October 08, 2004
Why killing children makes sense for Islamo-fascists – and a speculation about smaller schools being a defence against that

Depressing but inevitable, and presumably now being said by governments and by education departments the world over, more or less loudly:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education has alerted school leaders nationwide to watch for people spying on their buildings as a possible sign of a higher terrorist threat.

The warning is based on an analysis by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security of the school siege that killed nearly 340 people, many of them students, in Beslan, Russia, last month.

The review was done to protect schools and not sent because of "any specific information indicating that there is a terrorist threat to any schools or universities in the United States," Deputy Secretary of Education Eugene Hickok said in a letter to school leaders.

The conventional Western view of war is that there are warriors, and there are innocent bystanding civilians - fighting men on the one hand, and the, old, the unfit, and women and children on the other. (Although during the great bombing campaigns of the Second World War that distinction was stretched way past its breaking point.)

War now is different. The stated ultimate aim of the Islamo-fascists is not to fight against the non-Muslim world and extract concessions from. It is to destroy the non-Muslim world, to wipe it out. And destroying the non-Muslim world absolutely includes destroying the non-Muslim world's children. Especially its children. There's no point in getting into a moral flap about this. Killing children is perfectly logical, given that their aim is to destroy the ability of non-Muslim societies to perpetuate themselves.

This means that all kinds of defensive measures for large assemblages of school-age children will now have to be thought about, just as the US Department of Education says.

And – a thought which has only just now occurred to me as I was typing in the above couple of paragraphs – what if the idea that schools are too big catches on, not just because big schools are (maybe, I think, others think) bad educationally, but also because large clumps of children all in one place are a nice juicey terrorist target. Disperse and defend. It's a thought.

The point is – just to make it clear in case it isn't – not that a small school is easier to defend, but that a big school gets the terrorists more bang for their bucks and their bodies, and is hence more enticing as a target and is hence more likely to be targetted.

Will the Pentagon and the FBI and the CIA and the rest of them start agitating for smaller schools, on the grounds that that way the casualties of terrorist attacks on schools are likely to be fewer? After all, one of the reasons why so many children were killed in that Beslan school is that so many children were at that Beslan school.

As I say, it's a thought and only a very slightly baked one at that. I wonder if others will join in with the baking of this notion.

While I'm on the subject of cumulative fractional baking, my thanks to the Instapundit of Education Bloggers for this posting, about this speculation here, and to her (on that posting) few but fascinating commenters there. Not such a "golden generation" after all, it seems.

UPDATE: Joanne Jacobs also posts today about school security against terrorist attack. Originally I put that this was schools in Iraq, that although the information came from Iraq the schools they're worrying about are in the USA. So I guess this might be the same story as the one I'm linking to.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:43 PM
Category: Violence