Herodotus and Terrorism
Now that the US is tightening the financial noose around Assange, the New York Times has an editorial calling for the replacement of cash with electronic money. Kurke, Leslie. 1999. Coins, Bodies, Games, and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece (Princeton: Princeton University Press) describes how Herodotus saw money as a way to undermine hierarchies. Finally, the military agrees.
Lipow, Jonathan. 2010. “Turn In Your Bin Ladens.” New York Times (18 December): p. A 23.
“Nowadays, terrorist networks have become important users of cash. No organization understands this better than the United States military. During the early years of coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, American forces distributed cash liberally. From 2003 and 2008, about $19 billion in physical money was handed out to Iraqi suppliers and contractors.”
“But the military has gradually realized that the anonymity of cash makes it easy for terrorists and insurgents to smuggle in money and make purchases without a trace. That’s why for the past few years the military has been striving to replace its cash transactions with electronic fund transfers and debit card payments in the hopes of achieving a “cashless battlefield,” in the words of Peter Kunkel, a former assistant secretary of the Army.”
Soon the government will be able to tell when a 7 year old buys some bubble gum.