The thrust of this information was that small-group dynamics – intimate interacting networks of family, friends, schoolmates, workmates, soccer buddies, and such – were key to the making of terrorists. (48)

Main Points:

My son didn’t die just for the sake of a cause, he died also for his cousins and friends.  He died for the people he loved. (27)

Cause: This belief that our world was intended for the committed community… How and why this illusion came to drive humanity and make itself real in the creation of cultures and the religious rise of civilizations is the deep background that frames this work. (33)

Religion and politics are becoming increasingly detached from their cultures of origin, not so much because of the movement of peoples (only about 3% of the world’s population migrates), but through the worldwide traffic of media-friendly information and ideas. (40)

An awful lot of people on this planet respond to global connectivity very differently than does the power elite… For there is, together with a flat and fluid world, a more tribal, fragmented, and divisive world, as people unmoored from millennial traditions and cultures flail about in search of a social identity that is at once individual and intimate but with a greater sense of purpose and possibility of survival than the sorrow of here today, gone tomorrow. (41)

Terrorism involves spectacular and often unexpected killings in order to destabilize the social order and promote a greater cause. (91)

The fatwa clearly articulated the new goals of this movement, which were to force America out of the Middle East so that the movement would then be free to overthrow the Saudi monarchy or the Egyptian regime and establish a Salafi state. (far enemy, then near enemy) (103)

What the jihadi movement has done in the 21st century is to take such reasoning two steps further. First, because there is no pure Islamic state anywhere, then the whole world must be a House of War. Again, Qutb: “A Muslim has no country except that part of the world where the Sharia of God is established.” Second, because Islam is under global attack by America and the forces of globalization, then the whole world is a global battlefield under the injunction of fard al-‘ayn. (104)

Like most jihadi groups, it self-radicalized and then went looking for action. (108)

Pillars of Islam: (111)

1.     Profession of faith in God and his Prophet.

2.     Prayer.

3.     Alms.

4.     Fasting during Ramadan.

5.     The haji pilgrimage to Mecca.

6.     (Hidden pillar) Jihad.

3 waves of jihad: (112)

-        1988 – 1991: highest percentage of professionals

-        1992 – 2001: Culminating in 9/11: opposite trend of wave 1

-        Post 2001: the newer cohort tends to be less ideologically sophisticated and especially motivated by desire to avenge perceived injustices against Muslims. (115)

That instinctive shying away from the actual murder, and laughing together over common things, may yield common ground enough to move the path to jihad away from the most extreme forms of violence. (131) (Why does he not go on to develop this more?)

At least in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan, US policy has started to shift toward treating terrorism as a social and public health issue rather than a strictly military and police problem. (132)

And these attacks (Bali), which also killed Muslims, only alienated the population. (150)

It is mostly youth in transition who persuade other youth in transition that heaven is built on the foundations of hell. (167)

(Groupthink) If group cohesion is based on how much the members like the group and get along with its members, then the members are less likely to speak up against the group norms, and the group is more likely to make poor decisions. This is because like-minded individuals in a group are more concerned with their social relations than with their tasks; they are less prone to cause conflict within a group in order to maintain congeniality. (222)

Not Clausewitzian: Yet war is almost always an emotional matter of status and pride, of shedding blood and tearing the flesh of others held dear, of dread and awe, and of the instinctual needs to escape from fear, to dominate, and to avenge. (333) (Even Clausewitz says this can happen once war has begun.)

Ideology is only as strong as the ties of friendship and camaraderie in war… but it is not camaraderie alone that made… (334-5)

It appears, then, that, despite US patriotic propaganda and the studies that discount it, American warfare from WWII to today may be the exception to the heartfelt sense of war as a noble cause… (340)

Study 1: Moral duty overrides responsibility to family and hometown. (341)

Study 2: Moral duty reverses normal sensitivity to quality… as the monetary amount requested increased, so did disapproval ratings. (342-3)

Study 3: Parochial altruism (343)

Across the world, people believe that devotion to sacred or cultural values that incorporate moral beliefs – such as the welfare of their family and country or commitment to religion, honor, and justice – is, or ought to be, absolute and inviolable… People will reject any type of material compensation for dropping their commitment to their sacred values and will defend their sacred values regardless of the costs. (375)

Progress on sacred values might open up negotiations on material issues, rather than the reverse. (378)

-        Shift the context. (384)

-        Provisionally prioritize values: this suggests, again, that pragmatic prioritization of one value over another, however provisional to begin with, may facilitate a more permanent realignment of values. (386)

-        Refine sacred values to exclude outmoded claims (387)

-        Use one side’s sacred values to amplify the importance of the other side’s concessions: ping-pong diplomacy (388)

The art of an apology: symbolic gestures provide openings only if consistent actions follow.  An apology should be consistent with one’s own core values while simultaneously demonstrating sensitivity to the values of others. (391)

Rational vs. devoted actors: his discussion does not negate Allison and Zelikow because their models were based on state actors (dcd – 393)

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