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Pyroterrorism is not very effective.

Reader comment on item: Bushfire Jihad

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jul 5, 2015 at 12:47

The Japanese tried to ignite fires in the western US using balloons during WWII, setting off a fire in Oregon that killed a woman and five children -- out of 9300 devices launced, and 300 making it to North America.

In the short run, bushfires can cause some property damage and loss of life, and require the marshalling of firefighters. As a long-term policy, however, there is little point in it, as the fires are inevitable. Where I live, the local Indians used to burn the land every year in order to make it easier to hunt game and find roots (like camas) that they prized for food. When the white men took over, they continued burning fields to increase their productivity, until this was banned a couple of years ago because of air pollution concerns.

Compared with other forms of terrorism, arson also suffers in effectiveness because most communities are better prepared to meet the threat. Knifing attacks are more effective, in terms of insuring casualties and generating fear.

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Thank you for this information, which is new to me.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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