in Tel Aviv where scud missiles were aimed (Arian and Gordon 1993). What is missing, however, is any evidence that anxiety tends to undercut support for belligerent antiterrorism measures under conditions of sustained threat. For the most part, Israeli research has not examined the distinct political effects of anxiety. In conclusion, the findings from this study provide significant new evidence on the political effects of terrorism and psychological reactions to external threat more generally. Many terrorism researchers have speculated that acts of terrorist violence can arouse fear and anxiety in a targeted population, which lead to alienation and social and political dislocation.8 We have clear evidence that the September 11 attacks did induce anxiety in a sizeable minority of Americans. And these emotions were strongly associated with symptoms of depression, appeared to inhibit learning about world events, and weakened support foroverseas military action. This contrasted, however, with Americans’ dominant reaction, which was a heightened concern about future terrorist attacks in the United States that galvanized support for government antiterrorist policy. In this sense, the 9/11 terrorists failed to arouse sufficient levels of anxiety to counteract Americans’ basic desire to strike back in order to increase future national security, even if such action increased the shortterm risk of terrorism at home. Possible future acts of terrorism, or a different enemy, however, could change the fine balance between a public attuned to future risks and one dominated by anxiety. Pg. 605-606


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