Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This is Sophistication?

One meme I still do not get is the one that appears regularly after some attack like the one in Amman, Jordan, today, where a number of more or less simultaneous explosions occur, wreaking terrible damage and enormous loss of life. Usually reports on the topic are full of assertions that this had to have been the work of a sophisticated organization.
Why? What does it take to get two or three people to strap on explosive belts, load up a car with explosive material, and go to some places and set them all off around the same time? This seems to me a very simple project. There could be some complexity in keeping it all secret (no doubt how it usually fails when it fails), and getting all the pieces in place, but to call it sophisticated? It seems to me as if it is something any two of my friends or colleagues and I could do if we were such rotten people that it would cross our minds.
Building a bridge is sophisticated. Designing and building a car, or a television set, or an iPod, is sophisticated. Shipping a piece of working software is sophisticated. Becoming a top athlete, and reaching peak form on the day of the key competition, is sophisticated. Putting on a theatrical production, like any one of the ones I saw last weekend, is sophisticated. Getting bananas from where they were grown to my local grocery store, from where I can pick them up and enjoy a treat that could not grow near where I live, is sophisticated.
Pulling together a gang of thuggish misfits to destroy what true sophistication has built, is the exact opposite of sophistication.
Time to start sending crank complaining notes to news outlets that cannot shake themselves of yet one more stupid and naive notion.


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