Al QAEDA: It has a strategy, the US does not
More than a dozen years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States is still confused about al Qaeda’s goals and even how the group founded by Osama bin Laden is organized. The intellectual confusion is pervasive—and some of it is deliberate.
“We’ve had major military people at great risks to themselves say yes these things are real. Why do you think the military industrial complex doesn’t want that statement to be made, because you start thinking about what kind of technology is behind that, that’s the bottom line.” – Adam Trombly, Physicist, Inventor
A reluctance to talk about institutions and political change doomed the Arts and Crafts movement, channelling the spirit of labor reform into consumerism and D.I.Y. tinkering. The same thing is happening to the movement’s successors. Our tech imagination, to judge from catalogues like “Cool Tools,” is at its zenith. (Never before have so many had access to thermostatically warmed toilet seats.) But our institutional imagination has stalled, and with it the democratizing potential of radical technologies. We carry personal computers in our pockets—nothing could be more decentralized than this!—but have surrendered control of our data, which is stored on centralized servers, far away from our pockets. The hackers won their fight against I.B.M.—only to lose it to Facebook and Google.