Wednesday, July 27, 2005

TATP: Object Lesson for Irresponsible Ideologues

The London bombers and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid learned a lovely trick popular with suicide bombers in Israel-- how to mix up a highly unstable homemade explosive, triacetone triperoxide (TATP).

Keep following my argument, here...

The explosive is described on this page. Interestingly, TATP doesn't produce explosive force by releasing heat energy quickly, but by converting solid molecules to gas very fast.

What's terrifying is that TATP is apparently easy to make, is made of easily obtained materials (acetone and hydrogen peroxide), can be made at room temperature, is difficult to detect (dogs have trouble sniffing it out), and explodes with 80% more force than TNT.

In a nutshell: any dipshit on an ideology high with a bathtub can make this stuff and, if he doesn't accidentally blow himself up in the process, kill dozens of people.

Defenders of suicide bombings against Israelis (those who don't support the London bombings) now have to answer the charge that the London bombers have simply taken their perverse reasoning to its logical conclusion, and used the Palestinian terrorists' methods to another group of civilians they believe are "oppressors."

Isaiah Berlin said it best:
[Y]ou must realise that if you use violent methods the result will almost invariably be totally different from what you intend. Why? Because too much is unknown – not because you are wrong. The abuses are abuses, the tyranny is a tyranny, it should be stopped, it can be stopped; but if the measures are too violent – that’s to say, if you believe in the possibility of a total or even three-quarters transformation of society by organised means, if need be by violence – you will find that you’ve heaved up forces of whose existence you were probably not aware, which will in some way frustrate your designs and produce something maybe better than there was before, but not what you wanted.

Maybe we can keep the same quote in mind the next time we decide to transform another hostile country into a democracy.

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