David Hamilton


This conversation is closed.

Now that the The United States Government has won the war on terror... Other human emotions better watch out!

Coming soon... The Tet "I'm Offended". The Battle of the Bored. The Troubles, with Anxiety. The Skirmish Against Insecurity.

And, of course, it will all culminate... With The Police Action to Institute Happiness... Agree or disagree?

  • Oct 10 2012: I think it was in a TED talk that I heard the idea that humor is our best weapon against terrorists. They cannot withstand ridicule.

    So it might also work against our ridiculous response.

    We could use an Attack on Apathy.
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    Oct 9 2012: I say we take the Indecision Incursion straight to the halls of Congress.
  • Oct 12 2012: BTW I intend to use this (with citation!) Bravo.
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      Oct 12 2012: RE: "Edward, I profoundly disagree. . . "To avoid off-topic excursions I like to use an imaginary whiteboard at the front of the imaginary room and write as succinctly as possible the exact topic of current conversation in big, bold letters so there is no confusion as to what we are talking about. If I may, I will write: "Are there funny, comical, amusing, and/or laughable concepts inherent in the slaughter of innocent victims of violent acts of terrorism?". Do you agree that is our immediate topic? If not, how would you phrase it? Thank you!
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        Oct 27 2012: Yes, and there ought to be. Only by laughing at something can we begin to envelope it, embrace it, and learn from it.
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      Oct 12 2012: Always a pleasure to be appreciated... The thought tickled my brain when I came to it, I can only hope it will do the same for others.
  • Oct 29 2012: before we slowly starve to death there will be a preemptive occurrence which will create exactly that, be it ice age or shifting plates we are in for a ride...agree...but it will not be initiated by man in the sense your words state...
  • Oct 29 2012: Let me tell you a little story;

    Ireland..."the Irish are not fighting with the English...in England!" Yet the poor starved Irish, defenders of their own country are classified as terrorists by the English.

    The same as your story?

    If someone invaded your country...would you fight?

    If someone invaded your country...would you ever surrender?

    If someone invaded your country...would you sacrifice your life in her defense?

    Welcome to Ireland and we are not alone,,,
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    Oct 27 2012: Hi David,
    I have a pretty good sense of humor, and I do not agree with using human emotions for humor, because that humor is often at the expense of one or more human beings. What we focus on expands. To focus on something in a way that can create change and improve the situation is one thing. To focus on issues primarily for the purpose of creating humor for ourselves, seems to give the topic reason to exist and reinforces it as acceptable....in my humble perception.
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      Oct 27 2012: If we do not focus on how stupid, arrogant, and insane the American people have been for the last 12 years straight (if not more)... We will never diagnose the disease infecting us, and we will never cure it.

      I must force the idiots who still believe in the path of hatred and murder to feel public ridicule, or they will never change. If psychopaths believe they can murder people at random, and urinate on the bill of rights, while still having sex, and beng respected by society... They will continue to run our country into the ground.

      The idea that we don't ridicule our decisions over the last decade disturbs me. Yes, this is a joke at the expense of people... Very evil people, who deserve every ounce of ridicule we can throw at them.
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        Oct 28 2012: Ridicule?. . . yes. Humor?. . . with exceptions.
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        Oct 28 2012: David,
        I do not believe that humor adequately addresses "stupid" and "arrogant". In my perception, it simply covers it up, dismisses it, reinforces it, and allows it to exist.

        I suggest that we can "diagnose" and "cure" by intelligently, insightfully, mindfully addressing the issues. I agree with you that certain issues need our focus, and I disagree with humor as an effective way to deal with serious issues. For me, it feels like a cover-up rather than a beneficial way to address issues, and it feels, to me, like it is making serious issues appear to be less serious with joking and humor, which seems to miss the mark for what you are trying to achieve.

        Child molestation in the Catholic church was brought up in another comment on this thread. That is pretty serious, and can you imagine how the victims of that horrible crime may feel when jokes are made about it?

        There are jokes going around about the comments of a political candidate regarding "legitimate rape", and pregnancy resulting from rape being the "will of god". Can you imagine how people who are victims of rape may feel when jokes are spread regarding these statements?

        I suggest that the victims are much more affected by humor and joking than the perpetrator. If the perpetrator does not feel anything while committing the crime, or making foolish statements, do you honestly think s/he will be impacted by joking?

        On this topic, I agree to disagree with you David.

        P.S. As a person who experienced violence and abuse in relationships, it feels really awful to me when jokes are made about this serious issue, because it feels like people are trying to minimize and justify the issue, rather than acknowledging and facing it seriously.
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          Oct 28 2012: I would only argue, that it has become virtually illegal, to publicly call these people what they are, evil, disgusting, horrific human beings rotting the souls of the American people. Try getting an article talking about a military trial for Dick Cheney and George Bush... They won...

          Evil controls the system, and everyone's just hopping on board. What is the greatest trick the devil ever played? Convincing the world he doesn't exist. If you call out leaders perpetrating the horrific acts our government is currently involved in, they can jail you in another country without trial. Talk about revolution... Suddenly you won't be allowed to speak... Make a joke... and you don't get censored.

          So... I disagree completely... and I think it would be absolutely hilarious if Richard Mourdok got raped by 5 guys right now...
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          Oct 28 2012: It would be even funnier if god then appeared, as if to save him... but whispered delicately in his ear "Don't worry Richard... I meant for this to happen"
        • Oct 29 2012: Colleen, by reading your conversation with David, I see more similarity than not yet you both say you disagree...however your concerns regarding humor are misguiding as humor is so much better for the audience and the presenter other than the anger that creates it...humor is a God send if there ever was one!

          As far as dealing with greed, greed thinks one way and does not want any complaints unless they are whispered or written so it can ignore it completely. In general anyone preaching that soft sell as change is generally part of the problem, but I do not read that in your words?

          David I used to be more militant than yourself, now age has settled me, there is a truth to what colleen has written but it does not calculate with me but then at my age I know nothing will change unless greed does and well that is just not going to happen no matter what you call it.
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        Nov 2 2012: David and Same Asls,
        Same Asls,
        You may be very perceptive in observing that David and I are more similar than not! My perception, based on the conversations David and I have had, is that we are very similar with underlying beliefs, and seem to agree with what issues need to be addressed in our world. I believe it is the way we express ourselves and our perceived beliefs of HOW we address the issues that we seem to disagree with.

        I am open to David's agreement or disagreement, and I believe he is open to listening and conversing with me, no matter if we agree or disagree, which makes conversations with him enjoyable. I believe the differences may be gender/age related? David is a young man, and I am an older woman. Our life experiences often color all of our perceptions, so it does not surprise me that we may articulate our concerns differently. You acknowledge yourself Same Asls, that you used to be "more militant...now age has settled me"....in your words. Perhaps I am also "settled by age":>) Maybe David will pop in here and express his ideas about your comment as well:>)

        I do not agree Same Asls, that "greed thinks". My perception, is that those who are greedy, think only about their own greed, and often fail to see the bigger picture, of how that greed impacts themselves and others. I'm not really sure what you are asking with your question... "I do not read that in your words?" Are you asking if I am greedy? If so.....I think not.

        You say "evil controls the system, and everyone's just hopping on board". That is where we differ in our perception. I believe there IS indeed evil in our systems, and I do not see "everyone hopping on board". There are many of us trying to change the systems...we ARE the systems, and we are the only one's who CAN change the systems. If I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem, so my effort with every situation, is to be part of the solution.
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          Nov 2 2012: I respect you Colleen... but you're probably part of the problem, more than the solution. I know I am. For all my talk, I live in a suburb... There are no small businesses, here. I'm poor, I can't afford organic food. I see a lot of people miserable, and doing drugs in response to our situation... I don't see a lot of people fixing any of our problems.

          I don't know many people riding electric motorcycles, or skateboards. I don't know many people who refuse to shop at Wal Mart, or McDonalds. There's not a single politician on either side of the aisle who even agree that what we're doing is immoral, but the people keep voting for them.

          It's been over a decade since more than half the constitution was erased... no one intends to re write it... Honestly... I think things are going to start changing... because young people are literally going to start setting themselves on fire in the public square. I don't even think most adults realize what a nightmare we're living in.

          I will admit though. It's worst for a young man. Our inherent sense of justice tells us that so long as George Bush lives, our society has no concept of morality. I think in general femininity and age, bring more forgiveness.
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        Nov 2 2012: David,
        It sounds like you are in an environment where people do not, will not, cannot change their situation?
        I am in a similar environment because I am at poverty level financially, and I live in one of the most depressed counties in this state.

        Luckily, it feels to most people here in this state, that we have pretty good representation in our government, so we keep electing the same people. I am very aware, however, that in many places, people who are known to be corrupt are getting re-elected over and over again.

        I agree with you that things are starting to change, and it has a LOT to do with young people. That's why I am SO excited about the young people participating here on TED. I do not believe, however, that young people create change by "setting themselves on fire in the public square". I believe there is potential for change when more and more people work toward that change....be the change we want to see in our world.

        Yeah....you're right....older folks learn to forgive.....or is it that we learn to accept reality?
        You know one of my favorite quotes:
        "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

        I like to "invest" my energy in what I KNOW can be changed, rather than batting my head against a brick wall...been there...done that....

        If you truly think I am part of the problem, rather than part of the solution...so be it. I have a different perspective:>)
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          Nov 3 2012: Dear David:

          I think you take the world too seriously and compare it too much to what you think it should be like... And get mad and frustrated, it's not good to feel like that... I believe a good dosis of egoism and seriously decreasing the news media expouse is healthier.

          Changing the world sounds great, and you do have many original ideas (as much as I have seeing here at TED), but joy is also necessary...

          We are all part of a very complex system, I'm also part of the problem, and a tiny part of the solution.

          Sorry for my silly comment, but I felt like writing that, hope things get better and you change your environment (there are other countries).
          For what it's worth, I appreciate your honesty.


          Ps Colleen, I somewhat agree with you, a joke about nazis in a concentration camp is hardly funny, but on the other hand humor can be a way to disrupt the official discourse, without it being bad taste.
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          Nov 7 2012: Just so you know... I don't really mean it as an insult, so much as, as you suggest, we are both trapped in situations which we have little control, and thus we have little potential to actually be more of a solution, than a problem.

          I think if I was making 50-60 k a year, I would actually perpetually avoid government sponsored corporations, genetically engineered food, and corn syrup almost 100%... I'm sure I'd cheat with a soda occasionally, but in general, my choices would be funding companies, food sources, etc. that I support... Since I don't, I occassionally go Kraft, or McDonalds still.

          To be fair, I have a degree, and refuse to make 50k a year, because for every 50 thousand dollars of economic activity I contribute to, the government will steal my money, and murder a muslim... virtually at random. So my poverty is a choice, that is a bit hypocritical to whine about.

          I do live a life, of extreme emotional discontent and despair, and I refuse to change it. I think most people experiencing what I am right now, remain silent, or literally "opt out"... I have chosen a different path... I am going to make as many human beings as possible, aware, of the emotional hell they have forced their children into, by being brutally honest about it.

          In the world I was born into... I can die penniless and alone... or I can earn enough to pay taxes, and be a murderer... I find this unacceptable... and I think human society, can do better. I don't think murder is a requirement of economic growth, or stable societies. I may be wrong, and people adamant about my positions, are slowly going the way of the buffalo... but we still get born occasionally... and we're still pissed off ; p

          As to humor as a tool... If you're this depressed you need a laugh now and again. "Claire McCaskill just legitimately raped Todd Akin" Jon Stewart : )

          Nature didn't stop making Roosevelt's and Twain's... People just stopped listening to them.
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          Nov 7 2012: As far as forgiveness... In general, I'm a fan... and then we talk about rape, torture without trial, and murder... suddenly I'm not so forgiving. I'm a fan of lines... Very few things are black and white, rape, torture without trial, and murder... are truly evil, and it is more immoral to forgive them, then to punish them in my mind. A society must have certain lines which cannot be crossed.

          As to happiness, I refer you to my favorite Marc Maron quote

          "When somebody comes up to you and says "I think you might be depressed, clinically," you should say "thank you, thank you very much" because that means you're awake.

          Is there any reason we shouldn't be depressed? Question: are you living on the same fucking planet as me, asshole? Did you ever think that depression might be the reasonable, human response to the bs we're going through as a species? And it's meant to propel us into the next evolutionary step? Or at least to the next step of social change? Did you ever think that? Did you ever think that maybe it's the people who are happy all the time that are really fucked up in the head? Did you ever think that? Maybe they're the ones who need pills. You know, these guys:

          Hey, how's it going?
          I don't know, I feel great, again!

          Well, that's creepy and weird, man. Maybe you should be on medication, clearly you're self-centered, narcissistic, borderline, I don't know, but you're draining me with your happy. I'm doing the Big Work, move along."
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          Nov 7 2012: Dear David:

          First of all, it was not my intention to offend you.

          I do believe we have control over what we do, we just have lots of constrains, and we may also not agree 100% on what’s needs to be done.

          Regarding your comment, you could be living and working in another country making more or less money depending on the one you choose, and you can choose a country that’s not at war (and has not being for a hundred years).

          Emotional hell? I don’t believe most of the people in a developed country live in an emotional hell, some for sure, most will go thru that a few times in life, but not all the people, all the time. You can argue that some people’s life are shallow, or fake, but that’s another discussion.
          Honesty is good, but being brutally honest I believe you end up understanding how things you don’t like are your fault in general.

          As for your comments, I do agree that there are lines that should not be crossed.

          There are many things going on in the world, some make people happy, some make people depressed and some make people take action, among other reactions.
          Depression is by no means the only reaction you can have, I’m not saying that all is good, nor I’m saying that all is bad, I’m just saying that the way you take things is up to you and not to the world.
          I do agree that depression is reasonable reaction, but I also believe that my view of what we are going through as a species is, at best, fragmented and incomplete, and so is yours.
          I disagree with you on your next point, depression can lead to creativity and introspection, but I don’t believe will lead us to “the next evolutionary step” or actual change.
          Yes, I did think about that before our conversation, just never seen that happen (positive change coming from being depressed), maybe as people emerge from depression and use the learning’s from their introspection?
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          Nov 7 2012: I don’t know anybody who is happy all the time, nor most of the time, content maybe. Do you? I would agree with you that someone that is happy all the time would seem odd to me. But I don’t know if we should prescribe pills to them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd4tugPM83c&feature=plcp

          I don’t like taking medication, nor I recommend that to others, for many reasons.
          The same adjectives could be applied to you as well, but neither of us has enough information on the other to assert that, moreover, even if we did and we were right, what use would it have? (regarding the “borderline” adjective I don’t understand what you imply)
          I never said I was doing “the big work” (I don’t get what you mean by that, probably due to the limitations of my English / US culture understanding).

          At the end of the day, emotional states are influenced by lifestyle, if you were doing 1+ hour of exorcise every day and eating healthy food (I assume you don’t because of your comments) you would see the world a bit different.


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        Nov 4 2012: Dear David and Julian,
        I believe that most things in life work best when we are balanced in ourselves. Then we can contribute in a balanced way to the whole. So, we can effectively look at life through the serious lens, and the humorous lens. "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly". Whether we believe in angels or not, it is kind of an amuzing statement....don't you think?

        I also perceive quite a bit of anger and frustration from you David, and while those emotions can serve to move us forward, it doesn't serve any useful purpose to hold onto those emotions all the time. It simply gives that which you are angry and frustrated with, energy to continue in the same way.

        I agree with Julian that joy is necessary to have a balanced life, and we do not produce real joy by ridiculing others.

        I agree Julian, that humor can be a way to disrupt a certain discourse. Whether or not it is done in good or bad taste is the question, that is very subjective, and often can adversly impact those who are already victims of the topic, rather than those the joking may have been intended for. I believe that joking about serious issues often normalizes the behaviors, rather then effectively, productively impact the situation
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    Oct 27 2012: Ohhh I don't have anything to add other than the title of this debate cracked me up. Cheers!
  • Oct 12 2012: Reply to Edward Long 's whiteboard questions below:

    Definitely do not agree.

    White board: Can humor be used to highlight public policy flaws and help people reframe the issues?
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      Oct 17 2012: Funny or Die has some great comedy about relatively serious issues.

      On the coming elections.

      On Ayn Rand

      It's a great site.
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      Oct 27 2012: My issue is not with public policy flaws as objects of humor. I think some issues are outside the boundary of humorous reflection. Perhaps a few examples will help: rape; child molesting; slaughtering innocent people; brutality; starvation; slavery; tyranny. I really would feel uncomfortable participating in laughter regarding these real life problems and many others. Do you agree some things are not appropriate subjects of levity and laughter? Or, do you really believe anything can be laughed at? Thank you!
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        Oct 27 2012: Great insight!

        I think the sense of humor, as emodied in parody for example, has the highest potential of penetrating the meaning of different phenomena.

        A good comedian is able to see the superficial, and by turning it into a joke he can point it out to the public.

        "Child molesting; slaughtering innocent people; brutality; starvation; slavery; tyranny" probably do not have any deeper meaning, therefore there is nothing to laugh about, and the role of the comedian here is none.
      • Oct 28 2012: Edward I think it profoundly inappropriate to laugh at child molestation. However, I think laughing at the way public institutions respond to child molestation can highlight how badly they react and how poorly they handle it (the Catholic church comes to mind as do the boy scouts.) What these sacred institutions did was horrific and the pain caused to their victims was untenable. But, it is by making fun of the response of the institutions that we enable and allow the topic to come out of whispers and enter into the public discourse. This can be done ham-handedly, causing pain and with no redemption, or it can be done adroitly and enlighten the audience.

        In the case of this thread. the target of David's humor was the government. The best target of all.

        Humor is a form of deviance. Deviance serves two vital functions in any society. It can highlight an injustice (such as choosing to break an unfair law) or it can help society determine what its norms are - here and no further. Humor helps do that. Humor says this is ridiculous and society chooses to agree and begin changing the way they view the issue or disagree an sanction the comedian. Our country is in dire straits right now and it is not an accident that a huge percentage of our populace gets their "news" from Comedy Central. Those comedians tell very unpleasant truths in a manner people can hear. But it is also well known that liberals and conservatives have different senses of humor and this can sometimes cause conflict.

        Rape is not at all funny. But, the manner in which many conservative politicians have been addressing it lately is a perfect target for some very telling and accurate humor.....
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          Oct 28 2012: Sorry, I don't see any humor in the Roman Catholic church's treatment of child molesters in their ranks. I don't see anything funny about the reaction of the institution. I think you might feel coerced into making my point for me, but I must ask you, do you believe there are issues where humor is inappropriate?
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    Oct 11 2012: Amber Lyon, formerly of CNN, was on the Joe Rogan Experience recently, and really broke down the way the US government does business... an incredibly inspiring, frustrating, and entertaining podcast for anyone with a hard anti war, pro freedom agenda. http://vimeo.com/50802185
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    Oct 11 2012: many of countries want to ridict other countries to develop.and they do all they can to achieve it
    and i totally agree with you that people starts war because of fear .and i think how fear come from .because you dont not want to see the difference you all want to build a country like yourself and do you like a country with no difference .we should have more tolorace and have a varityof development then you can eat food in chinia and we can all have a different expericment .
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    Oct 9 2012: I'm sorry, David. I understand your topic is an attempt at humor, but...

    I don't concur with you that when someone commits suicide with a body-bomb attached to them, or using an airplane to fly into occupied buildings filled with human beings, with the intent on killing as many people around them as possible, that only "emotions" have been killed. Nor that any retaliatory action taken to prevent that from happening again is strictly an attempt to stop an "emotional loss".

    Lots of actual LIVES are ended when terrorist attacks are conducted.

    Just my opinion, but I think your topic post here in this case is very disrespectful towards the loss of those Human lives. There is nothing "funny" about killing other people.

    Respectfully submitted, of course.

    Is this topic appropriate, as presented, for a TED conversation?
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      Oct 10 2012: I think it fits into the entertainment category... and yes it is funny, that we declared a war on terror. We should have gone after the truly insane people who helped finance and commit this act, as the CIA wanted to. The two wars that followed 9/11, and the ongoing call to war whether the UN supports us or not, have nothing to do with the lives lost, and they are incredibly embarassing.

      The language, of an unwinnable war on fear, is disturbingly humorous, to many people, and I think this made an interesting attempt to put it into perspective. I could have made it longer and more in depth... but, with flying killer robots operating above our own soil, I felt the Police Action to Institue Happiness was the perfect place to stop.
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        Oct 10 2012: Your topic is important David but your packaging is not optimum as evidenced by Mr. Ryan's response. QUOTE: "Humor is typically used to treat warm-hearted, sympathetic, or good-natured treatment of small failings or ironies, those that prompt smiles rather than laughter or derision." Prof. S.I. Hayakawa, Univ. of San Francisco.
        I think I get your point about declaring war on an emotion being ludicrous. I also agree the phrase "War on Terror" conjures-up the image of The Thought Police. The phrase should be "War With Terrorism". I do not get why you say "Now that we have won"? Did I miss a meeting? Thank you!
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          Oct 10 2012: I'll admit... I just thought it was funnier written that way. It is pretty poor wording though, we don't seem to be winning much of anything.
        • Oct 12 2012: Edward I profoundly disagree with your professor. Humor is often the only way that societies can address the most profound issues that they face. The comic can say that which is true but cannot be said. The comic uses irony to lay out the uncomfortable truth.

          Look a the key source of information for the demographic from which David belongs - The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Comedy central.

          This use of comedy is well know and well studied.
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        Oct 10 2012: (Quote): "We should have gone after the truly insane people who helped finance and commit this act, as the CIA wanted to."

        What makes you think that didn't happen? Once they were identified?

        There is also another concept of preventing attacks against you. Your first priority is to identify the immediate threats against you, and stop the actual people carrying out the attacks. In that regard, you don't need to get the ring-leader who is hiding out in caves and giving the orders. You go after the guy who is actually going to strap the bomb to himself and carry out the attack. During the course of your actions, you acquire more information about the entire organization carrying out the attacks against you.

        It's a very well known concept of military doctrine. Look at the histories of wars. You don't necessarily take out the entire leadership of an enemy to end a war. If you do, you have nobody "in power" left to negotiate with as the war progresses. Or worse...nobody to negotiate with about the "peace" that will follow the end of the war. There's a reason we didn't drop either of the atomic bombs against Japan on Tokyo.
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          Oct 10 2012: It didn't happen. You can read all about it in several books which chronicle the history of the lead up to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. There can be a remotely sane military argument for one of the wars we fought against terror, in Afghanistan, but still there can be no sane excuse for us engaging in regime change. The regime didn't sponsor the attack.

          We're not at war with any group of people or nation... that's the problem... We're at war with being scared, and you can be scared of anyone. It was a matter for the police, and CIA to deal with... We turned it into an unwinnable war.
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        Oct 10 2012: I'm totally lost on the logic of this thread. On one hand in your topic title, you say we have won the war. Now in your post above you say it is/was an unwinnable war.

        And it appears you have something against the use of military force to fight a war, but not the CIA? The CIA conducts warfare too, and most of their efforts could be argued they do it in an attempt to conduct "regime change".

        The police? Yeah...them to. That's why someone came up with the idea of calling the deployment of military forces a "police action" instead of calling it an actual "war".

        Semantics don't solve problems.
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          Oct 10 2012: It was a piece of entertaining humor. I'm sorry you don't feel that way. The idea of declaring a war... on an emotion... Is nonsense. You can police, actual terrorists, as was already the law, and we already did. We didn't need a war. It's not semantic, it's a matter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians dying.
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        Oct 11 2012: I didn't make it a case of semantics. You did. Your topic title says we won the "war" on terrorism. And now we will be conducting the "war on emotions".

        "War" was never declared by the government in your terrorism example. It wasn't allowed for within the Constitution. And the same thing applies for the "wars" against Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other conflict since WW2...the last official "war" declared by the U.S. Government.

        So you say it is OK to use "police actions". Seems like the same philosophy entrusted to the United Nations, but they just call them what? Peacekeeping Missions. But the "peacekeepers" are still using "military forces".

        It's all semantics, David. It's not the words that somebody dreams up to label a conflict, for whatever agenda they may have for labeling it that way. It's the nature of the actual conflict that matters, and the reasons for conducting that conflict.

        I challenge you to find any historical record...a reputable source...that shows any war in mankind's history was fought strictly against an emotion.

        And those hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians dying (can you cite references for that number of civilian casualties, please?) would not have occured in the first place if we hadn't been attacked first.

        We disagree on some things. That's OK.
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          Oct 11 2012: You don't get it... It's supposed to make you laugh... If we disagree, it is not about semantics however. I am not okay with "police actions"... I am okay with policing... like an adult civillization, that has a constitution, like the United States did a mere 15 years ago.

          The "War on Terror" began when we invaded 2 nations, and declared an intent to invade or crush 2 others, Iran and North Korea, the "Axis of Evil". That we invaded 2 nations, to fight an emotion... or to fight the purpetrators, or causes of an emotion... terror, I find hilarious. I also find it incredibly embarassing, and depressing.

          As to how you actually fight terrorists? Like a sane person, who lives in a country with a constitution, no matter where your "enemy" lives. A "War on Terror", in my mind is an insanely stupid concept. If you don't agree... This isn't funny. If you do agree, it is, but it's also a bit sad.
    • Oct 12 2012: Rick Ryan I disagree with your assessment. David's words are awesome! A war on terror is a horrible idea. The words matter and David outs it perfectly. It is without a doubt the best type of topic for TED. Humor points out the naked king. With luck we learn to laugh with him not at him. You cannot possibly win a WAR on an emotion. You ask us to fight a war against the RESULT of the actions of terrorists. We can never win that and the military industrial complex keeps killing people in search of profit. We need to fight a war on extremism. A war on oppression, we fight wars on behavior - not on the emotion that results from that behavior.

      David's words are brilliant and did what he wanted: started a conversation about terrorism. I say bravo.
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        Oct 12 2012: You are free to disagree, and I respect that. And so is David.

        I just seriously doubt I will ever see a TED video conference given by someone who was invited by TED with the title of this topic. Edward explained why very succinctly in his post.

        And can you clarify please, with respectable references and sources, that your statement, "We can never win that and the military industrial complex keeps killing people in search of profit" is not a conspiracy theory? I doubt I will ever see a TED video titled, "The Military Industrial Complex Is In Business Solely To Make Money By Killing People."
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      Oct 27 2012: My mom first introduced me to the idea that mocking something makes it acceptable. It was because I was shocked to hear someone openly mock a gay person, this being in the late 90s. She told me that she found it funny, but not at the victim's expense. She was laughing at the conflict to resolve the conflict. Homosexuality is now becoming less scary.

      I think it is vital that we laugh at everything. It makes the unknown and traumatic comfortable to talk about.